Social media users have today compared the UK’s public broadcaster to North Korean state propaganda after the BBC posted, and then swiftly deleted, a video portraying the Conservative Chancellor Rishi Sunak as a superhero.
The bizarre cartoon, which was posted to the BBC News Twitter account and was also available in the business section of the BBC News website, opens with a cartoon of the chancellor in a superhero costume.
On Twitter, the BBC accompanied the video with a caption claiming that Mr Sunak “has a plan to save the country’s economy” from the effects of the current pandemic.
The video went on to state that Sunak was “on a mission to save the economy“, and even genuinely made the claim that the Tory Chancellor has “superpowers“.
In the last few minutes, the BBC decided to remove the video for editorial reasons.
We have removed a video of the chancellor’s plans for the UK economy. While we don’t think that readers would take the images at face value, on reflection we think the illustrations struck the wrong note and we’ve removed the article.
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) July 31, 2020
However, you can watch a copy of the video in the tweet below:
Given that the BBC is supposed to be an impartial broadcaster – added to the fact that the corporation encountered a litany of “mistakes” during the December General Election which all just happened to benefit the Conservative Party – the video did not exactly get rave reviews from social media users.
Many described the mock up of the Tory Chancellor as a superhero as ‘blatant propaganda’, whilst others compared the BBC’s bizarre video to North Korean state media.
— Dr Moderate (@centrist_phone) July 31, 2020
State media. Right here in the UK, pushing government propaganda. You should be ashamed
— The Prole Star (@TheProleStar) July 31, 2020
The Tory Broadcasting Corporation. You didn't even bother to disguise it as a party political broadcast…
— Damo (@Cornish_Damo) July 31, 2020
Fact is, if any country’s state broadcaster was to do this, they’d be rightfully called out for spreading propaganda. But there is a special kind of entitlement, rooted in self-importance, among those that work at BBC News which disallows them to be able to see it for what it is. https://t.co/Nr4K0pj47E
— Shahmir Sanni (@shahmiruk) July 31, 2020
— Ally Fogg (@AllyFogg) July 31, 2020
What's happened to BBC?
It became a North Korean style state propaganda machine!
Perhaps tell people the truth. Is it difficult? pic.twitter.com/PKXj1WwEHy
— Shamil Esq, UBI now to save people! (@Shamils18) July 31, 2020
— 'Client Journalism' Expert (@ClientJournoExp) July 31, 2020
Portraying Rishi Sunak as a superhero is not impartial broadcasting https://t.co/DEpBv8bha3
— Nadine Batchelor-Hunt (@nadinebh_) July 31, 2020
Hahahaha what is this. They can’t even be bothered trying to hide it anymore https://t.co/kdH1vcNmXT
— Matt Zarb-Cousin (@mattzarb) July 31, 2020
Others contrasted the video with the BBC’s clearly negative depictions of Jeremy Corbyn, including when the corporation created a mock up of the then Labour leader stood in front of the Kremlin and tinged red on an episode of Newsnight.
Impartiality from the BBC pic.twitter.com/UV1451AJXN
— Marcus Barnett (@marcusbarnett_) July 31, 2020
Wow! It takes real intellectual honesty and journalistic independence to portray a conservative politician as Superman from the same BBC that did this 👇 pic.twitter.com/t2gZwZgexs
— zampa.info (@info_zampa) July 31, 2020
So glad Britain has an impartial broadcaster like the BBC, instead of government propaganda channels like other countries have. Look how impartially they portray Labour and Conservative politicians. pic.twitter.com/0oeAreGckz
— Jim Caris (@jimcaris) July 31, 2020
Just last week the BBC was widely criticised for refusing to report the fact that the Conservative Party voted against an amendment to protect the NHS from being included in future trade deals.
And, during December’s General Election, the BBC made a raft of errors which benefited Boris Johnson’s Tories and negatively impacted Labour, including:
- The BBC’s Chief Political Editor, Laura Kuenssberg, falsely reported that a Labour activist had punched a Tory advisor
- Laura Kuenssberg was accused of breaking Electoral Law after revealing confidential Postal Vote information which benefited the Tories
- The BBC falsely labelled Jeremy Corbyn’s free broadband policy as “Communist”
- The BBC edited out the Question Time audience laughing at Boris Johnson for a news clip
- The BBC reported a story about 88% of Tory General Election adverts being misleading or outright lies, compared to 0% of Labour’s, as simply “General election adverts are dishonest.“
And now, in choosing to depict the Tory Chancellor as a superhero and then deleting it, the BBC has surely only entrenched the growing public consensus that the corporation is fast becoming nothing more than a pro-government propaganda unit.