Sunday, May 12, 2013

Misleading kids about a meteor (previous blog) is one thing, but that hardly compares with editorial bias relating to big political or social issues. Newsround, in common with the rest of the BBC, gave unduly positive coverage to Mrs Thatcher's legacy at the time of her funeral. And following the local elections, Newsround, again in common with most of the BBC, fawned over UKIP, brushing aside the Party's sexist, homophobic and otherwise objectionable statements and policies. In fact Newsround's write-up of the local election outcome looks, to all intents and purposes, like a recruiting drive for new UKIP members.

More evidence of Newsround's bias came first thing on Wednesday morning - the day of the State Opening of Parliament.

(7.41 am) "The Queen will announce tough new rules on foreign people living and staying in the UK, when she travels from Buckingham Palace to Parliament today. She'll outline the Government's new plans as part of the State Opening of Parliament - a big ceremony that's like the start of a new school term for politicians. The immigration laws will make it easier to send foreign criminals, and people who want to come here illegally, back to where they're from."

Perhaps realising that their tendentious morning reports had gone too far, Wednesday's evening bulletin at 6.50pm was a little more carefully thought through.

(6.50 pm) "The Government has set out its latest plans for the year ahead. The Queen read them out in her annual speech to mark the State Opening of Parliament - an event steeped in lots of quirky traditions. (video) It's a journey the Queen's made many times before. And her 59th speech in Parliament followed the same traditions as all the others. The doors to the House of Commons, where MPs debate laws, were slammed shut to symbolise their independence. Then, once Her Majesty's allowed to speak to them, she outlined the Government's plans for the year. She doesn't write it, but reads it on the Government's behalf. Plans to impose tough new rules on people from foreign countries, and improving the UK's money problems, were top of the list. There was one break from tradition: For the first time in 17 years Prince Charles was by her side, a day after announcing he'd take her place at a big meeting between leaders of a group of countries with historical connections to the UK - the Commonwealth. It led to speculation that he's getting ready to take over more of her duties. But before she'd left, Buckingham Palace said that was not in their plans."

Two years ago, when Daniel Clarke was deputy editor, he wrote that increasingly Newsround "has a duty" to play a useful and important role as a trusted source of news and information.

Any source of news and information can only be trusted as long as there is no sense of bias.

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