BBC, is this your idea of ‘journalism’?

March 3, 2021

by Martin Odoni

Whenever the left complains about mainstream media bias, all mainstream journalists across the country join together in a solid, unbreachable phalanx of mutually-assured-sycohpancy, to cry out that it is not true. They will assert their shared professionalism, their unquenchable collective thirst for the truth, and the honest, honourable, life-long struggle of all in their field, even the journalists they profoundly disagree with, to seek out and unveil objective fact. “We may make mistakes,” they will concede in an unconvincing attempt not to sound arrogant, “but we are not biased.”

Professional journalists are usually trying to persuade themselves more than anyone else when saying this, of course, and none more so than the political office at the BBC. It is a matter of lengthy record that the office in question is staffed mainly by Tories (Andrew Neil, Nick Robinson, Laura Kuenssberg etc.), and where it is not, by centrists of the Blair/Brown-sympathising type (Andrew Marr etc).

But in recent times, especially when discussing the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, or as the BBC think of him, The Man God Turns To For Advice When Problems Get Really Bad, the impartiality ceases even as a pretence. We all remember that ghastly Superman Sunak cartoon from last July, in which Sunak was presented as the most perfect of super-heroes as he fought what the BBC imagines is the most important battle of the Coronavirus pandemic. (No, silly! Not the battle to fight the virus and save human lives! Why should the BBC care about that? The BBC’s priority is the battle to keep the cash flow going.)

Well, if you thought that was bad, just listen to the simpering, fawning humbug in the profile of Sunak that the BBC have published today for the Budget, complete with several crushing female journalists struggling not to drool; –

BBC, this is not news reporting. It is not journalism. It is certainly not holding the powerful to account, which is something you never make more than a token-effort to do when Labour are out of office. It is not even accuracy, as this is not, despite your claims, “one of the biggest economic challenges this country has ever faced.” We are also not, “£300 billion on,” because, for reasons I grow tired of explaining, that £300 billion does not have to be paid back (at least not in the sense people think it does), as even one BBC journalist has finally admitted this week. Even if there is some gentle lip-service paid to acknowledge one or two things Sunak has faced criticism for, it really does sound like no more than a gesture; the video really should have roasted him alive over the insane ‘Eat-Out-To-Help-Out‘ policy, for instance.

Can you imagine the uproar there would have been from the Tories and the Daily Mail if a Labour Chancellor or Shadow Chancellor, especially from the Labour left, were given this kind of free image-boost by the BBC?

So it is not reporting, it is not journalism, it is not profiling etc. So what is it?

It is frankly hagiography, and the BBC absolutely should not be doing that. Just as a news repository, it should not be doing such things about politicians, or indeed anyone, let alone as a repository with a Charter expressly forbidding political bias. Heaven knows, the Tories create enough of hagiographies about themselves without the help of the Corporation that should be critically analysing what they do instead.

At least saving the license-fee payers a bit of money can be presented as providing a public service, of a sort.

3 Responses to “BBC, is this your idea of ‘journalism’?”

  1. […] And there’s another excellent take on this issue here: BBC, is this your idea of journalism? | The Critique Archives […]

  2. Sharon Marlowe Says:

    I didn’t see this part:
    “…complete with several crushing female journalists struggling not to drool;”

    But I really really liked your previous article on Israel, Mr. Odoni

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