The BBC receives record number of complaints about its extensive and biased election coverage of UKIP


This morning Nigel Farage made yet another appearance on The Marr Show where he was treated to a soft soap extended interview by the eponymous host.  The fact that UKIP’s vote actually declined in these elections was wholly overlooked by Marr as he continued the BBC’s ridiculous agreement with Farage’s view that UKIP had caused an “earthquake” in British politics.

The reality is that the BBC have, along with much of the main stream media, (perhaps unwittingly) connived with UKIP to promote the party by providing unprecedented saturation coverage of the party for years but especially in the period leading up to Vote 2014. On 20th May I published a post about the BBC’s part  in promoting the UKIP brand (How the BBC has been instrumental in the rise of UKIP (video)) and it seems that a large swathe of the country agrees with me because a record number complained about the broadcaster’s favourable coverage of Farage and his party.

The Guardian 30 May 2014

BBC receives almost 1,200 complaints over Ukip election coverage
Corporation accused of bias towards Nigel Farage’s party and giving it too much airtime

The BBC has received almost 1,200 complaints about its coverage of the European and local elections, saying it was biased towards Nigel Farage’s Ukip.

The BBC has received 1,190 complaints accusing it of either having given too much coverage to Ukip, or being biased in favour of Nigel Farage’s party.

It is thought to be the most complaints the BBC has ever received about its coverage of a party during an election.

The BBC received just 149 complaints saying it had been biased against Ukip in its coverage.

Seventy three complaints were made claiming a bias against the Labour party, though there were no complaints of a bias in favour of Labour.

There were no complaints of any bias towards the coalition government.

“Our coverage of all parties in the local and European elections has been proportionate and consistent with our guidelines on fairness and impartiality,” said a spokeswoman for BBC news and current affairs.

In Friday’s edition of the BBC’s Newswatch, which airs at 8.45pm on the BBC News channel, the corporation’s political editor, Nick Robinson, addresses questions on the treatment of Ukip.

Interviewer Samira Ahmed challenges Robinson that the tone of the BBC’s coverage of Ukip around the local elections was over-egged, pointing out that its claims of a “political earthquake” were exaggerated given the Ukip overall vote went down.

Robinson defends the BBC’s coverage saying that Ukip was “no longer just a European party” and “they [Ukip] were establishing themselves as the fourth party of English politics”.

Robinson also points out that he never said ” there was an earthquake”, but instead saying: “I quoted Nigel Farage predicting there would be an earthquake, and in my coverage on the morning said that we’d feel the first tremors.”

The BBC’s political editor also makes the point that Farage is a “marmite” politician, who divides opinion.

He added: “And the BBC gets flak for either giving him too much flak, and on the other hand we get flak for giving him far too much airtime as well.”

The BBC did not break down the specific programmes people had complained about in its coverage of the elections.

However Ukip party members have enjoyed frequent appearances on Question Time.

In total, Farage has appeared at least 16 times since 2009, which is more than the entire Green party, which has appeared 11 times over the same period.

Diane James, a Ukip MEP, Patrick O’Flynn, director of communications and Ukip MEP, have also appeared on the show.

Ukip dominated much of Thursday night’s edition of Question Time – which featured Ukip MEP Louise Bours on the panel – causing much chatter on Twitter.

The BBC is bound by strict election guidelines, which include the rule that “to achieve due impartiality, each bulletin, programme or programme strand, as well as online and interactive services, for each election, must ensure that the parties are covered proportionately over an appropriate period, normally across a week.”

Farage on BBC's Daily Politics so often it has been re-branded

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