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article imageOp-Ed: Suddenly, all public broadcasters are Leftists? BBC under fire

By Paul Wallis     Feb 7, 2014 in World
London - All of a sudden, public broadcasters in the UK and Australia are under fire from conservative governments for perceived bias and “leftist” views. Interestingly, Rupert Murdoch and other conservatives have been targeting public broadcasters, too.
The Times UK, a Murdoch paper has an article, but thanks to the paywall, I couldn’t read it. Democracy, eh? Information at a price, the very thing the internet was supposed to eliminate.
The Belfast Telegraph is running the same story:
The BBC has a "cultural leaning to the left" and needs to work on its impartiality, a Tory Cabinet minister has claimed.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the BBC did things that were not "right and proper" for a public broadcaster, saying the problems were not just confined to current affairs programmes but also affected entertainment shows.
He said: "I think there's still an inclination to cover issues in a way that is very much about the culture of a slightly left-leaning, metropolitan group of people who are disproportionately represented there."
Hold on a minute — is Mr Grayling saying that the government, or anyone else, should have the right to screen people employed by broadcasters for their political beliefs?
As for “disproportionately represented,” Mr Grayling is a member of a coalition government.
“Left-leaning”? Left of what, Harrods? The BBC is about as socialistic as Buckingham Palace. It’s awash with socio-static, middle class managers.
We have here yet another example of the transatlantic cabal of drab old conservatives, demanding that even the news should be in line with them.
You couldn’t get much more specific than this additional quote about cultural leanings:
To some extent it's less with current affairs than within general entertainment, the throwaway lines in a drama which still suggest that actually the BBC's got some way to go before it really to my mind fulfils the role it has to be a genuinely dispassionate public service broadcaster.
So — a line in a drama, which may or may not represent a left wing viewpoint, should be “dispassionate”?
Presumably this means-
O Romeo, Romeo- Wherefore art thou a demographically debatable Romeo?
Now is the left wing Winter of our discontent made pleasantly unbiased and fortuitously conservative Summer…!
Consider a mentality which needs to ponderously explore every line broadcast by the BBC as evidence of bias. The theory that the public is going to rise up and start persecuting pointless, paranoid plutocrats on the basis of a few lines on BBC dramas needs a bit of work, too.
The sheer pathos of this convoluted excursion into a total lack of specifics is typical of most conservative rhetoric on the subject of public broadcasting.
The Murdoch view is unambiguous:
Google news and other aggregators of news are a threat.
Public broadcasters can be sold off like all publicly owned assets, a la Thatcher, to private interests.
It’s a pretty simple perspective, but it’s also the basis of a lot of flak and innuendo directed at ABC Australia, PBS in the US, and the BBC, on a routine basis. ABC Australia has been regularly targeted by conservatives for bias, and by the Labor Party for the same reasons, for years. The message has yet to get through that "unbiased" reporting means unbiased.
Grayling says he doesn’t want to see the BBC broken up. OK, but doesn’t “editing by Parliamentary whims” effectively undermine its role as a source of information for the public? It becomes State Broadcasting, the supposed antithesis of free speech.
If the public’s right to information is subverted, forget about democracy altogether. It can’t happen.
The leftist accusation which is applied to everything of which conservatives disapprove is bordering on, or actual, insanity. It is literally unbalanced. Imagine not having a left hand and a left leg. How balanced could you be?
Thou shalt not disagree?
Like hell.
Democracy is based on the right to disagree without being disenfranchised. Any attack on public broadcasters effectively creates a monopoly for private broadcasters, which aren’t accountable to anyone.
That’s not acceptable. Mr Grayling didn’t mention any criteria for judgment of bias. Apparently anything’s fine on privately owned broadcasters, including decades of disinformation, but a few lines in a BBC drama is grounds for “dispassion”?
Another word for “dispassion” is “neutering.” That’s exactly what the BBC will be, if this absurdly phrased accusation/excuse for criticism of “left leaning” is even tolerated, let alone acted upon.
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
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