“The BBC is routinely accused of bias from the left and the right – therefore it must actually be pretty centrist,” is the line you often hear.
This is a lazy argument and one which we will return to shortly. But let’s just say for a minute that the statement was true and the BBC did represent the middle-ground and the status quo, would that suddenly legitimise their performance? Surely as a public broadcaster they should represent the public? And if the last 18 months has taught us anything it’s that Britain is deeply divided politically – more and more people have moved to either the left or right of politics and reject what they see as the establishment looking after self-interests.
That aside, the argument that the BBC is indeed centrist simply doesn’t stack up when you listen to insider accounts or examine the evidence. Around seven years ago popular newsreader Peter Sissons lifted the lid on his 20 years at the Beeb by saying that its very DNA was “firmly of the left”.
He went on to explain that by far the most widely read newspapers were the failing Guardian and Independent and that producers would routinely refer to them for the line to take on running stories.
“I am in no doubt that the majority of BBC staff vote for political parties of the Left,” he explained. “But it’s impossible to do anything but guess at the numbers whose beliefs are on the Right or Centre-Right. This is because the one thing guaranteed to damage your career prospects at the BBC is letting it be known that you are at odds with the prevailing and deep-rooted BBC attitude towards life, the universe and everything.”
Even if you want to dismiss the evidence from this respected former newsreader, detailed studies have also shown the bias to be a reality. In 2013 the Centre for Policy Studies published their Bias at the Beeb report which revealed they were more likely to cover left-wing think tank reports and hail them as ‘independent’ while giving right-wing research a ‘health-warning’ by stating very clearly its ideological position. Report author Oliver Latham said at the time: “The BBC seems to treat right-of-centre views as being more “extreme” and in need of caveats than roughly equivalent left-of-centre views.”
But it’s not just news where the BBC’s left-wing bias is so profoundly apparent. Entertainment programmes like the Graham Norton Show and Have I Got News for You regularly display contempt and mockery of right-wing ideals whilst political programmes produced for the BBC like Question Time often feature far more anti-Brexit, anti-conservative left-wing panellists than not.
Of course, as with any trend, there are exceptions such as Andrew Neil who the left will be quick to point out used to work for the Conservative Party as a research assistant. But in general the left-leaning bias is stark and the slipping mask has been wonderfully illustrated on numerous BBC social media accounts in recent months. The BBC Asian Network got into hot water back in February when they suggested Blasphemy should be a punishable offence; while who could forget the BBC North West labelling a recent march in Manchester as a “far right EDL” demonstration and later being forced to apologise, or World Affairs Editor John Simpson banning any social media users who accuse the BBC of bias. And then of course you had the BBC 5Live tweet inciting hard-left violence against Theresa May by stating “This is excruciating. Why can’t she answer a question? Wouldn’t be surprised if people take to the streets soon.” Unsurprisingly it was quickly deleted – but not before the evidence was captured on Smartphone’s up and down the country.
The BBC was once a world-respected news organisation but has sadly morphed into a sacred cow and a political football much like the NHS. But while the NHS still plays a vital role in saving lives, the BBC is becoming increasingly out-of-touch, irrelevant and redundant as illustrated by the rise in ‘alternative news’ outlets. The release of the BBC’s highest earners salaries this week just further cemented the point that the BBC is out-of-control. And is it any wonder that the vast majority of the highest earners are part of this repugnant regressive left? Highest earner Chris Evans once donated £100,000 to Ken Livingston, currently suspended from the Labour Party for highly offensive comments about anti-Semitism, Hitler and Zionism, Gary Lineker branded scepticism about so-called child migrants as “hideously racist” and Graham Norton labelled Brexit – the largest numerical mandate in British political history – a “pack of lies” and called for a second referendum.
Those that kid themselves that the BBC is anything but left-wing do themselves a disservice when the reality is unquestionable. It has become a political machine which fails to represent changing opinion yet asks you for your hard-earned tax money regardless. Would you rather pay for one arrogant, virtue-signalling Gary Lineker or 45 hard-working nurses for a year? The ultimate rhetorical question, perhaps.
A Twitter poll asking people if they would ‘opt-in’ to the BBC’s content if it became a subscription-only service produced hugely revealing results. Out of almost 4,000 votes, a whopping 80% said they would not – yet most of that 80% are undoubtedly paying for it against their will at present. Now is the time for the Beeb to implement seismic changes that reach right to the very core of the organisation. Otherwise, with public anger building, it is only a matter of time until the licence fee is scrapped altogether.
Standing up for those without a voice in Britain