We now know that Gary Lineker, apprentice Socialist and presenter of Match of the Day, earns somewhere between £1,750,000-£1,799,000 a year. Chris Evans earns even more. On the flip side, I can't believe how the BBC is getting away with paying Andrew Neil so little (£200,000-£249,000) in comparison to someone like Huw Edwards, who gets paid £550,000-£599,000 a year. There is also a perceived gender pay gap. On his LBC show yesterday, Iain Dale asked Theresa May if Gary Lineker was worth ten Claire Baldings. That is a question that's going to hang around for a long time. The BBC, in its defence, says that it operates in a competitive market place, and has to pay its talent competitive rates of pay. Lord (Tony) Hall, Director-General, has stated that the BBC pays much of its talent below market rates. The BBC published all of this information yesterday in its annual report because it was forced to by the Government. Kicking and screaming is an apt phrase to describe it. It is right, though, that the corporation has been forced to do this. It is a publicly funded broadcaster, and if you want to watch live television in the UK, you must pay £147 a year to the BBC, irrespective of whether or not you consume BBC content. During an interview yesterday morning, ahead of the report's publication, I was asked if I thought that I got good value from the BBC. (You can hear my response, and listen to the full interview, by click on the image below) Continue reading
The Sun has reported today that a cross-party group of MPs held a meeting with James Harding, Head of BBC News, earlier this week to discuss the corporation's anti-Brexit bias. Amongst those MPs attending were Kate Hoey, Philip Davies, and Ian Paisley Jr. I looked at BBC bias in this post last week, so it is welcome news that some MPs have voiced their concern in a private meeting. It is shocking that BBC Radio 4 listeners are two and a half times more likely to hear a pro-EU speaker than an anti-EU one. The BBC has issued a statement following the meeting, saying: “BBC News listens to and reflects all points of view and remains committed to covering developments in a fair and impartial manner.” In other words, no change.
It is not the first time that Jeremy Paxman has criticised his former employer. In 2014 he said that Newsnight was made by 'idealistic 13-year-olds' who 'think they can change the world.' He certainly went much further, though, in an interview for yesterday's Sunday Times Magazine. He said the BBC was 'biased and politically correct'. As for the licence fee, he described it as 'antediluvian'. He said that 'if Amazon and Netflix can do it, so can they.' Continue reading
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. Continue reading