Doom & Gloom (Part 2) – our unbiased BBC

The BBC is internationally recognised as being a reliable, respected and unbiased source of information on what is going on in the world and particularly in the UK. And here in the UK every morning, Monday through Saturday, some 6,000,000 people tune in to BBC Radio 4's widely respected 'Today' programme for what most believe to be objective news.

However if we apply the 'Linguistic' part of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)* in listening to their interviews we might begin to question their objectivity…

And remember that while, in folk memory, it may be our beloved 'Auntie' BBC it is also a place where the careers of individual presenters and producers are assessed by the listener ratings they attain.

So, unhappily for journalism and for their listeners, the BBC staff is not averse to using the tabloid media's Shock, Sadden, Seduce and Scare formula to boost their ratings.

One of the favoured tactics of the Today Programme is to use a number of stock 'Closed and Leading' questions to pry the juiciest and most headline-grabbing bits from each interviewee such as:
•    Just how bad did you feel?
•    How badly has this experience affected you?
•    Can you explain how serious the situation is for you?
•    How bad is this situation going to get?
•    How worried should we be?

Mind you, it's not just the Today Programme – midweek I heard this wonderful BBC World at One headline:

"There has been mixed news on the job front today. ASDA has announced it is creating 7000 news jobs in the UK and (another company) is creating 3000 new jobs… However (and this was vocally emphasised) X company is making 300 people redundant and Y company is making 500 redundant…"

Now you cannot deny that 10,000 new jobs versus 800 lost jobs is literally 'mixed news'.

No-one can deny that..

But is it being presented objectively – or presented with a view to fitting in with the ratings-boosting Shock-Sadden-Seduce-Scare formula…or am I just being cynical?

(* The 'Linguistic' part of NLP is arguable the most potent and enlightening aspect of NLP. It refers, in particular, to how the language used by others, and by ourselves, affects us whether or not we recognise this impact.)



Related articles (March 2006) (March 2008) (August 2008) (November 2008)  (January 2009)  (September 2009) (January 2011)