Tuesday 8 June 2010

Is the BBC biased against shooting?

Shooting Sports Trust spokesman Mike Yardley is complaining to the BBC about their treatment of shooting on BBC One's The Big Questions, broadcast at 10am on Sunday.

The programme featured anti-gun campaigner Lucy Cope and Graham Showell of Britain Needs Guns, alongside Mike, in a studio discussion type programme hosted by Nicky Campbell, headlined "Should Britain ban guns?".

The show rapidly degenerated into a shouting match, with Lucy Cope making all kinds of inaccurate assertions about guns and gun crime, culminating in a ridiculous suggestion that if rabbits needed to be controlled then armed police should be brought in to do the job.

The nature of the programme, and the failure of Nicky Campbell to keep order, has led shooters to suggest that the programme was inherently biased against shooting - but that's not all.

The broadcast was beset with technical breakdowns - picture and sound were lost several times during the show, and an announcer's voice cut in to apologise, before the show reappeared on viewers' screens. Eventually the programme was cut short.

Conspiracy theorists are even suggesting that someone with an anti-shooting agenda might have been pulling the plug deliberately to prevent pro-shooting contributors getting their points across.

I've dealt with the question of alleged BBC bias against shooting on this blog before.

Did you see the show? What do you think? For the purposes of this debate, I hope to embed a low-res version of the programme here, complete with the breaks in the broadcast.

Copyright issues notwithstanding, I believe that this is justified on the grounds of news reporting in the public interest. After all, this is an important subject affecting shooters and others who pay the TV licence fee, and the impartiality of our public service broadcaster. However there's every chance that the hosting service may be required to take it down on the grounds of alleged copyright infringement, so if the video shows up, watch it while you can.

The Big Questions, Series 3 Episode 20 from James Marchington on Vimeo.


Stock said...

The unrestrained opposition used completely irrelevant and emotional smokescreens to lull the audience.

Illegal UZI Submachineguns on the streets are a reason to ban break barrel shotguns?

Not even farmers or gamekeepers should be allowed guns?

Panic buttons are a good enough defence against being raped and murdered?

A complete joke. No real debate or acknowledgment of questions or points raised.

Bruce said...

Firstly, let me state my position.

I am a 32 year old British citizen who has resided here my entire life and I am strongly in favour of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Not just for Sport but for self defence. I hope that within my life time we will see a concealed carry system similiar to the one in the US.

The BBC, along with all media in the UK is biased on this subject. After all, when did we last hear a journalist ask the question "is it time to finally allow people to defend themselves again".

That said, I don't buy the conspiracy theories about the BBC cutting the show to favour the anti-gun campaigners. If anything, I think the breaks slightly favoured the the people speaking up for gun ownership.

As for Nicky Campbell. Did any of you see his bleeding-heart-nanny-state-puppet-act that he did on BBC Watchdog when they covered knife sales on eBay? If you did you were probably quite surprised at how neutral he was when he hosted this episode of the big question.

In summary: Sure it was biased and its no accident that there were no true experts on the panel. However, it was slightly better than I have come to expect of the British media. Dont get me wrong, this is a life and death matter and it was simply not good enough but I have seen much worse.

vicky said...

That poor lady, Lucy? Is a bit..erm...how to put it politley? She doesn't live on the same planet as the rest of us.

I'm glad to say I feel the BBC's coverage of the cumbrian shootings and their aftermath has been very good in general, and pretty balanced. This show however just looks like an all round farce!

Sensible debate on gun ownership HAS to happen after the tragic events of last week. sadly this show did not add anything useful to the debate. I can't really agree with either side on their 'debate' as both were so far away from what most people feel. One lady who foolishly believes if no-one owns a gun legally there will be no more shootings (did you see the drive by shooting at an old couple on the TV his morning? Looked like a handgun to me- aren' those banned?) and a man pressing for us all to have weapons for self defence like america! Insane.

Meconopsis said...


As a person involved in a very serious shooting where by over 40 rounds of .243 ammo was fired at one of my groups of clients and myself by ???? cant say much more as there is a court case or should be !!!!!

When the bullets are flying its strange you just think of the other folk and try to get them out of the area.

Aberdeenshire police were 100% and just a few of them contained the person within a few hours.

None of us were offered any help at all and some of the group are still traumatised.

Might our experience have been a huge killing ?????

Who knows.

vicky said...

So, as someone with first hand experience Meconopsis, should we ban guns? Will it help?

Meconopsis said...

Why ban them ?? as most folk know a wood turners chisel could do the very same thing in the wrong hands !

Anonymous said...

I'm from the US and I couldn't finish the program - it made me sick. First, the woman from the Church of England states that there are 10K accidental firearms deaths in the US per annum. She fails to mention that there are 10 times more auto accident fatalities in the US per year. She also fails to mention that many of those "accidental" deaths from firearms result from the carelessness of what we call, the "only ones" (i.e. parts of the population such as law enforcement officers that are considered by the anti-gun crowd to be the "only ones" qualified enough to own and carry firearms).

I live in one of the more dangerous cities in the US. Guess what, many of the firearms related fatalities that occur are the direct result of either drug involvement or use of illegally owned/stolen firearms. The State that I live in has some of the strictest gun control legislation in the US.

There is a great article in the Harvard Journal on Law and Public Policy that discusses the direct link between firearms ownership and crime. Guess what they found - greater ownership of firearms = less crime. The name of the article is, "Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder & Suicide? A Review of International and Some Domestic Evidence." Volume 30, No. 2, Spring 2007 Edition.

I could say so much more but I better leave it at that...

Vicky said...

Thanks Meconopsis, and Anonymous - these are the sort of experiences which needed to be discussed in the TV show, not what actually was!
I just hope that when the govt reviews gun law, which they have to, they listen to those with real experience not just hysterical fantasies.

Unknown said...

I must admit I was highly impressed with the response of British shooting organisations after the Cumbria shootings.

They have clearly learnt from the debacle that was Dunblane when it comes to modern media and controlling the news agenda.

When the horrifying Dunblane tradegy happened the response of British shooting organisations was awful! The gun control lobby and anti shooting BBC (as well as the general news media) were able to fill the news vacuum and control the agenda. Rather then British shooting organisations taking a firm stance in pointing out that major Police failings allowed Hamilton to hold a FAC! they rather meakly folded and allowed the news agenda to be controlled by the anti gun lobby, putting the seed of an idea into the British public that the only solution was a total ban.

With the Cumbria shootings the media response by british shooting organisations was far better. They maintained a strong and clear prescence in the media calmly explaining our position and ensuring the narative couldn't be hijacked by the anti's.

Notice that now in September there is no mention of those events in the media and they knee jerk requests to ban shotguns have gone! (for the moment)