Newsnight and “BBC bias”


By Pete North

The left are getting their knickers in a twist over vacuous Beeboid, Laura Kuenssberg, and “BBC bias”. It is wholly imaginary. What they are noticing is not bias or even bias by omission. What they are noticing is the absence of any kind of sophistication in their political analysis. All you get from the BBC on any given subject is thin gruel dressed up as news.

They have lost the capacity for serious reporting. The industry is run by children for children. Some time ago they decided that stuffy BBC reporters talking about adult things on an adult level was exclusive and elitist and somehow excluded the plebs, because, y’know, the plebs out in the shires are thick. Now the assumption is that everything has to be dumbed down because these people genuinely believe they are the cream of the crop and that everyone is at least as thick as they are.

It became more important to have vacuous bimbos of both sexes flashing pearly white teeth against a backdrop of primary colours so you wouldn’t notice the 6am transition from news to the Teletubbies. The idea that it should serve a social function and inform people is just one of those backward ideas all those old white men decided in years past. And when television was opened up to commercial channels, somehow the BBC decided it was their job to compete in the race to the bottom, mainly to see who could get there first. Attracting audiences became their only mission.

At some point they decided that Noel’s House Party was roughly the right format for morning news and ever since the model has nosedived enough to make Mr Blobby pranks look like cerebral news content.

As to whether there is anything sinister going on, I sincerely doubt it. You see, to be biased toward a particular outcome you first have to believe in something. You only go to the trouble of hijacking the media if you have a message you want to promote. These people don’t. They are all interchangeable. Hacks penning for the Torygraph are just as likely to go work for the Guardian or Newsnight. It’s a closed loop with its own narratives – and to assume they would deliberately leave out more sophisticated arguments is to assume they are capable of even understanding them. To them, all is trivia.

It’s not about what happened or what is likely to happen. Everything is measured against their narrative on the basis of what they consider important. But because they live in a bubble they simply don’t possess the necessary faculties to identify that which is important. Adult journalism is a lost art.

They have some self awareness, noting that there are editorial pressures to follow every bandwagon, never being given the time to add depth to anything, seeking only to fill airtime in a rolling twenty four hour news cycle, but the reason it doesn’t change is because they don’t want it to. The lifestyle suits their vanity. It will only improve when we solve the core problem.

While we could demand that the BBC restore its content to a more sober format, demanding depth rather than volume, it would be a waste of time. You are asking the impossible. Like asking a dolphin to ride a bicycle. Dolphins are superficially smart creatures who can comprehend certain concepts and may even understand how to ride a bicycle, perhaps even comprehending the gravitational forces in play, but a dolphin is simply not physically equipped to climb out of the water and get pedalling, even if the bicycle has stabilisers.

What the industry needs is creative destruction. It cannot reinvent itself same as government can never reform itself. So we need to fix the ultimate problem. You. You are the problem because you keep indulging in it, you keep watching it, listening to it and making impossible demands of it.

There is no such thing as unbiased media. The only way you can get close is to do what the BBC has done – strip it of any vitality, curiosity and civic duty. This is what you wanted so this is what you’ve got.

More to the point, if the public do not behave like adults, they cannot expect their media to treat them as such. The moment you decided to depend on the BBC for information was the open invite for them to treat you like cattle. And when you think about it, it’s no less than you deserve.

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One comment

  • She’s Scottish and Jewish. BBC bias personified.

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