June 17, 2007

The BBC Is Biased - Who Knew?

The British Broadcasting Corporation is biased according to the BBC. Wow, what a revelation that is. Many of us on the right have been saying that for as long as we have been blogging. Others have said that time, after time, after time to serious denials from the left.

Of course, the BBC is part of the much despised (and, much vaunted truth be told) MSM or the Main Stream Media. And that too has been labled biased by the right for a long time. The left on the other hand, makes a rather nonsensical counterclaim that the MSM couldn't possibly be biased because they are owned by corporations and everybody knows that corporations are right wing tools out to grab everything it can from the poor and the working class (uhhh, Roper, could you cut down on the hyperbole a little?...ed). The argument is of course, absurd on its face. Why absurd? Simple, corporations are interested only in the bottom line, as long as the media and its associated reading heads, journalists and pundits make a profit, they continue. If the profit falls, so too do the then stars. Look at what is happening in the L.A.Times for example. Look at the issue of Katie Couric at CBS.

But, I digress. The BBC has had its staff on a year long investigation and the report was released today as reported in the Telegraph (UK):

The BBC has failed to promote proper debate on major political issues because of the inherent liberal culture of its staff, a report commissioned by the corporation has concluded.

The report claims that coverage of single-issue political causes, such as climate change and poverty, can be biased - and is particularly critical of Live 8 coverage, which it says amounted to endorsement.


But it says coverage of Live 8, the 2005 anti-poverty concerts organised by rock star campaigners Bob Geldof and Bono and writer Richard Curtis, failed to properly debate the issues raised.

Of course, the BBC being the BBC referred mostly to its Live 8 coverage, as far as "political reporting" goes, the BBC said:
After a year-long investigation the report, published today, maintains that the corporation’s coverage of day-to-day politics is fair and impartial.
Does that surprise anyone with an iota of common sense?

One senior reporter accused the BBC of having an "Anti-American" stance. That shouldn't surprise anyone either. The fact of the matter, as the Beeb (the somewhat derisive but commonly used nickname of the BBC) also noted:

The report concludes BBC staff must be more willing to challenge their own beliefs.

It reads: “There is a tendency to 'group think’ with too many staff inhabiting a shared space and comfort zone.”

A staff impartiality seminar held last year is also documented in the report, at which executives admitted they would broadcast images of the Bible being thrown away but not the Koran, in case Muslims were offended.

This one section, 3 paragraphs, 3 sentences, 70 words and three key ideas. The first idea is that there is a need to challenge their own belief systems; the second is the tendency to group think and the third is that they worry about offending Muslims, but not Christians or Jews. Lets take these one at a time.

Challenge their own belief systems: Difficult for anyone to do, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, Libertarian or independent, BBC or Fox News. Having said that, I would postulate that it is easier for a conservative than a liberal to challenge their belief systems than a liberal. Conservatives are said to be riged and hide-bound by liberals but I've found the opposite to be true. One need only look at the writings of folk on the Daily Kos or MMDD to observe that and a significant part of that is the contamination brought about by group think. I alluded to some of the group think problems among liberals in my post on Group Think - Democrats and Their Allies:

The purpose of this polemic then is to take a look at the symptoms of Group Think as applied to the current incarnation of the Democratic Party in light of their taking control of Congress this coming January. This is not, if I need to say it, solely the problem of the Democrats. Indeed, there is more than adequate information available to lay many of the same foibles on the Republicans who controled congress from 1994 to 2006 especially in the later years of that span of time. Indeed, group think on the part of the Republicans is in part, why they lost.
Illusion of Invulnerability: Members ignore obvious danger, take extreme risk, and are overly optimistic.

Collective Rationalization: Members discredit and explain away warning contrary to group thinking.

Illusion of Morality: Members believe their decisions are morally correct, ignoring the ethical consequences of their decisions.

Excessive Stereotyping:The group constructs negative sterotypes of rivals outside the group.

Pressure for Conformity: Members pressure any in the group who express arguments against the group's stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such opposition as disloyalty.

Self-Censorship: Members withhold their dissenting views and counter-arguments.

Illusion of Unanimity: Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees with the group's decision; silence is seen as consent.

Mindguards: Some members appoint themselves to the role of protecting the group from adverse information that might threaten group complacency.

I think suspect know that there are a large number of conservative Democrats, I've voted for some of them over the years. Yet, you do not hear them, see them ever speak up against the liberal leadership. It has often been said and amply demonstrated that in the Democratic party, you have to tilt liberal to get the presidential nomination or any Democratic ticket place, but you absolutely must tilt back to the center or even slightly right of center (Bill Clinton anyone?) to get elected. Of course, then, typically the tilt is back to the left. A cogent example of this is the rightward tilt (not to the conservative dark side so to speak) of the followers of her Pelosiship but now that the election is over, back to the left.

If the Republicans are smart (a postulation that is coming into more and more doubt) they will learn from their own group think and become conservative Republicans again, not merely Democrat-lite.

The last item in the BBC report is most disconcerting. The admission that they fear offending Muslims but not Christains (or Jews). In a free society, I'm not sure where it says that people have a right to not be offended. Indeed, if this article offends someone, good! I'm delighted because in a truly rational mind, offense will cause someone to think through as to why they were offended and possibly change their viewpoint. The average islamist and even perhaps a majority of muslims seem incapable of doing this, either through "rioting" vis-a-vis the Muhammad cartoon fiasco in which pillage and murder happened, to keeping silent and not speaking out against those rioting. While many Muslims may indeed, nay, probably condemned the deed, they did not speak out publically possibly because of fear of their fellow Muslims or perhaps silent agreement with what was being done. Is that a fair statement? I don't know, I do know what was seen, and the silance from the Umma was deafining.

The Beeb has been ridiculed worldwide for its blatant prejudices, anti-American and anti-western rhetoric, not by everyone, but by a significant number of folk including quite a number of Brits, for example the Rottweiler Puppy Blog and the Melanie Phillips blog and last but not least the Biased BBC blog

So, if there is, little hope for the BBC, (they can call for change, but do you really believe that they will change?) what hope is there for our own MSM... None?

Posted by GM Roper at June 17, 2007 08:46 PM | TrackBack

So true about the biased Beeb. It doesn't help that they get their funding from the British people who are actually taxed by the BBC (they're a gov't. agency) for simply owning a television. There's been a push to try and end that arrangement, but to no avail.

Just imagine if we were forced to pay for public broadcasting in this country. Oh wait, we are. Or at least the 8-30% (depending on the station) funded by the government (i.e. us).

Still, it's too bad the BBC doesn't have do pledge drives like all the other lefties...

Posted by Cinnamon at June 17, 2007 10:42 PM

I absolutely believe in public support of the arts and humanities and public television. Just not via taxes. If one want's to support via voluntary contribution fine, I do not believe that the government has the right or the responsibility to provide tax money to any of these programs. Thanks for your comment Cinnamon.

Posted by GM Roper at June 18, 2007 04:08 AM

I enjoy BBC world news on PBS. Here it follows the Jim Lehrer News hour. I have not found their news overly biased, or Anti-American. Yes they are of a liberal bent, but with all of the overtly conservative media out there I don't see that as particularly wrong. Especially since Britain is a Social Democracy and their people are more liberal than Americans.

Posted by psyberwolfe at June 18, 2007 06:15 PM

You do realize psyberwolfe that I'm not saying they're biased, THEY are saying they're biased.

Of cours I'm really saying they're biased, but they have confirmed what I've always said.

Posted by GM Roper at June 18, 2007 06:21 PM

I'm curious what "all the overtly conservative media" means. I suspect it is indirect evidence for one of the claims conservatives make about media bias - journalists are so convinced that something mid-liberal is the normal, sensible way to think that they do not even see what we're talking about. They just think of it as "truth," or "news," not noticing their many assumptions.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at June 19, 2007 05:36 PM

Overtly conservative= media afraid to challenge Duh in his world of make believe. Media afraid to ask the tough questions of both Dems and Republican'ts. Media willing to show America how the congress and president are stealing our rights and selling We the People down river for a mess of potage. Conservative means to me those who are happy with the staus quo and the direction we are headed as a nation. If you are happy with the direction this nation is headed with the morons at the helm then you are either blind or willfully ignorant.

Posted by psyberwolfe at June 19, 2007 08:33 PM

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