One of the biggest failings of the BBC is bias by omission. That is, they conveniently ignore the issues that really matter because they don’t accord with the BBC mindset. An organisation that spends £800m a year on newsgathering – probably the biggest operation of its kind anywhere in the world – fritters the money away.
Take coverage of the EU, for example. Five years ago, the Wilson report damned the corporation’s analysis of EU affairs as narrow, boring annd unchallenging. The BBC responded by saying – as it always does when criticised – that it’s coverage was actually OK, but even so it would do better.
Spool forward to today. The Lisbon Treaty remains a matter of massive controversy which millions of people in England – as the recent EU poll showed – think is a major step towards a tyranny that they don’t want. So how does the BBC cover steps towards its ratification? By providing measured, in depth debate, as it promised? Not a bit of it.
On BBC1 Breakfast Time this morning an item on the Irish vote on Lisbon was sandwiched between coverage of the cervical cancer scare and – far more important – a lengthy item on the importance of dog-tagging. The Irish piece boiled down to a soundbite from a fish and chip shop owner who was intending to vote ‘yes’ and a fisherman who would say’no’. In between, a bland BBC reporter told us that the reason that Ireland was voting yes was because of the recession. And that was it.
Nothing about the implications of the vote, the claims of vote-rigging by Brussels, or the lies being told about the Treaty. No attempt to show the importance to people’s lives, or to do anything but the bare minimum.
This is what the BBC’s £800m news operation now routinely does. Items of major importance are reduced to their lowest, most simplistic, denomininator, while other matters its judges closer to people’s lives (like dog-tagging) are elevated to inflated over-importance. The BBC sold its soul to the EU years ago, and while Britain moves inexorably towards being a satellite vassal state of Brussels, its journalists sit on their hands refusing to analyse the issues that matter. “Bias by ommission” indeed.