The real problem with BBC bias

Unless there is an entirely unexpected turn of events, as a news and current affairs outlet, the time has come to accept that the rigidly Leftist BBC is unreformable, and needs to be abolished without delay

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Keep the culture, drop the news
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the commentator
On 5 December 2014 05:41

So, another row has blown up about BBC bias against free market economics and the political Right generally. This time around, Chancellor George Osborne has gone on the offensive over "hyperbolic news coverage" surrounding his plans for cuts in public spending.

No surprise there. If there is one theme that the BBC as an institution has been ideologically consistent on since its decade long assault on Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, it is radical opposition to small-state economic policies and "cuts" -- usually defined as anything which does not involve a 10 percent real terms increase in spending.

Tellingly, the Guardian is all over this one in defence of its de facto broadcasting arm.

"Senior BBC figures such as Robert Peston have suggested that the BBC is currently erring to the right rather than the left," the paper says in its latest editorial.

Oh, yes. The real issue is that the BBC isn't Left-wing enough!

Back on the planet Earth, the inherent problem for our state broadcaster is two-fold: First, the notion these days of state broadcasting is itself, at core, Left-wing. This is not 1935 when private broadcasting might have been more challenging. Now, in the internet generation, everyone and his dog could set up a TV station if they had even relatively modest financial backing.

The BBC represents statism for statism's sake. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the default political positions at the BBC are conducive to statism. The second issue is that a state broadcaster operating in the wider British context of liberal-Left domination of the political culture faces the inevitable problem of its reporters, producers and directors absorbing what is around them by osmosis.

Unless you are particularly independent minded, the liberal-Left agenda just seems "normal".

There is, of course, a statutory obligation to be impartial. The directors of the BBC and those providing "oversight" must be drawn from all sides of the party political spectrum, and in a sense they are.

But note how easily this is reconciled with sustaining the overwhelming dominance of liberal-Left ideology. Nominal "Rightists" -- Chris Patten, former Chairman of the BBC Trust is a perfect illustration -- are drawn in to the governing bodies of the BBC so that it can be said that the BBC has just as many Conservatives as it does Liberal Democrats and luminaries from Labour.

But Pattenesque "Conservatives" are really just Left-wingers who by accident of history found themselves in the wrong party. While their CVs may say that they come from the political Right, all their political leanings place them on the political Left. And that is why they are chosen.

Ultimately, it is very difficult to see how the BBC, at least as a news and current affairs provider, can be reconciled either with the modern world, or, given the depth of its institutional bias, the obligation to be genuinely pluralistic.

Let the BBC continue in the form for which it is still widely regarded: as a lifeline for the identity of the nation sustaining its culture and its traditions.

But, unless there is an entirely unexpected turn of events, as a news and current affairs outlet, the time has come to accept that it is unreformable, and needs to be abolished without delay.

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