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The Noble Liar

The Noble Liar

A new book, written by the former BBC journalist, Robin Aitken, which details the BBC’s inbuilt bias has recently been published.

The book, entitled ‘The Noble Liar: How and Why the BBC Distorts the News to Promote a Liberal Agenda’, claims that the corporation’s much vaunted claim of impartiality in its journalism is simply not true and its news broadcasts and even satirical comedy shows are driven by a liberal-left political agenda.

A half page article in the Sunday Times (December 18th, 2018) by the author promoting the book deserves quoting at length as it neatly describes in a few paragraphs what many observers have been saying for decades.

First, Robin Aitken describes the origin of the book’s title: “The title comes from a concept, originated by Plato, that describes a deliberate untruth told in the interests of social harmony. Which is essentially, as I see it, the business the BBC is engaged in. Perhaps I should, at this point, lay out my credentials. I worked for the BBC for 25 years until the mid-Noughties. When I joined up as a young man I was intensely proud both of the BBC and of my place in it. Like many people, I had an exaggerated respect for the corporation; I trusted it implicitly. The following two and a half decades disabused me of my naive faith: I ended up as an internal dissident petitioning the BBC governors to uphold the charter commitment to impartiality.”

He continues: “For that fact is that the BBC has a coherent, consistent and plainly visible political philosophy that colours all its output and confounds the claim that its journalism is impartial. It is not, and the country needs to grow up about this.”

He then describes how the BBC’s news gathering works and the overt bias involved in that process: “For journalism – and comedy programmes, for that matter – to be truly impartial, all legitimate points of view would need to be given equal weight. And yet the BBC routinely ignores and marginalises views of which it disapproves. So, for instance, for decades, through the 1980s and 1990s and into the new century, the Eurosceptic case was rarely heard……The BBC is an instinctive Brussels groupie because it believes passionately in internationalism. And this underpins one of its noble lies: that any step away from supranationalism and towards national autonomy is a backward step for Britain that will be harmful to our prosperity and wellbeing.”

He then expands on this theme: “Brexit aside, there are other important debates where one side of the argument never gets a look in. Social conservatives – the sort of people who believe in strong families, who are against divorce, euthanasia and abortion and feel that public morality in Britain has deteriorated alarmingly – are never invited to debate these topics on the main news programmes.”

He then explains why this happens: “The reason the BBC is so hostile to the social conservative viewpoint lies in the type of people it employs. Overwhelmingly they are highly educated, atheistic, left-leaning and metropolitan. They all subscribe to a set of core values including multiculturalism, third-wave feminism and its attendant philosophy of intersectionality, anti-Islamophobia and unfettered immigration…. It is very difficult for a news organisation to overcome the innate political beliefs of its staff.”

And he concludes his article with a punchy and optimistic assertion: “Questions about the liberal assumptions that underpin contemporary British society are not on the BBC’s radar. And that’s the way the BBC likes it. But the cultural Marxist belief, embedded in the BBC, that we are moving, ineluctably, towards a liberal destination is an irrational belief. The political pendulum is always in motion and, as Brexit shows, nothing is preordained. I sense change in the air.”