BBC News: "PC Stalinism, urban bias, sloppy..."
A letter from a former BBC News cameraman in today's Media Guardian:
Like John Simpson, who this week leapt to the defence of BBC "impartiality", I began my near 40-year broadcast career in BBC TV news. It was impartial then; it certainly isn't now. I have seen my own visual material presented in an entirely different timeline, totally distorting the actual event that I witnessed, and at no time did the intellectually lazy journalists ask me what I witnessed. I also have seen raw camera material destined for both BBC and ITN come out in completely different forms on air. The bias in both cases was pro-establishment during the Thatcher years.
As we expect politicians to declare an interest, should we not expect ourselves to do the same when asked to comment on a system that has provided succour to ourselves and our families as it has in John's case?
I believe that few employed by the BBC can have a truly objective view of the BBC's political and social bias.
We on the outside do not like the PC Stalinism, urban bias, sloppy technical, artistic and journalistic standards that BBC News now represents, and if you really want examples, I can point to a Newsnight interview with the PM on a train. Neither the cameraman, reporter, editor, sub or indeed tea lady noticed that between cutaways and the body of the interview the train direction reversed. It is called crossing the line, it is as basic in TV news as learning your alphabet. That the BBC sought to defend its gross incompetence is again a glaring example of how those within have lost all objectivity about the system that they are in. Precision with words and pictures is vital in a political world that seeks to distort both.
Chris Harnett, Southampton