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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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HomeBBC WatchTen years on, BBC bias is worse than ever

Ten years on, BBC bias is worse than ever

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ASTONISHINGLY, it is almost ten years since I first wrote my first blog for TCW. By that time, I had been friends with and worked with Kathy Gyngell for almost 30 years, 14 of them in trying to hold the BBC in check over its outrageously pro-EU coverage, through News-watch, an organisation we set up jointly in 1999.   

The springboard to that blog a decade ago? The BBC’s incestuous, self-serving infatuation with Glastonbury. I noted that the Corporation was sending its usual hundreds-strong army to mount disproportionately lavish coverage of the event. 

And why? I argued that in the BBC’s warped events diary, this was a ‘woke’ happening par excellence – because at its heart was support for a galaxy of right-on causes such as climate alarmism, led that year by Greenpeace.

My observations about the BBC – underpinned by News-watch research – soon became a feature of TCW’s regular Beebwatch column, and subjects in the first couple of years included the Corporation’s spiteful participation in the baseless claims against Cliff Richard, the build-up to the Brexit referendum, and then in its aftermath, persecution and denigration of Nigel Farage, and the concerted effort to undermine and reverse the ‘yes’ vote. 

With hindsight, these were the years in which BBC bias towards ‘woke’ issues became so deeply entrenched that keeping track of the torrent of misinformation became truly impossible to track. Today, virtually every syllable of output is distorted. Weather bulletins are propaganda exercises in which statistics are bent at every opportunity to exaggerate alarmism. Drama is often comically crude but malicious neo-Marxist agitprop. Any coverage of history is about how vile Britain’s contribution to the world has been. Education coverage is about making the young into warriors for woke causes.  

A decade on has anything changed at the BBC, and is it likely to any time soon? Sadly, no. In late January, Lucy Frazer, the useless Tories’ Culture Secretary, very belatedly released the BBC’s Mid-Term Review (MTR). 

It was announced by her predecessor Nadine Dorries two years earlier. The exercise was trumpeted as a genuine attempt to attack BBC bias and early indications were that there was genuine intent. News-watch was invited to contribute to the process and did so here and here.

We argued in our submission that the only hope of making the BBC properly impartial and in tune with the audiences it is supposed to serve is if the complaints system – in which the Corporation is its own judge and jury – is swept away and replaced by a robustly independent replacement process with teeth. 

As recently as late last summer, sources at the highest levels within the Culture Department were still saying that such reforms were under active consideration. But it was not to be. The MTR has turned out to be – like every alleged BBC reform before it – worse than useless. The blunt truth is that the BBC remains in charge of complaints handling. It is the fox with the keys to the hen house. In the entire Charter period (since 2017), only 147 complaints of almost two million received have been upheld by the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit. 

The MTR supposedly beefed up the complaints process by suggesting that Ofcom should become more rigorous about BBC bias. The reality is that since 2017 Ofcom has seen fit to investigate only a handful of BBC complaints. Most of its Content Board have strong BBC connections and instead focus their energies on attacking GB News.

Thus, nothing is happening to halt the ‘progressive’ agenda embraced by everyone at the BBC from the Director General downwards.  All anyone can now do to resist BBC bias is to stop watching.

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David Keighley
David Keighleyhttp://news-watch.co.uk
Former BBC news producer, BBC PR executive and head of corporate relations for TV-am. Director of News-watch.

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