|Paul Mason, during his BBC days|
For long-time followers of former Newsnight economics editor (now a regular jumper of sharks) Paul Mason, here's an extract from a long interview with him in The Huffington Post. I found it interesting and felt it might be worth sharing, especially as there are some surprisingly plausible points in it. Please see what you make of it though:
But for Mason, his former employer is the most biased broadcaster when covering Corbyn. “I don’t think the other broadcasters have been too bad,” he says, adding that both Sky News and ITN, makers of Channel 4 News, have “done alright”. He defends political programming like The Daily Politics but says Corbyn supporters’ criticism of BBC News is fair.
The corporation’s problem is “group think” that comes from so many of its journalists being from similar backgrounds such as private and Oxbridge education, he says.
Journalists felt Corbyn was unelectable and had “nothing to lose” in their coverage of him, making them more hostile. Mason says journalists who listened to Corbyn’s shadow cabinet deliberations through a door last year were going against “the spirit” of the passes that give them special access to Parliament.
“[The BBC] clearly no made no attempt to understand and explain what he was trying to do, it simply joined in the hounding and pursuit of him.” Mason says when he worked at the BBC, doorstepping a senior politician was only ever done when they had refused an interview on a matter of public interest. But that “seemed to go out the window” when Corbyn was elected and journalists regularly began questioning him outside his Islington home.
“There’s not many Corbyn supporters in these major broadcasters. I know for a fact that there are many supporters of liberal Conservatism and centrist Labourism. They just need to work out a way of covering this radical movement in politics in a way that allows us, the tax payers and licence fee payers, to say: ‘You know what, I think they’re trying’,” Mason says.
“Corbyn and Labour’s return to the Radical Left is a challenge to the world of many people who work in broadcast news, it will change their world if we come to power.
“Therefore, I don’t blame them for being wary, hostile, mistrustful. It’s just, you’re not allowed to let that come through to the supposedly unbalanced and impartial reporting.” Perhaps sensing I am about to push for specific examples of biased reporting, he adds: “Anyway, that’s probably enough about the BBC.”