If you've ever watched the political debate program Question Time on the BBC, you'll have noticed that the audience in the studio - that asks the panelists topical questions - is constantly predominantly belonging to the Left and extreme Left of the political spectrum, and doesn't seem to be in tune with - let alone representative of - the general public opinion.
To dispel doubts of bias, the BBC once explained that its criterion for choosing the audience is that the latter should represent the various proportions of political views of the local population. Each show has a different location in a British town or city and, according to this criterion, when the broadcast is in Bath, the studio audience should include roughly the same proportion of Conservatives, Labour etc found in Bath.
How can the BBC explain, then, the kind of treatment (not quite lynch mob but getting there) reserved by the members of the audience to the UKIP's Economic spokesman and MEP Patrick O'Flynn on the last Question Time, Thursday 9 October in Clacton on Sea, Essex?
That same day, the by-election held in the Clacton constituency had returned a massive majority for UKIP with nearly 60% of the votes, the highest ever percentage increase (from 0 to 60) in a by-election in British history.
And yet, anyone watching the program would have thought that the people of Clacton viscerally hate the UKIP and love Labour, which came a lame third in the electoral results with just over 11% of the votes.
The possible explanations are prima facie two: either the BBC takes a long time to catch up with public opinion, or the apparently impartial criterion it indicated as the basis for its choice of audiences is not the one actually used.