FROM the shocking cover up of Jimmy Savile to the mistreatment of Lord McAlpine and Sir Cliff Richard and the scandal of Martin Bashir’s interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, the BBC’s reputation for honesty and integrity has never been lower. With so much of the public alienated by the BBC’s output, can it still be regarded as the nation’s broadcaster?
This is what New Culture Forum asks in the online introduction to the latest of its Heresies documentary series, BBC Bias Exposed presented by former BBC journalist Robin Aitken, author of Can We Trust the BBC and The Noble Liar: How and why the BBC distorts the news to promote a liberal agenda.
The awful truth is that the BBC has been getting away with murder for well over 20 years. When David Keighley and I began independently monitoring all matters to do with its coverage of EU some 22 years ago, we found a pattern that has, I believe, been repeated today over Covid. It was more than overt bias (though there was plenty of that – Nigel Farage has never been given a friendly interview and in those pre Brexit Party days was always relegated to the earliest ‘graveyard’ slot after 6am on the Today programme), it was ignoring the very existence of a eurosceptic perspective. We called it bias by omission. If the phrase ‘cancel culture’ existed then, it would have been applied to a view that had been held by some 50 per cent of the population more or less since joining the EEC in 1972.
The documentary addresses this BBC ‘worldview’ – the lens they determine we will all see the world through – that for a long time has prevented it reporting fairly on the world. Robin Aitken shows how its internationalist, secularist and multiculturalist ideology prevents it from providing fair and balanced news, apparent in its coverage of the EU and Brexit, Donald Trump, Black Lives Matter, and the persecution of Christians (a subject rarely mentioned compared with BBC reporting on the plight of other religious minorities).
I would add to this list the one that is now the most worrying of all: the BBC’s coverage of Covid, lockdown and vaccines. By commission it has acted as the government’s state of fear propaganda arm; by commission the only ‘opposition’ it gave a platform was for more lockdown, not less – for more authoritarianism, not less. By omission it has ensured that the public never heard the considered scientific arguments of distinguished scientists, or of journalists, academics and ordinary people, against the disproportionate lockdown response, the truth about the origins of the virus, or the profound concerns about experimental vaccine. By omission, too, it has ignored the huge vested international political and pharma interests and plausible accusations of criminality. The final damning omission is the failure to address the rapid erosion of our democratic rights and individual liberties.
Watch this film and you will not be surprised that we are where we are. The BBC has arrogantly dismissed criticism for years. It simply refuses to engage with any critique of its output, however well evidenced, even when it came to Martin Bashir – it was no one’s fault and certainly not John Birt’s. They are above censure. They are the masters of the universe, impregnable. They are the BBC.