Is the BBC left-wing?

Discussing art and media trends and organisations generally

Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Elliott » 01 Aug 2011, 00:41

Andrew Marr once challenged people to come up with instances of BBC bias.

I think there's a general bias in the BBC's output, but it is rarely overt enough to be used as "evidence".

People say it's biased in favour of the EU, but I've watch The Record Europe quite a few times and it seems quite fair. They usually have a UKIP member on to dispute things etc. They don't lock them out of the debate.

On the issue of smoking, I do think the BBC is biased. They never have people on speaking up for the right to smoke in public etc. It's always assumed that smokers are wrongdoers, both to themselves and other people, and that any and all curbs on smoking are good ideas.

But I'd find it difficult to build a case against the BBC in general.

Do you think its output has a left-wing bias? Can you cite examples?
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby John » 01 Aug 2011, 08:48

I think the BBC has a very clear liberal bias that many people identify as left wing. One website that discusses this a great deal is the http://biased-bbc.blogspot.com/ website. While I don't necessarily agree with everything it says it gives many clear examples of BBC bias.

On the other hand there are those on the far left who complain that the BBC has a right wing bias, for example in this essay here http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2009/08/mehdi-hasan-bbc-wing-bias-corporation.

Now these might seem like contradictory positions, the right say the BBC has a left-wing liberal bias and the left says it has a right-wing pro-establishment bias. I don't think these positions are contradictory however when you consider the fact that Britain, like the US, has a PC liberal establishment. The bias of the BBC is the same one it has always had - a pro-establishment bias, which at the present time means a pro-liberal bias.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 01 Aug 2011, 14:37

Interesting analysis John.

And yes, Biased BBC does gather a great many instances of the BBC's leftist and Islamophile bias.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Andrea » 01 Aug 2011, 22:29

Personally, I find the BBC highly biased. All reporting seems heavily skewed against British culture and western values and very much for other cultures. It's funny how if you take the time to speak to people about it you may find that a) they agree with you because they have already thought it biased; b) growing realisation dawns upon them as you speak, for they have been sheep-like and just unthinkingly accepted whatever the BBC says without analysing it; and c) vehement rejection of your view. In which case, the mindwashing has already firmly taken root.

But as regards smoking, I must say I also find smoking terribly problematic. Smokers are constantly going on about their right to smoke; but what about my right to breathe in fresh air (please do not now tell me about car fumes, etc, because that is not the point)? I am of the view that smoking is potentially immoral on the grounds that it is damaging - not only to the smoker, but to the beings that inhale the second-hand smoke around them. I think this can be tied into the other thread about high culture - for smoking began because we went into the New World and saw the natives using tobacco. I think, therefore, that smoking is perhaps anti-civilised, if anything.

I digress. I agree with the majority of what was mentioned above in the other comments. It is so refreshing to be able to communicate with like-minded individuals here.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Mike » 02 Aug 2011, 02:17

The ABC here (the Australian equivalent of the Beeb) has a general left-wing slant, but bias would be overstating it. They do at least put into practice the audiatur et altera pars principle, in one recent instance allowing two satirists to have great fun at the expense of our government's new carbon tax, something which would have left the average left-wing viewer distinctly unamused.

I think one has to be a bit careful with accusations of bias (not least because they can rebound so quickly on the accuser): in terms of coverage of news stories there is certainly scope for it, in terms of not allowing the whole truth to be heard, but in the case of program planning and so forth political bias can often be confused with simply the personal interests of the program planners, or their administrative masters.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Jonathan » 03 Aug 2011, 06:11

Andrea wrote:I am of the view that smoking is potentially immoral on the grounds that it is damaging - not only to the smoker, but to the beings that inhale the second-hand smoke around them.


I vaguely remember an article by Dalrymple on the dangers of second-hand smoke. I believe his general argument was that the dangers of second-hand smoke were greatly overstated. For example, an increase in rates of lung cancer from 3 per million to 6 per million was always reported as 'doubling the risk of cancer'. This, though strictly true, is grossly misleading, as it is necessary to know the absolute increase in risk in order to gauge whether an activity is significantly dangerous or not.

Unfortunately I could not find the article, but did come across another one which addresses the issue from a different perspective.

http://www.socialaffairsunit.org.uk/blo ... 000760.php
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 18 Aug 2011, 23:03

I keep up with both this site and many others via RSS. Here's a good example on Biased BBC of typical BBC bias. They chronicle it daily.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 27 Nov 2011, 10:22

Jonathan, please let us know if you manage to find that Dalrymple article. I have just been reading this page, which is quite clear about the dangers of second hand smoke.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Caleb » 28 Nov 2011, 02:13

I don't have a problem with regulating smoking in principle, even if the risks of secondhand smoke are overstated. We do regulate all sorts of other behaviours that affect (or have the potential to affect) innocent third parties adversely. I think smoking should be legal for private businesses such as bars though, as long as they make it clear to patrons before entering that smoking will possibly occur on the premises.

As for smoking being uncivilised because it was adopted from natives, I think that argument is slightly off. Probably most cultures have certain negative practices that are not central to the advancement or non-advancement of those cultures or others, and their adoption by other cultures is probably neither here nor there in the scheme of what is civilised or not. Also, I think we have to bear in mind that smoking now and smoking back then (by American natives) are probably two different things. I don't really know anything about the history of tobacco cultivation and usage, but I'd venture to guess that the American Indians weren't smoking a pack of thirty cigarettes (from specially bred plants with all sorts of other additives) per day, so it was probably a fairly benign practice.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 28 Nov 2011, 10:00

I think there is a simple law which should be passed regarding smoking:

"Smoking is illegal in any location where there might reasonably be expected to be any individuals who have not elected to breath that smoke."

In this manner a person will be able to smoke only in locations where they will only damage themselves. It would also outlaw smoking in cars with children on the back seats, even in the private home under certain circumstances. Also in the street, where we often have to walk through plumes of disgusting smoke.

They could smoke in their house on their own, or on mountain sides, or indeed in smoking clubs. I can't see a problem with this law and do not know why nobody has proposed it. Fear of the electorate, I suppose.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Jonathan » 30 Nov 2011, 14:37

Gavin wrote:Jonathan, please let us know if you manage to find that Dalrymple article. I have just been reading this page, which is quite clear about the dangers of second hand smoke.


Hi Gavin.

I have not been able to locate that article. If I do come across it, I will try to remember to post a link here.

I have, however, found another article of his which touches on this subject: http://www.socialaffairsunit.org.uk/blo ... 000760.php

It does not, however, contain the detailed treatment of the subject which I remember from the original article I mentioned.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 01 Dec 2011, 09:47

Just a couple of current news stories about the BBC:


Clarkson is of course a childish man and not to be taken seriously, but this seems distasteful yet the BBC condemns it only if it caused offense to some viewers. That conditional apology we often see today.

That I am also against all this public strike sector action is immaterial. Clarkson, paid millions by the taxpayer funded BBC (exactly why, who knows), also complained that "the rest of us have to work for a living". As far as I can see he doesn't exactly "work" and he is not "the rest of us".

I wouldn't say his comment "offended" me, but I think it is inappropriate given that some people really are executed in from of their families and this is no laughing matter, except evidently to Clarkson.

As for the support of vulgarity in "comedy", this is only to be expected from the BBC. See our section for an antidote.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 05 Dec 2011, 13:51

Is the BBC left wing? Try this one for size:

http://paulweston101.blogspot.com/2011/ ... islam.html
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 19 Feb 2012, 10:30

I don't usually listen to or watch the BBC, because of their blatant left-wing bias, but today I caught a little bit of Andrew Marr's programme. Marr is quoted on Biased BBC as saying:

"The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias."


In any normal society that should have been quite damning, really damning. It should have led to an inquiry, sackings, restructuring for fairness - because the BBC is supposed to be impartial.

Anyway, Marr was interviewing Denzel Washington and he made a comment which was a perfect example of the kind of casual bias the BBC applies, which no doubt trickles down to bias, in turn, the views of much of the viewing public. He said to Washington:

"You used to play a lot of good guys - for example Steve Biko, Malcolm X."


Not to go into too much detail, but Malcolm X was a black supremacist Islamist who advocated violence. To just lump him in with the "good guys" is at best too simple. Not too simple for the BBC though, of course.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Elliott » 19 Feb 2012, 15:05

That's pretty bad.

But I still think the worst, most egregious example of BBC bias is this video:



If you wanted to make British schoolchildren have contempt for Britain, you couldn't do much better than that 2-minute slice of propaganda. I actually wrote to the BBC complaining about it, but just got fobbed off with this reply:

BBC apparatchik wrote:The programme aims to stay true to the spirit of the books and get the factual information across in an appealing way to the age group the programme is aimed. While I appreciate that you are unhappy with the content of the programme, it has been well received around the globe as both entertaining and educational.

The Sketch in question is a funny song used to highlight some of the stereotypes and facts associated with Britain. We feel children and adults are generally aware of the tone of the programme, so will not take offense to the humour within it.
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