Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Bias Masterclass

Don't get me wrong, I think the folks at Biased BBC do a great job, but I can't help thinking if there isn't more to it than that. Biased BBC is intended as an answer to Andrew Marr's challenge (as featured on their home page) that critics of the BBC should provide specific examples. They do well as far as that mission goes but there's a problem with that approach (apart from the sheer arrogance of Marr's statement that, effectively, it was up to the public to convince a public service to do it's job properly). While the Beeb is certainly capable of outright lying, and proves it daily, the majority of the bias is far more subtle.

Inevitably, attempts to address this more diffuse form of bias leaves the critic open to charges of tinfoil fixation, yet the Beeb is ready to consider this form of bias in other contexts. After all, the Beeb has been a flag waver for such nebulous concepts as institutional racism. Surely the BBC would not claim a charge of institutional racism could only be sustained against organisation that have published outright racist commentary in the 'Blacks are vampires' mode ? Yet, the BBC continues to dismiss charges of bias even while continually casting Conservatives as (amongst many other things) a deviant, strange 'other'.

They have similar problems in the US with some of their media institutions, which explains why any Briton reading this brilliant dissection of how the Washington Post spins an article against Bush will experience both a dull ache of recognition and an eye-opening insight into how the bias thing is done.

Bogus reports about supposed massive Coalition defeats and the like are certainly bias, but let's not neglect the more pervasive, less explicit sort that contaminates almost everything the Beeb does.

No comments: