Sunday 5 October 2014

Another 'Point of View'

There was a comment today at Biased BBC:

Rufus McDufus
One of these idiotic stories that makes me want to punch a BBC journalist – “why short men make better husbands”:
Can you imagine the outcry if the story was “why short women make better wives”?

Well, Mr McDufus, there would be an angst-ridden discussion about it on Newsnight for starters.'s not "a BBC journalist" who wrote that piece. The would-be target of Rufus's violent impulses is an American writer who Radio 4 invites to present A Point of View from time to time.

Adam Gopnik is a self-professed "liberal" (in the American sense of the word). 

As you will note from the (updated) list below, he follows in a long line of A Point of View speakers most of whom either clearly come from the left side of the political spectrum (Lisa Jardine, Will Self, AL Kennedy, Tom Shakespeare, Mary Beard, William Dalrymple, Sarah Dunant, Martin Jacques, Simon Schama, Joan Bakewell) or inhabit a vaguely centre-to-centre-left position (Onora O'Neill, Alain de Botton, David Cannadine). John Gray is harder to place (having passed from being Conservative to Labour to the position of a sort of green, anti-capitalist Eurosceptic). 

You will note something almost missing, of course: There's only been one out-and-out right-winger in nearly five years of A Point of View - Roger Scruton.

As I've said before, that shows a heavy bias - especially as the speakers often make political points during their talks. It also strongly suggests that BBC Radio 4 has its own point of view: a liberal-to-strongly-left-wing one.  

If it's not bias, then why is there only one right-winger in this list?

Adam Gopnik (3 Oct 2014-    )
Lisa Jardine (5 Sep-26 Sep 2014)
Will Self (25 Jul-29 Aug 2014)
John Gray (11 Jul-18 Jul 2014)
AL Kennedy (13 Jun-4 Jul 2014)
Tom Shakespeare (23 May-6 Jun 2014)
Mary Beard (25 Apr-16 May 2014)
William Dalrymple (4 Apr-18 Apr 2014)
Sarah Dunant (14 Mar-28 Mar 2014)
Roger Scruton (21 Feb-7 Mar 2014)
Adam Gopnik (17 Jan-14 Feb 2014)
John Gray (27 Dec 2013-10-Jan 2014)
William Dalrymple (20 Dec 2013)
John Gray (13 Dec 2013)
Will Self (1 Nov-6 Dec 2013)
Lisa Jardine (4 Oct-25 Oct 2013)
AL Kennedy (6 Sep-27 Sep 2013)
Roger Scruton (9 Aug-30 Aug 2013)
Sarah Dunant (5 Jul-2 Aug 2013)
Tom Shakespeare (7 Jun-28 June 2013)
John Gray (26 Apr-31 May 2013)
Adam Gopnik (22 Mar-19 Apr 2013)
Lisa Jardine (22 Feb-15 Mar 2013)
David Cannadine (25 Jan-15 Feb 2013)
Will Self (14 Dec 2012-18 Jan 2013)
Onora O'Neill (7 Dec 2012)
Mary Beard (11 Nov-30 Nov 2012)
Martin Jacques (12 Oct-4 Nov 2012)
Sarah Dunant   (7 Sep-5 Oct 2012)
John Gray (13 Jul-31 Aug 2012)
Adam Gopnik (1 Jun-6 Jul 2012)
Will Self (20 Apr-25 May 2012)
David Cannadine (10 Feb-13 Apr 2012)
Lisa Jardine (30 Dec 2011-3 Feb 2012)
Simon Schama (29 Dec 2011)
Will Self (28 Dec 2011)
Sarah Dunant (27 Dec 2011)
John Gray  (26 Dec 2011)
Lisa Jardine (2 Dec-25 Dec 2011)
Mary Beard (4 Nov-25 Nov 2011)
Will Self  (30 Sep-28 Oct 2011)
John Gray  (19 Aug-23 Sep 2011
Alain de Botton  (8 Jul-12 Aug 2011)

(The programme took a break for over four months for David Attenborough's Life Stories)

Alain de Botton (5 Jan-11 Feb 2011)
Joan Bakewell  (19 Nov-31 Dec 2010)
Sarah Dunant  (8 Oct-12 Nov 2010)
Lisa Jardine  (30 Jul-1 Oct 2010)
David Cannadine  (21 May-23 Jul 2010)
Simon Schama  (12 Mar-14 May 2010)
Lisa Jardine  (1 Jan-5 Mar 2010)


  1. Yes, you're completely correct. "A Point of View" should be renamed "The Only Point of View Allowed".

    I say that as someone who broadly supports the BBC. But this is exactly the sort of programme where its institutional bias really shines through.

    I would much prefer "A Point of View" genuinely had a range of viewpoints, including some considered outrageous e.g. ra'cist, Trotskyite, Scientologist, Islamist than it just have an endless succession of comfortably off bien pensant leftists.

    Dan Read

    1. Quite right, Dan. The 'A' in 'A Point of View' has become something of a synonym for 'one' here.

      Radio 4's 'Four Thought' isn't much better. There's never been an outrageous view on that which hasn't been comfortably outrageous for the BBC.

  2. Nice work, Craig. This is exactly the kind of data needed to prove the BBC's bias, and especially to defeat their usual line of defense.


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