Tories already politically interfering with the BBC


8:59 pm - September 24th 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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Outrageous. The Media Guardian reports:

The shadow culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said today that the BBC should recruit more Tories to its news division in order to counter an “innate liberal bias”.

Hunt, speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch today, said the BBC had acknowledged that those who wanted to work there had centre-left views and quoted its former political editor, Andrew Marr, who in 2007 described the corporation as having an “innate liberal bias”.

They may like to offer a cuddly image but the new Tories really are frothing-at-the-mouth conspiracy theory wingnuts.

Andrew Marr made one comment, which is contradicted by a whole bunch of other comments showing right-wing bias at the BBC, and yet the keep trotting out this rubbish.

And just to be clear:

When Marr was asked about his liberal bias comment by the House of Lords select committee on communications in November 2007, he said: “Every time I talk about this I get into terrible trouble. I think if there is a bias, it is cultural and not party political.”

Clearly when Tories read ConservativeHome they agree with the commenters that immigrants make up 60% of the country, asylum seekers get all the housing and Damian McBride is sitting behind every BBC programme pulling the strings. But the rest of the country isn’t stuck in the 1970s any more. It’s socially liberal now – get over it.

What Jeremy Hunt is doing here is trying to use Marr’s comments just so he can pressure the BBC to recruit more politically friendly frothing-at-the-mouth Tories. It’s meddling – plain and simple. If the Prime Minister had said he wanted the BBC to employ more Labour biased journalists to interview him these people would be screaming blue murder. But this is alright because the BBC is apparently run by revolutionary Marxists.

More reading
Duncan Stott: Jeremy Hunt: BBC-Bashing Coward
Sarah Ditum: Jeremy Hunt and the BBC: your ballot or your job

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Media ,Westminster

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Reader comments


Article:: Tories already politically interfering with the BBC http://bit.ly/3OrtBW

Oooooh, look, an opportunity to shamelessly plug my headblurt on this subject:

http://splithorizons.blogspot.com/2009/09/jeremy-hunt-bbc-bashing-coward.html

“Oooooh, look, an opportunity to shamelessly plug my headblurt on this subject…”

My eyes hurt, having read it!

‘But the rest of the country isn’t stuck in the 1970s any more. It’s socially liberal now – get over it.’

If this was really true, then I suspect the fruits of social liberalism wouldn’t have to be constantly legislated into existence, often to be greeted with much outcry and media frenzy. You might not like this, or it might not apply in your social circles, or you may think it the preserve of a vocal and unrepresentative minority, or you may think it regressive/backward/absurd or whatever, or even all of the above – but to deny it completely… well, that would be disingenuous.

Don’t be so hard on the Tories, Sunny – they’re just doing what the American right did with such fantastic success!

That it’s cynical, dishonest and anti-democratic* is besides the point – it’s been proven to work!

* Yes, I do think trying to create false narratives about a leftwing “bias” as a way of actualising a genuinely right wing one is deeply anti-democratic, because essentially it fucks with people’s ability to make free and informed decisions, and does so deliberately by viewing and treating them not as individual electors in their own right, but pawns to be manipulated to desired and partisan ends.

good point Duncan.

Paul – yup, straight from the Republican handbook.

Whatcha mean, Jay? Dont like the colours?

“But the rest of the country isn’t stuck in the 1970s any more. It’s socially liberal now – get over it.”

Socially liberal when it comes to sexuality perhaps. Not when it comes to drugs, immigration or crime and punishment. When opinion polls show majorities in favour of drug legalisation then I’ll be convinced we’re a socially liberal country.

I think the Tories have tipped their hand here. They do not want an ‘unbiased’ BBC, most of the Tory criticisms about the BBC are actually about the BBC’s lack of bias.

The conservative Party want the BBC stuffed with Tory mouthpieces. Surely, the political make up of the editorial staff/presenters is not important as long as the coverage is impartial?

The one thing the Tories cannot stand is impartiality because it makes them look like scum.

“Whatcha mean, Jay? Dont like the colours?”

Precisely! 😛
(I like the content, though, which is far more important.)

7 – “Socially liberal when it comes to sexuality perhaps. Not when it comes to drugs, immigration or crime and punishment. When opinion polls show majorities in favour of drug legalisation then I’ll be convinced we’re a socially liberal country.”

Socially liberal when it comes to sexuality? Barely… I think Britain has a long, long way to go – consider, for instance, the continued prejudice against the transgendered community, or the recent legislation introduced with respect to ‘extreme’ pornography:

“Since 26th January 2009, it is a criminal offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland simply to possess material that is pornographic, depicts a level of serious violence or acts capable of doing harm, and is ‘grossly offensive’…

[the government] has criminalised the possession of many adult fantasy images, including many lawful acts – you can do it legally, but you can’t possess a realistic image of it.”

http://www.caan.org.uk/issues/

Drugs, immigration, crime & punishment…
I think we’re still living in the middle ages.

It’s no coincidence that Jeremy Hunt would make a superb entry in a a dictionary of cockney rhyming slang: “He’s a right ‘Jeremy Hunt'”

If only we were living in the middle ages, sex abounded in the middle ages!

We’ve come a long way, some people may not like homosexuality, but they don’t think its fair to give anyone ECT. Some papers might rail against papers but you don’t quite get your daily dose of racism like you used to.

Where it comes to drugs there’s been such a successful PR campaign that its difficult to even conceive of legalising them for some people. Even my mum seems to think its a good idea to legalise drugs, but a lot of my friends who do drugs don’t even think it’d be sensible to legalise them. Drug being clandestine is a pretty hegemonic idea.

A cultural liberal bias at the BBC is good, you can’t be a bit liberal. Any liberalism is a example of liberal bias to those who see whatever is being portrayed as wrong. Whereas showing small c conservative programmes obviously fits into the liberal cannon of many views, many opinions. There’s no alternative to a cultural liberal culture.

11 – “If only we were living in the middle ages, sex abounded in the middle ages!”

So did Catholicism, and syphilis.
And everyone died aged 35…

I do agree that ‘we’ have come ‘some distance’, but would respectfully suggest that there is ‘a long way to go’.

Actually, syphilis may have come from the New World. There’s some dabate as to whether the conquistidors caught it from the natives or vice versa. Irrelevant, but quite interesting.

Ahh, but the catholics were the worst. Pope John XII, held orgies of debauchery in the Lateran palace. And of course there were heretics like the Cathars who were sodomy mad. Again, irrelevant, but quite interesting.

Peeps on @LibCon http://bit.ly/3OrtBW think my blog colours r painful on the eyes. This comment disagrees http://bit.ly/6Whul. Your opinion?

On drugs and immigration the middle ages were a far more liberal time. Controls on both are relatively new phenomena. It would seem that a lot of people see greater authority as a sign of enlightenment.

(Of course there was less immigration and drugs about at the time)

The middle ages: Sex, drugs and rock and roll, err, Gregorian chant.

But the rest of the country isn’t stuck in the 1970s any more. It’s socially liberal now – get over it.’

Not around here it ain’t.

Although I reckon your definition of socially liberal – jailing people for saying things you disagree with – and mine, might be slightly different.

Sunny has the power to imprison people now?

Wow. This blogging lark obviously pays off quickly.

Ah the ancient myth of “innate liberal bias” is brought back to use as a stick with which to beat a fine institution.

I agree with Paul Sagar in that this kind of gameplan is straight from the GOP playbook and I also agree with Jay that Duncan Stott’s words are lovely but the yellow and black contrast has given me epilepsy.

When the BBC changes its RED logos and idents and news studios to a politically neutral colour, it might look a little less like a den of lefties.

I presume you’re joking? But from your nom de plume I doubt it.

Yes, they should make their logos green. No-one could complain about that.

Or black.

Or is that too fascist? Actually, it used to be black on the website back on the day, small balck boxes with white letters.

Excellent history of the logo here: http://625.uk.com/tv_logos/bbc.htm according to this is isn’t actually red.

“The latest idents for BBC One were launched on Good Friday, March 29th, 2002. As well as banishing the clock and the BBC web site address, channel controller Lorraine Heggessey also ditched the globe motif after decades of use. In its place are films of various people dancing or performing whilst wearing red. A red box containing the station name appears in the bottom left-hand corner.”

Well, first off, that is only one element of the BBC, the official logo isn’t red but more importantly, the colour of the logo has no connection to any sort of political affiliation, unless of course you have proof that the colour change was connected to that?

Which you don’t, you mentalist.

Well, I did say these people were frothing-at-the-mouth conspiracy wingnuts, and lo and behold we have them here churning out conspiracy theories about BBC colours.

Wow. This blogging lark obviously pays off quickly.

I have powers I didn’t even know I had.

I have powers I didn’t even know I had.

Would that the power to read plain English was among them.

Can’t have everything eh FF. For example, I’d prefer if you didn’t come here to troll but actually made the odd intelligent comment, but you still manage to come back like a bad smell.

Other than raising strawmen, it is amusing to watch someone who has been advocating that extreme porn not be banned say that the BBC is too liberal compared to the rest of the nation.

But then you didn’t really come here to make a point, only troll. Why not do something constructive with your life, not that you’ve also managed to get yourself chucked off CIF?

17 – “… I also agree with Jay that Duncan Stott’s words are lovely but the yellow and black contrast has given me epilepsy.”

You too? The ‘Will People Vote For A Change?’ blog adds Fisher Price colour-madness, but I still have epilepsy… 😛

27 – “… it is amusing to watch someone who has been advocating that extreme porn not be banned say that the BBC is too liberal compared to the rest of the nation.”

Er, that was me.
On this thread, anyway; unless I’m missing something?

(I think the BBC is nowhere near liberal enough, but then, I would say that.)

“The first on-screen sighting of the new corporate logo [a red balloon] came with new idents for BBC 1 and 2 launched on Saturday, 4th October, 1997. ”

Hmmm, didn’t something else happen in 1997?

Why does John Snow always wear a multicoloured tie?

33. Stephen Rouse

It’s almost as though the Tories anticipate their policies will have severe social consequences and want to undermine one of the few media outlets which might report this objectively

If the BBC really does have a right wing bias now, after twelve years of Labour governments, and if the Tories are going to be further rigging it in the future, perhaps left-wingers should reconcider the idea that it should be subsidised by a tax decided on by the about-to-be-Tory government, especially a regressive tax collected from the poorest households in the land.

I confess I laughed when I read this story. The idea that recruiting more right leaning journos wouldd materially change the editorial biases of the BBC is just silly. Having first hand experience of the place, I can assure you it aint going to happen.

36. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

I agree, particularly when you look at the stellar work ex bbc types do for Al Jazeera, it’s fairly obvious that the right leaning mandate at the bbc has nothing to do with the workers themselves (who quite probably are establishment liberals) and comes down from boaden and the governors.

37. Chris Baldwin

“They may like to offer a cuddly image but the new Tories really are frothing-at-the-mouth conspiracy theory wingnuts.”

This.

Seriously, how can anyone believe that the BBC has a left-wing bias in this post-Thatcher era when anyone who suggests any remotely left-wing policy is laughed at by the establishment? These days, reasonable, moderate centre-left policies like re-nationalising the public services and abolishing the Tory anti-union laws are regarded as dangerous pinko ideas that would make any party unelectable. The general consensus in this country is solidly right-of-centre and the BBC, though not biased towards any political party, reflects that.

David Cameron reckons the Tories are a liberal party anyway, so it seems Hunt thinks there’s a problem with his leader:

If you join us, we can together build a modern, progressive, liberal, mainstream opposition to Labour.

David Cameron, just after his election as Tory leader


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