Tuesday 18 March 2014


Sue has already neatly knocked the stuffing out of Owen Jones's shouty-but-featherweight piece on BBC bias... 
[Anyway, any man who begins his article with the words, "There are three certainties about British life: it rains on bank holidays...," automatically disqualifies himself from being taken seriously, in my ever so 'umble opinion.
[The Morecambe Marketing Board (slogan: "Sunshine guaranteed, with a friendly smile and a few Morecambe Bay shrimps chucked in (at a price). And don't forget to photograph yourselves with the Eric Morecambe statue whilst you're here") will have you know that plenty of bank holidays are rain-free (though some can be windy and overcast.)]
...but I'd like to pluck away at it too, albeit in a somewhat tangential way (...and with more punctuation than Stephen Jay Gould's take on evolution).

Young Owen's piece is certainly featherweight - and more full of holes than a Swiss cheese with woodworm - but it seems to have tickled part of the Left's fancy.

[I doubt many of them actually believe it though, even for a second, but I suspect they're getting a real kick out of thinking that it's getting up the noses of people like us (which it most certainly does seems to be doing).]

Plus, for those who think that the BBC is biased, it's pretty clear that Owen's article - just like that far-Left-academic-dominated/BBC-funded Cardiff University report which he cites in his article (which also '''found''' [extra inverted commas required] that the BBC is right-leaning) - cannot but help (the enemy) the BBC to reinforce its absolutely favourite argument, that 'we're getting complaints from both sides so we must be getting it about right'. 

Thus, it seems (to me) that Owen's criticism is easy to see as convenient criticism - the friendliest of friendly fire.

Also, the fact that Owen Jones, Mehdi Hasan & el aren't out for the abolition of the BBC, the scrapping of the licence fee, mass sackings, etc, also suggests that they aren't that angry about BBC bias. (Or, could it be, that - being pro-state and anti-private sector - they just can't bring themselves to advance such a right-wing-sounding solution to their 'problem'?)

I, therefore, suspect mischief.

Still, as this is Is the BBC biased? (specifically the part of Is that's me), let's have a little bit of introspective angst here too...despite that.

Owen Jones's piece has sparked a sub-microscopic tsunami of articles, including at sites that people like me and Sue tend to frequent, some of which are trying to challenge our deepest-held feelings on this issue.

At the Speccie, there's (Cameroonish Conservative) Alan Massie saying Yes, of course the BBC is biased against you (and rightly so, in his opinion) and at the Telegraph there's my favourite left-winger, Brendan O'Neill, saying The trouble with the BBC isn't that it is one-sidedly political, but that it is firmly, snootily anti-political...(note my own choice of labels there).

Both articles are (as Sergeant Bilko might have put it) 'Look alive!' posts and both articles argue that the BBC isn't left-biased or right-biased, merely biased towards scepticism. Alan Massie argues that the BBC is "reflexively opposed to change" (i.e. small-c conservative) and in favour of the "status quo", while Brendan O'Neill argues that the BBC is an elite, anti-democratic organisation.

Operating from my own bass-line, I'm not remotely persuaded by Alan Massie's argument (and, if you request it, I will spell out exactly why), but I can kind-of see some truth in Brendan O'Neill's point. (Please read them yourselves though, and form your own judgements).

That brings me back to opinion polls...

I do keep quoting that YouGov poll which shows (notwithstanding Owen Jones, and Twitter) that four times more people think that the BBC is pro-left rather than pro-right (just as I think) - and I should probably also keep quoting that Optimum/Guardian poll which shows a similar public sentiment that the BBC really is biased against the Right.

That shows that Owen Jones (even if we believe he's being sincere) represents a tiny minority of public opinion - a comfortable result for us righties.

What continues to haunt me though about both polls - despite my own feelings, and the even more firmly convinced feelings of those I enjoy reading (at the Telegraph, Biased BBC, Daily Mail, Spectator, Breitbart London, Commentator, Trending Central, etc) - is that they both suggest that we (and, yep, that's me and you!) also (it seems) speak for a small (if not a tinyminority.

Oh dear.

Yes, it may seem hard (if not impossible to believe) but, apparently, over 80% of UK citizens remain unpersuaded/completely immune to all of our arguments/evidence that the BBC is biased in the way we know it to be.

Even if we 'know for a fact' that most people, obviously, think it's as obvious as obvious can be that the BBC is obviously biased towards the Left (obviously), beware!, because (polls suggest) IT...JUST...ISN'T...SO that most people think that way.

The VAST majority of people (in polls) simply DON'T share our belief that the BBC is strongly left-biased - according to YouGov, 83% of people in total.

(Of course, many are apathetic types who might think twice about dragging themselves away from Eastenders to watch the 'breaking news' on the BBC News Channel that the newly-arrived war-fleet from Proxima Centauri has just taken position around Planet Earth, is now targeting millions of pan-galactic gargle blasters at us, and has just starting issuing blood-curdling fatwas against us.......Plus, of course, YouGov (Peter Kellner, Baroness Ashton, etc) could be lying (though, though my own beyond-blog soundings, I'd guess they aren't)).

Plus, in that YouGov poll, there's that strange-but-stubborn 16% of people [just 1% less than those who think the BBC is pro-left-biased, but 4% more than those who think the BBC is pro-right biased] who say they believe that the BBC is biased but not in a pro-left or pro-right way, rather (as both Alan Massie and Brendan O'Neill argue, in their different ways) being "biased towards "establishment' views rather than left or right" instead. (Our Tom Swan thinks that).

What do such people mean by "establishment views"? (I suspect many things).

Call me 'infected by confirmation bias', but I don't believe I'm wrong that the BBC is left-wing-biased. And call me 'infected by confirmation bias', but I will continue to attempt to prove it (as I think I've successfully done before), but...

...are we actually living in a right-wing internet cocoon, where Craig at Is the BBC biased?, Frank Fisher at the Telegraph, JohnnytheFish at Biased BBC, & Co. can't see that we're/they're swimming in a small, semi-stagnant blocked-off canal just because we just can't see it?

Ah but...rejoice, ye faint-hearted!...because if we want to see the BBC brought low, what does it matter if a mere 17% of us think the BBC is pro-left?

If 16% of people think the BBC is also biased (in favour of the establishment) and 4% [including Owen Jones] think the BBC is pro-right, that means that 37% of people think the BBC is biased. That's a lot of disgrunted BBC viewers/listeners/readers, isn't it? Bye, bye licence fee???

Seems a biggish figure, doesn't it? But it still means that 63% of people don't think the BBC is biased too. Plus a portion of that 37% are left-wing, pro-state, pro-public ownership types who may dislike the BBC and want the corporation to parrot their view even more strongly than they already do, so they aren't going to be of much help to us either!

I still have a feeling that the BBC is going to be its own worst enemy, given its recent more-lemming-than-lemmings behavior.

The BBC really does seem to be marching itself towards the cliff. (Real lemmings aren't so stupid! Onward BBC soldiers, onwards unto the edge of the cliff, mwah, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!).

The BBC could well talk itself out of the licence fee, and the BBC has enemies within the Tory party. The 2015 election could be crucial for the BBC (as they are doubtless well aware).

Interesting times.

Well, that's more than enough rambling for one night. Nite nite.

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