Zero Pity for the BBC


The BBC, along with CNN, Buzzfeed, and various other media outlets, has every right to be upset at being excluded from the White House’s off camera press briefing last week. But there’s something important the corporation should consider. A significant number of licence fee payers either don’t care, or are positively enjoying the fact, that the broadcaster was left out in the cold.

Aren’t we supposed to love Auntie? Shouldn’t it give us a reassuring glow as it broadcasts in good faith from around the world? Not any more, it seems.

When a lot of observers think the BBC has got what’s coming to it, that should give it cause to sit up and think. After all, we’re talking about people who fund the BBC through their taxes, celebrating their own broadcaster being denied access to the American government.

And viewers feel that way because, contrary to its own proclamations, the BBC is far from impartial. In the increasingly intense culture wars, it can sometimes appear to be a media wing of the progressive left. And as the progressive left has lost the plot lately, that doesn’t bode well for its state funded mouthpiece.

A turning point, at which many already dissatisfied viewers felt they could take no more, was the EU referendum, when the result was greeted by our state broadcaster as if it were a national catastrophe. It was the largest mandate in British history, and a victory for democracy and self-governance. The country mobilised to decide its own fate, and as 17.4 million citizens celebrated, the Beeb went into mourning. Remain lost, which meant almost everyone at the BBC had lost. With little respect for the viewers, the corporation didn’t bother trying to hide its maudlin wetness.

And then there’s the BBC’s position on Donald Trump. How can this even need spelling out, Auntie? You don’t take sides in US elections. When you greet the announcement of a new American president as if you’re on the losing team, you renounce all credibility.

The BBC has positioned itself as pushing back against Trump’s reported authoritarianism, but it does so only in the hope of carefully replacing it, like an anaesthetist applying the gas, with its own softly woozy, Islington-inflected dogma.

The broadcaster has enormous power, but it becomes diluted if it isn’t used selectively. And right now it’s been reduced to homeopathic proportions. Nobody’s listening anymore, because since Brexit the BBC has been eroding its own influence through the law of diminishing returns. As a result it must bear the brunt of what it has self-destructively invoked: indifference. Who would want to stick up for the BBC now, when it embodies everything that so many people are voting to get rid of?

The Beeb is shot through with political correctness and identity politics. It runs on quotas, and is creepily obsessed with race and gender.

But we all know that bigotry is vile, and we don’t need the state broadcaster to drive the obvious home. It’s also perfectly clear, in a recruitment context, how to beat racism and sexism: don’t hire people based on their race or sex.

In modern Britain, affirmative action is bigotry by stealth. The statement it makes is that whoever is hiring has such low expectations of women and minority groups that they don’t believe such applicants will be able to get a job on merit. The left likes to throw around accusations, so let’s follow suit: through employing affirmative action the BBC is racist and sexist. Its bigotry extends, through a combination of pat-on-the-head box ticking and point blank exclusion, toward everyone—men, women, any of the other 31 bathroom-commandeering genders, and all the races on Earth.

If the BBC must insist on being committed to targets and social control though, then here’s a scheme I could get behind: promote diversity of thought. Hire creative people who aren’t left wing. Get some conservatives on board. Go wild and recruit a libertarian capitalist. Just do anything, BBC, to melt the suffocating, liberal progressive crust which currently entombs your coagulated form, before you become any more tiresome and unrepresentative.

Sort out your biases and people outside your diminishing liberal circle might start to like you again. They might even get on side next time you want to stick it to the American president.

Sam White is a writer for Country Squire Magazine and has written for The Spectator & Metropolis. Other Sam White articles can be found by using the search box below (just type in Sam White) and also by looking here.