Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sunny Hundal's Biased View of the BBC

Sunny Hundal is one of the left's more sensible bloggers and is usually worth reading, but his piece on CommentIsFree today on media bias is so full of holes, I hardly know where to start. He asserts that its time that the liberal left withdrew its uncritical support for the BBC. The subtitle of his article reads: "Rightwing bloggers don't care about balance at the BBC. It's time the left dropped its uncritical support and went on the offensive."

He seems to object to anyone on the right objecting to examples of left of centre bias within the BBC, and accuses the BBC of backing down far too often to people on the right. Perhaps he should give more credit to the BBC. Sometimes, just sometimes, they admit that we have a legitimate complaint. They don't always react to complaints but there have been recent examples of where they's held up their hands and admitted they got it wrong. Far from losing their collective cojones, it actually takes real cojones to do that, particularly in a top heavy organisation like the BBC, where it's usually wisest to keep your head down. Sunny writes...
The BBC has always come under attack from the political right and left for its supposed bias towards the other side. But the rise of rightwing blogs in the US
and UK has encouraged a more shrill atmosphere, where a vast leftwing conspiracy
is assumed to exist at every corner.

Not true. There are just as many left wing bloggers who believe there to be a vast right wing conspiracy. Indeed, from his article, Sunny appears to be one of them. He continues...
Then there is the constant cry that the Beeb itself admits it's institutionally biased. Except ... erm, the report said nothing of the sort. And are we really to be surprised that a bunch of rightwing papers play up accusations of leftwing bias by a few employees? Would the Daily Mail ever give such coverage to someone who accused it of rightwing bias? I suspect not.

First of all, I don't recall anyone alleging that the BBC has admitted any such thing. Proof, Sunny? Andrew Marr has indeed said the BBC has an inbuilt 'liberal' bias, but he's not the whole BBC. The key difference here is that tha Daily Mail is open about its bias, and it doesn't receive a penny of taxpayers' money. The BBC receives £2.5 billion a year. A very weak argument, Sunny. And there's more...
Rightwing bloggers and the growing number of newspaper commentators who support them are not interested in editorial balance...The bloggers and much of the press won't be happy until the BBC reflects their worldview without accepting that the whole picture may lie somewhere in the middle, despite their continual hypocrisy. Not only are they uninterested in balance, they are completely obsessed and convinced that this vast leftwing conspiracy dominates the Beeb.

A bold assertion, which again Sunny fails to back up. How can he say that I do not believe there should be editorial balance at the BBC. Of course I do. I only ever get irritated when I see that balance disappear - just as, from the opposite perspective, no doubt Sunny does. He continues...
BBC editors themselves seem to have collectively lost their cojones, or at least their editorial guidelines. The first sign of an outraged rightwing blogging campaign leads editors to hurriedly make changes while simultaneously releasing statements that any accusations of bias had nothing to do with it. Who is that going to fool?

Has it ever occurred to him, that sometimes - just sometimes - the right may have a point? Sorry, silly me. But now we come to the most idiotic part of Sunny's article, for in this next paragraph he actually admits that there IS a liberal bias within the BBC, which surely undermines everything which precedes it.
Now, to my main point. For many of us on the liberal left, the BBC is a useful if somewhat increasingly dumbed-down antidote to the hard-right propaganda of
most of the press. It keeps us vaguely sane, so we support it.

Quite a revealing admission, wouldn't you say? His final two paragraphs are a clarion call to the left to fight back and attack the BBC in the same way that he appears to believe the right does. Desperate times, eh?
It is only obvious then, that those on the liberal left should stop supporting the BBC. Instead we should continually attack it and expose its rightwing bias. Supporting the corporation or focusing on editorial balance only seems to result in the centre ground shifting further to the right, since they are the only ones complaining. The likes of Iain Dale, Guido Fawkes and Biased BBC are merely following a strategy pioneered
the American loony-right blogs. It's time the liberal left fought back.

Quite the most badly argued and incredible piece I have read on CommentIsFree for some time. And that's saying something. But it does give me some solace. It makes me think that those of us on the right are actually getting somewhere if we can provoke pieces like this!

UPDATE: Sunny has responded to this HERE. he reckons I have misunderstood him. Make your own minds up. If I have, then I have to say he should have been clearer in his original article!


Anonymous said...

Why not have the equivalent of Fox News in the UK? The left may have something to complain about then.


Anonymous said...

The BBC calls Osama Bin Laden a "Saudi dissident"


Anonymous said...

Iain theres an ICM poll out in tomorrows Guardian showing Labour soaring to new heights and the Tories slumping to new depths, its on the SKY news website, October election on the cards.

septicisle said...

Err no Iain, you've missed Sunny's point in that "revealing" paragraph entirely. He isn't saying that the BBC is biased to the left, just that its reporting on occasion sets the record straight in the face of hard-right propaganda. That's not being biased; it's accurate, non-sensational reporting, which the BBC ought to specialise in.

As for no one alleging the BBC has admitted any such thing, I thought you were meant to be a voracious reader of the newspapers? It was the Sunday Times that started that nonsense with this article saying that the BBC's impartiality in the 21st century report admitted the corporation was "institutionally biased" when it said nothing of the sort: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1942948.ece

Both the Sun and Daily Mail, to name but two, have followed up that report and mentioned it on a number of occasions.

I don't agree with Sunny's conclusions, but that nonsense about John Redwood and now the Newsround "scandal" have been examples of making momentous mountains of molehills.

Tony said...

I have just read through the piece and the comments on Pickled Politics. I have to say I am completely gobsmacked by Sunny's assertions. He genuinely seems to have convinced himself there is a right-wing bias at the BBC. I mean, seriously. Consider this comment he wrote in the thread...

"What has our support gotten us??? It has made the BBC accept that the left isn’t going to complain about its right wing bias and thus its more intent on appeasing the right than simply good, fearless journalism."

The world according to Sunny has been turned on its head. There is even talk of a 'left wing' version of Biased BBC. I cannot imagine that many people will visit a blog with one post every blue moon.

Old BE said...


Because it is not a free market!

Iain, keep up the good work.

Sonicdeathmonkey said...

I love his post

'Inevitably, that begs the question - if the BBC is so easy to influence then why the hell isn't the left making noise about its right-wing bias?'

Well duh, either the 'left' arn't very good at making noise, or there isn't a case to answer, and the beeb is actually biased towards the left....

I expect it's both, but rather more the latter.

Garry said...

Iain: But now we come to the most idiotic part of Sunny's article, for in this next paragraph he actually admits that there IS a liberal bias within the BBC, which surely undermines everything which precedes it.

"Now, to my main point. For many of us on the liberal left, the BBC is a useful if somewhat increasingly dumbed-down antidote to the hard-right propaganda of most of the press. It keeps us vaguely sane, so we support it."

When I read Sunny's piece, I did think that that sentence was open to misrepresentation.

To be an "antidote to the hard-right propaganda of most of the press" it is not necessary to be on the left. Yes, the BBC is to the left of the rightwing Mail and the Sun and yes, lefties are happy that rightwing views do not completely dominate the media but by definition it is perfectly possible to be on the left of these rightwing newspapers but still be in the centre. While loathe to speak for Sunny, it is obvious that this is what he meant.

I'd have thought an intelligent fellow like yourself would have understood that the quoted section was not an admission that there is bias within the BBC. It's almost as if you intentionally misrepresented what Sunny wrote.

Sonicdeathmonkey said...

There is even talk of a 'left wing' version of Biased BBC.

What he fails to understand, that in the freedom of the internet and blogging, there is nothing stopping this being created. The fact it don't exist (or one has never got off the ground in the way biased-bbc has) is telling however.

Then again, the left don't do freedom too well....I guess thats why 'right-wing' blogs dominate.

BJ said...

I can't find any BBC-is-biased-to-the-right blogs, but you'd be surprised at the number of complaints received that the BBC saying it is pro-Conservative, pro-Israel, or most commonly "pro-capitalism", whatever that means. I read several every day.

Aside from the abolition of the BBC, or the end of the licence fee, I wonder what it is that Biased-BBC campaigners actually want. Iain frequently praises the BBC on here as well as burying it -- so what kind of volume of output that you consider to be unbiased will it actually take to convice you once and for all?

Anonymous said...

Left? Right? Do you mean Liberal or Authoritarian? :)

Anonymous said...

Why waste your life reading the thoughts of a leftist blogger?

Twentieth Century history is (roughly speaking) a demonstration of the assertion that the left are (roughly speaking) wrong about everything.

Indeed as a rule of thumb if you seek truth take as a starting point the exact opposite of anything claimed by a leftist.

If a grown up describes themselves as on the left they are either

1) Saying it for effect and do not really mean it [in which case why take them seriously]

2) Do not know what they are saying but are too narcissistic to want to find out [in which case all you can do is hope that they will grow up]

3) Are little more than a cocktail hatreds looking for some sort of validation [in which case all you can do is hope that they get nowhere near any political power].

Anonymous said...

Talk to Labour party supporters in private, when they are being candid. You will generally hear the same thing: 'By and large we don't get a bad deal from the Beeb.'

Hard to get hold of the figures but I believe there are very few complaints of right wing bias, and hundreds of complaints about left-wing bias.

Of course, the relatively few complaints from the left enable the BBC to say, 'If both sides are complaining we must be getting the balance about right.' But the argument is flawed. Complaints from both sides may be evidence of a total failure to achieve impartiality.

Geezer said...

Typical reaction from a typical Guardianista.
The Bourgeois Left don't get the idea of political bias. There is only right (left-wing opinions) and wrong (right wing or anything that contradicts the left-wing orthodoxy) To them, left-wing opinions are morally correct and righteous and differing opinions are nasty and corrupting, and so, have to be demonised or ridiculed as mad or bad and not given a fair representation in a balanced argument. Therefore, the BBC's massive imbalance can only be seen as unquestionably righteous, by the Left. Not because they don't think that there are convincing counter opinions out there, but quite the opposite, it is because they fear they would lose the arguments to the Right (as they have done in the past) and to rationality in general, and they deliberately seek to bury opposing arguments for this reason. This has gradually created a left-wing orthodoxy at the BBC, that many viewers and listeners, especially those of a non-politicised disposition, have become immune to.
"Right-Wing" opinions are always framed as such, Left-wing opinions are usually not.

Sunny and his ilk, defend the BBC against the left-wing bias accusations, because they know how influential the BBC is and the pretence of impartiality has to be defended to maintain any sort of credibility. It is at best a disingenuous, if not very sinister, deception by the Left, to hoodwink and brainwash the ordinary floating voters and more susceptible viewers/listeners. The Guardian isn't influential with your average person because it isn't widely read enough, but the BBC takes these opinions and drips it into the minds of a much larger audience, over of a long period of time, using radio and the box in the corner of every living room.
The Left's defence of BBC impartiality is very unconvincing when trying to defend the output, especially in the face of episodes, like the Redwood proposals and any edition of The Today Programme! So now Sunny is moving into an even more sinister deception, by saying the BBC caves-in too easily to the Right! This just another typical BBC apologist line of defence by pretending it is the nasty right-wingers trying to manipulate the BBC and forcing undeserved admissions of guilt , rather than the BBC being blatant left-wing propagandists. He is using another way of trying to convince people that the BBC's default position is impartial/neutral/balanced and admission of bias (which they never really ever admit to anyway) is just a forced confession with no grounding.
The cracks in the BBC fa├žade are really starting to show and the left are getting more desperate to maintain the deception.

Anonymous said...

Yawn..Dull Dull Dull...

The day your blog is 'fair and balanced' is the day I consider reading non-impartial tosh like this..

Laurence Boyce said...

Typical Sunny piece. Sets out to criticise right-wing paranoia over the BBC, but does nothing more than to expose his own lefty paranoia. I hardly bother with CiF any more.

Anonymous said...

"it is perfectly possible to be on the left of these rightwing newspapers but still be in the centre"

Unless you're so far to the right that the centre ground from your perspective involves "sending 'em back" as opposed to "hanging 'em all"

Hughes Views said...

"It makes me think that those of us on the right are actually getting somewhere"

To quote my Latin master again, 'if you think like that dear boy, give it up.'

Anonymous said...

Here's a extract from one of the posts on CiF which just about sums up the BBC's approach:

"Liberal is not the same as left. Liberal means near the centre of the political spectrum, no matter how much you try to change the meaning of the language."

Humpty Dumpty would be proud of these people: 'When I use a word ...[etc., etc.]'

Newmania said...

As Polly Topynbee was editor of social affairs and she is typical of numerous other appointments I suggest pending Simon Heffer's installation as Political editor the scintilla of suspicion remains.

Sunny is not inetrested in the truth he is suggesting that by supprting the BBC the left lends credence to the rights complaints wheras they should tactically go further left to balance the see saw . Sadly it was not the greater tactical nous of the right that drove the onto the attack it was , of course , because the BBC favoured the left.

God knows what attitudes they will have to adopt to pretend there is a left wing bias . I hope they try

Garry said...

Iain, at the risk of repeating myself, is there even the slightest chance that you'll withdraw the ridiculous claim that Sunny wrote a admission that the BBC is biased towards the left thus contradicting the whole thrust of his article? The interpretation you have attached to this paragraph is quite obviously not what he meant.

I'd also add that your reaction will say something about whether you genuinely misunderstood or deliberately misrepresented what he wrote.

Also, septicisle has provided the proof you asked for regarding the institutional bias claims. Here's some more. Any chance you'll update the post to reflect that?

For the record, I believe that the BBC tries very hard to be impartial and succeeds most of the time. It certainly isn't a mirror of my left/centre views and I don't expect it to be.

Geezer said...

"For the record, I believe that the BBC tries very hard to be impartial and succeeds most of the time. It certainly isn't a mirror of my left/centre views and I don't expect it to be."

Utter nonsense! Typical of the sinister public denial of the BBC's blatant left-wing bias, by the Left. If you privately believe this then you are very delusional or should spend more time watching and listening to the gloriously impartial BBC.

There are very few on the Right who who would make any sort of claim about the Telegraph, for example, or oindeed this Blog, as being impartial. The difference is, that they know right-wing arguments can be rationally argued and debated so don't mind, openly defending them.
The Left prefer deception and subtle manipulation, as a way of winning support, much more than open debate. Mainly because they have lost those debates too often in the past. I suspect, people like you just want to keep bullsh***ing the prols, and the BBC is the perfect vehicle for doing that!

Anonymous said...

Ubi Ireland, ibi Curioushamster.

septicisle said...

There's so much bilge going on here it's hard to know where to start.

geezer, you'd almost be right if you weren't so wrong. The left defends the BBC not because it itself is biased to the left, but because it tries its hardest to be as impartial as is humanly possible, and has now over a number of years become one of the most accountable news organisations in this country, far more so than almost any of the daily newspapers, who don't have their content put under a microscope every minute of the day. Most of us including myself do this not because we fear losing any argument to the right, but rather because we only have to look to America to see what happens when impartiality is stripped away. Not an actual shift to the right, although that has happened, but a horrendous dumbing-down and mixture of comment and news which is never distinguished. It's nothing to do with brainwashing anyone, and it's laughable that the BBC is anything like the Guardian, or that the corporation are "blatant left-wing propagandists". Believe me, I'd know if they were. As for the Redwood incidents, I believe they were apologised for, were they not?

newmania: Oh yeah, Toynbee was editor of Social Affairs back in err, 1995. Nick Robinson I believe is currently BBC political editor, was a Conservative as a student and directly challenged the government back during the 2005 election. Michael Crick, Newsnight's editor, is independent as anyone. Andrew Neil is well-known for being on the right and presents much of the BBC's political coverage outside of the actual news. Jeff Randall used to be business editor, and still hosts a Five Live show. It's hardly packed with overwhelmingly left-wing figures.

In any case Iain, seeing as the adverts for 10 Doughty Street originally stated it aimed to be a "British-style Fox News" or words to that effect, isn't this whole charade slightly rich?

Unknown said...

Thumbs up to what geezer said. The only thing that backs your assertion that Sunny is one of the more sensible bloggers on the left is the appearance of even weirder varieties onthis thread.

Garry said...

geezer, I stated that for the record so it's hardly something I "privately believe". In any event, I don't see any point in discussing the wider point here because we're poles apart and never likely to agree.

On a narrow point, and to borrow some of your words, on this thread I've tried to rationally argue that Iain has manipulated Sunny's words to alter their meaning in the above post. No-one else seems to be interested in openly defending Iain on that and I wonder if you will what with you being keen on rational debate and all. If not, I'd be interested to know the reason.

Ross said...

"Michael Crick, Newsnight's editor, is independent as anyone."

Bwahahahaha! If your exemplar on unbiased reporting is Michael Crick then yeah you probably do consider the BBC to be balanced.

Newmania said...

Septiscle - Your claim that the attitude of the left towards the BBC is not motivated by the fact it is in agreement but by the purity of its regard for impartiality is chortle-some delusion that I cannot believe you intend to be taken entirely seriously. I am aware of the actual time period during which Polly Toynbee held an official sway over Social affairs .My point is that this is an organisation that could see nothing wrong or controversial in such an appointment has a very long way to go. This is POLLY TOYNBEE…why not Norman Tebbit head if current affairs , do you foresee such a thing ? . Are you saying that in the 90s the BBC`s centre of gravity was La Toynbee and now it has shifted ? I `m not sure…either way you are talking rubbish.
Lance Price (Political correspondent ) joined the press office under Alistair Campbell , then the Labour Party .Martin Sixsmith worked for the Labour government ,Tom Kelly (N Ireland) Blair`s official spokesman. ED Richards worked for Gordon Brown, Bill Bush (political research)…( Guardian said “ This was the man who had access to the most sensitive information the BBC has on MP`s their party and the government . His value to the Labour Party can hardly be overestimated” )Catherine Rimmer..moved to Downing street research. .John Birt ..obviously Labour whip. Don Brind , Labour Party Press officer, Sarah Hunter (Policy Directorate ) joined Downing Street ( Sports and culture Minister). Joy Johnson( BBC News Editor ) joined Labour`s Press office . Ex BBC folk who became Labour Politicians , Ben Bradshaw ( World this week), Chris Bryant ( Head of European affairs ,..an area where its bias is proven),Celia Barlow , James Purnell, Ken Mcintosh. You cannot find a similar list of Labour supporting BBC top current affairs bods because it does not exist and this is because of the character of the organisation . AS you well know unless you want to start lying the political complexion of the BBC is left leaning to say the least man for man I would love to have a running bet with you about which Party an unknown BBC employee voted for as we met them socially . Have you ever come across them , have you really no idea ?

There are one or two exceptions but they are noticeable by being outside the general line of the BBC ,Returning to the actual people Robert Kilroy Silk expressed views on the Islamic Arab world that you would find mirrored in a majority of homes and bars around the land and was dismissed , because it was “ Controversial“ …didn’t seem controversial to me by the way. John Humphrey`s described the Pope as “ Wicked” in his attitude to condoms and not a murmur. Nigel Wrench made some statements about “ Bare backing “ in the gay community that are No.11 on the controversial scale and nothing was said . Where you start from defines what is controversial and the BBC always starts form a “Progressive “ view point”. Will Hutton worked for the BBC for ten years ( Guardian) as Newsnights Economics editor. Keynsian,…said of Margaret Thatcher , a hugely popular PM even Gordon( pig in lipstick ) Brown pretends to admire ,”..She did not more than entrench the vicious circles in which the country is trapped “…and much much more. This is in a sense the confusion. “ Marmaduke Hussy” according to him” moved the BBC right wards to accord with the right wing press. This is his view of a period in which John Birt recruited Andrew Marr ( Poly Toynbee chum and Independent Editor who actually admits bias)”…see his book “ Ruling Britannia “. Other Toynbee chums and Guadianistas are . Jill Tweedie, LizForgan, Posy Simmonds , Mary Stott.

Andrew Rawnlsey see “Servants of the People “ a friend to New Labour . James Naughtie the classic left wing journalist trajectory and always gets an unusual number of complaints from the right but not the left and so on and son ad infinitum

Think of the recent treatment of John Rewood`s Competitiveness review which show that Helen Boaden is prepared to attack the right and then , even worse cover her tracks
“ Helen Boaden issued a partial apology but denied a suggestion by Dale that the coverage had begin with the words “ The Labour Party has today criticised ..” by giving a list of examples to demolish his apparently flimsy case....

Private Eye reported that the examples she picked DID contain Labour Party criticism in the first twenty seconds .

BBC ONE-news 24 Labour says its evidence that the Tory right had taken over the agenda

Radio 4 8. AM- Labour says its evidence the right has regained control of the Tory agenda

Radio2..11AM-Labour says its evidence those on the right are back in control of the Toru agenda

BBC News website – Labour claims the proposals show the party is lurching back to the right in the face of disappointing Polls “

Five Live 11. AM Labour has condemned the latest review of Policy carried out by the Conservatives as a lurch back to the right wing of the Party

So the is is alive and well. I can further demonstrate it in terms of interviews on the EU where it is consistently pro. Its web site is a rich source if material …. And we haven’t got into the drama output and other , much more damaging bias than the fairly well patrolled up front politics . It is only very recently that it has occurred to anyone on the left that the argument that the BBC was required to balance the supposed right leaning newspaper Press was inadequate when it was funded by taxes( Not that I accept that argument for a second actually). Now you surely claim there is no bias

Septiscle you should meet some people who work for the BBC and they would soon admit that the politics of the organisation is leftish and n be proud of it . The lefts liking for the BBC is not because it is more truthful ..( HA HA HA ) it is for the obvious reasons .The first part of the cure is to admit the illness Septiscle . Say after me “ My name is Septiscle and I am a lefty and that is why I like the BBC “….that’s step one

I think you may be right that with its licence fee under attack it may be cleaning its act up a little at the top and where it can be seen, but there is a very long way to go. You have to look carefully at the weighting of agendas and it is harder to detect perhaps.

Geezer said...


More of the Same nonsense, obfuscation and general left-wing bull****. You just illustrate why the BBC and it's cohorts are so sinister. You want everyone to believe in the left-wing orthodoxy without question. You just give the same old "the BBC is impartial, because I say it is" type denials.
The reason so many posters on this site don't agree with that, is because they are politicised and can plainly see a pattern of promoting fashionable left-wing opinion, at the BBC. They are not fair, they are not balanced they are the Broadcast equivalent of the Guardian, although you may think the Guardian "impartial"? The difference, is that the Guardian preaches to the converted and the BBC first tries to do the conversions.

Geezer said...

Septicisle said:
"In any case Iain, seeing as the adverts for 10 Doughty Street originally stated it aimed to be a "British-style Fox News" or words to that effect, isn't this whole charade slightly rich?"

Are you so delusional that you cannot tell the difference??

You hate the thought that there are differing opinions to your own orthodox left-wing ideology. That is why left-wing trolls like you post so much on conservative blogs, you are so scared of people actually seeing an alternative point of view.
We should have a Broadcast news outlet that is non-sympathetic to the left, so people have a choice.
The right want people to have a choice the left are far too scared of open debate to want that.

Anonymous said...

I notice your BBC appearances have dried up Iain. You getting your revenge?

Unknown said...

"There are just as many left wing bloggers who believe there to be a vast right wing conspiracy."

Counted them have you? Got the figures to back up that assertion?

Anonymous said...

Say what you like about the BBC, at least they can get their website to load properly and in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

It makes me think that those of us on the left are actually getting somewhere if we can provoke pieces like this!

Always funny to see a pygmy going at someone's knees. I bet Sunny's limping this morning!

Anonymous said...

septicisle [12.55 AM] You say the Beeb 'tries its hardest to be as impartial as is humanly possible.'

As the Duke of Wellington said, 'If you believe that, you'll believe anything.'

What the Beeb does is:

1) Lean over backwards to avoid offending the sort of people BBC types mix with: young, metropolitan, right-on, politically correct and (often) gay;

2) Close its mind to certain ideas, for example that public spending in this country is out of control; and

3) Defend the system under which single mothers living on benefits in tower blocks are threatened with prison if they don't pay their share of Jonathan Ross's £18 million retainer.

Now here's a funny thing: your nom de plum 'Septic Isle'. Shakespeare wrote of the 'sceptered isle'; a wonderful image. You think it's smart to describe your nation as septic, like a septic tank. That sort of sick joke may go down well in Shepherd's Bush but it makes me squirm. But then, I suppose you would call me a 'Little Englander.'

Unsworth said...

@ BJ: "so what kind of volume of output that you consider to be unbiased will it actually take to convice you once and for all?

It's nothing to do with 'volume'. It's everything to do with 'content'. Have you not understood even that?

Newmania said...

Oh god I didn’t notice the bit about Michael Crick. Well that’s just a ridiculous joke . You appreciate the BBC would love to have some puppet left complainers so they can pretend at objectivity together . This is probably one of those people who thinks that everyone who votes for the Labour Party is "Progressive" ...disgusting word that can we change it .If anyone is up for it how about a competition to come up with a better word than progressive. Maniacal, traitorous, foolish , hypocritical arrogant greedy ........

What about HO` gressive or faux-gressive

Iain Dale said...

Right, let's address some of your points..

Septiscle, well if that was his point, he didn't express it very well. I've re-read what he wrote and you could be right, but then so could I!

Curious Hamster, I have not deliberately misrepresented him at all. I can only go on what he wrote and interpret it. You and I may have different ways of interpreting what he wrote, but that does not mean I am deliberately misrepresenting him. I know Sunny and like Sunny, but I was suprised at the weak arguments he put forward in this rather ranting article.

Paper Reviewer at 7.37am, LOL. I have been on holiday for ten days, but even on holiday was on News 24 by phone when Brown invited Maggie to No 10. You will be delighted to hear that I shall be reviewing the papers on News 24 for the next three Saturdays. Enjoy.

Anonymous at 8.10, yes, if I had £2.5 billion of taxpayers money I am sure I could make this site load more quickly too.

Chris Paul said...

Sunny is NOT saying AFAIK that there is a right wing bias at the BBC.

He is simply saying that if the left sit on our hands when the BBC is biased to the right - and Iraq war coverage has been held to be so with some justification, and with hindsight probably some agreement from the now more anti-war right - that the left need to be as vocal as the right.

And it goes without saying that trying to encourage the BBC authorities NOT to cave in to the right is legitimate too.

Over for example that sensible (if not rabid right) Newsround explanation of 9-11.

Sunny provocation 7 - Mainstream bloggers 0

Sunny is indeed the United to your West Ham Iain.

Unknown said...

The Tories should make it policy to break up and sell off the BBC as soon as they come to power. It has been politicised to such an extent it is little more than the broadcasting wing of the Labour Party; any slightly right-of-centre beliefs are routinely ridiculed or dismissed out of hand.

Sell it off - somebody like Rupert Murdoch could do a much better job of running the likes of BBC1 and BBC2 than the current Marxist lackeys ever could. And stations such as Radio 4, where the relentlessly pro-Labour attitudes are too firmly entrenched ever to be diluted, should be closed down permanently.

Newmania said...

Looking back at the extreme left wing bias of the 90s and early noughties I wonder if its true that the BBC`s natural left of centre new-establishment view has not been slightly disguised over the past two or three years. It was quite a victory when the green propaganda day was abandoned and they have to be aware of the invidious position of being politically at odds with those forced to subsidise them.

It is very much a cow on hind legs in this posture though which I would not say was so much pro Labour faux -gressive or establishment as described in Peter Obornes Speccie article today. It would make sense for the Left to start to be less wholeheartedly supportive both tactically and in part because of this slight tack to the right . The problem is as a publicly funded nationalised bureaucracy the BBC is always going to protect its own. While the left may , pretend not to rub their hands with glee at statist propaganda beamed into the voters all day ( scarcely able to stop tittering while they do it ), the right asks why have the BBC at all. There are plenty of lefties to finance the left wing programmes. The gap is the gap Fox exploited. We have the Guardian on screen but no Telegraph , no Mail there is gold in them thar omissions

I would argue that for the sake of our moribund national culture alone we have to rest our lives out of the hands of the corpse state . Perhaps if Chris Paul was the new head of comedy that might improve it a bit...We need Eastenders to deal with illegal immigration as well as gay rights , Islamic racism as well as white racism , crushed aspiration as well as the plucky down trodden , welfare cheats as well as welfare needs . A sympathetic character whose world the state has taken away, a view of the Queen that is not comic ...JUST ONCE . This is where the drip torture goes on and this is what has delivered the country back to the left since Thatcher

Man in a Shed said...

As a right of centre blogger I want to see an end to my money going to fund a left wing biased organisation.

The form of the organisation itself is collective and it is funded through coercion ( all left wing characteristics that the Communists and National Socialists would have approved of ).

It advertises in left wing newspapers, hires mostly left wing staff.

For example I heard from someone last week who was in a BBC meeting where the then director general stated, before a general election, "if *we* win the election".

Democracy cannot function with a one over powerful state broadcaster with its left of centre bias.

I'd like the UK to be a democratic country - hence the BBC has to go.

Thomas Gordon said...

Here is a little Pepsi Challenge:

Name one 'right wing' comic on the BBC.

Send your answers on a postcard.

Garry said...

Iain, your reply amused me so much that I wrote a wee post about it.

Yes, yes, I'm an obsessive stalker for attempting to rationally debate the contents of this post. Shocking, isn't it...

Newmania said...

Name one 'right wing' comic on the BBC

Ricky Gervais
Harry Enfield
Katherine Tait
Jimmy Carr
Peter Kay

All comedy is right wing really its just now you have to pretend it isn`t by calling it irony somnetimes. I would say this was one of the least biased area because even the BBC cannot pretend thijngs are funny when they are not ..although..the thing with the fat bird who`s a vicar gets close as does every red nose day

Anonymous said...

Hi Iain,

I've responded to this on my own blog:


Iain Dale said...

APOLOGIES TO SEPTICISLE. I pressed reject instead of publish. Anyway, here's Septicisle's comment...

Newmania I'm not even sure that there's anything to reply to in your long rambling incoherent comment? We're talking about now, not the past.

geezer: Same with you. Once you've decided not to ascribe views which I clearly don't hold to me, maybe you'll be worth responding to. If you really think the BBC is the television equivalent of the Guardian and attempts to convert people then you ought to consider seeing a psychiatrist.

I'm also not a left-wing troll, very rarely post on Conservative sites because the sort of abuse from posters likes you quickly gets wearisome, and I criticised 18 Doughty Street because it's since pretended that it actually isn't the equivalent of Fox News. The adage goes that those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones; that most certainly applies here. The very last thing I want is a restriction of choice, it's only when news organisations move into telling blatant lies, mixing up comment with news and blatant hypocrisy that they need taking on, and I think you'll find that the right-wing media in this country do all of the above far more than the left (not the BBC) does.

Trumpeter: So would you actually like the BBC to do the opposite of the points in 1? I guess you must have missed the vast majority of comedy on the BBC in recent times in any case. 2.) Proof please? As far as I'm aware, not even the Conservative party is currently making much noise about public spending being out of control, seeing as they've pledged to match Labour's plans. 3.) I quite agree that is one of the BBC's biggest flaws, and would like to see concessions for those on benefits.

Oh, and about septicisle, it's actually a joke from Only Fools and Horses, but if you want to make bones about my alias that's up to you.

Anonymous said...

So who is SEPTIC ISLE?

[I]t’s laughable that the BBC…are ‘blatant left-wing propagandists’. Believe me, I'd know if they were.”

I take it you are on the left then

“[W]hen news organisations move into telling blatant lies, mixing up comment with news and blatant hypocrisy…they need taking on, and I think you'll find that the right-wing media in this country do all of the above far more than the left.”

Who believes that the left is more committed to truth than the right

“The left defends the BBC not because it…is biased to the left, but because it tries…to be as impartial”

Indeed, as a consequence of your commitment to impartiality and balance you believe that the BBC deserves our support. After all look what happens when you have a free market.

“[W]e only have to look to America to see what happens when impartiality is stripped away.”

Your support for the BBC is such that you think that the funding it gets from taxpayers ought to be extended

I “would like to see concessions [reducing/eliminating the licence fee]..for those on benefits”.

You believe that the claim that BBC employees generally share and promote a ‘Guardian reader’ view of the world is false.

“If you really think the BBC is the television equivalent of The Guardian, and attempts to convert people, then you ought to consider seeing a psychiatrist.”

So let me get this straight. I have viewed and listened to the BBC over many years and have come to the conclusion that has a clear bias to the left - the Guardian reader left. You conclude that I ought to see a psychiatrist. Indeed you believe that if anybody refuses to pay for the BBC they ought to be fined, and presumably imprisoned; except in those cases where a judgement is made where people cannot afford it, in which case everybody else ought therefore to forced to pay their BBC dues instead.

Let me put an alternative view. I am not interested in your views. I do not care what you think about the Telegraph or Times or Mail readers. Nor do I have any interest in your opinion about The Guardian or The Independent or the Daily Mirror. If I walk into a newsagent I make up my own mind which newspaper (if any) I am going to buy, and I make that decision by making my own judgement about the contents of those newspapers. By the same token, I am not interested in your opinion about the output of (that socialist relic and source of employment for Guardian readers) the BBC.

Anonymous said...

septic isle [as re-posted by Iain Dale 9.44 pm]

The 'people in glass houses should not throw stones' argument is a non-starter. You might as well say, 'people who read the Socialist Workers Guide to the Destruction of Capitalism are in no position to complain about bias'.

We complain about bias on the BBC purely and simply because we are obliged by law, under threat of imprisonment, to pay for it. Absent compulsion, we should have no complaint.

As to my three points:

1) No, the BBC should not lean over backwards to avoid offending the young, metropolitan, right-on, and politically correct and (often) gay people with whom its employees are most comfortable. Nor should it lean over backwards to avoid offending people like Mary Whitehouse. My complaint is that it treats the metropolitans with kid gloves and the Mary Whitehouses with ill-disguised contempt.

2) My contention is not that public spending in this country is out of control. It may or may not be. Different economists have different views. My complaint is that the BBC has closed its mind to one side of the argument.

Evidence? When did you last hear anyone, on any BBC radio or television programme, asked whether government spending was out of control?

3) As to the licence fee, your bottom line, as I understand it, is that someone has to pay for Jonathan Ross's £18 million and if it isn't the licence fee payer it will have to be the taxpayer.

I do not find that a persuasive argument.

Newmania said...

Newmania I'm not even sure that there's anything to reply to in your long rambling incoherent comment? We're talking about now, not the past.

Do you mean a long list of coherent facts that are inconvenient to you about BBC employees and their subsequent association with the Labour Party? I fear your cognitive abilities may be the cause of the problem here Were I able to see the future I would be able to do the same job , or not , with the current incumbents but in the absence of ESP I quoted at length a specific example of what...three weeks ago. Your response is shallow ignorant and logically infantile. Call it abuse if you like but I call it an impartial analysis.

You say

If you really think the BBC is the television equivalent of the Guardian and attempts to convert people then you ought to consider seeing a psychiatrist. and he can sit behind Andrew Marr who does not agree with your shifted position ,which now seems to be that the BBC has recently altered its nature entirely.
You are against choice as you are for the state financing a competition crushing enforced subsidy of a particular point of view which is left of where the market would have it as shown by the free media.

You refer to the mixing of editorial and news content but this was precisely the remit of Greg Dyke (....political affiliations ....anyone ...anyone...) Who was aiming for populist Independent which is about where the BBC sit. I have not noticed a dramatic change.

mixing up comment with news and blatant hypocrisy that they need taking on, and I think you'll find that the right-wing media in this country do all of the above far more than the left (not the BBC) does.

Well this is just laughable. Yah boo sucks and you barely avoided the juxtaposition of right wing with BBC which is what you wanted to say.
Guardian , Independent Mirror ,New Statesman... oh yes models of fairminded balance all of them . If you are a Labour supporter that is

SCEPTIC demonstrates with his psychotic inability to imagine a different view exactly what the problem with the BBC is .Most of its propagandists cannot conceive that they are not at the centre of a spectrum of opinion but were screens opened up who can doubt that the ensuing mix would be far to the right of where we are now . I think its fair to say that once again an apologist has entirely failed to make any sort of convincing case and as ever the scuttling retreat is announced by the tart odour of wounded pride

Anonymous said...

People have been complaining about "left-wing bias" at the BBC since its inception. In all those decades, nobody has actually managed to come up with an example of *left-wing* bias. The whingers have certainly come up with plenty of examples of the BBC reporting things they wish it didn't report, but that's it.

What we learn from Conservative claims that the BBC is biased is that right-wingers only want to hear news and opinions that confirm their pre-existing beliefs. Their true objection is not that the BBC is biased, but that it isn't biased in their favour. They translate this into a left-wing bias on the Beeb's part - if it isn't propaganda for one side, it must be propaganda for the other. Conversely, left-wingers seem to be receptive to all facts and opinions.

What can we conclude from this? That right-wingers lack courage in their convictions and constantly worry that inconvenient truths will intrude upon their carefully-crafted fantasy worlds and undermine everything they believe in? That objective reality is somehow offensive to them in a way that it isn't to left-wingers, suggest that the left is objectively correct about everything? Or that they simply don't believe objective reality exists? I think that US Republican staffer illustrated it best when he scoffed at a journalist for being part of the "reality-based community". That's the BBC's problem - it's part of that reality-based community that conservatives just can't stomach.

Unknown said...

Dear Iain

I wrote

I like Michael Crick's reports they are always well made.

The post was deleted- now that's not very democratic is it ?

Newmania said...

anon 2.01.- I look forward to the BBC defending its position on the basis of the moral superiority of anyone on the left.Brilliant .

Anonymous said...

It seems “anonymous” that the argument, simple though it is, has gone over your head, so I will try to make it even simpler.

You may be right, you may be wrong.

You may be well informed. You may be an idiot. It makes no difference. It is enough that you expect me to pay for the BBC simply because you approve of it.

Now the fact, let us be frank, that a manifest bigot such as yourself [the sort of person who writes sentences such as “nobody has ever managed to come up with an example of [BBC] left wing bias” and that the left are more “receptive to facts”] is a BBC supporter in itself lends credence to the notion that the BBC services the interests of middle class leftists (Guardian readers in short), who are not only believe they know best how the tax serfs upon whom they depend ought to live, but seek to prevent them from even formulating the thought that a reduced State may increase prosperity, freedom, and justice.

You may disagree with me, but it is called a free society. People do that sort of thing in a free society. You give the impression that you have only the vaguest conception of how a free society operates. Let me give you a clue. It is not a society run by Guardians. It is a society in which people have the freedom to make – and accept responsibility for – their own choices.

Anonymous said...

chris goodman [4.26 PM] Thanks for your valiant efforts to explain things to anonymous. But I think you have an uphill task.

He apparently believes that you and I live in a fantasy world and the left is objectively correct about everything.

Either that or he lost the thread of his own argument.

septicisle said...

trumpeter: 1) I think it gets the balance about right personally. You obviously think differently.

2) Recently the BBC made a decent amount of noise about the amount being spent on translating services for migrants, for just one example. I think it indeed should make more noise about waste, but again don't think that it's anything to do really with an inbuilt lefty bias.

3) That's not what I'm saying at all. If some are less able to pay, it shouldn't be made up from other taxpayers, the BBC should face cuts, and there's plenty that it does that could be quite easily cut back on without losing the values and standards that should be at its core. It could shut down the hopeless BBC3 for one.

Anonymous said...

septicisle [12.09 AM]

1) OK, let's agree to differ. I agree it's a question of balance and I think sometimes they get it badly wrong. The Question Time programme which followed 9/11, for example, was a national disgrace.

2) I am glad the Beeb has covered at least one aspect of government waste. There's plenty of scope here for investigative journalism. But no Crusades. We just want the facts. We don't want to be told what to think.

3) I don't see how your argument works, unless you are go for a general reduction in the cost of a licence. The whole point of the licence fee is that everyone with a television has to pay it. You can't say, 'Oh, we'll make savings and cut back on waste and then some people won't have to pay.'

Anonymous said...

"2) I am glad the Beeb has covered at least one aspect of government waste. There's plenty of scope here for investigative journalism. But no Crusades. We just want the facts. We don't want to be told what to think."

But we will be! Al-beeb will soon be demanding our Scottish government raises even more taxation from England to fund yet more 'services' for immigrants and their police carers.