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Monday, 26 March 2007

Can we trust the BBC? - 1

From the Prologue:
"The licence fee brings with it a unique quid pro quo: it follows that because everyone pays for the BBC everyone has an absolute right to fair treatment from the BBC. That is the bedrock of the contract between the BBC and the country; and it is this contact that has been corroded by the inherent bias within the BBC’s journalism."
Robin Aitken is a former BBC reporter who spent 25 years working within the corporation. His book details his own attempt to draw attention to bias within the BBC at the highest level, concerns that were dismissed on the say-so of the Head of BBC News.

I recommend Can we Trust the BBC? to readers of this blog: you will find chapter eight especially interesting because it looks in some detail at BBC reporter David Kerr’s research into the 2003 Panorama Programme Sex and the Holy City. Aitken comments:
The great value of Kerr’s analysis is that it subjects a BBC programme to exactly the same sort of journalistic scrutiny which the BBC routinely deals out to others. Kerr shows that ‘Sex and the Holy City’ fell woefully short of basic journalistic standards, never mind the BBC’s aspiration to the highest possible level of trustworthiness.
Rather than give a lengthy review of the book in one post, I will from time to time offer some summary and highlights from the different chapters. For now, I will leave you with one of Aitken’s concluding comments which will ring true with any Catholic who has ever complained to the BBC about its bias against the Catholic Church:
Bias is such a subjective concept that it is easy for the Corporation to slough off most allegations secure in the knowledge that hard evidence will not be forthcoming. People may know, in their hearts, that the BBC is biased against them, but many will take the fatalistic view that nothing can be done about it. They merely accept that they are not going to get a fair hearing. This is a lamentable state of affairs for an organization that aspires to be ‘the most trusted in the world’.
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