Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Biased BBC leak

Some newspapers have reported leaks of a 'secret' meeting of some BBC senior staff, held last month at the behest of the Chairman of BBC Governors, Michael Grade. The leaks if true and representative suggest that the BBC's top people still refuse to see the whole picture.

According to reports, BBC executives at the 'impartiality summit' admitted religious bias in favour of Muslims rather than Christians. Using Newsround's website as an example, the word 'Muslim' is found almost as many times as 'Christian' despite the much larger number of people calling themselves Christian in Britain. But Newsround has nothing to say on agnosticism or atheism. In other words it is unrepresentative of many people in Britain.

Andrew Marr is reported to have said "The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly-funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people." A front bench MP told me that the BBC would collapse without its gay staff. But despite the large number of lgbt people working for them, the BBC is guilty of, as The Independent once put it, "institutionalised homophobia." The evidence is in Stonewall's report, and on this Newsround blog. This anti-lgbt bias wasn't noted at the meeting. BBC executives are oblivious to the continuing discrimination, but there is increasing concern amongst some BBC staff.

Mr Marr believed that the BBC has a cultural liberal bias rather than a party-political bias. He may be correct, but what he terms 'bias' might be considered as just fair representation of the culture and values in Britain. But when it comes to lesbian and gay people, there's little difference between the BBC and George W Bush.

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