NEWS

David Dimbleby Says Jeremy Corbyn Unfairly Treated By Press

'The nerve of the man!'

30/05/2017 11:15 | Updated 30 May 2017

David Dimbleby has said the right-wing bias and “lazy pessimism” of the British press has led to Jeremy Corbyn being treated unfairly in the run up to the General Election.

The 78-year-old Question Time host, and stalwart of the BBC’s election night coverage, also suggested the Labour leader had much more support amongst the public than from his own MPs.

Speaking to the Radio Times, he said: “I don’t think anyone could say that Corbyn has had a fair deal at the hands of the press, in a way that the Labour party did when it was more to the centre, but then we generally have a rightwing press.

Dan Kitwood via Getty Images
David Dimbley will unveil the much-anticipated BBC exit poll on election night.

“It’s a very odd election. If the Conservative story is how Theresa May is the ‘brand leader’, the interesting thing is that a lot of Labour supporters really like and believe in the messages that Jeremy Corbyn is bringing across.

“It’s not his MPs in the House of Commons necessarily, but there is a lot of support in the country.”

But his comments raised a few eyebrows amongst those who regularly perceive an anti-Corbyn bias on Question Time.

Practically every week it is aired, Question Time receives accusations of “Tory plants” and an anti-Corbyn agenda.

Research by the London School of Economics last year found 75% of press coverage misrepresented Corbyn.

Dimbley, who will reveal the crucial BBC exit poll on election night, also spoke of his own predictions for next month’s vote.

He said: “My own prediction is that, contrary to the scepticism and lazy pessimism of the newspapers and the British media, it’s going to be a really fascinating night, and it will drive home some messages about our political system and the political appeal of different parties that no amount of polling or reading the papers will tell us.

”Polls? You can have them until the cows come home. For me, the exit poll is the starting gun for a political rollercoaster ride, and a night of thrills and spills.”

How Does Question Time Pick Its Audience?

The BBC has previously explained how it chooses Question Time audiences to ensure those in attendance are representative of both the UK and local constituencies.

A spokesperson told The Huffington Post UK: “The Question Time audience is always chosen by a team to ensure broad political balance and each application goes through the same rigorous background checks.”

Questions designed to understand an applicant’s political affiliations include: ‘If there was a General Election tomorrow, for which political party would you be most likely to vote?’

The corporation allows applicants to type their own answer.

The BBC also asks applicants to choose whether they are an active member of a political party; a non-active member; or if they are not a member of a party at all.

These questions were mandatory on the BBC form at the time this article was published.

While the BBC claim every audience member is subject to the same level of scrutiny, not all participants apply off their own bats.

In an effort to diversify audiences for programmes filmed in areas with low political engagement, BBC researchers will make efforts to encourage underrepresented, or fringe political groups, to apply.

These efforts have caused controversy in the past, amid accusations certain programmes have been ‘biased’.

While efforts are made to understand the questions audience members might ask, not everyone who applies will be able to ask quiz the panel.

The corporation asks applicants for two ideas for questions around a current topical issue.

Applicants are also asked if they’ve appeared on Question Time previously.

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