Friday, 4 July 2008

The BBC: "a mouthpiece for establishment views"

"Media commentators have been quick to point out that the communal door linking BBC, government and business executives has been turning for a very long time."
Thanks to a recommendation I was recently introduced to the website medialens, a 'UK-based media-watch project which offers authoritative criticism of media bias and censorship'.

Whilst I'm new to the site I was particularly interested in the following article by David Edwards, one of two medialens editors:

New Chairman confirms the BBC as a mouth-piece for establishment views (September 2001)

The new chairman at the time was Gavyn Davies. Whilst the BBC would have us believe they are an impartial organisation without corporate bias, Davies CV tells a different story. In 1997 Davies was touted as the next governor of the Bank of England. He was former chief economist for Goldman Sachs. He has a wealth of over £150million. Davies and Greg Dyke (BBC director general at the time) are both New Labour supporters and have given money to the party. Davies wife ran Gordon Brown's office. Their children were pageboy and bridesmaid at Gordon Brown's wedding. Blair has stayed in Davies holiday home.

Edwards also notes that Sir Christopher Bland, outgoing BBC chairman at the time, went on to become chairman of British Telecom.

In other words, it would be hard to find anyone more biased in favour of both government and corporate interests. As Chomsky might say, to expect otherwise of Davies would take some kind of miracle.

According to Edwards such bias can be found throughout the BBC's history, right up to the point of its inception:

"The BBC was founded by Lord Reith in 1922 and immediately used as a propaganda weapon for the Baldwin government during the General Strike, when it became known by workers as the "British Falsehood Corporation". During the strike, no representative of organized labour was allowed to broadcast on the BBC; the Leader of the Opposition, Ramsay McDonald, was also banned."

It's an insightful article. I was talking to someone recently about this. We're told that the BBC is perceived around the world as some kind of beacon for truth. That it's free from corporate and governmental bias, "because of the unique way the BBC is funded." It's content and the credentials of its chairmen tell quite the opposite story. The BBC is obviously biased and we have little reason to expect it not to be.

"The idea that the "non-corporate" BBC somehow counterbalances the corporate media is made absurd by the fact that, on issue after issue - global warming, sanctions against Iraq, the bombing of Serbia, Western support of Indonesia, inaction over East Timor, the history of US and British support of Third World tyrants - all promote near-identical establishment views."


Anonymous said...

Yeah nice one, all good sense. The one thing I'm having difficulty working out is why the BBC appears to be more in support of Palastinian Islamics than U.S/Israel at the current time? A lot of Jewish Brits feel that the BBC is notably biased against Israel, which to my mind runs against the grain - usually they are in support of U.S imperialism. Any suggestions from anyone? Is it because British elites perhaps see Israel taking their place as the U.S right-hand man? Is it just deliberate 'flak' on an international scale? Cheers, N.

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