The BBC, first national broadcaster in the world, and founded almost a century ago, once was respected, and indeed loved, acting as the voice of the nation in even the darkest times. How is it then that it is now reviled, and distrusted by so many, to the extent that its survival is under threat?
Lord Reith, appointed as first Director General in 1927, remains the most famous of those to hold that post, not least because he established the principles by which the organisation was expected to abide, including an equal consideration of all viewpoints, probity, universality and a commitment to public service. He stated that his goal was to broadcast, "All that is best in every department of human knowledge, endeavour and achievement. The preservation of a high moral tone is obviously of paramount importance”.
In the great days of radio the BBC reined supreme, never more than during the Second World War, when it, together with Churchill, provided the voice of defiance to the Nazi barbarians, and brought hope to those throughout the world who were suffering under the fascists. The World Service was established in 1932, and broadcast in many languages. Many of the programmes such as “The Brains Trust”, treated listeners as intelligent, with experts answering questions from the public in an unbiased manner.
After the war the emphasis began to shift to TV, where presenters such as Sylvia Peters, and McDonald Hobley, provide its public face, and many of radio’s most successful programmes found a new home. I still remember watching the coronation in black and white on our old Pye set. In the decades that followed competing channels, the arrival of colour television, and social developments changed the BBC in many ways, but it was still regarded as a trustworthy source of information, as well as a producer of excellent programmes, including many comedies such as “Dad’s Army”, “Fawlty Towers”, “Till death us do part” and “It ain’t half hot Mum”. These were very popular, and it was obvious to anyone of intelligence that, when they included characters expressing bigoted views, the intention was to ridicule the latter, not promote them. Satire such as “That was the week that was” was aimed basically at the political establishment.
What a contrast is presented by the modern BBC. Although it still produces some excellent programmes, such as nature documentaries, it has, quite unnecessarily, reduced standards to meet the lowest common denominator, as it seeks to compete with the output of the commercial channels. Given that it is guaranteed its income via the licence fee, it is not obliged to chase ratings, yet so much of what it broadcasts fails to provide quality programmes to improve knowledge, and understanding of the world. Apart from “University Challenge” the quiz shows seemed targeted at the products of modern education, who, through no fault of their own, are being failed by a system which insists everyone must have prizes. This is all part of the BBC’s stated ambition to appeal to youngsters, quite ignoring the fact that the demographic profile of the nation points to a gradually ageing population, while the young are anyway just not interested in public service broadcasting.
However the greatest scandal, and one which undermines the whole original ethos of the BBC, is the way in which it has abandoned any idea of being unbiased, and champions the views of the metropolitan, left liberal elite. It declared some years ago that it would not allow those who question the whole concept of anthropological climate change to air their opinions as “the science is settled”, despite the fact that this is not true. It even encourages comparisons with holocaust deniers, an insult to decent people who refuse to accept a fashionable idea just because it is fashionable. However undoubtedly the most egregious example of this bias has been the manner in which Brexit has been treated. The entire organisation seems to be staffed with those who proved to be in the national minority, yet it took, and still takes, every opportunity to air pro EU views, while attempting to depict Brexiteers as right wing, bigoted, nationalists. One only had to see the expression on the faces of the presenters as the result of the referendum became clear to know exactly where their sympathies lay.
The bias shown extends to all those issues which are becoming increasingly contentious, such as race and gender, with virtue signalling spokesmen for the radical left being given preference over those who reject the claims of these bigots. The very unfunny comedies now broadcast are predicated on the premise that to attack those who oppose rule by Brussels, together with the Royal family, deserve mockery, while the BBC disowns the superior shows from the past, seeking to attribute malign motives, even to gentle comedies such as “Dad’s Army”.
Where previously satire was directed at the powerful, now the targets are ordinary people who happen to disagree with the lunatic views of the radical left. Programmes such as “Today” can be relied upon to present a totally slanted view of issues, calling upon the usual suspects to offer their views, while censoring those who actually speak for the majority. The choice of those to review the newspapers is usually heavily weighted to those who quote from the “Guardian”, or the “Observer”, ignoring the fact that these papers are read by a small minority. I remember Frederick Forsyth being dropped from “a point of view” because his opinions gave the BBC lefties a fit of the vapours. Even the tone of voice used by presenters is a guide to their biases as they convey incredulity that anyone might hold views different to the accepted consensus among the liberals. A prime example of this kind of arrogance was the treatment meted out to an MP who happened to have the union flag in his room, as if supporting one’s own country was a sign of stupidity or worse. It is also obvious that the audiences for “Any Questions” are drawn from basically one side of the political spectrum.
One could go on and on about the reality, but nothing will change unless action is taken to cleanse the Augean stables of the BBC. This should be part of the fightback against the so called “woke”, who are destroying this country. That the national broadcaster should have fallen victim to these people is a disgrace, and the decline and fall of such a British icon is a tragedy.