When people ask for evidence of an institutional Left-wing bias at the BBC, this is the place to go for evidence. Out of the mouths of Beeboids….
The BBC is “a publicly-funded urban organisation with an abnormally large proportion of younger people, of people in ethnic minorities and almost certainly of gay people, compared with the population at large”.
All this, he said, “creates an innate liberal bias inside the BBC”.
“It’s a bit like walking into a Sunday meeting of the Flat Earth Society. As they discuss great issues of the day, they discuss them from the point of view that the earth is flat.
“If someone says, ‘No, no, no, the earth is round!’, they think this person is an extremist. That’s what it’s like for someone with my right-of-centre views working inside the BBC.”
– Jeff Randall, former BBC business editor
By far the most popular and widely read newspapers at the BBC are The Guardian and The Independent. Producers refer to them routinely for the line to take on running stories, and for inspiration on which items to cover. In the later stages of my career, I lost count of the number of times I asked a producer for a brief on a story, only to be handed a copy of The Guardian and told ‘it’s all in there’.
– Peter Sissons, Former BBC News and Current Affairs presenter
“In the BBC I joined 30 years ago [as a production trainee, in 1979], there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people’s personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left. The organisation did struggle then with impartiality. And journalistically, staff were quite mystified by the early years of Thatcher.
“Now it is a completely different generation. There is much less overt tribalism among the young journalists who work for the BBC. It is like the New Statesman, which used to be various shades of soft and hard left and is now more technocratic. We’re like that, too.”
– Mark Thomspon, former BBC Director General
“I do remember… the corridors of Broadcasting House were strewn with empty champagne bottles. I’ll always remember that”
– Jane Garvey, Radio 4 presenter, recalling Tony Blair’s election victory in 1997
I absorbed and expressed all the accepted BBC attitudes: hostility to, or at least suspicion of, America, monarchy, government, capitalism, empire, banking and the defence establishment, and in favour of the Health Service, state welfare, the social sciences, the environment and state education. But perhaps our most powerful antagonism was directed at advertising. This is not surprising; commercial television was the biggest threat the BBC had ever had to face.
– Sir Antony Jay, former BBC producer and creator, inter alia, of “Yes, (Prime) Minister”
“Liberal sceptical humanists tend to dominate television”.
The “default position in broadcasting” – when covering issues such as gay marriage and the Roman Catholic position on IVF – revolved around human rights, and that opponents should not be treated as “lunatics”.
“All I’m saying is, if you have at the centre of News an editor, he could explain why people in particular areas…are motivated, why they behave as they do and I think that would just increase understanding.”
– Roger Bolton, Radio 4 presenter and former head of Panorama and Nationwide
“And, in the tone of what we say about America, we have a tendency to scorn and deride. We don’t give America any kind of moral weight in our broadcasts.”
– Justin Webb (pg. 66), Today presenter and former BBC North America editor
“We need to foster peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, stubborn-mindedness, left-of-centre thinking.”
– Ben Stephenson, BBC controller of drama commissioning