Vox Political On Steve Bell’s Cartoon against BBC anti-Corbyn Bias

Mike over at Vox Political has posted a piece commenting on Steve Bell’s cartoon in the Groaniad lampooning the Beeb for its bias against Jeremy Corbyn. Naturally, Mike reproduces the cartoon in question, in which a very true blue Tory interviewer accuses the terrorist, Jez Bi Wan Conorbyn of being a slave of the ‘Evil Newt Conspiracy’. Mike observes that it’s good that someone in the mainstream national press has noticed the Beeb’s bias against Corbyn, but doubts that it’ll make any difference to the Beeb. See Mike’s piece athttp://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/01/13/tory-cheerleaders-at-bbc-news-get-roasted-by-cartoonist-steve-bell/.

Indeed it won’t. But a few other reporters and journalists have also commented on the way Corbyn has suffered a barrage of hostile reporting and criticism far in access of what he deserves. Mike believes that in the case of the BBC, they’re trying to suck up to the Tories, who want to privatise or at least massively reduce the Corporation. All for the benefit of such pillars of public service broadcasting like Rupert Murdoch, of course.

And if you want to know how much Murdoch actually believes or values impartial reportage, as Fox News’ slogan of ‘fair and balanced reporting suggests’, The Young Turks quoted a media analysis which concluded that only about a third of what the pundits on Murdoch’s network said was actually correct. There’s a reason it’s called ‘Faux News’.

Part of the problem is the incestuous nature of the media bubble. Journalists largely come from the same class as the politicians they interview, they live in the same areas and communities, attend the same schools, or type of schools, and mix with the same type of people. So they essentially see the world through the same set of social prejudices and assumptions which right-wing politicians do. Hence the various instances where BBC journalists and news department managers have left the Corporation to get jobs as spin doctors for the Tories.

But I think it’s probably more than that. The news department at the BBC is shrinking, has been subject to vicious cuts for much of the past decade. The corporation in particular has been laying off scores of their staff, who actually report the news and put it all together. This seems to have been in line with the way the rest of the BBC has been by changed by its management. The people, who actually produce programmes have been progressively sacked, while management has inflated, with the upper management enjoying commensurately bloated salaries. Of course, the BBC isn’t alone in this. It’s part of what’s been happening in industry generally, as industry has shed jobs on the factory floor, while management have rewarded themselves with vast pay rises and bonuses. The BBC’s management shares the same attitudes of management generally, which is decidedly pro-Tory, and so definitely doesn’t want to see anyone even as remotely left-wing as Corbyn enter Ten Downing Street.

And I also think there’s more than a touch of class bias towards their listeners as well. Audiences for some of the Beeb’s news programmes have shrunk. Private Eye has been wondering for months, if not years now, how long Newsnight can stagger on without Paxman. You can tell that Beeb’s news department has been affected by the odd pieces that appear in the Radio Times, complaining about how fragmented audiences are due to the internet. People, they say, are taking their news now from different sources, largely those which confirm their existing political views. As a result, they warn, society is also fragmenting and overarching consensus views, held by the mass of the population, are being shattered.

It’s hard not to see this as simply sour grapes, at least in part. Yes, people are getting more information from a wider variety of sources, including the Net. Yes, this has challenged the power of the mainstream news to form a consensus of opinion. And this is clearly worrying old style print and broadcasting journalists. There’s clearly resentment in these types of editorials, one of which appeared in the Radio Times a few months ago, about the way the BBC and its broadcasters can no longer wield the massive ideological or social clout they once had. People are turning off, not least because of an increasing awareness of bias in the Beeb’s reporting.

My guess is that the Beeb has tried to consolidate its influence by deliberately targeting its news reportage to cater for the part of the population it considers to be movers, shakers and opinion makers. That is, the middle and upper classes. It’s trying to retain its cachet and some remaining social support by appealing to them. Who by and large, are Tory through-and-through.

So never mind the kind of news the proles might actually want or be interested in, the toffs and industrialists they want to impress want solidly anti-Corbyn, pro-neoliberal propaganda to keep the plebs in line and the bonuses and tax cuts rolling in. The anti-Corbyn bias in the Beeb is a mixture of Tory sycophancy, bog-standard class bias, and deliberate corporate targeting of a desirable market demographic. And it’s one in which the rest of us proles don’t count, whatever the Beeb may splutter about maintaining its high standards of objectivity.

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5 Responses to “Vox Political On Steve Bell’s Cartoon against BBC anti-Corbyn Bias”

  1. Dave. Says:

    The BBC has never been impartial or objective. Granted it’s not always been as rabid as it is now, maybe it’s just dropped some of the subtlety. I wouldn’t care one jot if it was privatised/sold off/broken up/dismembered/blown up/whatever. It makes Orwell’s Ministry of Truth look like benign beginners.

    • beastrabban Says:

      I don’t support it’s privatisation, but you’re right about it always having had a right-wing bias. And there are certainly a lot of people, who increasingly share your views as its bias becomes ever more strident and evident.

  2. Beastrabban on bias at the BBC | Vox Political Says:

    […] Read more: Vox Political On Steve Bell’s Cartoon against BBC anti-Corbyn Bias | Beastrabban’s Weblog […]

  3. nosuchthingasthemarket Says:

    All good points – but you could also mention the salient fact that the political editor at the BBC is a former head of the Young Conservatives and was first accused of bias (over and above the BBC norms) as early as 1995; when he was working on Panorama.

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