The BBC - The Bent
A state broadcaster that would have been
comfortable in the old Soviet Union
It has long been clear to me that the BBC is a very biased
broadcasting organisation which takes a strong pro-establishment line on almost
I used to work for the BBC regularly - presenting programmes
on both radio and television. But I don't get invited to appear much on the BBC
these days. Review copies of my books are sent to programme editors and
presenters but, on the whole, we would get as much response if we sent copies to
the Man in the Moon. When representatives of the BBC do ring up it is usually to
invite me to appear on something in which I have absolutely no interest and
which is unlikely to give me any opportunity to embarrass any part of the
official establishment. A little while ago, for example, I received a message
offering me a fee of £2,000 to appear on a `celebrity' issue of a BBC quiz
programme. I declined. I rather doubt, however, that I will be invited to
discuss this book on any BBC programme.
The BBC seems to me to support
the medical establishment, the meat industry and the drug industry and to say
that it is not keen to give air time to my views on doctors or the health
service or to my views on the pointlessness of animal experimentation is
something of an under-statement. I have never heard a BBC programme (on radio or
television) which was fair to pro-animal campaigners, that dealt with the EU
fairly, that dared to criticise American Imperialism with gusto or that
criticised doctors and drug companies. The BBC usually only gives air time to
politicians and other establishment figures and gives little (or preferably no)
time to anyone threatening the establishment with contrary or original thoughts.
Not for nothing is the BBC known not as the British Broadcasting Corporation but
as the Blair Broadcasting Corporation, the Bush and Blair Chorus and the Bent
Broadcasting Corporation. The whole darned organisation spins more than a top.
After watching a BBC news programme I feel dizzy from all the
It has, for some time now, also been pretty clear to me that
the BBC does not like to broadcast uncomfortably trenchant criticism of the
European Union. My book England Our England is probably the biggest
selling book on politics to have been published in England in recent years. And
yet I have discussed it just once on the BBC, on a late night local radio
programme. (The presenter later reported an unprecedented interest in the
I am not the only person to have noticed that the BBC takes
an unusually partisan line on the EU. This pro-European bias has been evident to
many listeners for many years and few people were surprised when, in June 2004,
a study conducted by the Centre for Policy Studies revealed that the BBC gave
twice as much coverage to pro-EU speakers as to eurosceptics. (I'd like to see,
but am unlikely ever to obtain, a list of all the direct and indirect grants and
financial inducements the BBC may have received from the European
Naturally, representatives of the BBC are invariably quick to
defend their organisation. I suspect that some of them really believe that they
are impartial and it is certainly a fact that they often fail to realise just
how much their bias is showing. People who work for the BBC don't think of
themselves as being part of the establishment (in fact many of them like to
think of themselves as being rather radical) but with the possible exception of
the British Medical Association I don't think I've ever known a more
pro-establishment body than the BBC. The BBC has a hierarchy based on the civil
service and certainly doesn't reflect the diversity of opinion in England. Very
few BBC employees have ever experienced life in the free market (the ones who
have, have often failed).
The problem is that the BBC's internal
environment, their in-house culture, is terribly biased towards Labour and all
its best-established enthusiasms. Any honest broadcaster would have left the BBC
in disgust years ago. The European Union is important to Labour and so it is
important to the BBC too. (The BBC's uncomfortable, and for it rather
embarrassing, position over the illegal invasion of Iraq was merely a reflection
of the Labour Party's own internal schism.)
Most BBC staff members are
recruited through advertisements which appear exclusively in left-wing
pro-Labour newspapers such as The Guardian and the organisation grows and grooms
its own managers instead of recruiting from outside. Inevitably, most of the
people who work for the BBC are Guardian readers. There are uncomfortable and
unacceptable links between BBC staff and the Labour Party. One BBC presenter and
her company are alleged to have received £600,000 in public money since Labour
took over the government.Would anyone trust a journalist reporting on, say, the
drug industry who earned part of their income working for the drug industry?
Is it really surprising, therefore, that the BBC ends up supporting the
EU and refusing to allow the critics of the EU fair access to its airtime? Is it
surprising that BBC staff invariably seem frightened of producing anything
likely to upset the establishment? Was it really surprising when one well-known
presenter referred to the Labour Party as `we'? Most BBC staff may not be stupid
enough to endorse one party but they don't even realise that their prejudices
are prejudices. They simply regard their views as `right'.
produces very little real investigative journalism and no consumer protection.
The organisation is plump, complacent and infinitely pro-establishment; full of
people who are terribly pleased with themselves and scared witless that their
comfy sinecure may end. Is it any wonder that young BBC broadcasters do nothing
original or daring or likely to upset any part of the establishment, unless it
is acceptably original or daring (in which case of course it is neither).
The ultimate insult, of course, is that it is impossible to listen to
the radio or watch television in England without paying a hefty annual fee to
the BBC. Where else in the world do the citizens have to pay to be
indoctrinated? Does no one outside the BBC realise that any broadcaster which is
totally dependent upon the establishment and the government of the day for its
very existence must end up as no more than a tool for both.
BBC gets its income from a tax on the public (whether they watch its programmes
or not) the BBC is effectively a state owned broadcaster. It certainly acts like
one. No one with a brain would expect to turn on the BBC to listen to the news.
The BBC is a good old-fashioned state broadcaster. It would have been
comfortable operating in the USSR in the 1960s.
Taken from The Truth They Won't Tell You (And Don't
Want You To Know) About The EU by Vernon Coleman, published by Blue Books at
£9.99. Available from the webshop on this website, from all good webshops and
from all good bookshops everywhere.