Here’s something I once wrote on BBC Bias.
On any given subject you know exactly what the BBC’s line will be. If it’s covering the Middle East it will be bigging up the gallant Hezbollah freedom fighters and the plucky Palestinians at the expense of the hateful, damned-near-as-bad-as-the-Nazis Israeli oppressors. If it’s covering Europe, it will treat every politician who is not in favour of ever-closer-union as a rabid, swivel-eyed, crypto-fascist loon, and every politician who is as a loveable, clear-eyed visionary with a gorgeous mane of beautiful once-blond hair. If it’s covering any kind of war in which the US or Britain are involved, it will be of the view that the enemy are the good guys and that we and/or the US deserve to get our arses kicked. If it’s covering anything to do with the environment, it will, of course, conclusively demonstrate that the earth is doomed and it’s all the fault of greedy Western capitalists.
That was eight years ago in a book called How To Be Right.
So let’s have a look at some of the BBC’s recent output, shall we, to see how it has reformed itself since?
In this 90-minute authored documentary, a fanatically Europhile former editor of the Ecommunist, Bill Emmott, was given space to fantasise about the horrors which would ensue were the glorious and bounteous European Union ever to collapse.
Among the EU’s magnificent achievements cited in the programme were the moment when a bearded man wearing a dress – Conchita Wurst – won the Eurovision Song Contest; and the ‘fact’ that, thanks to the EU, there had never been another war on the European continent as bad as World War II. (To illustrate this point, we were helpfully shown some emaciated Jews in a concentration camp; and also the daughter of a man who had won the Ritterkreutz fighting for the Germans in World War II saying how grateful she was to the EU that her own children would never have to fight in such a war….).
The collapse of Europe was symbolised in the film by dramatised scenes in which lovable TV present Angus Deayton sat in a crashing aeroplane next to a sweet little girl who was being deported by new Prime Minister Nigel Farage because her parents were Italian. This is another thing the EU does apparently: without it, planes will just fall out of the sky.
None of this was connected, of course, with the fact that the BBC has received £22 million from the European Union since 2007; nor that the programme’s translation budget was also EU-funded.
The Casual Vacancy (BBC1)
This is the all-star adaptation of a novel which was either ignored or panned by critics until its author was discovered to be JK Rowling, at which point it suddenly became a bestseller. Set in the Cotswolds, the plotline subtly reveals that capitalists are selfish and greedy, that private enterprise is bad, and that more state money needs to be spent on fairness and welfare centres for working class heroin addicts who were almost certainly driven to their habit by society’s uncaringness, greedy selfishness and selfish greed.
Windfarms are gorgeous and amazing; no the decline of wildlife biodiversity in Britain has nothing whatsoever to do with the green ideological aversion to controlling predator species like raptors, badgers and foxes. Yes: this is the British countryside sanitised for ignorant townies, presented by a man – Tom Heap – who has bought wholesale into every environmental propaganda line going and is more than happy to indoctrinate his gullible audience into correct thinking. (See this Christopher Booker piece for further details).
Banksy goes to Gaza (BBC news item, Feb 26)
A BBC film crew accompanies jumped-up graffiti artist Banksy to Gaza. Banksy discovers, much to his surprise, that the people of Gaza are “under siege” by a brutal, oppressive Israel, and that Gaza cannot rebuild itself because Israel has denied it cement supplies to repair all the buildings (which of course were destroyed by unprovoked Israeli aggression).
Climate Change By Numbers (BBC4, tonight)
As with its sub-Leni-Riefenstahl Great European Disaster, the BBC appears to be sufficiently embarrassed by its latest alarmist propaganda effort not to have made preview copies available to journalists till the very last minute. I think we can safely predict what it’s going to say though: “Here are three mathematicians. Really clever, boffinny mathematicians who are, like, really amazing at maths and shit – way better than you. And do you know what these clever mathematicians have all worked out independently? CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL!!!”
Last week, unfortunately, the parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (CMS) decided that there is “no better alternative for funding the BBC in the near term” than the £4 billion compulsory levy it currently receives from television viewers, regardless of how ill-served they might feel by such outrageously biased output.
It was, as long-time critic of BBC bias Robin Aitken notes here, an opportunity missed.
There is, in my view, little real chance of any government of any stripe taking an axe to the roots of the BBC.
I fear he is right. BBC bias is entrenched, tacitly endorsed by all members of the political establishment (even those on the right who ought to know better but simply lack moral or political courage to tackle the problem) – and very much here to stay.