HOW very BBC that it should respond to charges of bias against the Conservatives by inviting Labour MP Andy McDonald on to the Today programme on Monday and egging him on to say the BBC was biased against Jeremy Corbyn.
Look at us, the corporation is trying to say, we’re being attacked from both sides, so we must have got our balance just right.
Sorry, but it won’t wash. The most grievous example of “bias” that McDonald could come up with was a BBC reporter who on election night referred to the “election victory that Boris Johnson so deserves” rather than, as she meant to say, the election victory he so desires.
Against that, we had six weeks of battering Boris Johnson and his Government — and of course continuing to rubbish Brexit. I am sure the BBC was disappointed that Boris rejected the invitation to be interviewed by Andrew Neil. But that doesn’t excuse its hysterical reaction.
Ironically, on the day Neil lambasted Johnson for refusing to appear on his show, the Prime Minister took part in an hour-long live BBC debate with Jeremy Corbyn. That is something no serving Prime Minister had agreed to do until Gordon Brown in 2010.
Boris also took part in a Question Time special, being interviewed by a live audience, he was interviewed by Andrew Marr and spoke with numerous other broadcasters and publications. And of course, Boris had to run the country as well as campaign for the election.
During the week the Andrew Neil interview would have taken place the Prime Minister was hosting a Nato summit. I’ve just been through the Twitter feed of the BBC’s “Reality Check” correspondent.
EVEN EASTENDERS PLOT IS ANTI-BREXIT
Since the parties launched their campaigns, 39 of its tweets rejected claims made by the Conservatives and two tweets were generally supportive of claims the party had made.
By contrast, only seven tweets rejected claims made by Labour, while 13 supported its claims. Not one tweet, though, dealt with the biggest lie of the campaign by far — Labour’s charge that the Conservatives are planning to sell off the NHS.
No evidence for this was produced — and yet, day after day, BBC news bulletins returned to this subject. BBC News seized on the story of Boris refusing to look at a photograph on a reporter’s phone of a sick child being treated on the floor of an NHS hospital.
Yet the following day, when Jon Ashworth, a senior Shadow Cabinet minister, was revealed to have described Jeremy Corbyn as a threat to national security, the BBC downplayed the story, suggesting Ashworth had merely been engaging in “banter”. The BBC has tried all it can to undermine Brexit.
Week after week it leads news bulletins with claims by Remain-supporting think tanks that the economy would crash as a result of Brexit — while simultaneously downplaying real economic data showing healthy economic growth and very strong jobs figures.
But it isn’t just news. Bias drips through the whole BBC output. Anti-Brexit propaganda was even slipped into the plot of EastEnders, where the Queen Vic implausibly put on an EU-themed night celebrating European culture.
And don’t get me started on BBC comedy programmes. At least its news editors give the impression of trying to achieve some sort of balance.
Producers of entertainment shows such as Frankie Boyle’s New World Order and The Mash Report don’t even try — they just sign up endless left-wing comedians and let them make the most outrageously political rants, one of which ended with Nish Kumar calling Boris “a liar and racist”.
When reminded of its requirement to be impartial, it claims it only applies to news and current affairs, not entertainment — even though, of course, voters can be influenced by both.
The worst thing is that I don’t think the BBC’s producers and presenters know they are biased. They live in a little world almost entirely inhabited by metropolitan liberals, and they get into the habit of thinking that all decent human beings think like they do.
FAR BETTER TO AXE LICENCE FEE
They see conservativism, along with Brexit, as a moral aberration and completely misjudge where the epicentre of public opinion lies on many subjects — hence the astonishment when Britain voted for Brexit or elected Boris.
I’ll take newsreader Huw Edwards at his word when he says he didn’t mean to retweet a video which ended with the slogan “Vote Labour for the National Health Service” — he says he failed to watch it all the way through.
But it speaks volumes about him that he didn’t actually notice it was a Labour-supporting video. Yesterday, Edwards described charges of bias against the corporation as “toxic cynicism”, and tried to compare what he sees as BBC impartiality with “blatant propaganda” in newspapers.
Yet it is a false comparison. There is a long tradition of campaigning newspapers, both on the left and right. But anyone can start a newspaper and no one is forced to buy one.
The BBC is a state-owned broadcaster funded through a tax on all television owners. It is therefore in a uniquely privileged position and is obliged, under the terms of its charter, to represent the views of the entire nation, not just Hampstead.
Ally RossThose Channel 4 lefties quit laughing at 10pm - funny that
THE SUN SAYSPM can now deliver 'undeliverable' Brexit — did Remainers call anything right?
BRENDAN O'NEILLLabour's hateful David Lammy loves to hate anyone who simply backs Brexit
TREVOR KAVANAGHLet's cheer Boris' win over Brexit-hating fanatics who threatened democracy
THE SUN SAYSCorbyn & co proved they don’t get this country - they must slip into obscurity
WILL TANNERHow to make sure the Red Wall stays fallen and keep the 'Workington Man' blue
But there is little point in trying to persuade the BBC to change its spots. Far better is to do what the Government is contemplating doing — by abolishing the licence fee when its charter next comes up for renewal in 2027.
BBC executives have always bleated whenever this has been suggested, claiming it is brilliant at what it does and we would all miss it terribly if it wasn’t there.
But if we value the BBC so much, we will all choose to pay a subscription fee, won’t we? Or is the BBC not quite so confident about the quality of its product after all?