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October 24, 2006


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» Monitoring the news from version7
Steve Herrmann (among others) made an interesting post on the BBCs The Editors blog about a website called News Sniffer which aims to monitor corporate news organisations to uncover bias. It does so by grabbing regul... [Read More]


Richard S

None of the above!


The BBBc to its credit does not deny that it is institutionally biased.
It has stated often that it embraces the concepts of Transparency and Accountability.

News Sniffer provides an independent mechanism to help it achieve those goals.

It is of note to see that the number items Moderated out on Reactively moderated topics is in steep decline.

News sniffers next help to the BBc will be to take a pre copy of all submissions to Actively Moderated topics to illuminate the number that dont even reach the starting post... Pre Actively Moderated i suppose.

To further the spirit of full transparency and accountability may we be told who are The Public Moderators?

Something like this would help to allay any suspicions of bias.
Andrew Graham - former adviser to the Labour Party, part opwner of the Guardian, which is one of two papers to get all BBC advertising.
Steven Barnett - frequent guest on BBC programmes.
Andrew Gamble - co-editor of the totally impartial Marxism and Social Science.
Donald Sassoon - author of 100 Years of Socialism.
Tom O’Malley - co-author of a book with a Labour MP.
David Marquand - former Labour MP.
Jean Seaton - widow of Labour historian Ben Pimlott.
Sonia Livingstone - media-studies professor.
Sylvia Harvey - media-studies professor.
Bob Franklin - media-studies professor.
James Curran - media-studies professor.
Simon Frith - sociologist who specializes in popular music culture.
Georgina Born - social and political sciences lecturer.

MY respects to BBCEye.


Richard S

Thanks Ian - I just think it's better if these kind of debates are held in the open with people putting their name against them rathr than making anonymous criticisms. John now has to his credit.

Do you detect bias in the kinds of comments which have been removed? I don't think selection is necessarily the same as censorship unless there is a clear pattern to the kinds of voices heard or removed. Editing is selection too but can have motivations other than suppression (and usually does) - like trying to make it easier for readers to see and read a representative range of views.

Newssniffer allows you to judge whether that selection is fair or not.

Ian Mason

I was with you up until: "It's a shame the site's owner isnt prepared to put his or her name to it." - which carries the clear implication that there's something wrong, or underhand about them. Why? If they are performing a purely mechanical monitoring of your output and there's no comment or opinions then there's no subterfuge, no hiding behind anonymity going on.

Maybe you're critical because there clearly *is* censorship going on and this has revealed it. "Have You Say" comments that meet the rules and are polite and relevent have been removed. That isn't editting, it's selecting what voices get heard and that, my son, is what censorship is.

Richard S
Robin Hamman

It's pretty easy to sniff out the owner of these things if you really want to: http://amail.co.uk/cgi-bin/atrace.pl?ip1=www.newworldodour.co.uk&who=YES

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