Tory minister criticises ‘biased’ News Quiz and Art Attack’s Neil Buchanan in ‘laughable’ gaffe

Tory minister criticises ‘biased’ News Quiz and Art Attack’s Neil Buchanan in ‘laughable’ gaffe
Tory minister says BBC is biased because of satirical news quiz
Sky News

Just one day after Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer embarrassed herself by appearing to confuse perception with evidence when talking about alleged BBC bias, transport minister Huw Merriman decided to continue the Tory humiliation on Sky News by criticising a BBC Radio 4 comedy show for being “completely biased”.

Merriman, the MP for Bexhill and Battle in East Sussex who once stepped in human excrement on a visit to Dover, was the latest Conservative politician to be grilled by veteran broadcaster Kay Burley, as he too was asked about accusations of bias within the Beeb’s news content.

“I was listening to TheNews Quiz, which is on Radio 4 at 6:30 on Friday, I was driving from my constituency office to home. 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 that I’ve always been a big supporter of the BBC, that struck me as completely biased.”

Except, rather than being a piece of straight news reporting, The News Quiz is described as a “topical panel quiz show taking its questions from the week’s news stories” helmed by comedian Andy Zaltman, and Burley made this clear to Merriman in response.

She said: “OK, you understand that The News Quiz is comedy, and nothing to do with actual news?”

Merriman replied: “It may not be The News Quiz, it was 6:30 on a Friday, and, as I say, it didn’t strike me … as being particularly satirical.

“Listen to the first 10 minutes, I challenge any of your audience to do it. It was totally biased…”

The first 10 minutes of the show actually takes aim at the Rwanda policy and Lee Anderson’s resignation as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party over the new bill currently going through parliament.

So while there were digs at the Tory MP, mocking the Rwanda plan isn’t exactly a “diatribe against Conservatives” and “not the government” when the proposals to deport asylum seekers to the country is… well… a flagship government policy.

Merriman’s interview has since been ridiculed by Twitter/X users:

And to make matters worse, when Merriman was later pressed to give specific examples of BBC bias in its news reporting, he shared an anecdote about “a reporter, Neil Buchanan” producing a story on Universal Credit – appearing to confuse actual journalist Michael Buchanan with the presenter of Art Attack:

The Tory MP’s comments come after the UK Government published its mid-term review of the BBC on Monday, which saw them commit to extending Ofcom’s regulatory powers to cover the BBC’s online content on platforms such as YouTube.

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