Saturday, February 15, 2014

BBC Propaganda

SOYMB blog required little convincing of the truth of this recent report.

The BBC has been accused of yielding to political pressure since the last election and allowing a right-wing bias to emerge in its journalism. Professor Justin Lewis, Dean of Research at Cardiff University and an experienced analyst of the BBC’s output, a distinguished media professor, suggests that the BBC has compromised its impartiality by depending too heavily on sources from business, the media, law and order and politics. By contrast, ITV and Channel 4 make much greater use of sources from academia, medicine, science and non-governmental organisations. The BBC military spending debate was “decidedly lopsided” because of its reliance on the views of the “top brass”

Professor Lewis states: “The available evidence on the BBC centre of gravity does not suggest a leftist tilt. On the contrary, its dependence on certain dominant institutions notably in the business world and the national print media – would appear to push it the other way.” He concludes: “The most plausible hypothesis is that the BBC has, under pressure, been pushed to the right... It is the BBC’s cyclical dependence upon whoever happens to be in government during the licence renewal period that is the greatest threat to its impartiality.”

 Cardiff University colleagues, led by Professor Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, which found that the BBC was more likely than ITV or Channel 4 to use sources from the right – such as US Republicans or Ukip politicians – than from the left (US Democrats or Green politicians). The imbalance in favour of Conservatives over Labour was three to one for party leaders and four to one for ministers/shadow ministers. Professor Lewis said the findings showed “no similar patterns” on ITV or Channel 4 but were ignored by the BBC’s governing body, which commissioned the research. “These were not findings the BBC Trust was especially keen to draw attention to, and – oddly for a review about impartiality – they were played down in the subsequent report.”

The Cardiff research found that 50 per cent of BBC sources came from politics, business, law and order and media, compared to 10 per cent from the knowledge-based professions and civic groups. Business sources accounted for 11.1 per cent of the total on the BBC, but only 3.8 per cent on ITV and 2.2 on Channel 4.

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