Imagine this, friends from across the pond. You switch your TV on and one of your main channel’s news bombards you with fake, biased, agenda-ridden reporting seldom of shame, and you have to pay for it. Seems crazy, doesn’t it?
It’s been commonplace in the United Kingdom for a long time. We, the British taxpayer, set aside a fee every 12 months to pay for our TV License, which enables us to tune-in to the BBC’s various channels legally. For £145.50 the BBC offers us two children’s channels, four channels (the third currently only broadcasts on the internet) for bringing entertainment, documentary and arts programmes, and, of course, its dedicated news service. That’s the one that really irks me. Although it is fair to say that the BBC’s left-wing agenda runs through a lot of its programming like a stick of Blackpool rock.*
*During the writing of the previous paragraph, I overheard a trailer for a comedy show forthcoming on BBC2 in which members of the public air their views on current affairs. The trailer featured two men, one of whom describes Britain as “a basket case”, and it will be even more of one, according to him, once “we trigger Article 50”. In the words of Donald Trump to a BBC reporter last week: another beauty.
It’s a bit of an irony that in the BBC’s satirical output they display what I’ve always considered reasonably even-handed in terms of dishing insults to all political parties. Ian Hislop, the Editor of the satirical Private Eye magazine and team captain on topical comedy show Have I Got News For You has always served his cold-yet-delicious ribbings to all political persuasions. Whether it’s Nigel Farage’s “racism”, David Cameron’s poshness or Tony Blair’s image as a warmonger, none have been safe from Hislop’s wrath. That is something I can respect – even if it’s my political party he’s making fun of, at least he’ll make fun of the others. If you stick on BBC1 and watch one of their medical dramas – Holby City and its sister drama Casualty – you will notice the scripts are laced with pro-NHS and anti-Brexit dialogue. I tuned in to see if Dr Griffin was going to stop his patient’s haematoma, not what he thinks of a referendum. If I went to visit a doctor, I’d expect him to diagnose and treat me, not bleat on about being part of “the 48%”, it’s not what I’m paying him for. And it’s not what we’re paying our license fees for.
That’s just an example of where its bias seeps into other facets of its programming. I could be sat at my desk until the first shoots of spring if I wanted a comprehensive list of examples. Let’s focus on the news.
BBC News generally takes a left-wing perspective, so will take aim at any Conservative or right-leaning political viewpoint. In fact, during the 2015 General Election campaign, it was alleged that David Cameron spoke of how he wanted to abolish the BBC altogether. But during the 2016 EU referendum campaign, they became Cameron’s ally, as its pro-European stance took hold with a vice-like-grip. I remember one incident in which Nigel Farage was forced to rearrange a schedule talk due to extensive and dangerous anti-Leave protestors, and was forced to conduct a talk within a library. One of the political correspondents, Norman Smith (a man who has the suspiciously-deranged smile of someone who enjoys the smell of their own rectal emissions), could not help but laugh when reporting this back to on-duty newsreader Jane Hill, who joined-in with the laughter.
But don’t take my word for it – take the word of former BBC News stalwart Peter Sissons.
For 20 years I was a front man at the BBC, anchoring news and current affairs programmes, so I reckon nobody is better placed than me to answer the question that nags at many of its viewers — is the BBC biased?
In my view, ‘bias’ is too blunt a word to describe the subtleties of the pervading culture. The better word is a ‘mindset’. 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’.
This is an excerpt from Sissons’s superb memoir – When One Door Closes – in which he frankly tells tales of the BBC’s left-wing culture. He also writes that former President Obama was “not only just the Democratic Party’s candidate for the White House, he was the BBC’s.” If anyone watched the BBC’s coverage of President Trump’s inauguration last Friday, you’ll know that rung through the ether like a church bell. Another untouchable topic is that of Islam, which apparently “…must not be offended at any price, although Christians are fair game because they do nothing about it if they are offended.”
Sissons also writes that a particular favourite of the corporation during his time there was Tony Blair. Sissons gives examples of this, but if you want another, please take a moment to watch this video from a BBC News bulletin at the height of the 2003 war in Iraq.
If you survived watching that video without vomiting, you could be interested to know that the reporter reporting from No10 – Andrew Marr – is now presenting his own weekly political interview show, replacing the late Sir David Frost in the process. On the BBC, naturally.
Other mainstream media outlets in Britain have followed suit with similar barely-veiled bias, and perhaps that is for another article, but what I find incredulous and what makes me incandescent with horror, is that such bias, that is barely-veiled and conveyed with the straightest of faces, is broadcast into the homes of people whose own money fund it.