Sunday, 19 August 2012

The BBC biased? Never!

For a good while now, there has been a debate in the UK about whether the BBC has a left-wing bias or not. Less of a debate, more a statement of fact followed by vehement denials. But still we have to roll out the arguments.

The BBC are supposed to be unstintingly impartial - that is their rasion d'etre. Yet on their news and cultural output they relentlessly either stifle, ridicule, or completely ignore anything other than a narrow 'progressive' viewpoint (of the Guardian/Independent newspapers) - which has very limited support in the country as a whole, but is given free (or license fee-funded) propaganda by the state broadcaster

The above view is an angry one - but it is supported by the facts. Every time I switch on radio 4, or watch a BBC news programme of any kind, the slant is obvious. There is no balance within the programmes themselves, as there should be, nor is there any hint of the news programmes being balanced by more libertarian programmes. If you think there is, please show me.

Last night, as an example, I switched on "Saturday review", on radio 4. This was hosted by the scrupulously impartial, on-the-fence Bidisha, whose previous quotes include:

“Any man who thinks it’s OK to live in a household where the woman does the overwhelming majority of all the housework, childcare and family admin is a woman-hater”,


 “I wouldn’t be above some impromptu castration”

Please note that my collection of notes below took no work whatsoever. I listened to the programme once only, scribbling a couple of notes as I went along probably missing much. 
  • look at the chosen topics: Naomi Alderman's novel undermining Christianity, a left-wing protest album (at a time when the Democrats are in power in America). Bidisha talks of the TV drama showing an "Empire with victorian values, undergong forced changes and reversals of power"
  • the guest Cahal Dallat states that the programme "has a good Tory in it, which I think is something worth watching" - this 'good Tory'  talks of a minimum wage  3 times the one "that socialists have brought in"*
  • the idea of the "old world breaking up" is mentioned about 5 times in 5 minutes
  • when talking about a sci-fi-based play by Aykbourn, Bidisha enthused "That android is everything a man should be"
  • there were odd remarks about Jesus’ “socialist principles”
  • Bidisha rather wanted the Ry Cooder album to be history-changing,
  • one guest said it was “really good to see a grumpy lefty getting out there and doing protest music"
Those are just a few examples, but the general agreement was relentless. Where was the non-progressive viewpoint to balance all this? I'll answer that for you: nowhere, and it won't appear soon on the BBC.

Sometimes your Guardian reader will respond that these views are now standard UK opinion, whereas a cursory (or more in-depth) look at newspaper sales shows that exactly the opposite is the case. If you mention this, they will, without missing a beat, change tack, and claim that the alternative 'liberal' view (read "Marxist inspired Guardian view") should be given some air-time. Which is ok - but not ALL the air-time. But by now their attention will appear to have wandered.

They don't care what the rationale is, they just want the progressive viewpoint pushed by public funding whatever the reason given needs to be. It is therefore unbalanced political propaganda and no-one should pretend it is anything other than that.

* for a very eloquent man, Cahal Dallat overused the words "socialists" and "tory" a little - which may or may not reflect his framework thinking about the world