The BBC is a lefty haven taken hostage by liberal “group think” and dysfunctional governance. It’s a criticism often voiced by those with a dislike for the lavishly-funded national broadcaster – including UKIP leader Nigel Farage – but now a former boss has come out and said it publicly.
Roger Mosey, a former editorial director, believes the corporation fails to acknowledge the concerns of much of its audience over asylum and immigration and adopts a default “liberal-defensive” position on the issues. In short, the BBC is a megaphone for the fashionable metropolitan elites rather than a broad-based church of wider public opinion.
In his memoirs, serialised in The Times today, Mr Mosey explains how the Ten O’Clock News “sanitised” a report on an area with high immigration by deleting interviews with members of the white community who made “hard” comments.
He also mocks a leaflet sent to local BBC radio stations identifying target listeners as a middle-aged couple named Dave and Sue who socialise with people from different ethnic backgrounds and are open-minded about adopting aspects of other cultures.
“It must have been something of a shock to the writers of this leaflet when many real-life Daves and Sues went off and joined Ukip,” he writes.
UKIP Leader Nigel Farage was an outspoken critic of the BBC during the general election and will no doubt be heartened to have his views validated by Mr Mosey’s observation. Remember Mr Farage called out the BBC’s bias and said this just weeks before the UK went to the polls:
“The BBC produces many great programmes, but the idea propagated by its senior management that it does not also need fundamental reform is simply wrong.
“When it comes to political bias, it is obvious to most people that the metropolitan and establishment backgrounds of so many of its journalists is a problem. For instance, Newsnight has become little more than a televised version of The Guardian, with its journalists moving to and fro between it and Channel Four News at frequent intervals.
“I think it is time for Newsnight to be put out to grass and a new flagship current affairs and news analysis programme to replace it.”
Mr Mosey, who was de-facto deputy to the present director-general, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, before leaving the corporation in 2013, also takes the BBC Trust to task. He calls it an unloved, unconvincing, “shadowy force” facing an “existential crisis”.
The memoirs from Mr Mosey, who held several senior roles at the corporation including editor of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, come as the BBC readies for battle with the government over the future of its £3.7 billion licence fee and regulation. Its Royal Charter is due for renewal in 2016.
Mr Mosey, now Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge, reveals how:
* Salary inflation at the corporation led BBC Trust figures to consider offering to pay a director-general a £1 million salary, seven times as much as the prime minister earns;
* Its Newsnight programme was almost taken off air at the height of the Jimmy Savile crisis;
* Decision-making is like “Groundhog Day” because of the unwieldy structure and number of hoops through which director-generals have to jump.
Which is all well and good but it does pose the question: If Mr Mosey felt so strongly about these concerns while he was at the BBC, why didn’t he do something to counter the lefty-luvvie club at the time rather than wait to say it in his memoirs?
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: email@example.com