#KayBurley: Is the BBC biased?
Huw Merriman: I was listening to the news quiz on Radio 4… & for 10 minutes there was a diatribe against Conservatives
KB: You understand that a news quiz is comedy & nothing to do with actual news? pic.twitter.com/CGH8iNyKPu
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) January 23, 2024
A Tory minister was skewered by Kay Burley after claiming a satirical news quiz was an example of BBC bias.
Huw Merriman told Sky News that The News Quiz on Radio Four was a “diatribe against Conservatives”.
Burley had to then point out to him that there was a clear difference between satire and the corporation’s news output.
The clash came after culture secretary Luzy Frazer was roasted by Burley yesterday after struggling to come up with any examples of BBC bias, despite launching a new government crackdown on the broadcaster.
Merriman, who said he had “always been a friend of the BBC”, claimed he had heard The News Quiz – a popular show poking fun at current affairs – as he drove home on Friday evening.
He said: “For 10 minutes all I heard, and it wasn’t satirical, it was just diatribe against Conservatives, not the government. And I did listen to that and think ‘for goodness sake, where is the balance in that’?
“So yes, I’m afraid to say despite the fact I’ve always been a big supporter of the BBC, that struck me as completely biased.”
But Burley replied: “OK, you understand that a news quiz is comedy and nothing to do with actual news?”
Merriman said: “I love it when politicians get lampooned, but that was the whole point. There wasn’t anything in it in that particular regard which struck me as being amusing.”
“So you do think the BBC is biased,” Burley asked him.
The minister responded: “Listen to the first 10 minutes. I challenge anyone. It was just totally biased.”
His comments came after Frazer was left floundering on Sky News yesterday.
Asked by Kay Burley if the BBC was biased, the culture secretary said: “There is a perception among the public that the BBC is bias, and as culture secretary, it is important I look at this.”
Burley continued: “Yeah but I’m asking you about the evidence of bias. Where’s the evidence?”
After a short pause, Frazer replied: “The evidence of bias is what audience’s believe the content of the BBC.”
Burley said: “That’s perception not evidence.”
“That is evidence. Impartiality is about perception of things being broadcast by the BBC,” Frazer replied.
“Perception and evidence are different things,” Burley told her.