Sunday, 5 September 2010

It takes all sorts

Someone's cracking open a bottle of Cava in Peter Hitchens' house this weekend, as the noToryous columnist finally lays claim to having been right all along. Apparently, he's been claiming for 20 years now that the BBC, our venerable public broadcasting institution, leans to the left.

This shouldn't come as a massive surprise to anyone with functioning neurones, but to Hitchens, this is the vindication he's been seeking for the last couple of decades. Dancing to the tune of the world's smallest violin, the horrendous hack claims "I have made this case patiently, with evidence, not crudely. And I have been met with unending scornful denial."

However, Hitchens has finally discovered the 'smoking gun' he's been seeking for so long - Director General Marc Thompson has admitted that when he joined the BBC thirty years ago, he felt that there was a 'massive bias to the Left'. But that's not all, apparently the Corporation has been collaborating with David Cameron, to try and make the Conservative party more palatable to people who wouldn't see a burning cross as the sign that it was a good time to dig out the marshmallows.

As a consequence of these 'under the radar' meetings, the BBC switched its coverage of the Tories from "an unending stream of high-pressure slime to cautious approval, gradually warming into endorsement". Honestly, some people are never happy.

What Hitchens fails to recognise, is that the Tories didn't meet with the BBC in order to gain better coverage. They clearly had a heritage of policies and attitudes that jarred with the British mainstream, and needed to moderate some of their long standing positions in order to court the populace.

The way Hitchens sees it, the BBC "gives or withholds its blessing to the leaders it approves of. Lean to the Left, or face frozen disapproval, consistently unfair coverage, misrepresentation and actual exclusion from the national debate." Those are serious accusations indeed, and paint a worrying picture of modern political discourse. They're also complete horse pizzle.

Hitchens needs to remind himself that, as the national broadcaster, the BBC has a mandate to represent the views, interests and realities of everyone in the UK. And that kind of open-minded inclusivity is precisely the kind of thing that old-school conservatives like him cannot abide. The unfortunate truth is that his world view is increasingly becoming a minority perspective. Still worthy of coverage, but not in any position to dictate to the rest of the country.

Still, we should all be thankful that in these troubled times, where the national consensus is manipulated by a left-leaning conspiracy, that there are still some independent voices in the national press. People who pride themselves on their independence of thought and journalistic responsibility. People like Peter Hitchens in fact, whose next article starts with the lines "What a very odd creature is Anthony Blair. I feel I can justly point this out because Mr Blair has devoted so very much of his gruesomely interesting book to making nasty comments about the weirdness of Gordon Brown."

Ahhh, smell the integrity.

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