BY JAMIE FOSTER
BBC Countryfile has upset a boatload of viewers by its biased piece on Brexit and how it will affect farmers:
Adam Henson was interviewing a family of beef farmers who said Brexit had cast a shadow over the industry. They said that halving the tariffs in place to protect EU beef from imports would make it unsustainable to produce UK beef. The segment left the impression that Brexit was bad for farming. Viewers took to Twitter to express their anger saying that the piece was biased as it had only spoken to a Brexit farmer for 20 seconds while it spent five minutes with a Remain farmer.
The BBC’s coverage has been solidly anti-Brexit since the referendum. Let’s be honest, Countryfile’s latest offering is just one in a long line of Brexit scare stories. The show’s editorial position is “how can we introduce a Brexit story that will show Brexit in a bad light?” While no one enjoys the uncertainty of the current position, there is no reason why Brexit shouldn’t be good for farmers in the long run. As free trade markets open up post Brexit, farmers will have more and bigger markets to sell their products into. This will provide a great opportunity for farmers to take advantage of.
Why can’t programmes like Countryfile show the upbeat possibilities of Brexit? It would only take a shift in the editorial attitude for the BBC to concentrate on the real potential of Brexit. This is something the BBC would never do. It is a real shame that in regards to an industry as entrepreneurial and innovative as the farming industry no one is looking at the ways in which farmers can benefit from the opportunities of Brexit.
Countryfile is a programme that has long lost the trust of the rural community. It has concentrated for too long on subjects to appeal to its urban-based audience. It treats the countryside like Disneyland – finding ways in which it can entertain town-based viewers. The real concerns and issues of the countryside are never touched upon.
How does the BBC think they can get away with such a one sided editorial policy? The arrogance of the corporation is breath-taking. It is typical of the BBC to take this approach. They are similarly one sided in regard to American imports, broadcasting scare stories about chlorinated chicken. What they fail to report is that the recent Listeria deaths in hospitals in the UK would be unlikely to happen in the US because their chicken has been pre-washed with antimicrobials that kill Listeria.
It is about time that the BBC stopped treating us like idiots. The constant stream of Brexit scare stories are tiresome in the extreme. What the country needs are some people willing to talk about the advantages to this country of leaving the EU. Otherwise we are conning ourselves into only seeing the bleak side of Brexit.
The BBC needs to sort out Countryfile and start looking into stories that are genuinely of interest to rural Britain. It needs to stop using the countryside as a backdrop for its tired message on Brexit or yet more country-dwellers will give up on the BBC – increasing numbers cannot be bothered to pay the TV licence.