In terms of its political coverage, the BBC is an absolute joke. Well, something far worse than that. A joke implies there might be some humour found in the situation somewhere. That’s not the case with the BBC, which sits comfortably alongside the rest of the wretched cast of players that is the mainstream of the UK media—a racist, propagandising bunch of thugs—while pretending to ‘hold power to account’ and ‘provide balanced reporting’. The BBC’s myth is that it is impartial. It is anything but. In the past half decade or so, when an incredibly rare challenge to that status quo appeared, it really showed its colours, and played its part in ensuring that the UK would continue on the path it is today.
As Tom Mills, journalist and author of ‘BBC: Myth of a Public Service’ put it:
[I]t is important to state from the outset what is rarely acknowledged in discussions about the BBC: that it isn’t independent from governments, let alone from the broader Establishment. The BBC has always been formally accountable to ministers for its operations. Governments set the terms under which it operates, they appoint its most senior figures, who in future will be directly involved in day-to-day managerial decision making, and they set the level of the licence fee, which is the BBC’s major source of income. So that’s the context within which the BBC operates, and it hardly amounts to independence in any substantive sense.
I think the most straightforward way of putting this is that the BBC will aim to fairly and accurately reflect the balance of opinion amongst elites [my emphasis]. In that respect it’s not so different to other reputable media organisations. But a number of studies suggest the range of opinion on the BBC is narrower than some of its rivals. Channel 4 News tends, I think, to have a broader range of perspectives, and the recent Media Reform Coalition’s report on the coverage of Corbyn found that the BBC gave much more airtime to Corbyn’s opponents than ITV.
Anywho, one of the key figures at the BBC is Laura Kuenssberg, the political editor of BBC News. She has a fun Wiki entry!
Her paternal grandfather was Ekkehard von Kuenssberg, a co-founder, and president of the Royal College of General Practitioners who had also been appointed a CBE, in the 1969 Birthday Honours. Her maternal grandfather was Lord Robertson, a judge of the Scots High Court of Justiciary, whose brother, James Wilson Robertson, was the last British Governor-General of Nigeria. Her older brother David is executive director of finance and resources at Brighton and Hove City Council. Her elder sister Joanna Kuenssberg is a former diplomat who has served as high commissioner to Mozambique.
Normal, average stuff.
Kuenssberg is representative of the BBC’s political coverage in two ways: Her reporting is incredibly biased and hostile towards the left, and it’s just not very good. Kuenssberg and her ilk are not journalists. They are, as Chomsky puts it, stenographers of power. In the UK, this has reached cartoonish levels over the past few years. Here’s conservative journalist and commentator Peter Oborne on the state of the UK’s political reporting:
BBC 'journalism'.— Colin Valley (ex Labour) #PJP (@MomentumCV) November 9, 2019
So we know.
"They're allowing themselves to be gamed, to be managed, to be manipulated by these 'Downing Street sources'."
Peter Oborne claims Downing Street is using journalists to spread "smears and false news". #electioncast #NUJ pic.twitter.com/nKJ9Qj3gy7
In October Jill Rutter, a senior research fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe, highlighted the way in which many senior journalists, including the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, had become overly dependent on private briefings from Johnson’s strategy chief, Dominic Cummings. “This way of operating does the public a big disservice,” Rutter said. “It allows Downing Street to get its message out without having to take responsibility for it.”
When Johnson made his notorious “there is no press here” claim in front of the cameras at Whipps Cross hospital in east London- while being quizzed by a father anxious over his sick daughter - Kuenssberg came to his rescue. Passing over the prime minister’s falsehood at the time, she sent out a tweet stating that the father was a Labour activist.
I said at the outset that though the BBC’s political coverage is a joke, it’s really not funny. I was wrong. Here’s Laura Kuenssberg reporting on the fascist violence that shook the US Capitol earlier this month:
New game: report major historical events in the style of Laura Kuenssberg. https://t.co/0poFcVbTCj— Jordan (@jordanbhx) January 7, 2021
Naturally, Twitter did its thing:
Understanding that the Ceausescu's have been invited to take a nice walk in the garden to get some fresh air.— Wilbur Mudd (@politicalfubol) January 8, 2021
Asteroid inconveniences Dinosaurs.— Matt Thomas (@Trickyjabs) January 8, 2021
It looks like the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry are exercising their horses in St Peters Field this afternoon…— Robert W. Jones (@RobJonesHistory) January 7, 2021
Neighbourhood fence removed after some complaints— Pretty witty Nell (@NellWitty) January 8, 2021
I'm reporting from Jerusalem in the Roman province of Judaea, where an anti-capitalist rabble-rouser has been punished in a somewhat heavy-handed way— Seb Falk (@Seb_Falk) January 7, 2021
There’s a small gathering outside the Bastille!— Chris (@WulfrunianChris) January 7, 2021
Hearing that President Lincoln went to the theatre and was heckled by one of the actors.— Nick Barlow (@nickjbarlow) January 7, 2021
Pop-up regatta in the Channel near Dunkirk.— Judi #FBPE #Brefugee 🇬🇧🇮🇪🇪🇺 (@judi_sutherland) January 7, 2021
President Kennedy appears to be having some sort of health problem here in Dallas.— Josh (@smallcsocialism) January 7, 2021
German bombers over London cause noise nuisance— Andrew 💙 (@CourierBoyUK) January 7, 2021
"Battle of Hastings delayed as King Harold has something in his eye."— Tony - I'd rather be a do-gooder than a do-badder (@IsntTony105) January 7, 2021
Henry VIII was difficult to please in marital matters.— David Edwards🇪🇺 (@DEEFNW) January 7, 2021
"Reports of some smoke in Pudding Lane - but it's nothing for Londoners to worry about"https://t.co/kcV9knI9cb— Alex Sowden 😷🏴🏴🇮🇪🇪🇺 (@AJS77) January 7, 2021
1588 : looks like there’s some kind of boats coming our way— Em (@irreductible_Em) January 7, 2021
A bit of argy-bargy at Stalingrad…— Brian Tutt (@tutt_brian) January 7, 2021
Chernobyl warm for this time of year— Kiddero (@Kiddero3) January 7, 2021
Apparently a few embers are falling from the sky in Pompeii— Not Andrea Jenkyns MP (@BlandreaJ) January 8, 2021
Some tension today at Waterloo. pic.twitter.com/CecR13UZvV— RejoinerVermin 🏴🇮🇪💙 (@RemainerV) January 7, 2021
Iceberg unharmed in Titanic collision— Martin Morrey 💙 (@martinmorrey) January 8, 2021
‘Slightly poor air quality may be experienced around Chernobyl today’— Sonia Harris (@SoniaLSaville) January 8, 2021
Hearing reports of a small pop at the beginning of space and time, could be nothing in it.— John 💙 (@johnf8119) January 8, 2021
Header Image Source: Twitter