‘It was a MISTAKE’: BBC accused of BoJo bias after editing out audience mocking laughter
The BBC Question Time Leaders debate on Friday night included a moment when an audience member asked Johnson about the importance of “always telling the truth.” The question prompted laughter from the audience, seemingly unconvinced by the Tory PM’s personal record on such an issue.
However, the controversy came about when an edited version of the video clip surfaced from the BBC News Channel which had used it in their lunchtime bulletins on Saturday. Everything about the question and short answer from Johnson remained unaltered, including the clapping that came from the audience – but notably the mocking laughter had been edited out.
This is utterly extraordinary. @BBCNews has edited out the audience laughing at Boris Johnson being questioned on trust. The first part is from last night’s debate, the second is from BBC News at 1pm today. #ge2019pic.twitter.com/PjhAQsWLoH— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) November 23, 2019
The BBC initially showed no remorse, despite Ofcom – the broadcast industry regulator – confirming that they had received 46 complaints about the footage by 2pm BST on Monday.
The public service broadcaster finally released a statement, insisting that they were forced to shorten the timing of the clip “to edit out a repetitious phrase from Boris Johnson.” They acknowledged that in doing so the laughter from the audience was wiped off.
Although there was absolutely no intention to mislead, we accept this was a mistake on our part, as it didn’t reflect the full reaction to Boris Johnson’s answer.
It’s not the first time the Beeb has been accused of shaping footage to make Johnson look better. Footage of the UK PM embarrassingly placing a remembrance wreath upside down on the Cenotaph war memorial was replaced with pictures from 2016 when he was London mayor.
There have also been criticisms that the BBC has become so beneficial for the Tories, that they are feeding correspondents with off-the-record stories that are then reported on national news bulletins, before turning out to be untrue.
Journalist Peter Oborne claims that BBC executives told him: “They personally think it’s wrong to expose lies told by a British prime minister because it undermines trust in British politics.”Also on rt.com Tory manifesto pledge to deploy BBC as state mouthpiece is old news
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