Beastrabban on bias at the BBC

This is just an excerpt from the Beast’s excellent response to This Blog’s coverage of mainstream media acceptance that the BBC is biased towards the Conservative Party.

The news department at the BBC is shrinking, has been subject to vicious cuts for much of the past decade. The corporation in particular has been laying off scores of their staff, who actually report the news and put it all together. This seems to have been in line with the way the rest of the BBC has been by changed by its management. The people, who actually produce programmes have been progressively sacked, while management has inflated, with the upper management enjoying commensurately bloated salaries. Of course, the BBC isn’t alone in this. It’s part of what’s been happening in industry generally, as industry has shed jobs on the factory floor, while management have rewarded themselves with vast pay rises and bonuses. The BBC’s management shares the same attitudes of management generally, which is decidedly pro-Tory, and so definitely doesn’t want to see anyone even as remotely left-wing as Corbyn enter Ten Downing Street.

And I also think there’s more than a touch of class bias towards their listeners as well. Audiences for some of the Beeb’s news programmes have shrunk. Private Eye has been wondering for months, if not years now, how long Newsnight can stagger on without Paxman. You can tell that Beeb’s news department has been affected by the odd pieces that appear in the Radio Times, complaining about how fragmented audiences are due to the internet. People, they say, are taking their news now from different sources, largely those which confirm their existing political views. As a result, they warn, society is also fragmenting and overarching consensus views, held by the mass of the population, are being shattered.

It’s hard not to see this as simply sour grapes, at least in part. Yes, people are getting more information from a wider variety of sources, including the Net. Yes, this has challenged the power of the mainstream news to form a consensus of opinion. And this is clearly worrying old style print and broadcasting journalists. There’s clearly resentment in these types of editorials, one of which appeared in the Radio Times a few months ago, about the way the BBC and its broadcasters can no longer wield the massive ideological or social clout they once had. People are turning off, not least because of an increasing awareness of bias in the Beeb’s reporting.

Read more: Vox Political On Steve Bell’s Cartoon against BBC anti-Corbyn Bias | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

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7 thoughts on “Beastrabban on bias at the BBC

  1. Daniel Margrain

    The BBC was founded by Lord Reith in 1922 and immediately used as a propaganda weapon for the Baldwin government during the General Strike, when it was known by workers as the “British Falsehood Corporation”. During the strike, no representative of organised labour was allowed to be heard on the BBC. Ramsay McDonald, the leader of the opposition, was also banned.

    In their highly respected study of the British media, Power Without Responsibility, James Curran and Jean Seaton wrote of ‘the continuous and insidious dependence of the Corporation [the BBC] on the government’. (Routledge, 4th edition, 1991, p.144)

    John Pilger has reported:

    ‘Journalists with a reputation for independence were refused BBC posts because they were not considered “safe”.’ (John Pilger, Hidden Agendas, Vintage, 1998, p.496)

    In 2003, a Cardiff University report found that the BBC ‘displayed the most “pro-war” agenda of any broadcaster’ on the Iraq invasion. Over the three weeks of the initial conflict, 11% of the sources quoted by the BBC were of coalition government or military origin, the highest proportion of all the main television broadcasters. The BBC was less likely than Sky, ITV or Channel 4 News to use independent sources, who also tended to be the most sceptical. The BBC also placed least emphasis on Iraqi casualties, which were mentioned in 22% of its stories about the Iraqi people, and it was least likely to report on Iraqi opposition to the invasion.

  2. Joan Edington

    It’s taken a long time for a lot of people to realise this bias. So many simply refused to believe that the good old BBC could be anything but impartial. Sadly, it has been obvious to me, and anyone who pays attention to the detail of news, that it has been getting worse for several years.

    I first really noticed it in 2012 when the Welfare Reform Act came into play. There were interviews with patients at new PPI hospitals saying what wonderful treatment they had, while similar interviews of patients at traditional NHS hospitals always highlighted the negatives.

    Up to this point I was ALMOST giving the benefit of the doubt about bias, thinking that maybe it was because they had sacked so many journalists that they could no longer carry out their own research.

    However, since then, virtually all reports have claimed an event as true rather than saying “according to the government”. This is no more than propaganda.

    The final nails in the coffin, to me and many Scots, was their blatant backing of Better Together during the Scottish Referendum in 2014 and a totally discredited “Scottish Labour” during the GE in May 2015. Mind you, these were probably not noticed by 90% of the UK population.

    I am extremely sad about this situation since the BBC does make some very good programmes. It’s sports coverage used to be by far the best, back in the days before it had to compete with the money available to the commercial channels. It seems that we are to lose all that, simply because their once trusted and respected News Department can no longer lives up to that title.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You mean the Health and Social Care Act rather than the Welfare Reform Act, I think – although I would say the BBC’s coverage wasn’t impartial in either case.
      Your interpretation of the BBC’s coverage of Scottish politics is debatable, though – as always. I certainly didn’t see any particular support for Scottish Labour in the run-up to the general election.

      1. Joan Edington

        Oops. You’re right about the acts. They have brought in so much sh*t that it’s hard to keep track.

        I would suggest that you didn’t notice the support for Scottish Labour during the run-up to the GE since you presumably didn’t have BBC Scotland pumped at you day in day out. The national BBC actually shows less bias than BBC Scotland.

  3. mrmarcpc

    The BBC has always been the tories little poodle, despite crapping on them from time to time, like now for example but they’ll put up with it because they need the licence fee to fund the crap that they make and also because they’re gutless, out of touch, right wing minded weaklings who can’t think for themselves, don’t live in the real world and can’t see the writing on the wall, even when it’s as clear as day, they keep sucking up to the government and the people see it and they hate the Beeb even more, even though they’re in bed with Murdoch and want him to take over telly but the BBC will keep on kissing arse because they know nothing else, what an expensive joke the Beeb is!

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