Saturday , May 25 2024

The BBC: A threat to all of us?

During the Referendum campaign and the three years that followed many supporters of British Independence cursed the BBC News and found it to be biased.  The Remain campaign realised that this was a threat and made counter accusations to provide the BBC with apparent evidence that by offending both sides it was being impartial.  It is now clear that the BBC was biased against independence, not only have there been objective reports showing that the BBC was biased against leaving the EU but most damning of all there was the testimony of  John Humphrys, a Remain supporting, Remain voting, top journalist who exposed the truth that the BBC had made no effort to be fair.

The BBC has lost the confidence of a large part of the population.

YouGov poll

The YouGov poll found that among those who voted to leave the European Union, only two in five (40%) say they trust the broadcaster, compared to 54% of remain voters.

The BBC is supposed to operate according to a Charter that is policed by a committee run by Ofcom.   The Charter states that the highest purpose of the BBC is to: “provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them“.  Yet the population is deeply sceptical about the BBC accomplishing this aim.  Ofcom has failed and the BBC has failed.

The BBC management is full of old people who were brought up with the idea of “postmodernism” and its literary twin, “post-structuralism”.  This idea holds that artistic works are most effective if they polarise a narrative into opposing camps that struggle against each other.  The idea was already present in artistic movements such as dadaism but was developed much further by far left philosophers such as Derrida as a way of spreading revolutionary politics into the arts.  Most journalists (and artists) do not realize that they have been trained in post-structuralism because it is hidden under terms such as “literary criticism” – see for instance: The Poverty of Cultural Studies..

We saw the effect of the post-structuralist training of journalists during the Referendum when the “impartial” BBC would interview a university professor on the advantages of Remaining in the EU then proceed to a public house to interview inebriated, intellectually challenged, old aged pensioners on the advantages of Brexit.  The journalists could maintain that they had been entirely impartial because they had interviewed each side.  Similar abuses were rife during the campaign.

The stress on postmodern practices means that journalists are increasingly turning to Identity Politics as an easy method of producing News and Current Affairs programmes that provoke a reaction from the audience.  On one side they place the antiracist, “progressive” modern woman and on the other the salacious, racist, sexist, moronic ordinary English person.  The listener or viewer can have no doubt as to who is the hero and who is the villain.  Such programmes occur several times daily so that they become an attempt at polarising and indoctrinating the audience.

Educated people should know that there are few, if any issues that are simply black and white. Experienced people know that the pantomime English villain of these tales does not exist.  Balanced, impartial coverage is by definition the opposite of this Identity Politics and post-structuralist reporting.

Returning to the Charter, it does NOT say that the BBC should attempt to polarise the population into those who feel they are saints against the moronic hoi polloi, it says:

“the BBC should provide duly accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming to build people’s understanding of all parts of the United Kingdom and of the wider world. Its content should be provided to the highest editorial standards. It should offer a range and depth of analysis and content not widely available from other United Kingdom news providers, using the highest calibre presenters and journalists, and championing freedom of expression, so that all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues and participate in the democratic process, at all levels, as active and informed citizens.”

The role of the BBC is to impartially explain issues and place them in context, not to represent their own Corporate Elite view of the world and politics and certainly not to use the platform of the BBC to indoctrinate the population.  It is time that BBC Journalists re-examined their training and their own indoctrination so that they realize what they have become: a group of people who are determined to produce polarisation and conflict in our society.  That is precisely the opposite of their intended role.

It is time that the Government removed the policing of the BBC Charter from Ofcom and made it clear that polarising our society is definitively not the purpose of the BBC.

To this end those policing the Charter should monitor the use of ID Politics and deliberate polarisation in BBC News and Current Affairs, perhaps limiting ID Politics to being discussed once a week. Anecdotal reporting should be limited and monitored because it is all too easy to be outrageously biased by interviewing an erudite professor on one side of an issue and a moronic drunk on the other.  The charter Committee should insist that the BBC do not suppress the context of news, for example the BBC has scarcely mentioned the huge UK-EU Trade and Current Account Deficits when discussing UK-EU Trade Deals.    A fair context is the foundation of fair reporting.

Postscript: Post-Structuralism is, in itself a political point of view, it can insinuate itself into any media production.  As an example, The Tales of King Arthur could be easily diverted into considerations of chivalry between men and women and further diverted into a critique of men patronising women by offering them seats on buses so polarising men and women.  The use of the postmodern technique of “historical presentism”, where historical events and texts are viewed from a current socio-political context, will always result in the introduction of political viewpoints and bias.

This post was originally published by the author on his personal blog:

About John Sydenham

Dr John Sydenham has worked in International Pharmaceuticals and for one of the "big four" International Consultancies. He ran a successful company for 15 years and after selling the company devotes his time to travel, science, black labradors and freedom.

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One comment

  1. Carolyn Clews

    There is a lot of truth in this article. I must say though, Professors are by no means universally erudite, often moronic drunks. Drunks, conversely, are often most erudite.