If you search on Google for the things about which the BBC would like to ‘raise our awareness’, you discover an impressive array of topics such as disability, transgender portrayal, gender and racial equity, diversity, mental health, opportunities for women, boiler safety, botnets, HIV, the countryside and its wildlife inhabitants, Parafricta, sight tests for drivers, the dangers of volcanoes, children in need, climate change, speeding, the importance of cycling, environmental and ethical impacts of garments, poverty, copyright issues, biodiversity,… I could go on, but I think you probably get the point by now – there’s quite a few of them.
But then you would expect an impartial public service broadcasting corporation to inform, educate and entertain people on a wide range of subjects, wouldn’t you? From the list above, for example, you might think it would be interesting to find out what Parafricta is all about. Many of us might also confess to falling short of a BBC-approved level of awareness relating to the complexity of copyright issues or the danger of botnets.
It’s not until you browse further through the Google pages that you realise that certain issues crop up again and again and again. And again. Although it presents information on a wide range of topics, the BBC follows an awareness agenda that is actually massively skewed in favour of left-liberal causes such as diversity, equality and climate change.
It’s then you realise that this whole thing about ‘raising awareness’ is not as well-intentioned as it may seem. The BBC adopts a presumption of superiority and presents itself as a champion of expert knowledge and judgement which it graciously disseminates to the ignorant masses. It uses its position, not just to inform and educate, but to influence and persuade. Impartiality has given way to imbalance and distortion, especially in matters relating to the European Union, global warming, Margaret Thatcher, the Syrian crisis, the so-called Arab Spring, the financial crisis and Barack Obama, to mention a few. Not only has our ‘awareness’ reached saturation levels in respect of some of these, but also we have been subjected to thought manipulation throughout the process.
A report by the independent think-tank ‘The New Culture Forum’, which looked at BBC news and current affairs coverage since 1997, recently slated the BBC for its disproportionate coverage of immigration. According to the report, the corporation airs “propaganda” for those who favour multiculturalism. The author of the study, Ed West, wrote: “The more awkward a subject is for polite society to deal with, the less coverage the BBC gives it. It would be no exaggeration to say that a foreigner who subscribed only to the BBC might visit this country and be blissfully unaware of many of the social problems associated with immigration.” Interestingly, Mr West said the bias was rooted in “basic decency” and a desire to back the underdog, but he claimed that reporters failed to ask awkward questions or reflect the views of “working class natives”.
I believe BBC employees may genuinely believe their intentions are honourable and laudable. However, because those intentions are couched in persuasive terms and expressed so habitually, they amount to blatant propaganda and institutional bias.
The American philosopher, Noam Chomsky, once wrote: “Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.” Readers of this blog are bombarded with my biased views on various topics. It doesn’t matter. They can like it or lump it. But it does matter when a supposedly impartial public service corporation does exactly the same kind of thing, with guaranteed income from a mandatory licence fee.