Last week Thursday seemed to be a 24 hour Labour Party political broadcast on the BBC.
The BBC attacked the Tories on all fronts blaming them and the dreaded Capitalism for the ills of Society..a veritable Pearl Harbour attack launched at dawn on the Today programme:
Wonga pay day loans
Free schools (asking ‘Is there something rotten within the Free school system?)
Miliband’s ‘Predistribution’…now renamed ‘The Living wage’. (Alan Milburn…back to his Labour roots as he promotes Miliband’s policy under the guise of a ‘report’)
Pensioners who live the ‘high life’ whilst the young are abandoned.
Not a bad agenda for a single day.
When you consider what ex BBC journo Robin Aitken in the Telegraph has to say you may consider that the BBC’s innate affinity with Labour politics is a problem:
The BBC can pretty much dictate terms when it comes to the national debate – and it’s a power it exercises in full measure.
This underlines a truth not sufficiently acknowledged – that all journalism is a matter of selection. The running order of the BBC’s main bulletins is not ordained by some higher authority; instead, it is merely the preference of BBC editors. And to understand why the BBC chooses as it does, you have to understand who makes those selections.
BBC selection boards naturally enough tend to go for candidates made in their own image and likeness. Like other organisations, the BBC chooses people who they feel are “right for us”. In this way, the system becomes self-reinforcing. Aspiring young BBC journalists know that they will be expected to show an interest in a particular type of story. So an internal culture is constructed, recruit by recruit, which reinforces an established world view.
The way the day is structured in the BBC’s main news centre encourages an insidious orthodoxy. Each morning, the senior editors meet to discuss the day’s agenda. A consensus emerges, and because the corporation is fiercely hierarchical, the juniors – nurturing their promising careers – take their cue from their elders and betters. Which is why from morning to midnight, from Today to the Ten O’Clock News and right on down the chain to local radio, the same stories lead the bulletins.
This amplification effect is what gives BBC news output such enormous clout. More than 90 per cent of us listen or watch the BBC every week. For many people, the BBC is their constant companion – from dawn to dusk it is the background soundtrack in the lives of millions.
That is why, uniquely among media organisations, the BBC performs the role of gatekeeper to the national debate.
If the BBC doesn’t run with a story then, arguably, it isn’t a story at all.
Impartiality is not an optional extra for the BBC – it is at the heart of its contract with the licence-fee payers.
The BBC used to inspire near-universal trust: it can no longer take that for granted.