BBC Bias Digest 2 August 2020

TONY PARSONS: BBC ‘DOESN”T LIKE OUR COUNTRY’:  Author and commentator Tony Parsons (The Sun on Sunday 2/8) claimed that the BBC’s decision to scrap the free TV licence for the over-75s was ‘a kick in the head’ for those ‘who have borne the brunt of this health emergency’. He asserted:

“This was the year for the BBC to reach out to its most loyal viewers. This was a chance for the BBC to restore its diminished, degraded reputation and to start acting like the voice of the nation. And Auntie blew it. The BBC is now pathetically disconnected from the nation it is meant to represent.”

Citing recent attacks on the reputation of Winston Churchill, Mr Parsons commented that, ‘increasingly, our national broadcaster acts as though it doesn’t like our country’. He added that the BBC ‘will never tell you that the British abolished the slave trade before any other nation on earth, and that no Empire in human history was ever dismantled so peacefully, or was so willing to offer its former subjects a home.’ He continued, ‘As the BBC constantly flaunts its own political agenda, the case for the licence fee collapses.’


BBC TV LICENSING WEBSITE CRASH ‘A FARCE’: The Sunday Times (2/8) and the Mail (2/7) called yesterday’s crash of the TV Licensing website, on the first day of the re-introduced charge for over-75s, ‘a farce’. Rosamund Unwin of the Sunday Times reported that viewers trying to pay were greeted with a message that said the service was “temporarily unavailable while we update it for the changes to over-75 licences”, before the site was restored last night. The BBC had said: “To make the 75+ Plan available for customers online, the TV Licensing website was temporarily offline on Saturday, as was always planned.”

The Sunday Times (2/8) also reported that pensioners were being asked to provide their bank statements to the TV Licensing office to prove that they were in receipt of pension credit, and therefore still eligible for a free licence, It was said that this was raising concerns that the elderly would be at a risk of identity theft and fraud. It was further reported that the BBC had responded:

“TV Licensing are not actively seeking bank statements — this is simply an option and we don’t expect to make very much use of it. The TV Licensing team take extreme care with personal data and have a wide range of measures in place to protect it.”


ENDING OF OVER-75s FREE TV LICENCE ‘WAS GOVERNMENT DECISION’:   Katie Harris (Express 2/8), noting that the provision of free BBC TV licences to the over-75s had ended, quoted a BBC spokeswoman saying that it had been the government’s decision rather than the Corporation’s. Ms Harris said the axing of the free licences had happened on the day that a new director of BBC Scotland on a six-figure salary had been appointed. Expressions of concern about the appointment from pensioners affected by the new fee regime were included in the article.  One commented:

“They can’t afford free licences for over 75s but can afford to pay a six-figure salary to him and he becomes one of the very very many on six-figure salary at the BBC the BBC should be cutting back on these high earners.”


BBC PROVIDES ‘DISGUSTINGLY UNBALANCED’ MATERIAL FOR CHILDREN: Craig Byers (Is the BBC Biased? 1/8), noting that BBC director of radio and education – the former Labour minister James Purnell –  had said he wanted to give the BBC a bigger role in educating children, said he was analysing a range of material on the current BBC Bitesize GCSE pages. His first analysis focused on the BBC MIddle East history pages, and noted that the entire focus was on Israel and Palestine. Mr Byers observed that the list of contributors was ‘astonishingly biased’ because ‘not one of the seven Middle East class clips strays from the BBC’s left-of-centre, Israel-slamming narrative’.  He concluded:

“And is this disgustingly unbalanced material typical of the BBC’s educational output? Especially in an age of reviving antisemitism, I think we urgently need to know.”

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