Saturday, October 31, 2020
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Now the complaints are nonsense, the BBC starts to listen

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This wouldn’t be a credible blog about BBC bias if we didn’t note that the Corporation has been under relentless fire this past week or so for that very thing: bias.

Sir Cliff’s victory over the Beeb may have grabbed the headlines, but the BBC’s senior reporters and editors (including news editor James Stephenson and editor of live political programmes Rob Burley) have also been fending off attacks from the pro-EU Left.

BBC press releases have gone out, there have been lots of Twitter rebuttals and Feedback appearances, and it’s felt almost like a fight to the death.

I’d been brooding for days on on a far-too-long, ultra-detailed piece about it but simply don’t feel up to writing it at the moment, so all I’ll say is that the BBC is now under concerted attack from three specific groups: (1) pro-EU fanatics, (2) Carole Cadwalladr groupies and (3) Corbynista goons.

(Like the BBC and its use of words such as ‘hardline’, I may not have been entirely neutral in my descriptive language there!)

Their charges are utter nonsense (and I’d happily spend hours debunking them, had I enough hours and if enough people wanted me to) but they are absolutely hammering the BBC with complaint after complaint after complaint after complaint. And the BBC is listening.

It’s wearying as a blogger to deal with their nonsense. And why should I? ‘Our side’ has been diligently publishing detailed evidence for well over a decade showing, among other things, hugely overwhelming BBC pro-EU membership bias and has received nothing but brush-offs and snide dismissals and little attention . . .

. . . but now, within the last year or so, former staunch defenders of the BBC such as Nick Cohen and Andrew Adonis have turned anti-Brexit crusaders and taken to Beeb-bashing with a vengeance and, with nothing more than wild assertions and dubious anecdotes, succeeded in sending the BBC into a tailspin, with rebuttal after rebuttal pouring out of the BBC in response to their (to my eyes) groundless criticisms.

And it’s obviously wearing the BBC out too. Even Rob Burley – the BBC’s most indefatigable batsman – seems to be drowning in a sea of lunacy.

The loons are winning on Twitter (if, perhaps, nowhere else) by dint of exhausting everybody else with their fiery tomfoolery.

The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday saw Andrew putting questions that reflected the concerns of the Cadwalladristas, and it sounded (to me) as if Marr and Co were going out of their way to prove to such people that they were doing ‘the right thing’, but (checking Twitter) it still wasn’t enough.

I used to think such things were helpful to the BBC in advancing its silly ‘complaints from both sides’ defence but I really don’t think the BBC is enjoying it at all.

Like robotic entities in Star Trek, it just can’t compute it and is starting to blow up.

If it blows up fully, the BBC will fall even more into the hands of the pro-EU fanatics, Carole Cadwalladr groupies and Corbynista goons.

We live in interesting times.

This first appeared on Is the BBC biased? and is republished with kind permission.

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Craig Byers
Craig Byers is a blogger about the BBC, focusing on the issue of BBC bias while living in Britain's finest traditional seaside resort: Morecambe (the one with the Eric Morecambe statue).

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