by Niall Gooch
Thursday, 21
July 2022
Behind the news
10:50

Why is the BBC smearing Prince Charles?

Its reporting of the latest synthetic scandal is plainly motivated to cast doubt
by Niall Gooch
Not impressed. (Credit: WPA Pool/ Getty Images)

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. There is a good reason why witnesses giving sworn testimony in court are required to take their oath in that particular way — used across the English-speaking world — namely that dishonesty comes in many forms. It is entirely possible to deceive people without a direct falsehood. Leaving out important information, or over-stressing particular facts that support one interpretation of a situation or incident, can be just as deceitful as a plain old lie. This is what is meant by the old philosophical-legal concept of suppressio veri, referring to a “lie of omission”.

Which brings us to the latest BBC reporting on Prince Charles and a donation to his Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation (PWCF) by a Qatari politician. On the evening of 20th July a BBC news alert went out to millions of smartphone users saying that “the Charity Commission will not take further action over a £2.5m cash donation to one of Prince Charles’ charities”. It was the conclusion of a story, first reported by the Sunday Times in June, that the Prince had accepted charitable donations in cash.

The BBC News alert went out to millions

The article to which the news alert linked, while not omitting the fact that the PWCF had been cleared of any wrongdoing, walks right up to the line of suggesting that the heir to the throne has got off on a technicality. It repeats the unproven allegations made in the original reporting of the story, and emphasises the various defences and denials made by the PWCF in such a way as to make them sound like they protest too much.

The write-up even includes an unfounded opinion expressed by ex-MP Norman Baker, after the story first broke in the Sunday Times, that the donation was “grubby and scuzzy”. This is a curious decision when the latest development in the story is that the sector regulator concluded the donation was above board.

I don’t think anyone would claim that the Prince of Wales has consistently displayed impeccable judgment throughout his career, and he will undoubtedly have to work hard to restrain some of his more controversial opinions when he accedes to the throne. However, his charities do an enormous amount of good work across the country. He himself has spent his entire life in service to the country, despite his difficult and often frustrating position as an incredibly long-serving heir apparent. He has even been something of a prophet on matters like the environment and architecture.

Why does the BBC think it is its job to fan the flames of synthetic controversies cobbled together by the Sunday papers? It’s not in the interest of the country nor the causes the Prince supports.

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
31 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
22 days ago

Liberals can no more stop themselves attacking their nation than a Scorpion can stop itself from stinging.

Matt M
Matt M
22 days ago

Never use any BBC product – not their website, TV or radio. You will find your life much improved.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
21 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

Just consider the defamatory and corrupt practices the BBC used against Prince Charles’ first wife Diana. That anyone would listen to such a vile mouthpiece going forward is unfathomable.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
21 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

I used to listen to Radio 4 for many hours a day, but one day, the final straw was added to the camel’s back, so I stopped. However, I switched on yesterday at about 08:30, and heard Robinson interview some hapless person. I was shocked the by extreme rudeness and hostility so fairly rapidly switched off again, having had a strong booster inoculation. (I also wondered why interviewees don’t lose their tempers.)

Matt M
Matt M
21 days ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Same here! I was a R4 devotee from the days of Brian Redhead on Today until a few years ago. One day, after several years of getting more annoyed, I switched it off in disgust and never turned it back on. On the odd occasion I do hear 5 mins, I am astounded by it.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
20 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

Same here – radio 4 and 5live on every morning and evening, over a decade ago. Just couldn’t take the partisan views and filtered news any more – it’s actually more extreme than the Guardian now. I occasionally overhear it these days and am similarly shocked at the quality, venom and partiality.

It’s more shocking that supposedly intelligent and self-aware journalists don’t realise they’ve dragged BBC journalism into the gutter. On the other hand, I’ve found it quite reassuring that such intelligent people do lack self-awareness. I’ve come across similar ignorance amongst intelligent people over Brexit. It’s just a trade agreement after all.

Last edited 20 days ago by Ian Stewart
Iris C
Iris C
21 days ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Like you, I used to listen to Today on Radio 4 but now either listen to 5-Live or WorldService at that time of day.
The obligation to pay a licence fee should ensure that we get balanced reporting, but not so.
There was a time when a national broadcasting company served a useful purpose but no more. To my mind, it should be scrapped without any further delay and its over-paid staff sent out into the world to justify their existence.
It is not just the biased News and Documentary programmes that I object to but also the long, complicated and boring dramas which now form the majority of its theatrical output. One episode of a six-episode drama is usually enough for me.

Peter Beard
Peter Beard
21 days ago

It seems the BBC doesn’t realise just how systemic is its bias against this country, its history, and its monarchy is. I read in the DT that the Saintly Beebs has to pay substantial damages to Tiggy Legge Bourke as a consequence of the false claims made by Bashir concerning her and Prince Charles. Bashir’s malicious deceit was truly evil and without any mitigating factors.
The problem is that the damages will be paid out of our licence fees. It should of course be paid out of their fat-cat salaries. Bashir should be exiled to a socialist utopia such as Venezuela, North Korea, or China for the rest of his odious life.

William Adams
William Adams
18 days ago
Reply to  Peter Beard

Bashir was lauded for his contributions to journalism and is now sitting pretty with several million pounds in the bank.

R S Foster
R S Foster
21 days ago

Pretty simple – the BBC are woke extreme left republicans, who hate the Country, it’s history, traditions and culture and most of the people who live in it…and the Monarchy is a pretty good symbol of all of the above.

In consequence if they are to maintain their wholly false claim to be a widely-supported “national treasure”…they need to propagandise relentlessly to change all of our minds about everything, and make us all agree with them…

…because they are too smug and self-righteous to change their views about anything.

They need shutting down before they and their allies destroy this United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Henry Haslam
Henry Haslam
22 days ago

As I understand it, a generous donor chose to make his donation in the manner that conformed to the custom of his people. The courteous thing to do in such circumstances (and Prince Charles is a courteous man) is to receive it gratefully.
If some British people choose to judge the donor’s behaviour by British customs (cash in suitcases equals dirty money) that is to display the kind of cultural arrogance that we should have grown out of.

Peter B
Peter B
21 days ago
Reply to  Henry Haslam

I completely disagree.
The correct thing to do is to politely decline the gift if it cannot be paid in an acceptable way.
This is actually *a requirement* for businesses which have to confom to money laundering legislation. In the US, executives would go to prison if caught. And rightly so.
Quite why the royal family should either be above the law or consider themselves to be so escapes me.
A US company I once worked for told us to apply the “newspaper test”. If you felt that something you were doing would damage the reputation of you or the company if published in a newspaper, the advice was “don’t do it”.
Of course, in the case of the royal family, they still believe the press should be silenced when inconvenient stories come out. So the “newspaper test” need not apply to them (like taxes these are for the little people). Charles’ younger son is still doing it … . One day, they’ll learn and get with the 21st century (or even the 20th).

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
20 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

…utter nonsense Peter. The payment in cash was culturally symbolic, and since it was still legal tender, there was in fact and in law nothing inappropriate at all. As for the ‘newspaper test’, why on earth would anyone let alone HRH want to reinforce the mainstream media in that way given their current low, self serving standards on and about everything.

Peter B
Peter B
19 days ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

I suggest you familiarise youself with current money laundering legislation, Sarbanes-Oxley, anti-corruption legislation, etc . You may say, “yes, but that’s only US law”, but the fact is that those laws apply widely outside the US.
Any reputable charity would have proper processes in place to prevent this kind of payment.
Again, I repeat my key point that this is a shocking error of judgement by Prince Charles and/or his staff. And not the first.
There is no BBC vendetta in this particular instance. This is in the public interest.
There was however a far bigger BBC royal scandal in the past few days which was not covered here and should be – the deliberate lies and smearing of Tiggy Legge-Bourke used to trick Princess Diana into giving an interview. For which the BBC has just “apologised”. 25 years too late.

tom j
tom j
22 days ago

Yes there was a related smear also in the Sunday Papers in the last few weeks, when Prince Charles gave an honour to some donor, the implication was that the system was corrupt, but the honour was explicitly for the purpose of thanking someone who had helped the royal family. (I will see if I can find that story)

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
22 days ago

The abuse of the honours system is not a synthetic controversy. Last year then-chief executive of Charles’ charity, Michael Fawcett, helped nominate Saudi businessman Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz for an honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) title.
The Royal Family have also shown themselves ready to ask the government to alter legislation for their own benefit. Why assume that they won’t do the same for their foreign friends? Andrew if not Charles has also shown a readiness to trawl Asia for financial favours.
The motivation of the BBC is to ensure that the Royal Family continues to favour the BBC over other broadcasters. It is not to bring down the Royal Family, coverage of whom the BBC wants to monopolise. If the BBC did want to bring down the Monarchy, they would be investigating the Royal Family’s financial affairs and how as one of the country’s largest landowners Charles treats his tenant farmers.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
21 days ago

 That it’s not in the interest of the country is reason enough. It’s often so subtle and effective that I get the feeling it’s deliberate and highly motivated.
I hear people saying all the time that everything’s terrible in this country, especially on radio and television, but that’s mainly because some politicians say so to achieve power, while much of the media, lead by the unaccountable BBC either wish to help them, or are inherently unpatriotic, for reasons I don’t begin to understand, any more than I understand Kim Philby.
I have no idea how it can be countered, since free speech is fundamental to our way of life, and that includes unrestricted criticism of government policies, and the monarchy, although the latter have little power and no option of answering back..
I can only hope that enough people think for themselves and vote accordingly, as they have often done in the past.

Iris C
Iris C
21 days ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

You and I can have free speech but there should be limits on the free speech of those with media power because it can be misused by those who have strong political views. .

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
21 days ago

Charles has a career?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
21 days ago

I do not think Charlie boy needs any help from the BBC.
He just has to open his mouth which he does all too regularly as if an accident of birth entitles him to a platform and lends credibility to his crackpot theories.
Of course the irony is that Charlie spends all his time trying to ingratiate himself with the BBC classes not realising that this only increases their contempt for him

Last edited 21 days ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Peter B
Peter B
22 days ago

Does “will not take further action” actually mean that the donation met the standards required ? It certainly does not read that way to me.
Anyone else receiving a £2.5m donation in cash would certainly expect to receive questions. Prince Charles should know at his age that it is not appropriate to behave in this way. If the Royal family are not there to set an example, what are they for ?
I consider that this story is indeed in the public interest. Just as Prince Charles’ private lobbying of government ministers was. To me, it shows that he lacks the judgement required for the top job. And also possesses an arrogance that he should be above the law.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
21 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

I concur

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
21 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

You are free to lobby ministers privately if you wish, as am I. If ministers give more attention to Charles’s letters than to ours that is surely the fault of those ministers.

Paula 0
Paula 0
21 days ago

just checking to see if I stay logged in, even as I log out, and uncheck the keep me logged in box. Sigh. Zay half ways.

Last edited 21 days ago by Paula
Peter B
Peter B
21 days ago

Prince Charles is not a regular private citizen as you and I are as you should well understand. The British constitution relies on the royal family staying out of politics. The Queen understands this perfectly. The fact that he does not is not a good omen for him or the monarchy.

Oliver Nicholson
Oliver Nicholson
20 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

He is known to have certain strong views, which do not align with those of political parties, but which express legitimate concerns, in the same way that Prince Albert showed concern for, for instance, the cultivation of arts and manufactures (leading to the Great Exhibition of 1851). For another little instance of BBC smearing of the Prince, take the reports last week on the wireless that he had, while visiting Cornwall ‘apparently intervened in the Conservative leadership contest’ by making an aside about the green issues concerning which he was a pioneer in bringing to public attention, and which are far from being a party political matter. But the BBC could not miss the opportunity to misinterpret a passing remark.

Last edited 20 days ago by opn
Will Will
Will Will
18 days ago

Green issues most definitely are a political issue, especially when the government’s net zero targets are going to have disastrous effects for all of us over the next few years but also as we approach the winter and people suffer from lack of cheap energy and heating.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
20 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

…you seem to be assuming that HRH asked for it in cash !

Peter B
Peter B
17 days ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

No. I made no such assumption. Show me where I said that. All I said was that receiving a large amount of money in cash was at best inadvisable and in some (not necessarily this case) illegal under things like money laundering legislation.
It makes absolutely no difference to me whether Charles solicited the payment in cash or not. It is accepting it which is the problem.
Anyone even remotely familiar with US anti-corruption law would understand this. And before anyone pops up and says “but that doesn’t apply to us”, please review how the US government got Rolls Royce to pay billions in fines for corrupt business engagements in the Middle East (in which the US was not a party).