Accuracy in Media

While the Western world awaits, with trepidation, the onslaught of Al-Jazeera International, another channel has been making increasingly disturbing inroads into the U.S. The British Broadcasting Company (BBC), the dominant English language network in the world, has been getting its broadcasts on public television stations here. But there is a hopeful sign. The BBC is coming around to recognizing and acknowledging its own bias.

At a recent, so-called “impartiality” conference, one of its top executives acknowledged that the BBC has not been listening to its viewers, and has come to be dominated by leftist and politically correct viewpoints.

Richard Klein, the BBC commissioning editor for documentaries, accused the network of ignoring mainstream opinion, and being out of touch with the British public. According to an article on the website of England’s Evening Standard, Klein told a group consisting of TV viewers and BBC staff that “By and large, people who work at the BBC think the same and it’s not the way the audience thinks. That’s not long term sustainable.” Added Klein, “We pride ourselves on being ‘of the people,’ and it’s pathetic…..Channel 4 tends to laugh at people, the BBC ignores them.”

Klein was speaking at an “audience festival” arranged by the BBC to find out what its viewers think. Klein was reported to have “sponsored a study to find out what issues concerned viewers” and “warned other BBC staff about the dangers of ignoring popular opinion.” His criticisms followed a recent episode in which a “Muslim extremist was given 12 minutes of airtime on Radio 4’s flagship Today programme.”

This followed the BBC having “cautioned journalists against using the word terrorist?claiming the word was too judgmental.”

A recent article in London’s Daily Mail also reported on the so-called “impartiality”conference. In terms of the thinking of top BBC officials, it said that they “would let the Bible be thrown into a dustbin on a TV comedy show, but not the Koran, and that they would broadcast an interview with Osama Bin Laden if given the opportunity.” The BBC, the story said, wants a policy of allowing Muslim women newsreaders to be allowed to wear veils when on air, in the name of allowing diversity.

Furthermore, “BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities,” said Simon Walters of the Mail, and “deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians.”

According to London’s Daily Express, a senior BBC executive admitted that “There was a widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness. Unfortunately, much of it is so deeply embedded in the BBC’s culture, that it is very hard to change it.”

BBC Washington correspondent Justin Webb reportedly said that the BBC is extremely biased against America and that it deserves “no moral weight.” When former BBC business editor Jeff Randall complained about the network’s pro-multicultural stance, he was told by a senior executive that “The BBC is not neutral in multiculturalism; it believes in it and promotes it.”

It was this sort of attitude that got the New York Times in trouble when, for the sake of affirmative action and diversity, its editors overlooked or ignored the warning signs that Jayson Blair, a black reporter, was plagiarizing and making up quotes, and reporting from locations that he hadn’t visited.

Diversity is a worthwhile goal, but it should never come at the expense of good journalism. And diversity should include diversity of viewpoints, not just skin color, and sexual and religious preference

In yet another report, the BBC is accused of trying to keep an internal report hushed up. The report examines the network’s bias in coverage of the Middle East.

The trouble caused by BBC’s biased reporting often has clear and direct consequences. When Pope Benedict XVI made comments reflecting on the words of a 14th century Byzantine emperor, which drew attention to Islam’s violent history, the BBC went into action. According to a story by Canadian-based columnist, David Warren, the BBC’s reporting on this story three days after the speech was a prime instigator in the turmoil in the Arab-Muslim world that followed.

Finally, the BBC ran a story about a recent interview they showed with a Taliban spokesman that has generated outrage in England. One of the Taliban leaders, Dr. Mahammed Anif, told BBC 2 that the U.S. and England had wanted an excuse to invade Afghanistan, and others pledged to fight to the death against the coalition forces. BBC defended the interview as “entirely legitimate,” but according to Tory leader Shadow defense secretary Liam Fox, the interview was pure propaganda.

In April and July of this year, we carried two AIM Reports by a British journalist, Jonathan Boyd Hunt, detailing just how far left the BBC has become, and the problems that it poses.

We have vigorously fought to keep Al-Jazeera International out of the U.S. television markets, and it turns out that several key players in this new network come from the BBC. Why aren’t we surprised?




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