BBC can't even get its bias right over George Orwell
The bizarre report that the BBC refused to put up a statue of George Orwell because he was "too Left-wing" says a lot about the BBC's Leftist assumptions
Perhaps we're too cynical. But there is something not quite right about the latest "revelations" over the BBC and its attitudes to the Left. Apparently, the state broadcaster's outgoing director general, Mark Thompson, rejected a proposal to put up a statue of George Orwell outside the new Broadcasting House building in central London. The Telegraph reported him as saying: "...we can't possibly. It's far too left-wing an idea."
Hmm. Now, there's the obvious issue that this raises in terms of Thompson's assumptions. Because the fact is that Orwell is claimed by both Left and Right. His anti-colonialism and his concern for social improvement are the items on his CV raised by Leftists claiming him as one of their own. His anti-totalitarianism and his related opposition to the corruption of language and thought by the political Left are the issues most commonly flagged up to promote the claims of the Right.
In terms of Orwell's legacy, there can be little doubt that the Right has the stronger claim. His outstanding works -- Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm -- focus on the horrors of communism, and it is this for which he will always be remembered.
But that is not really the point, which is that the head honcho at the BBC is so immersed in Left-wing assumptions that he is plainly clueless that such a tug of war over Orwell's legacy even exists. Orwell was the greatest journalist and political intellectual of his age; he stood for justice; and he spoke truth to power -- ergo he must be Left-wing. In a nutshell, that is how the BBC views the world, and that is why its bias is so egregious.
The other point to consider about this little affair, of course, is that it could all be subterfuge. Thompson is leaving amid searing criticism from many on the political Right that the BBC under his leadership has, to say the least, done precisely nothing to address its long standing institutional bias to the Left. What better way to wipe the slate clean than to get a story into the public domain intimating that no-one takes the issue of impartiality more seriously than Mark Thompson!
Either way, whether the Orwell story is a tactical ploy or whether it reflects the BBC hierarchy's Leftist assumptions, it has nothing to do with the key issue just referred to: a public media outlet with enormous influence does not abide by its statutory obligation to be politically neutral. And that, not statues in the forecourt, is the issue that needs to be addressed.
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