Friday, September 15, 2006


‘WE NEED A BRITISH FOX’ – says ex-BBC reporter Robin Aitken

Robin Aitken, author of the forthcoming book Can We Trust the BBC? told a meeting of the The New Culture Forum on Monday night that, given the institutional leftism’ of the BBC, news coverage in the UK would benefit from the existence of its own version of America’s Fox News.

‘If we did have a British Fox it would be tailored to the expectations of a British audience and so quite different from the American version,’ he said. ‘I do think an explicitly right of centre broadcasting organisation in the UK is long overdue.’

Aitken, who was a BBC reporter for twenty-five years and covered such issues as Northern Ireland, the Chernobyl disaster and the Monica Lewinsky affair, made the call during a talk to the recently formed New Culture Forum about his experiences of left-wing bias at the corporation.

Although he asserted that there was little deliberate intention to slant the news agenda, and that most reporters acted in good faith, it was nevertheless true that the whole culture of the BBC took a certain world view for granted, and anything which challenged the collective political assumptions and instincts was either ignored or treated as suspect.

‘Early on, the left grasped the importance of the so-called cultural battle in a way the right simply did not,’ he said. ‘If the BBC does start to debate political values they’ve previously held to be sacrosanct, it is usually only because figures on the left have started to raise concerns about those issues, and in the BBC’s eyes, that has made the debate valid.

‘We’ve seen this recently with multiculturalism. It’s only because figures such as Ruth Kelly and Trevor Phillips have expressed misgivings about it in public that the BBC has allowed the topic to be openly discussed.’

Think tanks and speakers from the political right were always flagged up as such, he said, whereas there was no corresponding identification when it came to left-wing opinion-formers.

1 comment:

Sally Stewart said...

It is more than time that there was serious public discussion about the BBC's "corporate culture" and I hope that those running the Corporation will look at every level from first recruitment to the people who choose the public figures given prominence.