Demands for defunding BBC grow

URI SHUB – SEP 20, 2020

■ Public anger grows as left-wing BBC bias exposed on Brexit, Trump and BLM

■ BLM riots headline ‘largely peaceful protests’ ridiculed on social media

■ BBC news ratings plummet 28% in five years as people switch to new media

■ Government considers decriminalising licence fee in BBC funding review

BBC bias has come to the fore in recent years especially with its coverage of Brexit, Trump, and the recent BLM riots.

The BBC faced a backlash for trying to make out that BLM riots in London were ‘largely peaceful’. This mirrored reporting from CNN where ‘mostly peaceful’ headlines appeared under footage of looters smashing and burning down entire communities.

Anger towards these types of headlines has grown. In the UK, people remember the days when Tommy Robinson was thrown into prison in 2018 based on politically motivated charges.

During those charged times, whenever violence occurred at a Tommy Robinson demo, the BBC described them as ‘riots’ instigated by ‘far-right’ activists but when reporting on brick-throwing BLM agitators the demos suddenly transformed into ‘mostly peaceful’ racism protests.

Sounds like a 60’s hippy convention doesn’t it? Not when you see the footage.

[Sun Newspaper’s footage of BLM riots London June 2020.]

Imagine if the BBC had reported ‘mostly peaceful free speech activists’ to describe Tommy Robinson demos. Full blown hysteria would ensue as MSM went into meltdown.

Amusing as it is to flip the headline, it sounds completely absurd whichever group of activists you choose to paint as do-gooders when their domo is marred by riots. Yes, most demonstrations do start peacefully and yes, some end up turning violent. If they turn violent they are by definition violent.

In the London BLM riot bricks, bottles, fireworks and missiles were thrown, as angry mobs stormed barriers attacking police. By highlighting the violence in one and downplaying the violence in another, the BBC merely exposes its political bias, in this case by supporting a violent Marxist group.

We might never know who invented the bizarre terminology of ‘mostly peaceful’ to mitigate the guilt of violent actors, whether it was the BBC or CNN. Would the BBC say mostly peaceful looters or mostly peaceful arsonists for the ongoing riots in the USA?

A thief mostly doesn’t steal until they steal. A dog is mostly peaceful until it bites your arm off. A crowd is mostly peaceful until it isn’t. Whoever came up with this dishonest phrase should get the ‘Best Deceptive Reporting of 2020’ award.

The headline has become a joke, is being ridiculed online and has caused significant damage to the BBC brand.

This kind of appeasement terminology, appearing as if by magic to defend BLM rioters, reveals the ongoing erosion of BBC impartiality. If honest BBC viewers hadn’t noticed it before, they’d have to admit the bias was now undeniable.

Below are two BBC headlines comparing the different language used by the BBC to describe left-wing verses right-wing protests.

[BLM protests are described as ‘largely peaceful’. Police are ‘hurt’ during ‘scuffles’ and ‘disturbances’. In contrast, a Tommy Robinson demo is described as a ‘march’ with ‘violence’]

BBC Dumbs Down Losing Viewer’s Trust

When you couple bias with reporters that are aggressive towards their guests, you damage viewer confidence.

Flagship shows such as Newsnight frequently present fruitless five-minute slots where politicians are constantly interrupted. The host chops and changes from one panelist to another generating rows, creating tension.

During the Brexit withdrawal agreement crisis in Parliament, pro Brexit politicians appearing in BBC news were frequently bombarded with tough questions while Remainers were given an easy ride. Presenters regularly sided with calls for a soft Brexit and the bizarre notion of a second referendum, while treating Brexiteers unfairly.

Skewed coverage in shows like Question Time often featured expert panels with Brexiteers outnumbered two to one.

In this atmosphere, politicians tend to come prepared for battle. Knowing they have little time to get their point across they end up talking over each other in a rush get their point across.

The result is a spectacle of manipulated political theatre. Debates often descend into rows and personal insults. This may be amusing for some, but ends up as a pointless. The result is poor quality coverage of complex issues affecting the nation.

The format has become worse year by year and not just on the BBC. Sky News, CNN and others favour shock tactics to boost ratings while misleading headlines are generated by quoting politicians out of context.

In the end viewers are left unable to understand the substance. A void is created as people reject shouting matches in a search of calmer waters.

BBC ratings tank

YouTube has provided an answer to MSM attention grabbing, with ‘longform’ political debate. Viewer demand for longform political interviews is booming while BBC news programming has seen a sharp decline.

The alternative format favours depth and meaning over superficial content. Instead of watching a guest being attacked in a three minute interview, viewers can relax into a meaningful free-flowing discussion.

The result is far superior to anything the BBC has produced in recent years. The nuance of political thought is presented with care, leaving viewers enriched.

The Oxford Union YouTube channel offers recordings of their events including world class debates and important guests from around the world. Tommy Robinson, vilified by the BBC, was invited to speak there during his campaign for free speech.

Successful political channels on the platform achieve impressive numbers, millions of subscribers, and millions of hits. Oxford union debates have flourished online, directly from the university itself, with others copying the format, such as Intelligence Squared.

Some debates, and political shows, get half a million views per post, with new helpings offered daily. This is achieved with miniscule budgets compared to MSM media giants.

The Rubin Report features political discussions with influential people from around the world.

The trend is a stark warning for the BBC. Its move from an era where it was seen to be impartial, towards an increasingly partisan form of left-wing activism is no longer being tolerated.

The relentless dumbing-down is also being rejected. BBC ratings are down, a trend captured well in the Statista graph below:

From 2012-2019, the number of viewers watching BBC news dropped seven million from 25 to 18 million per quarter. 

The public will continue to shift their focus to content which offers high quality, in-depth analysis. They will also continue to demand that experts are treated fairly, regardless of their political views, in contexts which allow more time for ideas to be explored.

The Dave Rubin show, for example, is a place where thoughtful interviews explore politics, current affairs and social trends on fairly high level. To date the channel has 1.36 million subscribers and is growing.

Relaxation of laws on TV licence considered

While BBC journalists scurry around town spending taxpayers money only to promote a left-wing agenda, developments in parliament suggest they might need to focus on something else.

A government BBC funding review has been looking at options for decriminalising non-payment of the licence fee. When Boris Johnson was asked about the review in PMQs he said a government ‘roadmap for reform of the BBC’ was coming soon.

The Daily Mirror reported, ‘The Prime Minister confirmed that a review into sanctions for non-payment of the annual charge would be published shortly by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.’

If decriminalisation happened before the BBC’s charter renewal in 2027, it would be a massive blow for the corporation’s funding. Even though criminal convictions are rare for non-payment of the £157 annual fee, fear of going to court over refusal to pay has been etched into the public psyche for decades.

A loosening of the rules though, would open the floodgates for millions of fed-up citizens to dump paying the fee, not overly concerned with a lesser civil offense.

The tides have turned

Being forced to pay just because you have a device that can receive the BBC makes no sense anymore.

The popular myth BBC detector vans could check you were watching the BBC was made redundant years ago. Even so, fear of court meant people kept on paying.

The tides have changed though. As public awareness grows, calls to defund the BBC also grow. A recent campaign called ‘Defund the BBC’ has helped push the issue higher up the political agenda.

The Defund The BBC Twitter campaign has 96,000 followers.

Since Politicians, including Boris seem to love twitter these days, maybe the Boris team has been listening to their calls.

A New Horizon for 2027

When the TV licence is finally abolished in 2027 and replaced with a subscription model, many will say it was long overdue.

Years of bias, dumbing-down, and manipulation of the news, have taken their toll. Add to the mix the rise of longform political content on social-media, and radical change is inevitable.

It may be a shock for some but times have changed. The BBC’s role as a publicly funded broadcaster is slowly but surely, coming to an end.


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