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Hello and welcome. As British aircraft join the assault on targets
in Syria, was there enough discussion of the rights and wrongs
of military action or too much focus on splits in the Labour Party?
The coverage seemed unbalanced, parochial, and lazy.
And now the Prime Minister is calling them, is it time the BBC to?
It was a solemn decision and one the entire nation was debating since the
Paris terror attacks. After ten hours of impassioned debate in the
House of Commons on Wednesday, the vote by MPs to back as strikes in
Syria came while the BBC News at ten was on air.
The ayes to the right, 397. The noes to the left, 223.
The intensity of the debate was matched by viewers responses to the
way it was reported. And Robinson was one who felt there was a bias in
favour of taking military action. Over the days preceding the vote,
divisions in labour were clear but was too much made of them are not
enough of the arguments for and against war? Nicky Willis thought so
and recorded her thoughts. I have never felt motivated to contact you
before, or though not always happy with coverage but in the week up to
S strikes in Syria, I was increasingly frustrated by the
coverage I saw when I switched on the news to see BBC journalists
seemingly obsessed with potential splits in the Labour Party in the
run-up to the vote rather than the key crucial questions that should be
analysed and examined. As the Shadow Cabinet meets... There with scant
coverage of underlying issues, the potential value or efficacy of
military action or other possible causes of action to address the
funding of Isil, its support and the political and diplomatic routes that
might be followed. Tonight, Britain stands on the brink of military
action in Syria, is it all down to splits in the Labour Party? The
coverage seemed unbalanced, parochial, and lazy. Tending to
reduce the issues down to a Punch and Judy style discussion of
potential splits in the Labour Party and what they might mean. Come on,
BBC. This isn't good enough. Another viewer got in touch was Richard. He
is with me. You complained early in the week in the days leading up to
the debate about the BBC coverage, what concerns you? I feel the focus
wasn't enough on the case for and against and the analysis. It was too
much party political splits which the journalists were assessed with
at the expense of informing the public to enable the public to be
engaged. They needed information early on. It wasn't until the last
minute the coverage shifted towards looking at the arguments for and
against. It was too little, too late. What coverage was there too
much of? It seemed to be led by the political journalist rather than
diplomatic or foreign affairs who could have taken a different slime.
There was endless speculation about different factions of the party
voting one way or the other. I am not saying it important, it is
important to look at what parties say but it is not the main issue in
the run-up to war and deciding to commit British lives to attacking
another country. The families of the service personnel will be thinking,
what is going on? We asked the BBC for someone to come on to discuss
the issue but no one was available. They gave us a statement.
Does that satisfy you? Not really. They missed the point. I am not
accusing them of being biased, I have not reached a final decision on
whether I think it is right and the BBC have not helped me decide. There
was splits in other parties as well. It is a pre-existing accession
of the BBC that they were following up on rather than taking a step
back, an editorial decision to save the public need to be informed and
what are the arguments for and against? Is there an argument with
the way the BBC news agenda and others focuses on the Westminster
village, you said it was political journalists bleeding the coverage.
There was a point on Newsnight earlier in the week when the
presenter said, the run-up to war has been overshadowed by the party
Briscoe splits and I thought, in whose reality is that? Not in mine.
It is happening in the media and Westminster. It was strange. Thank
you so much. Who exactly is under attack in Syria? IS, Isil, so-called
Islamic State, we have discussed before the question of which term
the BBC should use but on Wednesday the Prime Minister set out a change
of the government position. It is time to join our key ally France,
the Arab league and other members of the international Trinity in using
as frequently as possible the terminology Daesh rather than Isil
because this evil death cult is neither a true representation of
Islam nor is it a state. Following the announcement, the daily politics
had a heated discussion about how to refer to militants in Syria and
Iraqi. A Conservative MP agreed with David Cameron that Daesh is the best
term. Daesh and Islamic State do mean the same thing, it was argued.
We have a duty to use the right terminology. There was a problem, we
need to address it. It is well-intentioned but the problem is
what does Daesh mean? It means Islamic State. It is the same thing.
No, it doesn't. You are telling us what we should do and you cannot
decide what it means. Some feel it has pejorative connotations. It is
an acronym. What does the deed stand for? It is a state. A fraught issue
and some believe the BBC should change and clarify its policy on
what to call the organisation. So, is the BBC going to follow David
Cameron and change its stance? We asked that question and were
told... Finally, moving away from the
military action and return to Jeremy Corbyn, this was another week when
he and his leadership were being put under particular scrutiny and last
Saturday BBC news showed him being pursued down the street. Will you
resign, Mr Corbyn? Good morning, I hope you are well. Is your position
untenable? Good morning. Peter got in touch after seeing that and went
into the Newcastle studio to give reaction. The clip showed Jeremy
Corbyn walking down the street attempting to go about his normal
life that he was harassed by a journalist and the BBC showed this.
He was being asked if he would give Labour MPs a free vote on the
extension of air strikes before official talks took place but also
whether he would resign as leader of the Labour Party, six months after
being given a huge mandate. For me, this is embarrassing tabloid
journalism. I think it is beneath it. Will you allow a free vote on
Syria? Is a 19-year-old student I think it is worrying because it puts
other young people off getting into politics. To see a politician
harassed in the way he was, I think the irony if someone like Jeremy
Corbyn who has done so much to build momentum to engage in conversations
with people in politics can have the reverse impact of that and put
people off politics. It is wrong. Will you allow a free vote on Syria?
I think MPs to a good job and they are well paid, relatively but we
need to respect that they are humans and they live individual lives and
in their downtime, walking to the shop or walking to his car, I think
that should be allowed free from journalism. Thank you for that and
all of your comments. You could also appear on the programme. Please get
in touch with us... And look at our website. That is all from us. We are
back to hear your thoughts about BBC News coverage next week. Goodbye.
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