Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageOp-Ed: 'Leftist' BBC under scrutiny from conservative government

By Paul Wallis     Jul 17, 2015 in World
London - Rupert Murdoch hates public broadcasters. So do many U.S., UK and Australian conservative politicians. The BBC is now part of the global hate campaign directed at the whole idea of public broadcast. The excuse is that it’s “leftist.”
The same excuse is used against other public broadcasters. This ideological war has been going on since Thatcher and Reagan. There is no “left,” unless it’s anything remotely related to human welfare. There hasn’t been a “left” in politics for decades. Only the apparently endless supply of out of touch political geriatrics and their paid online trolls even use the word. Most writers, including myself, were calling the old left “leftovers” 10 years ago.
Now, “left” is interpreted to mean mentioning any of the endless mistakes by any of the world’s politicians. Any criticism is “leftist.” The string of global disasters since 2000 was fine; it’s only the spoilsports who complain about all those nice people who were responsible for them and never got prosecuted.
The not-very-new idea to prevent leftism in the BBC is that the BBC could become smaller and “less competitive” with for-profit broadcasters. “Less competitive” is a synonym for “irrelevant.”
John Whittingdale, UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, wants to look at the funding, regulation, and the reach of the BBC. In other words, everything that could possibly make it functional.
Like most public broadcasters, the BBC is also a competitor with news and media corporations. The theory is that the BBC should focus on “objective” news and something bizarrely called “middlebrow” programming and fill in areas which profit based broadcasters “wouldn’t bother to fill.”
(What’s “middlebrow”? Something between your cranium and your feet? What an odd coincidence. Most right wing dominated media (nearly all of it is) is focused on the exact midpoint, near the scrotum.)
Who’s afraid of the big bad BBC?
If you feel ideologically threatened by the BBC, ABC Australia, or PBS, you probably feel threatened by the sharp edges of potato chips. You’d have no working vocabulary, like mainstream media. You’d be totally lost in any conversation which didn’t simply repeat everything you learned as a young M&M and agree with it verbatim.
Now consider the current media environment — mainstream media is a dinosaur on life support. It’s for people with no lives. Ordinary TV is almost unwatchable, unless you’re a particularly decayed vegetable. Reality TV is outdated recycled crap. Game shows are literally reincarnated versions of older shows. These crap factories don’t even make money any more.
The medium is no longer the message, but the belated obituary to itself. Tabloid TV is an expensive failure. The only people who make money out of it are the shills and production parasites. The public has long since gone elsewhere for entertainment.
In mainstream media news, thanks to the desperate efforts of red carpet salespeople, paparazzi, and overpriced sports-morons, the levels of actual information are virtually non-existent. You can barely see any real news. Most of it’s written by PR people. The insane editorial priorities of putting trivial celebrities over actual wars which have killed hundreds of thousands of people are still in place.
This is the environment in which the conservatives are howling about “leftism.” The BBC, like other public broadcasters, is about as left wing as Buckingham Palace. It may not be “middlebrow”, but it is irrevocably middle class. You’re more likely to have a Bolshevik uprising in Harrods than in the BBC.
Now the really interesting part — why can’t conservatives recognize a simple fact or so:
1. Their pet networks can’t compete with public broadcasters because of their own appalling content
2. Not everybody wants to watch conservative politicians on TV; it’s hardly educational.
3. Propaganda isn’t something people will listen to if they can avoid it, and everyone on Earth can avoid it, quite easily, online.
4. Not everyone thinks the rantings of the millionaire stooges of absurdly paranoid billionaires are worth watching.
5. Not everything is the result of people watching media- Reality, that tactless thing, sometimes intrudes, too.
The sheer primitivism of political comprehension of media is really quite astonishing, almost as backward and denialism-based as the media culture itself. Does anyone really believe they won’t be voted out of office, sooner or later, and quite possibly with a reason? Does anyone really think a TV show will go on forever?
Does old media really still exist, except as a museum of repeats of both sitcoms and political ideas? No it bloody well doesn’t. It’s as ancient and useless as the outdated ideology attacking public broadcasting.
For those who’ve forgotten — the public does most of the broadcasting these days. Twitter and Facebook are now primary sources of news. Joe Blow from Idaho has as much reach as anyone with a good news story.
Still think you can “manage” your political images by neutering public broadcasting? It won’t work. The new public broadcasters will be a sort of global Wikileaks, groups like Anonymous and your own assortment of ultra-corrupt security leak manufacturers.
Suggest you stick with Aunty BBC for now; it’s a lot safer.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about BBC, public broadcasting, ABC Australia, Pbs, Rupert Murdoch
More news from