We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

BBC, the voice of Truth

Rod Liddle in The Spectator was unimpressed by the BBC’s recent coverage of the British local municipal elections, saying that the BBC seemed determined to play down the Tory Party’s success in winning a lot of seats, and played down the losses suffered by Labour.

The BBC is biased? Noooooooooooo! Say it ain’t so, folks.

13 comments to BBC, the voice of Truth

  • Johan

    They are biased?? My world is falling apart…..(not).

    Is the BBC state financed or what? (I dont live in the UK so I dont know).

  • Andrew Duffin

    This is news?

    Come on guys, it must be a slow day at Samizdata Mansions.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I guess it is a slow news day. I mean, I feel almost burned out trashing idiotarians over Iraq, reading garbage by Margaret Drabble and Polly Toynbee. I have nothing really to say in addition to smarter folk about SARS, I am not a nanotechnology expert, so, well, we are scraping the barrel.

    But hey, the next installment of the Matrix is out soon. Wait for my gushing review!

  • Julian Morrison

    “The BBC is biased” is oversimplifying. A more precise rendition might be: “the BBC is institutionally and unavoidably composed of biased people”.

  • S. Weasel

    That really is an important distinction, Julian. I’ll bet anything most employees of the BBC could put hand on heart, swear they weren’t biased, and pass a lie detector test. They’ve just been so sheltered from reality or dissent that they can’t conceive of a world view outside their own little circle. Oh, sure, a few wackos and crazies might hold some unorthodox views, but you wouldn’t seriously want them reported upon as if they were regular people, would you?

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    I don’t entirely agree with the Spectator article.

    Maybe I’m missing something, but my view from America (as one who listens to the World Service and doesn’t have the opportunity to listen to any of the domestic stuff) is that the BBC are trying to portray the BNP (and *any* politician who doesn’t support unlimited immigration of third-worlders, as well as leaving them unintegrated by supporting multicultural claptrap) as racist, and that the only reason anybody could ever support such a politician is due to racism too. Look at how most media outlets tried to portray Pim Fortuyn as being part of the “extreme right”.

    As a shortwave listener, I hear the same sort of thing about other populist, anti-immigrant parties as well. Radio Vlaanderen Internationaal in Belgium routinely refers to the Vlaams Bloc as “extreme right”, and insists on using the odious term “democratic parties” to refer to every party other than the VB. (Of course, Belgium is the country which tried to ostracize Austria when Austria’s free and fair elections produced a result the Belgian several of the “democratic parties” insist on such horrible ideas as compulsory voting, genital quotas in party lists, use of taxes to go to political parties, *and* denying tax monies to parties with the wrong beliefs (specifically the VB).

  • Anonymous_brit

    Ted, it’s easy to portray the BNP as racists because that’s exactly what they are. You only need to look at the backgrounds of many of their canidates and their criminal convictions for racial assaults to realise that.

    They are a rebranding excercise for the NF and their old Combat18 chums.

    And as for the BBC “bias”, the BBC were reporting largely what the Tory party have been saying internally for a while. We’re in the mid term of the second term of the Labour government and the traditional strong swing to the opposition didn’t happen. The Tories have some fundamental problems (core average voter age getting older, no core vote in the under 30 bracket, general mistrust of them *despite* everything thats hit New Labour). The lack of that strong swing, the resignations from the Tory front bench, all point to a party with problems, and blaming the BBC for bias is just displacement activity by the Spectator.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Anonymous Brit:

    I wasn’t intending to say the BNP aren’t racist. It was my intention to disagree with the Spectator article, which implied the BBC weren’t saying this in their coverage of the local elections (which I as an American did not see). The racism charge and the “extreme right” label is, in my experience, what Europe’s media do to any politician who is opposed to Third World immigration and the multiculturalism policies designed to keep Third Worlders from integrating. Remember Jürgen Rüttgers and the “Kinder statt Inder” campaign a few years back? Rüttgers thought the German government should be doing more to ensure that native-born German kids could grow up to get jobs in the high-tech industry, rather than importing labor from India. For this he was vilified.

    (Ironically, Jesse Jackson has said much the same thing here in the States, except he’s talking about black children. And his comments get him lionized.)

  • Anonymous_brit

    Ted: Yes, the racism charge is often used even when people are trying to raise issues where race and economic mobility get compounded into a singular issue.

    The Spectator article is generally weak in that it is all based on “what everyone knows” which isn’t “what everyone knows”. For examplem; That people who voted for the BNP aren’t necessarily racist is a fact; they run targetted tuned campaigns aimed at particular local issues and try and tune out the race issue, sticking to the asylum issue which they use as their ‘code’. So the BBC is stuck between a rock and a hard place; namely the broadcasting regulations that cover elections.

    There is one good point in the Spectator article; the other channels in the UK didn’t cover the election night beyond normal news bulletins.

    I stick to my rule of thumb… if everyone’s accusing the BBC of bias, they are spot on on the balance thing. 🙂

  • G Cooper

    Anonymous_brit writes:

    ” stick to my rule of thumb… if everyone’s accusing the BBC of bias, they are spot on on the balance thing. :)”

    You may need to get your thumbs checked. This is a specious argument usually trotted out by BBC stalwarts when faced with accusations of bias.

    The fact that the liberal-Left bitches at the BBC has absolutely no objective bearing on whether the Corporation is biased or not. It could be biased quite a degree in that direction but still insufficiently for those of a Toynbee persuasion.

    The only objective research I have seen (though there are caveats about the word ‘objective’ I accept) suggests that the BBC is very biased on certain issues- the EU to name just one.

  • JohninLondon

    What is so ironic about this item is that Rod Liddle himself was responsible for a steady bias in the flagship news programme “Today” on BBC radio, when he edited it – while still writing columns for the Guardian. “Today” is very influential, running from 6am to 9am each morning, and effectively setting the agenda for UK politics each day.

    Rod Liddle was eventually forced to drop his editorship after a particularly blatant piece of bias against the Countryside Campaign.

  • Dan McWiggins

    I just came back from Operation Iraqi Freedom. On my ship the clearest radio reception was always from BBC channels so that was where we got our news. While I want to thank the British taxpayer for his willingness to help merchant mariners, among others, stave off boredom, it appeared patently obvious that Auntie Beeb has a very noticeable anti-American bias. As a particularly flagrant example, there was a female broadcaster, surnamed Shah, who seemed to positively delight in every bit of bad news for the Coalition. Her anti-Americanism was almost palpable. It was most clearly manifested in her almost vicious questioning of any pro-Coalition expert who had the misfortune to be with her while she was on the air. I wrote someone back in the U.S. that I hoped some British serviceman would come back from Iraq, go straight to Bush House, and slap her silly for being a traitorous bitch. If Gulf War II was the Beeb’s chance to redeem itself from the “telly traitors” accusations leveled at it during the Falklands War, they blew it big time. I generally consider myself to be appreciative of British accomplishments and have a high regard for much in the U.K. I’m afraid that the BBC is no longer in the pantheon of things British that I admire. They don’t much like the U.S.–and they don’t hide it, either.

  • G Cooper

    Dan McWiggins wirites:

    “They don’t much like the U.S.–and they don’t hide it, either.”

    And that is exactly spot-on. Throughout both the preamble to the invasion of Iraq and ever since, the entire drift of the BBC’s coverage has been anti-American – to an extent which I simply cannot see how any BBC apologists can pretend otherwise.

    Sadly, this opinion passes unremarked on in bien pensant circles, where a sort of reflexive anti-Americanism (along with growing anti-semitism) is standard dinner party fare, reaching a recent peak with Margaret Drabble’s spittle-flecked prose in the Daily Telegraph.

    It’s hard to see how this might change, given the way the BBC recruits (from university ‘educated’ Guardian readers), which is what leads some of us on the rabble-rousing side of things to advocating its overthrow.