Monday, 8 December 2014

BBC is not biased, but it's not always right either

Lots of press this last weekend about BBC bias. I don't really buy that. I have been interviewed repeatedly by BBC journalists on radio (at 6.50am last week, in the pitch dark outside Westminster) and on TV last week, from Look North, and the Sunday Politics, to Newsnight last week.

Journalists are human beings and the BBC is in a ratings war with commercial papers, radio and TV. Sometimes they overstate the case. So it was last week. The fight with journalist Norman Smith over his use of the "Road to Wigan Pier" comparison with future governments reductions in public sector is a storm in a teacup. We all know that living within our means is not bad, indeed that is the only way we can protect our vital public services in the long term. Living on borrowed money and paying millions in interest payments is not a sustainable future.

I also believe the BBC goes to great lengths to get balance in reporting. Occasionally reporters search for a hook, angle or key line to grab the public's interest; that is what happened here.

The BBC is not a private sector business, and sometimes that is indeed evidenced in its outlook and attitude, but all the same we are very lucky to have it.