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        « Would the Tories have won 27 more seats if they'd campaigned more on Europe? | Main | Charles Moore's Conservatism »


        James Hellyer

        I have no doubt that the BBC is culturally and institutionally biased. It's not necessarily biased in a party political way, although its "truisms" naturally coalesce around Labour or the Lib Dems.

        They inevitably approach all stories from the left. Here are some common examples of BBC "truisms" that you might recognise:

        tax-and-spend economics are the only morally acceptable approach to domestic policy (government spokesmen are always asked why they are not giving "more resources" to any problem, and spending cuts are always presented as if every thing the government does is a vital service, so cuts must be inherently evil);

        anyone who uses the word "asylum" or "immigration" in conjunction with the word "problem" is a bigot;

        street crime is an invention of the Daily Mail but racism is to be found under every stone;

        and all Euro-sceptics are no better than flat-earthers.

        The thing is the staff of BBC (and people outside it on the liberal-left) don't see this as bias because it reinforces their own worldview.

        Bob B

        I disagree with some BBC commentary on current affairs, agree on other matters or suspend judgement pending further research and commentary.

        Does this mean I am only partly biased or that we are being treated here to yet another load o' tosh and over-generalisation by self-proclaimed Conservatives who become apoplectic unless others conform with their personal world view. Curiously, Angus Maude, the new chairman of the Conservative Party, said in an interview for Monday's Indy:

        "We can now see with absolue clarity that Labour is not unbeatable, that Labour is in a losing position. Our problem is us, not Labour."

        That has a resonance with me.

        James Hellyer

        "Does this mean I am only partly biased or that we are being treated here to yet another load o' tosh and over-generalisation by self-proclaimed Conservatives who become apoplectic unless others conform with their personal world view."

        I do like a reasoned argument ;=)

        Listening to the Today programme and watching Newsnight, it is apparent that BBC journalists approach things with a left wing world view (as opposed to being deliberatley biased).

        This means they question things from a left wing perspective. That's why when hospitals were running out of money earlier in the year, the questions that were asked were all along the lines of "why weren't they given more" rather than "NHS spending has increased massively, where's the money gone?"

        The default assumption underpinning such questions is that the state is the best moral agent and that more money solves all problems.

        Bob B

        The truly amazing insight is that some BBC presenters, journos and correspondents think differently from others. The BBC isn't monolithic and feedback programmes show that some viewers and listeners don't agree with opinions expressed on BBC programmes, which is how is ought to be IMO.

        James Hellyer

        The problem is that the BBC purports to be unbiased:

        "Accurate, impartial and independent journalism is the principal way we support informed citizenship. Our journalism and editorial values are the cornerstone of the BBC’s remit and constitute a core rationale for public funding."

        So runs a statement on the opening page of the introduction to a submission by the BBC on behalf of the renewal of its Charter entitled,the BBC's Contribution to Informed Citizenship.

        For its news coverage and current affairs broadcasting to be ‘impartial’, the BBC would need, in reporting contentious issues about which there were substantial differences of informed and educated opinion, to go out of its way to avoid taking sides. This would require it to be willing to report and provide coverage of all contending viewpoints, neither deliberately suppressing nor expressly or tacitly privileging any.

        There are numerous and well-documented charges levelled in recent years against the accuracy and impartiality of BBC coverage and comment on such issues as the country’s relations with Europe, immigration and asylum-seeking, the Middle East conflict, and the War in Iraq.

        Why should the BBC be entrusted, let alone the nation forced to pay, for its providing news and coverage of current affairs, when the corporation is unwilling to address serious charges against its impartiality and accuracy?

        A report it commissioned from MORI has already found the BBC guilty of a cultural bias towards europhile coverage of the EU. Why then is it so hard to believe it can be biased in other areas?


        The text of The Tele's interview with Aitken can be found here:


        I have been a strong supporter of the BBC for most of my life,I've always felt it was one of those institutions which we British were lucky to have.
        In the 1980's I thought Tebbit and others were making a huge mistake in constantly attacking the BBC.
        Not anymore.While I do not find the BBC biased in the way that the Daily Mail or Guardian are biased,the last election campaign provided numerous examples of an anti Conservative approach to stories.
        Everyday during that campaign I compared the output of CEEFAX(BBC) to TELETEXT(ITV).Very often they had the same stories where the headline on CEEFAX was designed to show the Conservatives in an unfavourable light or Conservative policy announcements were covered by CEEFAX by the reaction to them of Labour or the LibDems.
        Often minor anti Conservative stories appeared on CEEFAX or the BBC website in prominent positions that were not covered by anyone else.I could find no examples of this happening on TELETEXT.
        If there were only a few examples of this I could be accused of being paranoid but there were dozens!
        I wrote to the Director General and what a suprise,no reply!
        It would have been a mistake for the Conservatives to criticise the BBC during the election campaign after all the BEEB is far more trusted than politicians.
        Now it is over however we should be making public every example of bias loudly and clearly.We probably won't be able to change the leftwing culture of the BBC but hopefully we will be able to undermine in the minds of the general public the feeling of impartiality the BBC currently enjoys and is so obviously abusing.


        Bias, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. A far more serious charge that I would level against the BBC is that it trivialises important issues and doesn't give them the coverage they deserve. How can a 24-hour news media ever say "I have to hurry you, we're running out of time"? How much more than 24 hours do you need!


        The BBC is really the 'enemy within.' Way back at the Suez Crisis Eden missed another opportuniy to bash Britain's enemies by not shutting down the antis' edifice. Their shameful antics during the Rhodesian Crisis have become well-known. Same with the Falklands.. and 'Europe' today, so why don't we fire the pink parasites, by the simple expedient of dismantling their parasitic empire. Privatise it.

        Robin Brown

        Ironically it was always quite clear to me where Robin Aitken's presonal sympathies lay, especially whenever his reports concerned his great pal John Major.

        La figure humaine, apr s avoir disloqu en cinquante ans...

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