Editors commentary: Time to break up the BBC?

If the proposals to introduce gay marriage become law it will be in no little measure due to the UK’s liberal elite having forced it on us.

Instrumental in this has been the influence of the media, especially the BBC. From the first TV lesbian kiss on EastEnders through the gay story line on The Archers (an everyday story of country folk?) those years ago, the propaganda has been clearly there. Even the recent series Last Tango in Halifax, which began as a gentle tale of rekindled love between two heterosexual pensioners, turned into a TV stick to beat people unsure about the rightness of same-sex relationships. Of course, the obsequious defence always trotted out is that the broadcaster is only reflecting changes in society. But we all know that the media not only reflects but also shapes society.

One group’s point of view

The BBC is meant to serve all the different people of our country. Instead, it has become the voice of one group — the liberal elite — which pushes its own agenda. This is seen not only in its entertainment output but even in the news it reports.
Recently there have been reports of Syrian rebels beheading a Christian and feeding his body to the dogs. In Nigeria, 15 Christians have had their throats slit, it seems by Boko Haram extremists (see pages 17, 19). Are these things not as outrageous as the rape and murder of the woman on the bus in India? How can such atrocities not be headline news? Except tucked away on their website, there has been no mention of these things from our national news service. In his 2011 book, When One Door Closes, the newscaster Peter Sissons says that the BBC is anti-Christian, but respectful of Islam, and claims that its staff overwhelmingly share a liberal outlook and damage their career prospects if they do not sign up to it. In The Daily Mail in October 2006, Andrew Marr was quite upfront about this: ‘The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It’s a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias, not so much a party political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias’. In other words, if we have to think in terms of ‘culture wars’, it is quite clear whose side ‘Auntie’ is on.
Through the licence fee, the BBC is enormously wealthy and this money is used to the advantage of one group’s point of view. In his novel 1984, George Orwell warns of the dangers of totalitarianism. He imagined Britain governed by a party known as ‘Big Brother’ brainwashing the population through ‘The Ministry of Truth’. Malcolm Muggeridge, a friend of Orwell’s, observed: ‘It was not by chance that Orwell took the BBC as the model for his Ministry of Truth’.1

Corrosive exercise
Politicians are afraid of the media. They know that newspapers, radio and TV journalists have the power to make or break them. And the BBC interviewers lose little time in taking the moral high ground and exploiting the fact that they are free to question and criticise while never having to make policies of their own. Without balance and with a biased agenda, this becomes a corrosive exercise to which the audiences are forever exposed. Democracy is about a free interplay of ideas. But that is undermined if our greatest national broadcaster is either consciously or unconsciously simply a vehicle for one group’s propaganda.

John Benton

1. I am indebted to the book The Liberal Delusion by John Marsh, published in 2012, for these quotes.

This article was first published in the February 2013 issue of Evangelicals Now. For more news, artciles or reviews, subscribe to EN or contact us for more information.
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3 thoughts on “Editors commentary: Time to break up the BBC?

  1. The problem won’t be fixed by changing the BBC as an institution. The real issue is that culture of the media industry is overwhelmingly secular and liberal rather than Christian. It’s not just the Beeb – as a matter of fact, the first televised lesbian kiss was in Brookside on ITV, not EastEnders on BBC, for example.

    What will make a difference is a matter of winning hearts and minds to the Gospel rather than changing institutions. We need Christians to be working within the media who can be a positive influence and win a hearing for Christian perspectives.

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