(1st April 2015)
For years I have dismissed all claims of bias at the BBC… I’ve always assumed that if it is accused of leftward leanings by the right, and right-wing tendencies by the left it must be ploughing a nice straight furrow. The fact that much of the free world admires, and much of the less free world listens to the BBC World Service is another indicator that Auntie Beeb deserves to be a trusted source.
But now the old girl’s skirts are revealing more of her petticoats.
The fact is that this peculiarly British institution has been rocky for a while now. That sex offenders have stayed hidden under her skirts was distressing enough and then lately we have watched it struggle to do the decent thing when the decent thing could cost them £150M!
But what is now worrying me is the extent to which domestic politics is not a matter of reporting facts, but commenting on what politicians say or claim or appear to support.
The cracks have been appearing for a while but now a chasm has opened wide. Of late, night after night I have seen TV coverage of speeches made by the Prime Minister, Chancellor and others, with a bit of comment. I have then seen reports on what the leader of the opposition or his shadow cabinet have said with, maybe, a tiny snatch of footage. This has invariably been followed by lots of comment, often rubbishing whatever the opposition claims.
Moreover, I’ve seen an awful lot of interviewers and some seem to be childishly enamoured of those with the real power, and unnecessarily rude to those seeking it. The worst cases are where every answer given is cut into halfway through the answer.
Of course I want politicians challenged and we all know they often strive to give an answer to a question that has not been put, while assiduously avoiding answering the one that has. On the other hand when they seem, at least to me, to be answering in fairly short order they are still cut off
I’m getting more than a bit fed up with the arrogance of some interviewers. If a politician doesn’t accept their premise they hector and hector and hector. Should they not be acting as our agents and getting politicians to say it how they see it and answer straight questions.
Having said all the above I should not really be surprised. If all your senior editors and reporters went to the same fee-paying school as many of the current cabinet is it any wonder that they share a view of the world which, crudely, sees everything in monetary terms and is imbued with the same unshakeable belief that those whose parents paid high fees are meant to rule!
Greens, Labour, Scottish and Welsh Nationalists all share one thread, and that is that society should be fairer and governed by notions of the collective good not by championing profit above service. Even many deluded UKIP supporters, despite their symbol, think that ordinary people should be listened to above the interests of the wealthy.
Red Ed said it the other day… the nation is not doing well unless ordinary working (and un-waged) people are doing well.
We are a nation dominated by the class war even although we have been in denial for decades.
There are rules about monopolies, and rules about overseas players in various sports. I’d like to see rules about the backgrounds of politicians AND the political editors, interviewers and reporters employed by national institutions!