Saturday 6 December 2014

"A fight to the death"

It has certainly been quite a week for the BBC. It's been engaged in a war on several fronts.

The Telegraph this morning has a piece by its senior political correspondent Steven Swinford which opens with the words: 
The BBC wants Labour to win the General Election because it is in a “fight to the death” over the future of the licence fee, Conservative MPs have claimed.
The article itself only quotes one Conservative MP, Andrew Bridgen:
They [the BBC] are in a fight to the death over the future of the licence fee. They know that if Labour comes along it's business as usual but if the Tories come in the licence fee will be cut or abolished.
This is going to be a very tight election now and the corporation's lack of balance could tip the balance in Labour's favour. The BBC is in a privileged position as a national broadcaster funded by the licence fee, and it should recognise that.
As you would expect, the BBC (quote in the Telegraph article) thinks it's getting it about right:
A BBC source said: "We are satisfied with our coverage. It [the criticism] is only going to intensify as we get close to the election. We are braced for that."
And, yes, such criticism is bound to crescendo before an election and politicians (from all sides) will attempt to try it on with the BBC; however, intensifying criticism in the run-up to an election could also come about because BBC bias really does get stronger in the run-up to a general election. 

My old blog was part of the last crescendo in 2009-10 and (I think) provided a good deal of evidence that the BBC wasn't anywhere near as impartial as it likes to think it is - from the way Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green politicians were given less challenging interviews (on average) that Conservative, UKIP or SNP ones to the way the BBC News website's live blog during the election was skewed in a similar, sharp fashion

Some of that was doubtless the result of the collective unconscious bias of a mass of individual BBC reporters [plus some glaring examples of conscious bias - remember Sarah Bell, the Lib Dem-supporting BBC report whose outrageously biased article promoting the Lib Dem candidate Susan Kramer in Richmond had to be withdrawn?], but is possible that the BBC is now beginning a deliberate corporation-wide push to get Labour elected and the Tories booted out in order to protect its own position (which seems to follow from Mr Bridgen's point)?

It's a point many in the BBC Bias Blogosphere believe, and have believed for a long time. It's hard conclusively proving that it's deliberate, planned, fully-intended pro-Labour bias on the BBC's part though, as opposed to a largely unconscious bias arising out of the BBC's overwhelmingly left-liberal groupthink. The latter is bad enough but the former would be absolutely incendiary if found to be true. A few leaked memos to the effect would probably be needed for the charge to stick.

Still, it's hardly a great leap of faith though to believe that the BBC, as a whole, would be much happier with a (Labour-led) government that won't change its licence fee funding than with a (Conservative-led) government that probably will.

If so, how far and in what ways that unhappiness manifests itself over the coming months? We will have to see. 


  1. As if the current Conservative leadership aren't deeply committed to the National Treasure™. Cameron's not going to do anything except offer more idle threats. The Beeboids are genetically predisposed towards Labour and the Progressive Left, regardless of any existential threat to the license fee. Would Labour unfreeze it? Not in a time of national penny-pinching, I don't think.

    As for the possibility of leaked memos supporting any charge of bias, we had the "From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel" revelations - absolute proof of what we claim - and nothing happened to the BBC. It's going to take a lot more than something on a single issue to cause the necessary revolution.

  2. Speaking of genetic predispositions, I turned on Radio 3 just now and what do I see? An edition of Music Matters featuring a new book on "El Systema". While the BBC ignored or actively played down the entire country of Venezuela descending into hell, they hyped this up in a big way. I'll be curious to see if they tell us how many world-class musicians Hugo the Hero turned out while robbing his country blind other than young Floppy Hair.

    1. It's far from being the first time 'Music Matters' has dwelt on that.

      It's a shame they can't do something a little different and investigate the rich classical music history of Venezuela. If certain amateur bloggers can manage it...

    2. My first comment about the Beeboids being genetically predisposed to support Labour and the far Left rather than going after the Tories specifically to protect the license fee seems not to have been published. Oh, well.

      In any case, I just saw Damian Thompson's piece in the Spectator about the focus on sexual abuse in the "Sistema" (which I spelled wrong). I hear only some of the Music Matters segment, and the guest was being grilled about how much "social change" had resulted from the program. Nothing about how it had become a propaganda tool for Chavez, one which the BBC happily promoted. I'll listen to the whole thing in a couple days and see if there's any mention of what Thompson says is a primary focus of the book.

    3. David, for some reason a few of your comments have slipped into our Spam thing, which is obviously becoming over-zealous. Sorry. I will check it more often. Hopefully, this should be the last time it happens.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.