The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) recently carried out a largely negative coverage of the political reactions to the Daily Mail's -- a popular conservative British newspaper -- controversial and widely-discussed article on the political relationship between of Ed Miliband and his Marxist father, Ralph Miliband. (Ed Miliband could possibly become Britain's next Prime Minister in 2015.) The Daily Mail itself then accused the BBC of propagating its own political bias on the very same issue.
Predictably, the BBC has said that it 'ensured both sides had the chance to express their views.' That's a stock response from the BBC. Even the wording remains pretty much identical each time it's expressed or published. This is understandable when you consider how many times the BBC faces the accusation of political bias. Despite that, the BBC is a tax/license-funded 'public service organization.' That means that different standards should apply to its output when compared to a newspaper like the Daily Mail.
What's strange about this ongoing and long-term debate about 'BBC bias' is that -- strangely enough -- the BBC has often admitted to it. The BBC has even been explicit about the precise political nature of that bias. In the last decade or so I've heard -- on the radio -- ten or more confessions (as it were) of that political bias from various BBC bigwigs.
For example, the BBC has often been described -- even by its supporters/fans -- as being 'liberal' as well as being 'left-liberal'. What's more, the BBC has describe itself in such ways. Despite that, at other times those admissions -- if that's what they are -- of political bias are wholly denied.
Presumably the BBC contains people who are philosophically literate. And because that must be the case, then at least some of its employees must know that it's virtually (theoretically/philosophically) impossible for a news agency and broadcaster not to be biased in some small or large ways.
For example, as many people have put it, bias is shown in the very selection of stories which are covered as well as by those which are deliberately ignored. And even within that context we can add the fact that this bias includes which aspects of these already-selected stories are themselves selected.
Here's my own example of bias. Take the BBC News website, in which most of the news pieces are very succinct and deal mainly in quotes and factual detail. In other words, of all the BBC's news output, this website is perhaps the least biased. Yet take the example of Tom Symonds -- the BBC's Home Affairs correspondent -- and his very subtle and sly editorializing on the departure of Tommy Robinson from the English Defence League or EDL (an anti-Islamist and counter-jihad movement). I'll leave the reader to decide how the following quotes can be construed:
".... marches attended by men and women who say they are working class..."
"Officially the EDL denies being racist..."
"Their [Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll] departure has weakened the movement, and its mobilization of anti-Muslim working class sentiment."
Another personal experience of BBC bias occurred with the well-known BBC journalist and writer Mark Easton. In this instance I heard him pontificate for five minutes or more on the ceaseless and unpolluted glories of (unrestricted?) immigration on BBC Radio 2's "Jeremy Vine Show." I decided to pick him up on what he said by emailing him. To my surprise, he replied. He wrote back saying:
"I was not making an argument about the pros and cons of immigration itself..."
In fact Mark Easton had done precisely the opposite of that. He didn't offer a single criticism of any aspect of mass immigration. In response to that reply I repeated my criticism in a return email. And, even more surprisingly, he replied again. However, this time the political nature of what he had said was made much more explicit:
Of late I have noticed that the BBC has been leaning toward a very liberal interpretation of US policy and government and that does disturb me. It had always seemed to maintain a very unbiased position regarding US politics and policy and that has changed.
Therefore, I find that I have to be very suspect when I read their articles now. That, again, is very sad. Just as I think that the US should remain neutral in reporting UK political information and make it more informative than opinionated, I do believe that the BBC should be doing much the same with US reporting. I just had hoped the BBC could rise above what we have come to see in the US with our media, apparently not.
The LA Times has gone so far as to refuse to print anymore letters to the editor that are from those who say that there is no proof of man caused global warming. The Kansas City Star tends to print a large number of letters supportive of Democrats & critical of the GOP even though they say that they print a wide range of views. Their articles have a left leaning spin. Curious in a mostly conservative area of the country. Unbiased & factual reporting seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur. Guess it's spreading acrooss the pond.
The BBC needs to pay more attention to what's not going right in their own country. They have huge Muslim communities. And, they are having major issues in these communities. Since Obama has been in office it seems The US is being pummeled by negative articles.
Sad time for our country.