Two-Thirds of Britons Think the BBC Is Biased

People leave the BBC building, in the corporation's West London headquarters, 21 March 2005.
CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty

A poll has revealed that nearly two-thirds of Britons think that the BBC is biased.

A Norstat poll of 1,108 Britons taken between the 21st and 29th of November and reported in Guido Fawkes found that 38 per cent of respondents said that the public broadcaster was “somewhat biased” while 26 per cent said it was “greatly biased”. Overall, a total of 64 per cent of people believe that the BBC expresses some degree of bias.

Broken down by Leave and Remain voters, 72 per cent of Leavers said that the BBC was “somewhat” or “greatly” biased, but even 59 per cent of Remainers expressed the same opinions.

The BBC has been accused of liberal or anti-Brexit bias in the past. A report of News-Watch in 2017 and another from the think tank Civitas in 2018 both found that pro-Leave opinions were suppressed over the years on the Today programme, BBC Radio 4’s flagship news and currents affairs show.

Veteran broadcaster and retired host of Today John Humphrys said after leaving the broadcaster that he felt relieved to be free of “the BBC Thought Police”. He later criticised the BBC for failing to live up to its pledge to be neutral by expressing a liberal-progressive bias in the transgender and immigration debates. Mr Humphrys, a Remain supporter himself, also detailed the widespread devastation of his colleagues and bosses over the 2016 vote to leave the EU.

The survey results come as Ofcom determined that it would not be investigating Channel 4 for bias after replacing Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a melting block of ice during a televised leaders’ election debate devoted solely to climate change.

The Conservatives had complained to broadcasting regulator Ofcom after the programme had refused to accept Michael Gove as a replacement for Mr Johnson, opting instead to dramatically ’empty chair’ the prime minister, and alleged anti-Conservative bias at the network.

The watchdog ruled it was acceptable for Channel 4 to insist that only Mr Johnson could represent the Tories and deemed that replacing him with a melting piece of ice did not breach impartiality rules, according to The Guardian.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has also been replaced with an ice sculpture of the earth after boycotting the November 28th debate.

The Brexit Party had said in a statement before the debate: “We have no faith that the broadcaster will conduct this debate in a fair and objective way. Brexit is the defining issue of our age and the fact that Channel 4 does not want to discuss it speaks volumes about this broadcaster and its Remain position.”

Mr Farage had earlier criticised the BBC as an “outdated anachronism whose political behaviour since the referendum has been biased at every single level” before revealing that under Brexit Party rules there would be a “phasing out of the BBC licencing fee over the coming years”.

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