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Stop bad-mouthing the BBC The War Against the BBC: Like it or not, the majority of Brits trust — and value — Auntie

The majority of Brits name the BBC as the most trustworthy news source. Credit: Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The majority of Brits name the BBC as the most trustworthy news source. Credit: Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images


December 30, 2020   5 mins

This year, even more than in the half-dozen previously, the biggest game in town has been information. Politics is all about information: how much we can trust it and who controls its flow. The culture wars, the “fake news” epidemic, the rise of populism, the splintering of the media, the emergence of hyper-partisan influence operations, the increasing difficulty in holding power to account, the post-Brexit role of Britain in the world — all that stuff has to do with our information ecosystem.

And so, at the heart of these pressure points in public life is the BBC. It remains — however much that may irk its detractors — the pulmonary artery in our media circulatory system. That means that the discussion of its current and future health could not be more deeply involved, wherever you stand on it, in the state we’re in. And you can see by the ferocity with which it’s attacked — all those #biasedbbc and #defundbbc hashtags; Laura Kuenssberg needing a bodyguard — that its detractors of all political stripes don’t like it up ‘em.

Even its entertainment output — which has sustained so many of us during the pandemic — gets dragged into the culture wars. Its rivalry with commercial channels enrages the Murdochs. Its output is combed by Right-wing TV critics for “wokeism”, and incel science-fiction fans are still recovering from Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor. If The Crown had been on the Beeb you can only imagine how much more ferocious the fuss over its liberties with history would have been.

So if a recent book could be said to speak to the hot-button issue of our times it is The War Against the BBC: How an unprecedented combination of hostile forces is destroying Britain’s greatest cultural institution… And why you should careLike its subject, the unkind might say, that title is bloated, unwieldy and tinged with a self-righteous complacency. But give it a chance and dig deeper.

That is very much the approach that this book’s authors recommend taking towards the BBC. Peter York and Patrick Barwise (the latter an emeritus professor of marketing at the London Business School; the former a multimedia gadfly remembered inter alia for minting the epithet “Sloane Ranger”) want to make the case for Auntie.

They address the three main lines of attack, which map the ideological fault lines of the age; these lines are as follows. It is bloated and bureaucratic, squandering the license fee on overpaid managers and overpaid stars; it does too much, competing unfairly in areas of broadcasting that are more than adequately supplied by the private sector; and it is suffused with liberal metropolitan bias and out of touch with the Plain People of Britain.

Some of these complaints are now so well established that we reach for them as instinctive truths. We picture Gary Lineker’s dressing room drowned in white lilies and Liberace fur coats, and whole fleets of black taxis idling all day outside Broadcasting House with the meters running, just in case.

In mounting their defence of the corporation, Barwise and York do a good job of unpicking these cliches and, where apt, busting myths. On efficiency, for instance, they produce a brisk demolition of the wilful innumeracy behind the claim that the BBC “spends less than half its cash on programmes”. In fact, they argue, the figure is more like 93% — and they show their workings. They add that an independent review by Ernst & Young found that the BBC’s efficiency (percentage of overheads, indirect costs) put it very near the top of a league table of media and telecommunications companies — most of them private-sector.

On the question of “unfair competition”, they note that the BBC is in a vicious double-bind. If it continues to pump out drama and light entertainment, it’s accused of eating the private sector’s lunch. Were it to strip down, as many demand, to just do the unpopular stuff — then that would become in course the basis for an argument that the many are now subsidising the few therefore Auntie should be abolished. And this is to ignore not only the soft power of the BBC overseas, and the “gross value added” (one study they quote has it that the BBC generates two quid of economic activity for every pound of the licence fee), but also the extent to which these commercial successes help to fund the uncommercial bit.

But do people want all this stuff? It seems they do. 99% of Britons use at least one BBC service every week. And, ticklingly, they quote the 2015 “BBC Deprivation Study”. Researchers struck a deal with 48 households who had answered a survey saying they thought the licence fee was poor value for money. They gave them each a cash payment of £3.60 — nine days’ worth of the licence fee — and cut their Beeb off for that long. Guess what? 33 of those 48 households changed their minds after nine days without the Corporation.

Barwise and York argue, on the question of bias, that large-scale surveys tend to show that — whatever we at home may think we know — the BBC is not systematically biased: at least, inasmuch as these things can be quantified. Its charter commitments mean that it falls over itself not to be. And though the public is divided over the BBC’s perceived impartiality (60% think it’s neutral), the accuracy of its reporting is widely credited. For 51% of the population it’s the most trusted news source, its nearest competitor at 9% being ITV. The newspapers that consistently attack it for bias and inaccuracy sit at, er, 1% in that survey.

The authors discover some murky stuff, too, in the opaquely funded think-tanks and pressure groups who monitor the corporation’s output for impartiality. It’s true, they say, that Left and Right alike moan about BBC bias — but it’s only on the Right that complaining about the BBC qualifies as a properly paid day job.

Another line of attack, perhaps a deadlier one, is starving the corporation of funds. The dirtiest trick in this department was George Osborne’s making the corporation summarily responsible for the over-75s’ licence fee. Here was a promise — or bribe, you could say — made to the electorate by politicians without any consultation with the BBC. Dropping the promise would be a vote-loser; but keeping it on the DWP’s books would get more and more expensive as the population ages. So he made it the BBC’s problem — which in turn gave government a further stick with which to beat the corporation. That’s like promising every voter a free pair of Nike trainers — and then sticking Nike with the bill.

It’s easy to see why so many big media companies — the Mail and the Murdoch titles, especially — have not only a cultural but a direct commercial interest in attacking the BBC. And it’s easy to see, too, why government will tend to want to collude in those attacks — especially a government that would prefer a little less scrutiny. A media outlet with tremendous reach, a charter commitment to facticity and a considerable budget for reporting is not, shall we say, a natural ally. Dominic Cummings didn’t have his ministers boycott the BBC on a whim.

You may not agree with the authors’ conclusions. Indeed, you may disagree with their premises: making the case for the BBC in practice may be easier than making the case for it in principle. But the value of this book is to remind us that arguments against the BBC are often dishonest or partial, often strongly motivated by vested interests — and often hope for its destruction while affecting to hope for its reform. It may make you, as it did me, think that in this accursed year there’s something to be said for keeping a-hold of nurse in fear of finding something worse.


Sam Leith is literary editor of The Spectator. His forthcoming book, The Haunted Wood: A History of Childhood Reading, is out in September.
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Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
3 years ago

I can only speak for myself. I think the writer is (deliberately?) missing what is annoying me about the BBC. It’s none of his three main issues, bloated structure, unfair competition and bias. No, what has turned me away from the BBC is just simply the poor quality of its output.
The drama is unwatchable, the comedy is not funny, the documentaries just preach and the news is unreliable and follows a very narrow agenda.
My view is that it is about five years too late to be having this discussion. The BBC which I respected and enjoyed has well and truly gone.
I did not know that Laura Kunesberg needed to have security, that is terrible. I really cannot stand her reporting but to threaten her with physical harm is just beyond my understanding.
To summarise, I once had a wonderful source of information and entertainment in the BBC. It has been taken away from me and I am very sorry about that. We already have the ‘something worse’ referred to in the article and I do not like it.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Wood

I heard the authors of the book, and they were as pompous, sanctimonious, biased, and blinkered as the corporation itself. Like most defenders of the organisation, they endlessly hark back to a sanctified pre-war BBC that no longer exists, while failing miserably to start from the question of what a public service broadcaster ought to provide in the 21st century.

Blaming the fact that they don’t have the same budget as Netflix, is no excuse for producing utter trash like the recent “Vicar of Dibley takes the knee” Christmas special.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Quality of news seems to be the worse area for me. The News division seems to think it’s job is only to “oppose the government”

The fact that the charter states their job is to “educate and inform” seems to have completely passed them by ….

David J
David J
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The BBC appears to think it should be the Unofficial Opposition Party broadcaster.

Chris Hopwood
Chris Hopwood
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

But the opposition complains about it as well!

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

But Ian! People who disagree with the BBC outlook are not trustworthy or quotable; we know this because they don’t trust reliable fact-based reporting like the BBC. And the Vicar of Dibley taking the knee was wildly popular and totally appropriate – everyone agrees!

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

How right you are Aaron – I’m what they would dismissively refer to as a “gammon” so my views are clearly not worth the “sh*t under their shoes”.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I have bought Two collections over Christmas of Classic BBC serials which put to shame,the Dramas &so called comics they employ; Currently;”Woke” We know best sanctomonius attitude which pervades the BBC, i’m afraid the BBC is on the Wrong side of history,&will go Subscription in next three years (Millions are /Do Not going to pay license)..My 2 Classic Serials 1972 ”The Search for the Nile” shows you Events,with No prejudice.. 1994 ”Love on a branch line” from 1957 novel,harks back to a time of innocent bureaucracy ..

Chris Hopwood
Chris Hopwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

Subscription……..or carrying advertisements?

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Hopwood

Subscription,they with ITV are terrified of Subs as ”Britbox” has been a failure, Netflix,Amazon, BT sport,Apple ,etc .lead the viewing figures &
subscriptions..BBC already advertises its magazines &radio times..

Paul Rogers
Paul Rogers
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Wood

“The drama is unwatchable, the comedy is not funny, the documentaries just preach and the news is unreliable and follows a very narrow agenda”
Exactly so.

I rejected the BBC 15 months ago and they still send my threatening vacuous letters. I do not miss anything about them. Nor any of my family of five. It’s not as if my (teenage) kids know about corporate bloat. They simply do not like the output.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

“They simply do not like the output”
Ouch. And these are the young-uns who the BBC seems to think it is appealing to these days.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

I think they may have changed the way they handle cancellations. I stopped my licence fee in April this year. It was easy getting through, the call handler was polite and informative and he assured me I wouldn’t get any nasty letters and I haven’t. He did say that if in a few years a letter did turn up I should just call and confirm I wasn’t watching live TV.
Actually I haven’t watched any TV and haven’t missed it at all.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Wood

“Laura Kunesberg needed to have security, that is terrible”
Yes….awful. >:)

She would be heartbroken to hear that someone she disagreed with was being threatened and harassed, for sure.

Paul Bradbury
Paul Bradbury
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Wood

Astonishingly Kuensberg was threatened from the left for being too right wing.

Human Ape Creature
Human Ape Creature
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Bradbury

Yes wasn’t it at the Labour Party conference? Because it was felt she’d been critical of Corbyn?

iambetsytrotwood
iambetsytrotwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Wood

plus they like their reporters to have accents from bitter&twisted areas, not the happy south west.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

The world needs more Wessex common sense 👍

And much less from the Duke/Duchess of Sussex 😉

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
3 years ago

I’m a northern person living in the south, for so long now that my accent has all the corners knocked off, but even so when I hear a northern accent on the BBC in a non drama context I feel patronised, and in a drama or comedy I’m insulted because it is used as shorthand to indicate stupid. I just need to stop being so sensitive I guess, we northerners are like that, easily upset.

Carl Goulding
Carl Goulding
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Wood

And you are still having to pay for something that is of no value to you….. what a great business model!

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
3 years ago
Reply to  Carl Goulding

I pay to read the Telegraph website and the Spectator website (guess my politics), just imagine a world where I was obliged to pay the subs to read the Guardian website as well, otherwise my reading the other two would be illegal.

I pay Netflix and Amazon Prime, suffer the adverts everywhere else and do not watch the BBC, but I still have to pay for it. How long can that rationally continue?

As has been posted elsewhere on this thread – if it is so good, just make it subscription only and the money will pour in (or not)

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

“Barwise and York argue, on the question of bias, that large-scale surveys tend to show that ” whatever we at home may think we know ” the BBC is not systematically biased: at least, inasmuch as these things can be quantified.”

Without citing a source for such a claim, it is empty.

For anyone who listens carefully to the BBC, as I used to (I have ceased pay a licence fee, and no longer bother with TV), the claims of impartiality of impossible to sustain. How long is it since the constitutional case for Brexit was examined? When was there last an open and non-hectoring examination of the pros and cons of mass immigration? A non-saccharine appraisal of NHS performance?

Bias shows up in editorial policy – in what is left out as well as what is said. There is a huge array of opinion and fact that the BBC elects to ignore. It does this because it seems to see its job to be to instruct us on correct opinion, not just to inform us on facts.

JohnW
JohnW
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

A couple of days ago, the lead story on the BBC website was a swooning piece about how the populations of the EC countries were enjoying a ‘day of unity’, as they all received the first Covid vaccines on the same day. No mention of the fact that the EU approval process had lagged that in the UK by weeks, or that a German clinic had ignored the rules and given the shots the day before. If the EU do it, it’s a fairytale.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  JohnW

…. as was a recent completely uncritical piece about the two women who “started up the BLM movement and built it up to what it is today” providing another egregious example of the biased, low-quality, social-engineering politicised tosh that the corporation chucks out.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  JohnW

Well, I knew about the German clinic going a day early – from the BBC. MHRA did a great job on vaccine approval which was given lots of coverage, as were the government celebrating it as a triumph for Britain and Hancock’s tears. I think that was fairly even handed.

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago
Reply to  Joe Blow

Not least the BBC has been completely bought out by the Vaccine-Pushing industry and its fake “second wave” and “third wave”. I no longer listen to BBC “news” because it is like having a stinking open sewer passing through your room.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
3 years ago

As an American, I’m not that familiar with local British news, however I used to be an avid reader and watcher of the BBC World News. For years I found it to be informative, serious, and surprisingly impartial in regards to United States politics. Unlike the trash American nightly news, there was interesting and in depth coverage of stories from around the world, lengthy interviews with serious guests, worthwhile follow up reporting, and minimal repeating of information you had already heard.

Then, in about 2014, I started noticing a change. American political coverage started sounding like “American political coverage.” Jon Sopel and Anthony Zurcher might as well have come from MSNBC. Stories started to have a “human interest” angle instead of the detailed, factual angle I appreciated. Finally, I caught them lying about local events in the United States, telling the rest of the world things I witnessed either never happened or were not true. After that I could no longer trust their reporting. Unfortunately, there are few other places to turn to for decent international coverage and finding reliable information can be difficult. These days I have a hard time telling the difference between the BBC and one of our horrible 24hr “news” networks.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

No rational person has had any trust in the BBC’s reporting for many years.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Or trust in anything ‘Historical’ as it will likely be one view of history, an agenda driven view, or fake history as Trump would call it.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Even Russia Today & Muslim Al-Jazeera are more even handed on ‘news’ content!..ch4,ch5 ,Sky ,itv are equally ‘Guilty’ i want news reported NoT opinions..

Blue Tev
Blue Tev
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Also not a native British, and the turning point for me (for the entire lot, BBC, Guardian..) was the grooming gangs travesty around that same time.

And it wasn’t just the fact that the supposedly neutral BBC / Guardian were going all out to protect large masses of utterly evil men from a single community, all for avoiding “racism”
It was also the simultaneous faux feminism and overblown reactions to the smallest of slights against victim classes, none of which remotely compares to what those poor, desperate, abandoned girls had to bear.

And the realisation that instead of over a dozen “Asian”gangs (which is not at all racist or slanderous against all thos Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists who manage to treat 14-year old white working class girls as human beings) and thousands upon thousands of victims… if there had been just a handful of black or muslim victims and a small number of white culprits, can you just imagine what the reaction would have been?

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Blue Tev

For the victim’s experience of the grooming gangs there is an excellent YouTube interview on Triggernometry with Dr Ella Hill “I Am a Grooming Gang Survivor” (July 2020). Important to note that Dr Hill was under threat from Antifa ““ they are very hostile to victims who speak out.

Steve G
Steve G
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Or ‘Fa’ as they should be known. There’s nothing ‘anti’ fascist about them at all.

The BBC of course, swoon over Anitfa and BLM as if they are obviously – and unquestionably – a force for good.

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve G

The BBC also swoon over Hope not Hate. A government funded organisation that should be renamed Hate not Hope after the disgraceful way they hounded NHRN, UKIP and Farage’s family.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The defenders of the BBC frequently cite a similar view of “how the BBC is revered around the world’

That is largely based on the fact that most still get “World Service” style broadcasts, not the crud that us domestic funders are expected to tolerate.

Many friends of mine who live abroad now go to “Al Jazeera” to get their news.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Or even RT, so long as you have your filters on there for the Russian angle.

Why did the BBC not report the yellow vests?

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

RT was the very first broadcaster to cover the violence in France and Germany during the Referendum Campaign. Their outside broadcasting arm Ruptly filmed the storming of the Bundestag and the fire bombing of two German Banks in support of BREXIT.

They also covered the Catalonia marches and protests long before the BBC ever did.

RT has also been the only mainstream broadcaster to cover the terrible persecution of Christians across the middle east and then broadcast Katie Hopkins’ harrowing documentary on the rape and murder of white African farmers whilst the EU and British Government turned away. Anyone who tries to push the BBC as trustworthy or factual is sadly ignorant of the real issues and the real problems

J J
J J
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

For the same reason RT do not cover the protests in Russia

Cj Grant
Cj Grant
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Or assange trial

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I listen to the World Service, and I’m afraid you’re wrong, or more likely, out-of-date, because from what I hear, it follows the identical themes that the rest of the BBC do, and indeed, I often hear the same reports at different times on both. That may be because the funding used to direct from the government, but is no longer.

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

We were in Shanghai speaking to university students six years ago. They were not impressed by the BBC world service reporting on certain events in Beijing or indeed Hong Kong. Many of those students were at the Freedom of Speech protests and knew exactly the brutality that went on. The BBC were not factually reporting.

Many students were also beginning to hear of the grooming gangs from students in Manchester and were disgusted at the language being used by the BBC world service to accuse ‘Asians’ of this atrocity.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I agree with Matt. As a Brit that has lived overseas since 1985 BBC World Service was my default everything and then at some point (maybe it was 2014 as Matt suggests) everything changed. The World Service these days is pure tripe and for me unlistenable. It is only forums like this one and news services like the Speccie that provide anything like news that is agenda free, or at least relatively so. I was amazed that RT was pretty good but if you are cynical enough, you can understand why. The UK is in a mess and is trying desperately hard to mask it with a whole host of disinformation. RT simply has to report what is actually happening to make the point that western democracy is pretty pathetic today. Unarguable really. Al-J too is pretty straight on as well. CBC though is the one that makes me chuckle. Just like hearing someone read out passages from Mao’s little red book. Just as well for if they said nothing but gave weather forecasts, they’d do much better in the court of global public opinion. Thank goodness they are as incompetent as other governments.

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

It is the same across the Western world now. Even respected magazines like the Spectator have lied about political news, spun the truth when opinion pieces are published. It seems every mainstream outlet is dancing to the tune of the globalists who want world socialism.

Only the independent journalists who are out on the street with their smart phones can now be trusted. The Youtubers and podcasters are a mixed bunch. Those who create their own channel can be trusted to give the truth. Those who may have their platform removed will walk a very careful line.

The double edged sword of this new broadcasting is that the truth tellers and truth seekers will form their own platform whilst the propagandists will remain under the control of the globalists. No one benefits. It divides society and it creates deep deep anger. This is what socialists fester and support in order to control but it never succeeds. The losers are the people themselves

Paul Bradbury
Paul Bradbury
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Luckily for all of us Andrew Neil is fronting “GB News” starting next year. It will be available online so licence free and should be well worth a watch.

Neil John
Neil John
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I’m sorry to say Jon Sopel was appointed as a Pro-Chancellor in 2016, and having watched his lecture (https://youtu.be/CXtL1upGBVo) his bias, along with his main scream bbc (Bliars Brainwashing Collusionists) MSMSM (Midden Stream Main Sewer Media) output, is clear to see. The same University appointed Ruby Wachs (Wax) as Chancellor…

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

Tough – the BBC deserve all the sh*t they get.

Just look at today’s Brexit piece on their News website for example :

“What took so long? The UK voted to leave the EU in 2016 and actually left on 31 January 2020, but leaders had until the end of 2020 to work out a trade deal”

Totally disingenuous as always, not reflecting the fact that the BBC spent 4 years pushing their own agenda of trying to undermine the democratic result.

They generally cover only the opinions on issues that they like, and are completely uncritical of anything that supports their social-engineering objectives.

Dreadful, dreadful organisation.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

The BBC hates Britain, this is the core fact, and why it is become hated its self.

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Agreed, but ‘hates England’ would be more precise.

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
3 years ago

My main bugbear with the Beeb is their stereotyped drama. White, straight male equals liar, bully, coward and murderer. White, straight female equals victim. Gay equals decent, warm-hearted. Black equals competent, caring and coping.
There is a slight variation for period costume drama. White, straight male still equals liar, bully, coward, murderer; everyone else is a proto-luvvy.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

I thought you were describing the News organisation ….. exactly the same gender and racial profiling editorial approach.

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Yes and our population seems to be 30% black African, 25% gay and 10% trans, most marriages are mixed race. Women are all strong intelligent and independent, never ever take advantage of their gender or sexuality. Tough rugged and athletic, a muscular 20 stone male is no match for a teenage 7 stone female and when running they trot along leaving the men puffing and panting in their wake. Occasionally men are allowed to do well in fantasy dramas such as the Olympic Games and other sports but only against other men. The most courageous thing a person can do is announce they are gay or trans whereupon they get celebrity superstar treatment.
This is the sort of world they want us to believe in and conform to, fed to us day in day out and it seems impossible to create new content without featuring some message of empowerment and the evils of the isms and the phobias as if nobody has been told any of this before. They just keep telling us the same thing over and over and over again like an old song on permanent loop that you might expect of some brain washing technique from an early dystopian sci-fi novel. Occasionally they allow us to watch a bit of old content that is relatively free of this new world order vision just so we know how bad the old ways were, and its actually entertaining.
To be fair it isn’t just the BBC its virtually all of the main broadcast media. We the public fund the BBC though and as our national broadcaster (the clue is in the name) most of us expect them to represent the whole of the country in its true proportions not just particular “deserving” sections and we expect content to reflect society as it is not some narrow vision of how they think it should be.

Mark Melvin
Mark Melvin
3 years ago
Reply to  Micheal Lucken

100% spot on Michael. Well said.

David Green
David Green
3 years ago
Reply to  Micheal Lucken

I find it strange that 60% of adverts are directed at 10% of the population!

icampbell
icampbell
3 years ago
Reply to  David Green

It is not always possible but I try to respond to blatantly Woke advertising by not buying the product.
I will buy nothing from Gillette after their toxic masculinity campaign.
I dumped Harry’s shave club when they sent me a fund raising request to support education in responsible masculinity.
I have gone to traditional DE razors and try to research my purchases. And I am enjoying the old time shaving experience.

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
3 years ago
Reply to  icampbell

Did the same. Trouble is they all seem to be jumping on the same bandwagon. Would be good if somebody could compile a list of decent non woke companies whose priorities are selling good product rather than virtue signalling. Sainsburys and Yorkshire tea have also lost my custom lately.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Micheal Lucken

The mudsharking is pretty over the top – I mean it seems that every other couple in advertising features a black male-white female couple. I hardly ever see these in real life (you know, actually married rather than Tyrone taking off/being kicked out by baby mamma Shantelle just after she delivers).

Future plotlines:

Petite little black girl beating up mutliple aggressive males (Nazis) twice her weight and upper body strength – coz she got skillz yo! U go guuurl! “Ain’t nobody gonna enslave me, raciss crackers!”

A totally monogamous *cough* commited *cough cough* gay couple, with no drug/alcohol problems and definitely no STDs, whose love has thrived despite being hunted down nightly by Christian monsters who burn gay people alive. Their best friend is a wise-crackin’ nun who was excommunicated by the Church for helping a thirteen year old girl get a abortion after being raped by a priest.

A transexual (played by an actual/real attractive female actress) who overcomes his (I mean her) conservative upbringing to live out her dream of being a stripper, discovering love in the arms of a totally attractive and hunky man who sees the beauty of her soul within.

BBC – are you hiring?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

Absolutely. In fact there is often absolutely no tension or mystery in many dramas and thrillers, because we know up front that the white men will always be the baddies, apart from a couple of simpering saps perhasp, and a black person or woman, preferably both, will be the eventual heros.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

Hmm…the Literary Editor of the Spectator uses this site rather than his own to air this puff piece eulogizing the BBC. Does he think the readership here will be more receptive to his fawning view of the organization? I fear he will be disappointed.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Given he is Prue Leith’s nephew, his family probably never gave him a chance.

“Give me the boy until he is seven …..”

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

And John Junor’s grandson!! Great example of BBC/media nepotism.

Hector Mildew
Hector Mildew
3 years ago

Well, John Junor was hardly a leftie metropolitan liberal, was he?
Some of his stuff would most definitely result in his collar being felt by the Hate Police these days.

Many moons ago I used to read his column in the Sunday Express. I used to enjoy it for the amusing anecdotes which featured regularly. One I remember in particular was about Denis Healey and his wife going on a self-catering holiday in Ayrshire during the Parliamentary recess. They popped down to the village shop to stock up and when they had finished their shopping the counter was stacked full of groceries.

At this point, Denis fished in his pocket and said, “I’m awfully sorry, I seem to have left my cheque book behind. Will it be alright if we take the items and come back and pay later?”

The retort from the shopkeeper was blunt. “No it will not be alright. That may be the way you run the country, but we do things differently up here.”

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago
Reply to  Hector Mildew

Good story. But although Sam Leith may have rejected his grandfather’s politics, he very much doesn’t reject the effortless promotion that has come his way through his grandfather’s wealth and connections.

Chris Wilson
Chris Wilson
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Her son Danny Kruger is, on the short time he has been our MP, his own man.

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

But nepotism in British media? Say it’s not so!

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Patrick White

“There was some talk of nepotism – but Daddy soon put a stop to that”

Paul Rogers
Paul Rogers
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

I love the Speccie. But they have some dud staff members. He is one.

neilyboy.forsythe
neilyboy.forsythe
3 years ago

Just stop pushing narratives and political slants on output. The budget should be tiny
News – Tell us what’s happened. Don’t filter it, don’t slant it, don’t give me your analysis and don’t spend money sending a crew to report from a scene where nothing is now happening. I know what the outside of a courthouse looks like and I don’t need or want to see reenactments.
There is no need to see half an hour’s worth of actual news 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
You are not competing with anyone so stop catastrophising.
Sport – We don’t need to pay anyone a million pounds to present a highlights program, just show the action, bin the analsis and NEVER show me what clubs are doing for the “community” or Mike Bushell pretending to fall over.
Culture – Show me the best, not what needs to be pushed to further political narratives.
Entertainment – Show me the best, not what needs to be pushed to further political narratives.
Factual – Show me the best, not what needs to be pushed to further political narratives.
Radio – No need for local channels other than one each for England, Scotland, Wales and Norn. No need for more than 3 national channels.
That license fee needs to plummet like a boulder. if not, you’re finished.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago

This bit

don’t spend money sending a crew to report from a scene where nothing is now happening. I know what the outside of a courthouse looks like and I don’t need or want to see reenactments.

merits several hundred upvotes all by itself.

The rest is pretty good to.

lonesometwin
lonesometwin
3 years ago

Tbh I disagree about local radio. Yes it’s anodyne and parochial but much loved by it’s mainly elderly listeners who really aren’t into the cut and thrust of national politics.

Theodor Adorno
Theodor Adorno
3 years ago

I was particularly taken by the author’s comment “in so far as these things can be quantified” as he then proceeds to studiously avoid any mention of the numerous quantitative studies that show how certain issues are clearly pushed by the BBC at the expense of others (numerous examples cited by previous posters). This is carried out by a very narrow sliver of society – I’ve had firsthand dealings with the BBC and its personnel bias is so Oxbridge-based it would be funny if the effects weren’t so stultifyingly serious.

I used to be an avid watcher of Newsnight until its bias became too much even for my strong stomach. A particular “highlight” was watching the novelist Jeanette Winterson opine about Brexit – not from any uniquely qualified perspective relating to politics or economics, but apparently because she felt the loss of EU membership more keenly than mere mortals. There was nothing other than her feelings – not even a pretence anymore by the producers that the programme is about evenhanded analysis of complex issues.

This goes beyond Left wing vs Right wing bias – there’s a horrible sense of entitlement within the BBC that fuels the disenchantment felt by many towards it. A series of “momentous” political events in recent years is only such a surprise if you’re as cloth-eared and parochial (in a paradoxically Metropolitan manner) as your average BBC journalist. E.g. if you live in the North, the “shock” fall of the Red Wall was a no-brainer …

(Apologies – ironically, given my theme of self-entitlement, my fat thumb led to an accidental self-upticking).

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Theodor Adorno

Great comment – PS you can undo fat thumb up/down ticking by another thumb print 👍

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

The dirtiest trick in this department was George Osborne’s making the corporation summarily responsible for the over-75s’ licence fee. Here was a promise ” or bribe, you could say ” made to the electorate by politicians without any consultation with the BBC. Dropping the promise would be a vote-loser; but keeping it on the DWP’s books would get more and more expensive as the population ages. So he made it the BBC’s problem ” which in turn gave government a further stick with which to beat the corporation.

This is a flat out lie.

The BBC agreed to take on over-75s licenses in 2015 in exchange for increased funding.

From a BBC article from the time:

BBC director general Tony Hall said: “Far from being a cut, the way this financial settlement is shaped gives us, effectively, flat licence fee income across the first five years of the next charter

The BBC then went against their word, and started charging over-75s.

Fake news, indeed.

Oh, by the way, congrats to your aunt for selling her house (funded by the BBC) for £10 million.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Harvey

And that’s why the government should turn round and force the BBC back to the old level of license fee.

It should also implement the decriminalisation as it promised. Just another Tory lie.

Chris Hudson
Chris Hudson
3 years ago

Let’s see now…. the Andrew Sachs case on Radio 2… the Cliff Richard harassment by BBC news…. Jimmy Saville’s victims….. In each case, the perpetrators thought they were untouchable and responsible to nobody else. A bit more humility and humanity in the BBC would go a long way to reverse that…. And the portrayal of a wider range of opinions to the ones usually showcased.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Hudson

“And the portrayal of a wider range of opinions to the ones usually showcased.”
How wide should that be? Should earth flatters be on TV?
James Delingpole went on Andrew Neill show (the week) and argued for No Deal brexit. He was asked over and over again to explain the position and he failed miserable. It was a humiliation.
Leavers complained that is was unfair to put Delingpole as he was not an expert on trade; was that a wide range of opinions for you?

Chris Hopwood
Chris Hopwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Hudson

Remember Maggie pressed for savile to be knighted and Mary Whitehouse’s NALVA gave Jim’ll fix it, a BBC programme, an award for being good family entertainment!

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago

The BBC’s idea of ‘balance’ is to set three pillars of the establishment to speak in favour of whatever cause they are promoting, who are treated with fawning respect by the interviewer, and one far-out tinfoil-hat maverick to speak against it, who is attacked by the interviewer and made to look stupid. The BBC’s idea of ‘balance’ is basically a rigged gladiatorial contest which they think will improve ‘ratings’, rather than any serious attempt to inform the audience about the broader and deeper background to any issue.
Leith in this article, and the BBC itself, is trading on the way it used to be and not the way it is. That can’t go on for ever.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
3 years ago

“Stop bad-mouthing the BBC”
I’ll stop bad-mouthing the BBC when the BBC stops threatening to prosecute me.
Perhaps you could have a word with one of your chums on my behalf.

“Peter York…a multimedia gadfly remembered inter alia for minting the epithet “Sloane Ranger”)” The bathos is just killing me, Sam and I dread to think what the inter alias might have been.
Sam, you have a talent for unintended comedy. You deserve your own slot on the BBC.

G H
G H
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

That I believe is what he is hoping for and why he wrote this fatuous article

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago

If it’s so great, why the compulsory license fee? Why the threatening letters? (I have a small collecton of them now). After all, you’ve *totally* made a convincing case Mr Leith – now let’s test it. Not over 9 days for 48 households, but on an ongoing basis with all households. If you what you say is true, the BBC should hve no problem whatsoever.

But they won’t do it, will they? We all know why – and the author of this article knows too.

The only pro-BBC argument I can think of, and indeed the only convincing one in the article itself, is “better the devil you know”.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

They just can’t take off the “rose-tinted” glasses and start from what the role of a PSB should be.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

Exactly. Why do they need the threat of violence or actual violence to fund the BBC?

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Aden Wellsmith

Financial threats, really – but I think people have actually gone to prison for refusing to pay the license fee. We just whip out our phone-cameras and refuse entry to anyone who asks without a warrant, only happened once that a guy came to our house and he didn’t stick around.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

This article is not a ‘good look’ when we learned yesterday that countless BBC employees had been given 100k to leave the organisation – and we all know that a lot of them will return to the BBC as freelancers or whatever. Ironically, they could have been redeployed to take calls from the hundreds of people who call up every day to cancel their license. Apparently it’s very difficult to get through and the BBC puts up obstacles to cancellation whist lying to people by telling them that they need a license to watch Netflix and YouTube.

Whatever, I threw out the TV 20 years ago because I refused to fund this endlessly grasping, biased, sanctimonious and deceitful organisation. I barely even listen to the football commentaries any more, preferring instead the ‘walch-alongs’ on YouTube.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago

The BBC has become very predictable. Whereas it used to convey information and inform – now it pursues a cause to try to shape society in the image of its people. It is selective in the data it broadcasts – avoiding information that opposes its “cause”.
It is largely innumerate . (With the exception of more or less). It is pro EU, Pro BLM, Pro Labour pro Immigration. It is Anti Tory, Anti immigration control, Anti Brexit .
It is a broadcasters Guardian. Not so much an organisation as a cause .
But it is a cause run by people highly privileged , insulated from economic stress, London Centric . Truth is of secondary importance now. The cause is all. .

Gerry Fruin
Gerry Fruin
3 years ago

It’s called ‘whim of the week’. Any emotional turmoil will do. Then harp on constantly, using a bottomless pit of ‘experts’ to agree. On and on and on it goes. There is no news on the BBC.
I gave up television many years ago, and until recently endured the morning news, but that has few factual items other than the normal rants about it’s the government’s fault.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Yet another diatribe from a fully paid up Shrieker from Quislington.
Bravo!
“Defund” the BBC now, and be done with it.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Surely if the position is popular Tories would do it now?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Too lazy and obsessed by C19.
Additionally the BBC is doing a better job than even Joseph Goebbels in disseminating government C-19 hysteria.

Benjamin Jones
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

It’s the only way for the BBC to get higher ratings, scaring them to stay indoors and watch telly.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

There are many popular positions that the Tories have not adopted:
– Abolish the House of Lords
– Stop almost all immigration
– Bring back the death penalty
– Introduce a welfare system that is based on contributions

Any party that committed to all or most of these, along with the de-funding of the BBC, would get the biggest vote in British history.

Chris Hopwood
Chris Hopwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

And who would broadcast all the Covid press conferences?

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
3 years ago

Twaddle. The BBC does not represent most of us. That we have known for a long time. There refusal to report news they think we should not hear. Their refusal to name Kashmir Pakistanis who formed rape gangs all over the country, simply referring to them as “Asians”, their inability to tell the truth – .e.g the “largely peaceful” BLM protests. Which resulted in 29 injured policemen. No. They are done for, and the backlash against the cultural (ha!) Marxism that has infected the public sector will be horrible. And rightly so. RIP BBC.

Steve Moxon
Steve Moxon
3 years ago

What?! The b**b is scientifically illiterate from top to bottom, never mind being ‘PC’-totalitarian — ‘PC’-Fascism Central.
Whether it’s men-women, the climate, race, cosmology/astrophysics … the b**b is always there to get it spectacularly wrong. Totally out of the loop of scientific enquiry, adhering to long-dead notions and fully signed up to inappropriate ideological paradigms.
The BBC doesn’t get enough bad-mouthing.
It’s beyond the pale and nobody should pay it’s outdated, outrageous, obscene ‘pay for your own oppression’ poll tax.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Is this the same BBC whose news output is now less trusted by the British people than that of Al Jazeera and Channel 5?

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I hear the Daily Sport is more trusted for it’s insightful analysis of today’s news

Chris Hopwood
Chris Hopwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Evidence please

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Hopwood

Evidence! How many WW2 Lancasters do you need to find on the moon before you just have to believe it’s true?

Ian Smith
Ian Smith
3 years ago

I was a staunch supporter of the BBC for 59 years.
The lead up to the Referendum, the following 4 years, and now the COVID Lies has totally changed me.
Let the organisation die.

Martyn Hole
Martyn Hole
3 years ago

It is hard to imagine a more perfect background than for our Sam, he of the media aristocracy. He’s got it all: Eton, Oxford, Prue as an aunt, Sir John & Penny Junor. I’m surprised he doesn’t choke given all the silver spoons in his mouth.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Martyn Hole

Just make sure you count those spoons if the BBC come to dinner ….

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago
Reply to  Martyn Hole

But is it only spoons he has shoved in there?

alex bachel
alex bachel
3 years ago

I used to regard the BBC as an important British institution but, now living in a different country and with a sense of greater objectivity, can now say that the BBC has fallen dramatically in most people’s eyes. The self regard of the anchors and the awful wokeness of the programming is too much to take. The writer’s comments are at least 15 years out of date. The fact that the BBC can advertise positions that joyfully exclude White men in particular is an example of their objectionable wokeness. The sooner the BBC dies, the better.

Al M
Al M
3 years ago

“incel science-fiction fans are still recovering from Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor.”

This essay is merely an exercise in applying as many commonly used fallacies as possible to present an argument.
Above: if you don’t like the most recent Dr. Who series, you’re an embittered sexual failure who creeps around on the dark web; you therefore have no right to an opinion. I’m sure Mr. Leith will go on to a long career at our national broadcaster as he certainly has the knack of insulting its audience nailed.

Andy Tuke
Andy Tuke
3 years ago
Reply to  Al M

The problem with the Jodie Whittaker Dr Who was really down to the fact that the storylines were utter rubbish. Lawrence Olivier couldn’t have salvaged any hope out of that material.
And why take an established male character and make it female. Wouldn’t it be more creative to create a new strong female role instead? The Missy character was excellent and could easily have justified an interesting spin off

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Tuke

Mrs Othello should be white..How many brownie points virtuous am i.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
3 years ago

“They address the three main lines of attack, which map the ideological fault lines of the age”

All utterly irrelevant to why the BBC is a terrible idea. It is a preposterous anachronism in the internet age & the notion of state owned broadcasters should have died when East German disappeared from the political map. I would oppose the existence of the BBC even if it pumped out nothing but pro-liberty classical liberal stuff that I agreed with.

And as for the notion “most people trust and value the BBC”… is that like all the polls showing most people oppose Brexit & have done for years (except mysteriously in the final Euro election & last general election)? 😀

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 years ago

In the last general election the tories only got 43% of the vote. The rest of the votes went to parties that were pro EU (DUP aside)…How am I to interpret the numbers?

John W
John W
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

The last general election was precisely that – a general election, not a referendum on a single issue. The 2016 referendum delivered the result on Brexit.

Rest easy, no further interpretation required, just an acceptance of the results.

Pete the Other
Pete the Other
3 years ago
Reply to  John W

True for those for whom Brexit was not the most important issue. What turned it into a crushing landslide, though, was that a good many of that 43% were abandoning their usual party to vote for the only one that was offering to get Brexit done.

Mark H
Mark H
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Labour were neither pro nor anti-Brexit. Very confusing. If I remember right they were offering “our Brexit (maybe), just not the Tories’ Brexit. More than anything else, I think, they were offering a continuation of the previous 4? years of Brexit wrangling and stalling.

But on the other hand many must have voted for the Tories as the lesser of two evils so the vote share is not a definitive vote on Brexit. Brexit + a potentially damaged economy vs. Corbyn and guaranteed economic damage.

If the election result had been purely about Brexit, with a majority in favour of Remain, one would expect the Lib Dems’ uncompromising position to have won them a thumping majority.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

Last Four European Elections, Tories & Labour promised ‘To honour Brexit referendum’ in 2017 Manifestos .Then Spent 4&half years trying to stop Exiting EU..its not Just on news, its Political parties lib-lab-cons-Snp-plaid-greens are Useless..look at lack of leadership or opposition on SARS2?…..

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago

Interesting viewing figures coming out for BBC Christmas shows. Down substantially. Strictly Christmas Special used to pull in nearly 20m viewers. This year 3.2m.

BBC flagship political programme QT struggles to get more than 2 million viewers each week.

Steve Bannon’s War Room (American political programme) gets nearly 30m viewers worldwide. The Duran gets just over 2million views each time they broadcast. James Delingpole gets an average of 4m views on his podcasts. So it goes.

Now tell me that the BBC is still the most trusted broadcaster when they are not broadcasting facts, not discussing issues from every perspective and are taking large amounts of funding from EU and Bill Gates. The BBC needs to be more honest. It needs to become a commercial broadcaster and not a publicly funded propagandist broadcaster. If the BBC wants to survive, it needs to stop working for foreign interests.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Anjela Kewell

Those who trust the BBC do so for two main reasons:

1) It’s a meme passed down through generations who had no alternatives.
2) It fills its airtime with self-aggrandising adverts about its own self-worth.

Anyone who tells you it’s ad-free has been conned …..

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Anjela Kewell

Morecambe&wise Christmas show1977 28m+ Two Ronnies 1987 (last))Christmas show 20m+ now they produce turkeys & Virtue signalling sh*** No one left right or neutral politics watches…Bring back Testcard &its music!

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago

My wife and I faithfully listened to BBC for 30+ years. Our children graduated from Tellytubbies to Attenborough and as family we cherished it all. We still listen to programmes like In Our Time and Desert Island Discs. I personally would be happy yo pay the license fee for Radio 3 alone.
And yet, we can no longer stand Today, the comedy shows or the narrow social agenda of much of BBC’s output. When did the BBC have Roger Scruton or Theodore Dalrymple as an expert on anything? When did Black voices like Thomas Sewell ever appear on any BBC programme? When did the likes of Andrew Marr declare conflicts of interest in being married to senior Guardian journalists? Doctors have to declare the financial interests of their spouses in Pharma industry? Why not the BBC staff?
I don’t care about waste, bloatedness or competition monopoly. What I care about is bias and blatant left-wing woke ideology that permeates BBC. You can sense its stench everywhere in BBC.
I would not defund the BBC. I don’t want it gone. But it will have to change. Or perish. WE will all miss it when it is gone. So change it must.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

It will not change, not a chance.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Expecting the BBC to change is like expecting the EU, or Nazi Germany, or Pol Pot’s Cambodia, to change. It’s not going to happen. It has become a fanatical cult that will meet either total victory or total defeat.

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

I really think the bus has gone. My BBC history mirrors yours, but I do not think there is a way back, which is a real tragedy. The days of leaving Radio 4 on in the background all day are long gone. It used to be that you just tuned out the rubbish like You and Yours knowing that something really good would be along shortly, now the good bits are so few and far between that I just don’t turn it on any more.

Nico Sz
Nico Sz
3 years ago

Nice puff piece for the BBC but spectacularly missing the point. The main point being, the very notion of a ‘national broadcaster’ is archaic in the 21st century.

We used to laugh at Soviet era propaganda TV – the Beeb is no better, albeit not in the same way, but just as ludicrously biased. They wouldn’t know impartiality if it came and slapped them round the face.

If it’s so great and everyone loves it, why the objection to a subscription model? I think we all know the answer to that.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Nico Sz

You could try a classic “slap with a wet fish” but it would need to be part of the EU quota for them to take note 🙂

Chris Hopwood
Chris Hopwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Nico Sz

Why not fund it by advertising?

Malcolm dunn
Malcolm dunn
3 years ago

Personally I think the BBC deserves every kicking it gets. Nothing has illustrated the bias in its coverage as the way it has handled the Covid crisis. It sees its task as scaring the nation as much as it possibly can and highlights every story that will help it to achieve its aim.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm dunn

Spot on. It is a national disgrace, unrivalled since the days of Herbert Asquith.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago

“…Stop bad-mouthing the BBC…”

When (if, big if) they stop badmouthing me, i’ll stop bad mouthing them.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

They’re getting scared Nigel, can you smell it? I too would be, if I depended on people I hated for my funding.

Don Holden
Don Holden
3 years ago

Sam Leith seems to be writing a job application to Auntie. I will consciously avoid any further articles penned by this gullible, privileged lefty.

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago
Reply to  Don Holden

Sam Leith is also mired in Spectator speak. I cancelled my subscription end of November due to their disgraceful reporting on the American elections. The TDS was off the planet. The drooling over Biden without any reference to the 47 years of corruption and the destabilisation of Ukraine in order to make the family one of the richest in America was an utter dereliction of investigative journalism.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Anjela Kewell

Yes, The Spectator’s coverage of the US election, Biden and Trump was disgusting.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Along with some of my friends, I can’t wait for Andrew Neil’s GB News. I hope it’s available online as I don’t have a TV. Hopefully it will blow the BBC out of the water.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

I am tired of heavy-handed drama where the intent is to ‘educate’ us. For example – the “strong woman” trope. It is SO tedious. Characters in fiction should not always have to represent all fellow-members of their victim class. Of course there are ‘strong women,’ there are also weak, stupid and venal women. And the existence of one dim woman in a TV show does not reflect on all women.

stephen f.
stephen f.
3 years ago

Long ago, we watched the BBC as a refreshingly disinterested news source, reflecting, in it’s style and substance, the widely held, generally positive view of Britain and things British. Now it seems to have gone “woke”, and has become just another slanted progressive-oriented mouthpiece for mendacious pols and whatever the movement of the moment happens to be…
Still enjoy some of the non-news programming, but there is more and more “message creep” polluting the scripts.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

We need more, not less badmouthing of the BBC and almost every academic. A good example was the propaganda imposed on children (and adults) in the first of this year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lectures (I haven’t seen the others yet).

We had a professor of geology, Chris Jackson, churning out nonsense about climate change. The lengths of string used to show past temperature changes had no scales and were like no graphs I have ever seen. But it was an experiment with a glass tube and a candle that abused science, and it is not the first time the BBC has done this. Iain Stewart another geologist demonstrated this a few years ago. Unfortunately, the expert from the University of Sussex who devised the experiment for Stewart posted the details on the internet revealing how it had been faked.

This is a modern version of a famous experiment conducted by a Victorian scientist John Tyndall, but he did not understand what he observed. He thought that infrared radiation he was passing through a tube was being trapped by gases in it. They were not. They were being absorbed and emitted in every direction and Tyndall only observed the radiation from the end of the tube and so came to the wrong conclusion. This experiment is regularly quoted by climate scientists as proof that we are warming the earth, which of course is not true. Next week we will be treated once again to David Attenborough forcing more of this nonsense on us, with the blessing of the completely untrustworthy BBC.

Returning to the recent demonstration with the glass tube and the candle. The candle was outside the tube at one and an infrared thermometer was pointed at the candle from the other end of the tube to measure the temperature of the flame. We were not told what the ends of the tube were made of. Certainly not glass because the thermometer would have just measured the temperature of the glass at the end of the tube. Leaving that on one side, when the air in the tube was replaced by methane the temperature of the candle fell, according to the thermometer. Of course it did not, it was outside the tube and the contents of the tube could not change the temperature at which it was burning. This was promoted by the BBC and Imperial College as science. It was disgraceful lies but how many viewers were capable of working this out. It does not even need any scientific knowledge, just common sense, to see through this nonsense in the experiment. Common sense left the BBC years ago.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Here is another fraud from America: https://realclimatescience….

Warren Alexander
Warren Alexander
3 years ago

The most important question is why, in the 21st century, one has to pay a tax to watch live to air TV, a tax which only goes to one provider?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

I live in South Africa and when I do watch MSM I now avoid BBC, CNN and Sky…. it became impossible not to notice their agendas and bias during Covid lockdown, which gave plenty time to witness their mediocrity and transparency. I flick over to RT and Al Jazeera with caution, but mainly I go off mainstream now. That is where the real news is – when allowed through by Silicon Valley that is.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Yes, the whole of the legacy media/MSM is garbage, not just the BBC. As you and others here have said, the quality of information and comment is far superior elsewhere. That said Sky News in Australia is very good.

Terry Mushroom
Terry Mushroom
3 years ago

… it is suffused with liberal metropolitan bias and out of touch with the Plain People of Britain.

If this isn’t true, why are we forced to pay for the BBC? Let it stand or fall on its own merits. Let the Plain People of Britain decide without fear of a fine. Why can’t we be trusted to know what is good for us?

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago

It’s not working mate. We’ve defunded the BBC en masse and more is to come.

“The BBC has sustained us during the pandemic” – Lots of repeats and even more propaganda. No questioning.

Take government debt. The BBC reports 2 trillion. The BBC has left off the 14 trillion of pension debts. The BBC is bunch of liars.

If you think the BBC is great its simple. Decriminalise, go subscription. It’s so great people will sign up to it. Why not put your mouth and the money on the line?

So its not us that’s dishonest, its the BBC.

We need more consent in life. The BBC is the complete opposite. It’s fiscal rape. It’s being forced to pay for pro state left wing propaganda.

If you want that you fund them. It’s that you use, violence if needed, to get the money to fund your wants that’s the issue.

John W
John W
3 years ago

“They gave them each a cash payment of £3.60 ” nine days’ worth of the licence fee ” and cut their Beeb off for that long. Guess what? 33 of those 48 households changed their minds after nine days without the Corporation.”

And what of the 15 households which did not? Mr Leith is making the case for replacing the current 1950s funding model with a subscription service.

John Mcalester
John Mcalester
3 years ago

My kids who are in their late teens and early twenties don’t watch the BBC, they don’t have aerials plugged into their TVs. They stream from You tube or netflix. They could probably could not even name a BBC programme.
The chances that this generation will pay for a compulsory license in 20 or 30 years are remote. The BBC will need to radically change there business model pretty darn quick.

Hal Lives
Hal Lives
3 years ago
Reply to  John Mcalester

I don’t have a “TV,” I watch, and listen, to the Beeb on my PC, along with Amazon Prime and Netflix.

The license fee is a bit steep, but I consider it good value for money considering, and when they’re being attacked politically by the Left and the Right, well, they must be doing something right! 😄

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
3 years ago
Reply to  John Mcalester

Same here, except mine are late twenties, early thirties, two high achieving graduates and another about to take over running my company. None of them watch TV through the aerial and just don’t get BBC radio at all, have no concept of what it is for or why you would want it. It is a burning platform issue that needs to be addressed. The world is changing, the BBC is not.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
3 years ago

“Researchers struck a deal with 48 households who had answered a survey saying they thought the licence fee was poor value for money. They gave them each a cash payment of £3.60 ” nine days’ worth of the licence fee ” and cut their Beeb off for that long. Guess what? 33 of those 48 households changed their minds after nine days without the Corporation.”

Typical social science experiment, deliberately designed to get the desired result. Since that amount of money isn’t enough to pay for an alternative subscription all your doing is taking something off the participant then asking them how they like it.

Try the same thing for a year and give them the full license fee and see how many people miss the BBC.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Its convenient for the author to quote a (BBC commissioned) micro-study from back in 2015 before the downward drift became a head-long hurtle.

I’ve read a number of BBC-related surveys, and the questions are usually disingenuously pre-designed to achieve higher scores.

Richard
Richard
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

It’s also worth noting a conveniently obscured fact that part of the licence fee covers the costs of transmission for all the ‘Free to Air’ channels and that these are forbidden to viewers who might want to watch any other live broadcasts apart from those from the BBC. This really needs to be addressed before a sensible future policy can be agreed.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard

Can you explain that please. EG how does it apply to Freeview, ITV etc

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
3 years ago

It mean you cannot watch any live TV from anywhere in the world over any media i.e. Freeview, satellite or internet. I think this is outrageous.

peter lucey
peter lucey
3 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

I posted upthread – even this test showed that 15 of 48 – 33% did not want the BBC. Why should they be forced to pay for it?

David J
David J
3 years ago

I gave up BBC Radio 4 morning news years ago, when John ‘Hector’ Humphrys gave such unpleasantly interruptive interviews.
Since then, output across the BBC has been downhill all the way, steered to the iceberg of doom by the previous Director General.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

The creeping (and cult-like) veneration of appallingly arrogant, rude and ineffective interviewers like Paxman, Maitlis and Humphreys basically did it for me as well.

Gems like Evan Davis are increasingly “rarer than hens teeth”

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Humphrys (no “e”) recently declared admiration bordering on veneration for another old BBC stalwart (and propagandist in my opinion) ““ the sainted David Attenborough who, it seems, will lead us all to a new bright future where “The Planet” will be saved, “The Environment” properly cared for and the world made a pleasant place for the well-healed to enjoy.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

I have no issues with the genuinely saint-like Mr Attenborough. He has all the hallmarks of someone untainted by the News Division.

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Ugh! Really? David Attenboorough is smug and preachy at every opportunity.

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

He used to be very good when he made wildlife documentaries and wasn’t a follower of St Greta

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

”How dare you!@@

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

I get your drift – but he has avoided becoming a social justice warrior ..

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Although i like Attenborough(a fellow leicesterfarian)) in 2005 he & Dr David Bellamy were told by BBC ”Do you embrace climate change” Bellamy said ”It is nonsense,the weather systems are influenced by Sun,Solar winds,Volcanoes” he lost his job, Attenborough happily complied and earned millions in Royalties..I met David bellamy &Piers corbyn at Imperial College(October 2009) they were very Good on Lectures ..It wouldn’t take place now..

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

Humphreys now seems mild and polite in comparison to, say, Robinson, and nor did his voice ever attain the same degree of sneering.

Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

Cancel your tv licence
Free your mind
Spread the word

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Done all that!

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 years ago

I hugely support the “idea” of the BBC, what the BBC used to be. But its current incarnation needs to change.

When a national broadcaster fails to give viewers accurate and impartial information, when it distorts the debate to fit in with its own narrow worldview, then that damages democracy. There is no more intellectually bereft argument than “both sides think its biased which means they must be doing a good job”. But every time the BBC comes under fire for their bias, some unctuous BBC Corporate spokesperson is wheeled onto a show to “laugh off” such criticism by making precisely that case.

The BBC has chosen willfully to bite the hand that feeds it ““ over and over again.

BBC news and current affairs is nakedly partisan. Any sense of impartiality has gone.

They have been openly disdainful of the choices of over half the electorate ““ sneering at any who don’t fall in with the BBC approved view of the world.

BBC programming in general has decided that older viewers should be ignored ““ all in a vain attempt to chase a younger audience, none of whom would ever think to spend an evening in watching 2 terrestrial channels.

They’ve taken long running and much loved series ““ Dr Who being a good example ““ and remade them as activist propaganda.

BBC Drama has decided to rewrite the classics by inserting C21st liberal agenda issues into adaptations of 18th and 19th century literature.

Each one of those decisions has actively discouraged previously loyal viewers.

Issues that chime with BBC virtue projection, such as Climate, Austerity or most recently with Covid or BLM stories, are presented with no balance, no counter-narrative. Simple propaganda is enough.

When it came to Brexit the bias was all the more stark – not merely in the news coverage but right across the piece. Take almost any panel show and the sneering tone it adopts to all things Brexit. Look at the shoehorning in of the topic into programs that have no relation to our leaving the EU – where viewers/listeners are constantly reminded by phrasing stories in terms of “Despite Brexit” or “Amid fears surrounding Brexit” … it is always slanted negatively, never looking at potential opportunities Brexit may offer, only the difficulties and downsides.

This is probably understandable given that programme makers are almost entirely pro-EU, pro-Remain, young metropolitans so even whilst they might try to maintain a balanced tone they cannot see the bias that creeps into every report and programme. The fact that it is understandable, however, does not excuse it or nullify it. It is the job of senior editors and exec producers to maintain an even-handed and informative tone – this they have singularly failed to do.

The BBC has a charter obligation to provide balanced and impartial news and comment. It no longer comes even close to achieving that.

I am a great supporter of “the idea” of the BBC. To have TV & Radio channels entirely free from advertiser or owner-led interference, supported by licence fee payers, that can produce quality programmes without having to pander to lowest common denominator tastes to chase viewing figures, was (and should still be) what made it one of the great British institutions.

However, if the BBC fails to meet its charter obligations then it gives up the right to its funding. If they want to continue receiving state funding then the BBC needs to face up to this and be brave enough to change.

Auntie needs to grow some balls!

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Thank you for putting such a calm and coherent comment alongside my rants.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I thought it was calm – but for some reason the mod-bots have decided it is spam and thus deleted it.

This KEEPS on happening here. I really enjoy Unherd, but if they can’t sort out their, seemingly arbitrary, mod policies then i will stop reading it.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I’m amazed.

Sometimes comments (and their replies) get out of sequence, and only re-appear when you have re-sorted the list a few times.

Hopefully this is what had happened.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

The questions on the recently supposedly independent survey on the BBC were dreadful.

They asked “Is high quality news important to you ?”

In any objective world, The next question should have been “Do you think the BBC provide this .. ?”

But no, of course they didn’t do this ….

You have to wonder if this is because the BBC and Ofcom share the same career gene pool ..

Two stations on the same gravy-train line perhaps …

lizzzygoode
lizzzygoode
3 years ago

And the BBC’s complete and utter refusal to to countenance any alternative views on climate catastrophe. They are supposed to educate and inform and do neither. I don’t need ‘Aunty’ I have a mind of my own and if informed I will evaluate and decide.

JD Burrell
JD Burrell
3 years ago

I lived in the UK for twenty years and I miss many things now that I no longer live there. The BBC is not on the list.
Complete rubbish.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I will stop bad-mouthing the BBC when the BBC stops bad-mouthing working class white men like me.

ccauwood
ccauwood
3 years ago

Question Time. The policy of undermining Brexit, Boris, Hancock. Emily Maitlis. The manipulation, the splicing, of Trump speeches out of context. Door closed to right wing comedians. Free Guardian hard copy paid for with the licence fee. It’s not the female Dr Who, it’s the token Bradley Walsh, the straight clown among the mixed race, gay cast. Hardly representative of our real community whose youth barely watch TV or read newspapers. The old caricature of the straight laced Aunt with a twinkle in her eye gone, replaced by Alistair Campbell’s Ministry of Propaganda. Sub £3 a week? A bargain. Where, how else, can you demoralise 80% of a western population for so little?

Gary Greenbaum
Gary Greenbaum
3 years ago

If the BBC is so popular, and the licence fee deemed such good value, then there should not be the slightest objection to a subscription payment in its place. Though past programming should be placed in the public domain as the public has paid in full for that.

blanes
blanes
3 years ago

“Like it or not, the majority of Brits trust ” and value ” Auntie” That explains part of the reason the countries in such a mess. Brainwashed by the beeb.

Patrick White
Patrick White
3 years ago

It’s ironic that the author of this piece has written a book on clarity and persuasion.

He certainly failed in his mission here. But then, when you sit at a keyboard armed with so little…

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 years ago

The BBC isn’t all bad, but Sam Leith does not address the main concern about the BBC’s cultural rather than narrowly party political bias. Though sometimes it is the latter as well, Emily Maitlis’s speeches for example, the bias on Brexit, general advocation of ‘woke’ positions in a completely predictable way, Gary Lineker using his very priviileged and well-paid position to bad-mouth Millwall fans over their opposition to ‘taking the knee’ . Etc Etc.

If you don’t address the main criticisms of the BBC you can hardly then find it ‘not guilty’. He also ignores the obvious point that payment is based on a compulsory tax which is indefensible in today’s world of multiple media voices. If is so good, people would subscribe to it. I might even do so myself…

Kathryn Richards
Kathryn Richards
3 years ago

For anyone who still believes the BBC is unbiased, or has no agenda they need to read the piece yesterday by Laura Kuenssberg entitled ‘Brexit bows out with a whimper, not a bang’

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago

I’m waiting for one of her interviewees to ask her “Do you now regret the ill-informed questions and statements that you have raised over the last four years …?”

I know no-one will, but what a delight to witness it would be 🙂

David Weare
David Weare
3 years ago

The BBC used to be much loved.
But those days are long gone.

They are captured
The BBC is now promoting a fairly radical social engineering project.

They are writing their own death warrant.
The sooner we carry out sentence the better.

Al Thealien
Al Thealien
3 years ago

As a native Brit and having watched the BBC news etc.for 65 years I can honestly say it is now, without question, simply a highly paid propaganda arm of the UK’s Cabinet Office, the UK having transformed itself from a democracy into a dictatorship. Clearly the author is short on both experience and just plain savvy.. Follow the money and funding!

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Thealien

No, his Aunt is Prue Leith, so he knows exactly what he is saying. Another luvvie’s relative that has only ever “worked” in the MSM.
Punch,
Daily Mail
The Daily Telegraph
Financial Times
Prospect
The Spectator
The Wall Street Journal
The European
The Guardian
My guess would be he is angling for a nice well paid cushy job with the beeb where he can continue his proselytising to us plebs. He’ll probs get one too!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Christ what a dismal list that is, with the exception of The Spectator, one or two Daily Mail writers and, sometimes, the WSJ. And they wonder why we have all given up on the legacy media.

Andy Tuke
Andy Tuke
3 years ago

Well personally I’m happier now that I’m no longer paying them.

Simon Newman
Simon Newman
3 years ago

I’ve not had a TV licence since 2016. I don’t miss the BBC, but I do resent not being allowed to watch commercial TV.

Malcolm dunn
Malcolm dunn
3 years ago

Looking at the other comments it doesn’t look like Sam Leith has convinced too many people. here

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm dunn

Maybe articles in support of the BBC are so spectacularly rare that UnHerd felt the need to give a voice to one of them 🤔

larry tate
larry tate
3 years ago

I am glad to hear that the BBC is not systematically biased, as Mr. Leith kindly informs us, although in the next sentence he warns us of the difficulty of quantifying these same assertions.
I don´t think anyone is pretending to say that the BBC is systematiclly biased. It is simply biased, that´s all. It has taken a side, the liberal- left- BLM- transgender side.
Should we allow this to happen so smoothly in front of our eyes? I don´t think so. We must object to its partiality and demand some old school journalism, namely, to inform the public of the facts not of it´s interpretations.
Mrs. Naga Muncheti should only read the news, not commnent on them. It´s not professional, nor dignified.

Paul Bradbury
Paul Bradbury
3 years ago

If it’s true as this article suggests that the BBC is good value then let the licence tax fund the BBC only and not deny other broadcasters free access to the airwaves. The proof then would be how many people decide to pay it. As always arguments such as this always ignore the element of choice and that’s just not 21st Century reality.

iambetsytrotwood
iambetsytrotwood
3 years ago

The BBC is an Auntie with an agenda who sadly had no siblings except 2 also-rans. Tune out if you can.

Jonathan Jones
Jonathan Jones
3 years ago

“incel science-fiction fans are still recovering from Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor.”

The ratings for Doctor Who are now lower than when it was cancelled the first time, but go off, King.

peter lucey
peter lucey
3 years ago

Re: the 2015 “BBC Deprivation Study”, where 48 households thought the licence fee was poor value for money; then given a cash payment of £3.60 and cut their Beeb off for 9 days

The author concludes “Guess what? 33 of those 48 households changed their minds after nine days without the Corporation.”

So, 33% of the sample are forced – by the criminal law – to purchase a service they do not want. That’s exactly waht is wrong with the BBC. It is a vicious regressive tax on the poorest in our society.

Jonathan Oldbuck
Jonathan Oldbuck
3 years ago

The BBC is like a cancer on the UK.

connieperkins9999
connieperkins9999
3 years ago

Please. I do not need Rupert Murdoch to trick me into despising the BBC. Are you always so patronising?

I might have been convinced that there was something salvageable in the BBC before 2020, but Naga Munchetty’s mawkish montage of the NHS workers who had died of C19 drove me to cancel my license in April and I’ve no intention of renewing it, ever.

TV Licensing has opened an ‘investigation’ which has focused my mind on the matter further still.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Seems the BBC is much like America’s NPR/PBS – they are anachronisms. There is no shortage of media and information outlets these days, and there is no reason for any of them to be funded by the taxpayer. If the BBC or NPR want to continue, then let them do as commercial media do and sell airtime. This is irrespective of any real or perceive ideological slant in the coverage. I don’t want to the taxpayer funding a right-leaning network, either. This is very much akin to having a govt-sponsored automaker playing on the same field as privately owned companies.

Dorothy Slater
Dorothy Slater
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

NPR is not “funded by the taxpayer.” Indeed, one has to endure quarterly pledge weeks where listeners are ASKED – not required – to fund the programming if they wish. Also, given the number of times in one hour I have to listen to the voice detailing the number of institutions funding NPR, I would say they do have advertisers even is they are loathe to admit it.

That said, the days when I used to listen faithfully and quote NPR are long gone. They too have gone far too woke for my taste. Ergo, I rarely listen except to non-news shows such as Fresh Air and do not contribute.

michael9
michael9
3 years ago

Couldn’t agree less. Hard to think of any output that isn’t complacent, lazy and .. dull. Beeb staffers are clearly very comfortable ..

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

The BBC is the worst mainstream media outlet, apart from all the others.

My wife started putting on C4 news because the time suited. It made my blood boil so much she now rarely does it to me and I never complain when she puts on BBC 10 O’Clock news – she has normally had enough after 10 mins so I can just switch it off when she leaves the room.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Dear Cathy has that affect on pretty much all of us these days.

If you want some light relief, locate her attempt at criticising Jordan Peterson.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

All of them are equally awful.

Peter KE
Peter KE
3 years ago

Poor article. The BBC is left wing, woke rubbish and should be defunded and privatised.

John McFadyen
John McFadyen
3 years ago

Without being led or misled by the nose by others intent on undermining the BBC, I have reached my own conclusions. The BBC is a curate’s egg; obviously and entirely bad, but is described out of politeness and nostalgia as nonetheless having good features that redeem it. In terms of news, potentially its bedrock, it seeks to attempt to make the news these days rather than to report it impartially. Its methods of simply stoking speculation and sensation, or worse still dumbing it down to a gelatinous, sickly entertainment show are reprehensible. The aggressive and provocative interviewing methods and endless twenty-four hour promotion of speculation, added to its narrow, parochial focus, makes it totally unedifying. Give me Al Jazeera any day and I just thank god that the BBC does not have that moron Piers Morgan on board (it’s only positive aspect!)

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago

As a defence of the BBC this not only fails to convince its critics, it ignores the fact that the corporation appears to be as unaware of what is heading its way – indeed, has already arrived – as the dinosaurs were of the approaching asteroid. In the BBC’s case there are numerous ‘asteroids’ already here with more on the way. They are both broadcast and online, free and paid-for, offering viewers and listeners good quality, variety and flexibility. None depend on a compulsory (if increasingly avoidale or ‘evaded’) poll tax funding model. This model is doomed and if the BBC thinks it is sustainable for much longer then it too will be doomed. In the new media market place fewer and fewer people will think it acceptable that they should be compelled to pay for a particular entertainment and news provider that they do not choose to watch or listen to. And they will act accordingly, as many and growing numbers do already.

nevilleseabridge
nevilleseabridge
3 years ago

A majority support the BBC. So what? The majority lack knowledge and sophistication. The majority have no particular interest in politics beyond who mum and dad voted for or what the woke pc progressives dictate is the only acceptable way to think and act. Non-compliance means questionable humanity.
The BBC is an egregiously partial propaganda machine for the liberal Left. Look at the presenters of all their so-called Politics output.
Anyone who reads the wider Press will have understood that Sam Leith is as wet as a flounder. Reading him is like a long walk in drizzle.

Mark Kerridge
Mark Kerridge
3 years ago

“Researchers struck a deal with 48 households who had answered a survey saying they thought the licence fee was poor value for money. They gave them each a cash payment of £3.60 ” nine days’ worth of the licence fee ” and cut their Beeb off for that long. Guess what? 33 of those 48 households changed their minds after nine days without the Corporation.”

I can’t help but wonder about the effect of the bbc’s most popular programs on this result. If EastEnders and/or Strictly come dancing were exempt from this experiment I think the results may have been very different. If that were to be the case, and many more household had foregone watching the bbc, then this would have been a pretty dire indictment of the bbc’s overall output.

Jos Haynes
Jos Haynes
3 years ago

A glance through the comments here so far suggests the BBC is not valued at all, contrary to Leith’s proposition. And I am with the great majority here. If the BBC were so valued, it should have no problem in moving to a pay as you view/subscription model, but the Beeb prefers to tax everybody, whether they consume its programmes or not, in order to promulgate its particular view of the world.

I don’t watch or listen to the BBC. I cannot abide its piss poor quality in comedy (=left wing rants), in “documentaries” (where the focus is always on the presenter, not the subject, and the viewer is treated like an imbecile), or in current affairs (always so one-sided and reflecting the views of the spoiled metropolitans). For the rest, it’s all lowest common denominator stuff like game shows or bizarre competitions in cooking or dancing where the more ludicrous one is, the more one is considered a “personailty” (and therefore watchable, in BBC eyes)

I always wondered why, as apparently members of a European community, there was so little European news and so few European dramas and films. The only foreign stuff we were ever given was American. It almost seemed as if the Beeb did not want to encourage independent thought and a diet of third rate British and American pap was the best way to keep the population quiet.

And don’t get me started on its radio output It dominates the airwaves with all its national channel and the dozens of dire local ones, but I cannot bear to listen to the party line being pushed all the time. The Beeb is really a political party which never puts itself up for election, but has entree to our homes all the time to push its programme. It has power without responsibility. It is time for it to go.

waynekit
waynekit
3 years ago

I agree with Andrew Wood. In May I wrote to the BBC to complain about the BBC’s bias as follows:

I have just seen this report from your new desk:-
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/

It’s obvious that BBC journalists are not so much journalists as political activists. Like so many, I can’t trust the organisation for factual news.

Trump, apparently, is to blame for 100,000 deaths in the USA. Jon Sopel seems unaware that in a nation of 328,239,000 (which expects three million deaths annually) the number of Covid-19 deaths is bound to be higher than in a country with a smaller population. However, in a political campaign such simple reasoning counts for nothing among BBC journalists. Trump may not be fit for purpose but I find BBC propaganda like this deeply disturbing.

Population Deaths Percentage of population
Ger 83149000 8449 0.01
USA 328239000 100000 0.03
France 67076000 28599 0.04
Italy 60317000 33072 0.05
UK 67886000 37532 0.06
Spain 47100000 27117 0.06

The table above is factual. Both Spain and the UK have recorded a death rate double that of the USA. Even the biased BBC can’t blame Trump for that. These figures are obviously now dated but at the time they were accurate. Since then of course we have had the US Election and a total absence of reporting of the widespread fraud in the US elections with thousands of people testifying to malpractice , procedural errors , fraud etc, signing sworn affidavits for which they could be convicted of perjury. This link from a Senate Hearing gives a good idea of what has been going on in the US Election https://youtu.be/fq8OPTIEf2U all totally discredited by the The New York Times, CNN, ABC, etc etc and of course the BBC.

Derek M
Derek M
3 years ago

If the BBC is such good value why are we forced to pay for it against our will?

Janet G
Janet G
3 years ago

Rupert Murdoch campaigns to get rid of public broadcasting in Australia, it seems in the UK also. He just wants to get rid of what he sees as a rival to his commercial success. In Australia the Institute of Public Affairs, right wing think tank well-financed by the very rich, has as part of its policy that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation should be privatised. Many members of our conservative government belong to the IPA. The government, which is supposed to fund and support the ABC is busy defunding and attacking it. We are well on the way to being a police state.

Mike Post
Mike Post
3 years ago

One egregious example of the failure of the BBC as an institution is its 2007 decision to deliberately apply bias to its reporting of Man-made Climate Change as described in the BBC Trust Publication, “From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel – Safeguarding impartiality in the 21st century” which may be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/sha

Here is a quote from page 40:” Climate change is another subject where dissenters can be unpopular. There may be now a broad scientific consensus that climate change is definitely happening, and that it is at least predominantly man-made. But the second part of that consensus still has some intelligent and articulate opponents, even if a small minority.” “The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus.”

I was amongst well over 100 people who separately asked the BBC to name the “best scientific experts” who had attended the seminar which resulted in the BBC biasing its climate change reporting. The BBC refused me and all the others and was taken to court by a persistent sceptic using FOI legislation. The BBC used tens of thousands of pounds of licence-payers’ money defending itself. The BBC won. The sceptic lost. The BBC was not required by law to reveal the names of its 30 “best scientific experts”.

Deliciously, it almost immediately came to light that the BBC had previously published on the internet the list of the 30 “best scientific experts” whom it had consulted. Here, below is the list. It became clear immediately why the BBC did not want the list of their “best scientific experts” published or broadcast. You can judge for yourself whether the BBC was justified in abandoning impartiality on the basis of advice from these 30 people:

Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
Trevor Evans, US Embassy
Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
Anuradha Vittachi, Director, Oneworld.net
Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
Claire Foster, Church of England
Saleemul Huq, IIED
Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University
Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia
Iain Wright, CO2 Project Manager, BP International
Ashok Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
Matthew Farrow, CBI
Rafael Hidalgo, TV/multimedia producer
Cheryl Campbell, Executive Director, Television for the Environment
Kevin McCullough, Director, Npower Renewables
Richard D North, Institute of Economic Affairs
Steve Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Labs
Joe Smith, The Open University
Mark Galloway, Director, IBT
Anita Neville, E3G
Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University
Jos Wheatley, Global Environment Assets Team, DFID
Tessa Tennant, Chair, AsRia

stewart roper
stewart roper
3 years ago

Leith is just another beeboi type. Ignore.

John Alexander
John Alexander
3 years ago

Close it, Its like all public broadcasters, state mouthpieces and a bottomless pit or tacx payer money.

Scott Allan
Scott Allan
3 years ago

The author avoids the common complaint that the BBC should be a representation of the public but instead is monopolised by the WOKE cult. As such it does not fulfil its mission to be representative. Any surface examination of key talent, programming slate and political bias shows the author’s attempt to dilute the legitimate criticism of this institution. As with most western institutions they have been hijacked by far left WOKE cult members and weaponized to demonise the general public. The goal is to humiliate them to submit to their dogma.

What the BBC is not: Representative of the public; fair and balanced; value for money

Martin Byrne
Martin Byrne
3 years ago

33 out of 48 means close to 30% did not want the BBC, if it is that great will the BBC give everyone the same choice? Also presumably those that asked for the BBC to be switched back on knew they would still be paying the licence fee. The point about being ‘trusted’ is generally based on BBC sponsored surveys, and a captive audience generally vote for the jailers. The majority of Chinese citizens trust their government. Perhaps we should move to that system, we are nearly there now, controlled media, abolish of civil liberties, dictatorial government, now if we could just have a successful vibrant growing economy……..we would be there!

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
3 years ago

No they don’t as the recent poll says clearly. And only the ****ing BBC could wheel out a paraded of Remainers like Heseltine on the first day out of the EU.

They hold us in contempt.

Helen Barbara Doyle
Helen Barbara Doyle
3 years ago

A survey from 2015 quoted as proof we still love the BBC and can’t live without it?

That was before the referendum, since then the BBC has gone full blown Remainer and totally ignored at best, demonised at worst 17.4m people.

Add to this it’s promotion of all things Labour, and climate change, and woke, and BLM and I doubt many would struggle without its crass, insulting anti British output.

Myself, I junked the BBC 2 years ago and what bliss it has been.

Warren Alexander
Warren Alexander
3 years ago

There’s a qualitative difference between watching a TV channel and trusting its news output.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

Your comment reminds me of those people who assert that advertising could never work on such an intelligent and well-informed person as themselves.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Or that nasty and dishonest propaganda only makes people vote for the ‘wrong’ things, like Trump or Brexit?

Warren Alexander
Warren Alexander
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

There is no connection between my comment and your reply.

Andrew Wood
Andrew Wood
3 years ago

I don’t know what this means, can you clarify please?

Malcolm Ripley
Malcolm Ripley
3 years ago

Alarm bells rang with these numbers, 99% really! If you are getting 99% I suggest the survey may be biased, any survey any subject. I also found the 51% vs 9% BBC vs ITV comparison very difficult to believe, it’s far too big a difference to be believable given that the “news” is pretty similar on both channels. Very odd. Unless…….it’s a biased survey hmmm.

neilyboy.forsythe
neilyboy.forsythe
3 years ago

No

James Brennan
James Brennan
3 years ago

Curious that Sam Leith’s allies have all turned out to demonstrate the accuracy of his views through the ritual abuse of the BBC below. Worrying that there are so few of them. Even so, I hope they spend their retained licence fees wisely.

Lyn Griffiths
Lyn Griffiths
3 years ago

My view.The changes within the BBC from 2015 to 2020,  are liken to before and after man landed on the moon. In its  lightening speed to refresh its forward thinking plans.  But in truth, in training since the early 50s with its link and start up with America and close ally, the UK government. Where in those earlier days, the BBC was seen as the stiff upper lip, standing erect and proud. Yet today  it’s digital channels dotted around privately owned channels to make them blend within the digital market. Where to add the newly arrived June 2020,  “Television Without Frontiers”, that now affords a corporation with a global business plan.  With changes again seen and for the UK to be fed within its global plan of repurposed adverts, comedy, etal to merge and no doubt disapear within the global population.  So It could be said a wealth of new materiel. Yet at the same time the public to be faced with an on going and what has rapidly become a normal sight of excess of violence, graphic sex, nudity and bad language displayed on  public and easily accessed channels for all age groups.  But if to complain a global Charter that appears to put a stop to complaint by its broad inclusivity and diversity policy.

Pat Therealist
Pat Therealist
3 years ago

BBC are liars. UKs version of Fascist Fox 5 lies channel in US. Didn’t that old Aussi basted Rupert Murdoch buy them out as well? I think so!

Stuart Tallack
Stuart Tallack
3 years ago

I am astonished at most of the comments. The BBC is not faultless, but many of the complaints here are childish. I shall continue to have Radio 4 on all day, though will still complain loudly about pap like the Archers and Desert Island Discs, (come back, Roy Plomley!) and I will not stop smiling patronisingly during plays broadcast in the afternoon. And no! I do not sit in an armchair listening; the radio is on while I am in workshop or garage. In the evening, the box will often go on. Probably seventy five percent of my viewing is a BBC channel, ITV and Channel 4. I am very happy with the rest of the ‘free’ channels. I ignore the ones which seem to appeal to people unlike any I know but that is fine; they probably never watch what I do. Now to the point; please advise me on which channels have unbiased and accurate news programmes. I will be very happy to watch them and to make up my own mind. But please, if you decide to advise me, do not include a mindless rant.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Stuart Tallack

Bully for you. I abandoned R4 years back when Woman’s Hour turned into Transgender Hour. As for Today, 2 or 3 minutes has me frothing. No TV for years, I listen to R3 (and that’s being rapidly dumbed down) and sport on R5. Occasionally 4 Extra, to remind me of when BBC comedy WAS funny. Round The Horne. Goon Show. Dad’s Army.

mark taha
mark taha
3 years ago

I would privatise the BBC with the exception of the prestigious World Service. Otherwise sell.off on condition that only Britons can buy shares and that all repeats
and films must be shown totally uncut regardless of adverts watersheds complaints or anything else. At the same time- abolish Ofcom or at least drastically reduce its powers.