Leveson inquiry will be a farce if it doesn't deal harshly with BBC bias
The BBC is the most powerful media outlet in Britain. But it is far too big and blatantly Left-wing.
There are some who say the Leveson Inquiry into the "culture, practices and ethics" of the British media is too wide ranging as it is. But if we are to get to the heart of what is going on it would be an absurdity not seriously to address the role and influence of the single biggest and most powerful media outlet in Britain, the BBC.
We do not mean to be ideological about this. Though always inclined heavily in the direction of free markets and private property, we are not necessarily opposed to state broadcasting as an item ensuring cultural continuity, as long as it is tightly focused, relatively small and scrupulously unbiased.
The problem is that the BBC fails on all three counts. It is all over the place in terms of what it offers up as content: there is no argument whatsoever for a state broadcaster putting out soap operas like Eastenders, for example. It is gigantic in size and scope: holding huge sections of the market in local, regional and national radio and television, as well as the internet.
And it is plainly blatantly biased: as veteran BBC broadcaster Peter Sissons said in an article last year, "At the core of the BBC, in its very DNA, is a way of thinking that is firmly of the Left". He memorably added that "I lost count of the number of times I asked a producer for a brief on a story, only to be handed a copy of The Guardian and told ‘it’s all in there’"
It is the combination of the last two issues that most concerns us (the first is important in its own right but is not directly political). If the most powerful media outlet in Britain, an outlet so powerful it can set agendas for other broadcasters as well as the newspapers, is ripping off taxpayers to promote Leftist propaganda, that is of far greater significance than the way Rupert Murdoch and various British prime ministers may or may not have cozied up to each other.
Murdoch, after all, has backed parties of the Left and the Right, both Labour and Conservative. Although the BBC does not openly back Labour or the Lib-Dems, it plainly pushes an agenda which favours them over the Conservatives.
The extent of that agenda is revealed when one considers where it stands on some of the litmus test issues. Try the following as examples: Israel (deeply hostile); the EU (supportive); the United States (hostile, though less so if the country is run by a Leftist African-American); Islamism (in denial); climate change (alarmist); etc etc.
It's all so blatant that there's a danger of accepting it as part of the furniture and overlooking it.
That is precisely the danger that Lord Leveson must avoid.
If his inquiry does not deal with the role of the BBC and the way it abuses its enormous power, it will not be able to claim that it has truly investigated the "culture, practices and ethics" of the British media. And it will not be able to answer the key question with which Lord Leveson opened proceedings last November: "Who guards the guardians"?
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