Two of Cardiff University's academics, Justin Lewis and Stephen Cushion, have produced yet another report 'proving' that the BBC has a right-wing bias
As regular readers will know, these researchers are from the same stable that the BBC relies on for its major impartiality reviews and they've previously produced reports 'finding' that the BBC, though broadly impartial, has a right-wing and anti-EU bias. (Hmm).
This latest one is a study of the BBC's use of think tanks and 'finds' that the BBC cites more right-wing than left-wing think tanks. QED.
The detail looks fascinating but within just one minute of looking in earnest at its data and hunting for its figures on the Resolution Foundation - the think tank I most associate with the BBC because I hear it mentioned a lot on the BBC (especially Today) and have written about the BBC's coverage of it before - guess what? I couldn't find any mention of the Resolution Foundation among the large list of think tanks they've monitored.
Yes, it's not there. They've forgotten it!
So within a minute of digging deeper my initial impressions that their study looked impressive melted into air, into thin air.
How on earth could they forget the Resolution Foundation? As I say, it gets a lot of mentions on the BBC. (Check that link for yourselves if you fancy trying to doubt it).
Though it has David Willetts as its executive chairman, the think tank is generally characterised as 'left-leaning', even by the BBC, as well as by the FT, Buzzfeed, The Times, etc, and if Justin and Stephen had remembered them then, using their own criterion, they would have to have included them in their 'Left or left-leaning' column, and that might have had a very significant impact on their results.
Professors Lewis and Cushion have surely made a fatal blunder in forgetting to include the Resolution Foundation. It's like conducting a study of bias based on the questions of Radio 4 current affairs presenters and forgetting, say, Mark Mardell.
Please take a look at the report for yourselves, especially TABLE 2: Political classification of think tanks mentioned on BBC news, and see what you make of it.