Simon Walters has a story in the Mail on Sunday which contains the writeup of the BBC summit on impartiality. I guess it's nothing we didn't suspect already, but when it's written up so starkly it comes as a bit of a shock. I think I might discuss this on my show tomorrow night!
It was the day that a host of BBC executives and star presenters admitted what critics have been telling them for years: the BBC is dominated by trendy, Left-leaning liberals who are biased against Christianity and in favour of multiculturalism. A leaked account of an 'impartiality summit' called by BBC chairman Michael Grade, is certain to lead to a new row about the BBC and its reporting on key issues, especially concerning Muslims and the war on terror.
It reveals that executives would let the Bible be thrown into a dustbin on a TV comedy show, but not the Koran, and that they would broadcast an interview with Osama Bin Laden if given the opportunity. Further, it discloses that the BBC's 'diversity tsar', wants Muslim women newsreaders to be allowed to wear veils when on air.
At the secret meeting in London last month, which was hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians. One veteran BBC executive said: 'There was widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness.
'Unfortunately, much of it is so deeply embedded in the BBC's culture, that it is very hard to change it.' In one of a series of discussions, executives were asked to rule on how they would react if the controversial comedian Sacha Baron Cohen) known for his offensive characters Ali G and Borat - was a guest on the programme Room 101.
On the show, celebrities are invited to throw their pet hates into a dustbin and it was imagined that Baron Cohen chose some kosher food, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a Bible and the Koran. Nearly everyone at the summit, including the show's actual producer and the BBC's head of drama, Alan Yentob, agreed they could all be thrown into the bin, except the Koran for fear of offending Muslims.
In a debate on whether the BBC should interview Osama Bin Laden if he approached them, it was decided the Al Qaeda leader would be given a platform to explain his views. And the BBC's 'diversity tsar', Mary Fitzpatrick, said women newsreaders should be able to wear whatever they wanted while on TV, including veils. Ms Fitzpatrick spoke out after criticism was raised at the summit of TV newsreader Fiona Bruce, who recently wore on air a necklace with a cross.
The full account of the meeting shows how senior BBC figures queued up to lambast their employer. Political pundit Andrew Marr said: 'The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.'
Washington correspondent Justin Webb said that the BBC is so biased against America that deputy director general Mark Byford had secretly agreed to help him to 'correct', it in his reports. Webb added that the BBC treated America with scorn and derision and gave it 'no moral weight'. Former BBC business editor Jeff Randall said he complained to a 'very senior news executive', about the BBC's pro-multicultural stance but was given the reply: 'The BBC is not neutral in multiculturalism: it believes in it and it promotes it.'
Randall also told how he once wore Union Jack cufflinks to work but was rebuked with: 'You can't do that, that's like the National Front!'
Quoting a George Orwell observation, Randall said that the BBC was full of intellectuals who 'would rather steal from a poor box than stand to attention during God Save The King'. There was another heated debate when the summit discussed whether the BBC was too sensitive about criticising black families for failing to take responsibility for their children. Head of news Helen Boaden disclosed that a Radio 4 programme which blamed black youths at a young offenders', institution for bullying white inmates faced the axe until she stepped in.
But Ms Fitzpatrick, who has said that the BBC should not use white reporters in non-white countries, argued it had a duty to 'contextualise' why black youngsters behaved in such a way. Andrew Marr told The Mail on Sunday last night: 'The BBC must always try to reflect Britain, which is mostly a provincial, middle-of-the-road country. Britain is not a mirror image of the BBC or the people who work for it.'