I have received a response to my complaint about Susan Watts’ Newsnight report on President Obama’s inaugural speech. This is what the BBC Trust say:

Thank you for your email of 22 January to the BBC Trust regarding aNewsnight report by Susan Watts. I am responding on the Trust’s behalf; I work in the Trust Unit which provides advice and support to the BBC Trust.

I have noted your comments for the information of the Trust. I should explain however that the role of the BBC Trust as set out in the BBC’s Royal Charter is distinct from that of the BBC’s management and it has no role in day to day editorial matters. The Trust’s role is to set the overall framework, the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, which set out the values and standards that all BBC output should meet. Responsibility for the BBC’s editorial content within these Editorial Guidelines rests ultimately with the Director-General, as Editor-in-Chief.

There is a BBC complaints process in place to deal with instances where audiences feel that there has been a breach of these Guidelines. This requires that complaints must be dealt with in the first instance by the BBC’s management; the Trust’s role in this process is to consider appeals from complainants should they be dissatisfied with the response that they have received from the BBC’s management. Full details of the\complaints process can be found at  http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

As the Trust cannot involve itself in your complaint at this stage, I am forwarding your email to BBC Information for an initial response on behalf of BBC management.

I hope this is helpful.

Yours sincerely

It has taken over a week to reach this momentous decision. The complaint that I sent to the BBC Trust can be found here.

In spite of what the BBC Trust say, the agreement that they entered into with the government in July 2006 leaves no doubt that it is they who have final responsibility for accuracy and impartiality in news and current affairs output, not the Director-General.

I hope to receive a proper response to my complaint before too long.

5 Responses to “Newsnight – Warming up Obama? A response from BBC Trust”

  1. Typical “Trust” obfuscation , I am awaiting my response, which will be word for word , the same .

    I have had similar responses when complaining about the pro EU bias of the BBC.

  2. It’ll be interesting to see just what the response is. I’ve asked the BBC to let me know when I can expect to hear from them again.

  3. TonyN,

    The response from the BBC complaints dept will not be interesting. You will get a response just before ten days after you submitted your complaint. It will be a flat denial. I predict something of the lines of ‘thank you for your interest’, ‘I appreciate your concern’, ‘I understand that you feel…’, ‘we do not accept that viewers were deceived or misled’. To this, you are then given no comeback. [Have you not complained to the BBC before?]

    On a lighter note, I wonder if you heard this weeks ‘Just a Minute’. If not you can get it from the radio4 site. The last subject was ‘Global Warming’ and two of the panellists (Giles Brandreth and Paul Merton) expressed profoundly sceptical views! I am surprised the BBC didnt censor it (or maybe they did…). GB: “The question is, is it a reality, or fantasy thought up by curious scientists to make us worry?”. PM: “There is some debate in the scientific community as to whether global warming exists or not… people say global warming has been created by fantastical scientists who want to justify the huge amounts of money they get from various governments around the world”. It’s good to see that comedians are better informed about the subject than our politicians or BBC journalists.

  4. Paul

    I’d find any of those responses very interesting as it would tell me that they are unable to justify what happened.

  5. “I hope this is helpful”

    Really? I think that means, ‘we know it isn’t, but we hope we’ve put you off enough to stop bothering us’.

    ‘Delay is the deadliest form of denial’ – C Northcote Parkinson

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