Polly Toynbee's BBC

The reason why Polly Toynbee sees no ideological bias at the BBC is because all its prejudices are hers too

Polly and the BBC: hand in glove
The Commentator
On 13 August 2013 09:08

Test of maturity: If Polly Toynbee says something is good do you automatically, and therefore, assume that it is bad? Perhaps that's too taxing for the depths of mid-Summer. But one suspects that most of us see the temptations while fighting hard not to succumb to them.

Fight all you like. When it comes to the BBC at least, the axiom holds. The grand old ideological dinosaur of the British liberal-Left has produced another piece of astonishingly delusional verbiage in her latest column for the Guardian.

The core of it is this. While she nervously acknowledges that the BBC gets "73% of news audience" this is only "because people choose it". And, coming right to her point: "The BBC is not an opinionator, and its size is no democratic threat but a democratic asset in a world where moguls buy press power. It's Murdoch who intimidates governments..." (Our Italics.)

Oh dear. Leaving aside the knee-jerk reference to the dreaded "Murdoch" (repeated by her at every turn, for years) it is Toynbee's abject, almost sociopathic, inability to empathise that leaves one dumbfounded. It never occurs to her that people of a different political-ideological disposition might genuinely look upon the BBC as possessed of an institutionalised liberal-Left bias.

Because the BBC reflects her own prejudices, she cannot but assume that it must be objective; all the biased opinions being on the other side of the political spectrum.

The top and bottom of the matter was neatly captured back in 2011 by Peter Sissons, BBC front man for 20 years. In an article for the Daily Mail he said:

"At the core of the BBC, in its very DNA, is a way of thinking that is firmly of the Left.

"By far the most popular and widely read newspapers at the BBC are The Guardian and The Independent. ­Producers refer to them routinely for the line to take on ­running stories, and for inspiration on which items to cover. In the later stages of my career, 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’."

Of course, Polly Toynbee wouldn't see a problem with that, and that is precisely why there is a problem.

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