Yup, looks about right to me.
The BBC is, contrary popularly held belief, staffed by human beings with a past and opinions of their own. These opinions will be shaped by their upbringing and experiences which, in some cases, can be remarkably similar. The journalists will almost certainly be degree educated around 5% of those Oxbridge. It also has a tradition of being very very middle class, especially on the radio. The BBC has changed radically since then and diversified almost beyond recognition. Or has it? Take a look the main presenters of Newsnight, Daily Politics, Marr Show, Question Time, The Big Question… I think you see where I’m going with this, middle-aged (to be kind to Andrew Neil!) white males aren’t exactly under-represented on the BBC. The natural bias is obvious and will take a lot more time to change and it will. I know all this and I don’t even watch TV.
Bias against the left. In this day and age that means Corbyn and the BBC refused to take him seriously until after the election. The BBC will not disclose how many complaints of bias they received because it doesn’t have to, it should. Does this comment from Nick Robinson strike you as fair and balanced?
Err, whoops. Then there are the guests of these BBC shows, the representatives of the left tended to be from the Guardian or the Blairites in the Labour party and it needs to be remembered the Guardian isn’t inherently a Labour newspaper. I like Andrew Neil, I’d share a bottle of Blue Nun with him anytime, but he edited The Times for Murdoch and is on public record as an extreme right Hayekian perhaps he’d rather forget he gave this speech. Be warned it’s a 37 page pdf but an excellent read, I almost believed it. I do believe that the BBC has morphed from national broadcaster to state broadcaster.
Laura Kussenberg has also come in for some flack for this headline on the 2017 Labour Party manifesto.
I am aware that writers don’t usually get to choose their headlines but whoever wrote that worked at the BBC and the rest of the article left Labour left in paroxysms of rage that reverberated around social media. This from the New Statesman was written in 2009 and has worn well. “Can you imagine, for example, the hysterical reaction on the right if the BBC’s political editor had been unmasked as the former chair of Labour Students? He wasn’t – but Nick Robinson was chair of the Young Conservatives, in the mid-1980s, at the height of Thatcherism. Can you imagine the shrieks from the Telegraph and the Mail if the BBC’s editor of live programmes had been deputy chair of the Labour Party Young Socialists? He wasn’t – but Robbie Gibb was deputy chair of the Federation of Conservative Students in the 1980s, before it was wound up by Norman Tebbit for being too right-wing”. Cripes!
Bias against the right. Andrew Marr was quite forthcoming on this subject as this shows.
Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC said in 2010 “In the BBC I joined 30 years ago [as a production trainee, in 1979], there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people’s personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left. The organisation did struggle then with impartiality”. The right often complain that the BBC is biased towards climate change stating it as fact. This is inevitable as the experts are pretty much united that it is a thing and is happening. I don’t want to get into a debate about the pro’s and cons of climate change but just point out it’s hard to balance the question of Climate Change as there are so few experts to ask.
Then there is UKIP mercilessly ridiculed on HIGNFY yet very well represented on the BBC, considering it’s number of MP’s, much to the disgust of the Green Party. I found this rather cheeky via Autonomous Minds blog (Sadly discontinued) which is rather amusing and not entirely untrue.
The biggest ever fuss the right caused the BBC was on the death of Margret Thatcher on the 8th of April 2013. There were howls of outrage across the majority of the tabloids that their icon wasn’t given the unadulterated adulation they believed their heroine deserved. They thought the BBC spent too much time on things like the miners strike and the poll tax and not enough on the “miracles” she worked for Britain. Guests such as George Galloway were not inclined to join the day of national mourning and apparently the TV reporters didn’t look sombre enough.
I think that last example of perceived bias is instructive, Thatcher divided a nation like nothing since Brexit has achieved. Now had the BBC just had a solemn day of tribute that would have left many people thinking, that isn’t what I remember. I was actually surprised by how little Google threw up on left-wing bias at the BBC. I was all from the usual suspects, the Daily, Mail, Express and S*n. This epitomises the difference between what you disagree with and what is genuine bias, I think we can all agree we don’t want or need outlets such as Fox News in the UK. So what should we do with the BBC?
Exactly what the title says. The license fee is an outrageously regressive tax on the poor and scrapped forthwith. The BBC funding should be paid out of national taxation and ringfenced. let them hold the government of the day to account, and the opposition, without fear or favour. The BBC biased is towards small l liberalism and small c conservatism which probably reflects the UK very well apart from extremist well ‘ard loudmouths. I’d like the BBC presenters to keep their bias and opinions and speak more freely about what they believe, I think we should know. The only proviso should be that this is clearly distinguished as personal opinion not reporting. We also need to keep an eye on the behind the scenes job as there seems to be a revolving door between BBC and the Tory Party. Thhe BBC bias towards establishment and the status quo is the problem. I’ll leave you with a final meme, which I’ve had fun with, from Gary Barker, sorry Laura, I just found it funny.
Top Photo Credit: Huffington Post.
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