BBC BREXIT BIAS NEEDS TACKLING

In an excellent article for City A.M. yesterday, Brian Monteith, a Freedom Association Council Member and a former MSP, described the BBC's coverage of Brexit as "bias on stilts". He also said:

"Recently, we were subject to a BBC report of a decline in nurses coming from the EU, when the truth is that applications have climbed. Last week’s anniversary of the Brexit vote was marked by a Question Time panel that had four Remainers against one Leaver, and an audience dominated by Remainers in Plymouth – a constituency that voted overwhelmingly to Leave."

There are numerous other examples, and quite often bias shows itself in different forms. As Brian has noted, it's not always what is said or done, but rather what is omitted.

I remember doing an interview on the TV licence fee a year or two ago for BBC Radio Scotland. Not only was I the only guest interviewed who was opposed to the licence fee, other guests had an opportunity to give their views live on air. Such an opportunity was not afforded to me. I had to do with a pre-record where anything uncomfortable for the BBC could be omitted. I couldn't argue against others speaking in favour of the licence fee, and they had the opportunity to criticise me knowing I didn't have a right of reply. Very convenient. 

The example Brian gave about the Question Time panel and audience in Plymouth, is typical of other panels and audiences most weeks. The BBC will hide behind all sorts of excuses (or at least attempt to) to justify its actions. It doesn't really make any difference because the BBC simply carries on regardless. If you have tried complaining about biased coverage, you will know that getting a retraction or apology for the head honchos in Broadcasting House is about as easy as swimming through treacle. 

There are many things I like about the BBC, and there are many talented people working for it, but just because it has the status of a national institution doesn't mean that it should be able to do anything it pleases. 

Ofcom is now responsible for regulating the BBC. It took on the job on 3 April. Nothing could be worse than its predecessor, the BBC Trust, however, I don't have any confidence that the situation is going to improve. 

Ofcom should be tackling this obvious Brexit bias. Don't hold your breath. 

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