BBC presenter John Humphrys has criticised his own broadcaster, accusing it of being “broadly liberal” and failing to take into account opposing views. In an interview with the Radio Times magazine, the Today programme presenter said the BBC had, in the past, been guilty of not being “sufficiently sceptical” of the EU and immigration.
He also criticised the Corporation’s bureaucracy, saying that it has been “over-managed”, and described large pay-offs to some former BBC staff as “irresponsible”.
Although Mr Humphrys claimed to have voted for “most political parties”, he told the magazine: “The sort of people we’ve recruited – the best and the brightest – tended to come from universities and backgrounds where they’re more likely to hold broadly liberal views than conservative.”
He added that this meant the BBC had not been as balanced as it could be in how it reported various issues: “We weren’t sufficiently sceptical – that’s the most accurate phrase – of the pro-European case. We bought into the European ideal.
“We weren’t sufficiently sceptical about the pro-immigration argument. We didn’t look at the potential negatives with sufficient rigour. I think we’re out of that now. I think we have changed.”
Referring to waste and bureaucracy at the Corporation, Mr Humphrys said: “There are too many [managers]. I think they think that. I think [director-general] Tony Hall thinks that – I don’t know, I haven’t asked him, but I think he thinks that.
“Over the years we’ve been grotesquely over-managed, there’s no question. They’re now getting a grip on it. A lot have gone. I think more need to go.”
Mr Humphrys is one of the leading presenters of BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme, a position from which he seems to have no intention to retire: “I love doing the programme. How could you not? My curiosity has not dimmed at all. If anything it’s increased,” he said in the interview.