The BBC announced that it will increase both its investment in U.S. news based website and its 24-hour global news channel citing a need for impartial news coverage on cable television.
In the announcement of the change on the BBC website Herb Scannell, President, BBC Worldwide America, said:
“The BBC has a well deserved global reputation for the independence and quality of its journalism, as it its recent coverage of Egypt proves. With networks staking out ideological positions on the right and the left, or caught in a state of flux, there has never been a greater need for an impartial news offering for cable. Add to that the plethora of emerging alternative delivery systems lacking a vital news source and it’s the perfect time to extend our footprint in this market and strengthen our distribution efforts for BBC World News channel.”
The BBC will add dedicated video journalists to the Washington D.C. bureau currently producing the U.S. edition of BBC.com with the goal of creating original and innovative video features to enhance their overall coverage.
“Americans look to the BBC to ‘connect the dots’ between America and the world in ways very few news organizations can,” said Miranda Cresswell, SVP BBC.com. “This new investment will allow us to ramp that up and respond to growing demand for online news video content.”
The impartiality that Scannell speaks about at the BBC is at odds with what former BBC anchor Peter Sissons recently wrote in the Daily Mail:
In my view, ‘bias’ is too blunt a word to describe the subtleties of the pervading culture. The better word is a ‘mindset’. At the core of the BBC, in its very DNA, is a way of thinking that is firmly of the Left.
By far the most popular and widely read newspapers at the BBC are The Guardian and The Independent. Producers refer to them routinely for the line to take on running stories, and for inspiration on which items to cover. In the later stages of my career, I lost count of the number of times I asked a producer for a brief on a story, only to be handed a copy of The Guardian and told ‘it’s all in there’.
Sounds like the major networks here where the New York Times and Washington Post are the major influencers in the newsrooms and where the Washington Times would be as rare as winning the lottery.
Sissons also wrote more specifically about the political leanings of his former colleagues:
“I am in no doubt that the majority of BBC staff vote for political parties of the Left. But it’s impossible to do anything but guess at the numbers whose beliefs are on the Right or even Centre-Right. This is because the one thing guaranteed to damage your career prospects at the BBC is letting it be known that you are at odds with the prevailing and deep-rooted BBC attitude towards Life, the Universe, and Everything.”
If anyone is expecting that the BBC will actually be straight down the middle they will be greatly disappointed. The BBC has tilted left for years and there is nothing to suggest that expanding their coverage in the U.S. will change anything.
What viewers may receive is a more civilized debate but one that will come from the left no matter how the corporate brass spins it.