BBC Bias Digest 29 July 2020

BBC AXES AFTERNOON NEWSROUND AFTER 48 YEARS: Joe Kasper (Sun 29/7) said the BBC was axing its afternoon live television edition of the children’s news service Newsround – shown currently on kids’ service CBBC , but formerly on BBC One – after almost 50 years. Mr Kasper reported that the BBC wanted to transfer more of its children’s content online – and now had Ofcom’s permission to do so – because they were watching increasingly less live television. He added  that despite the lockdown, audiences for the Newsround bulletin had fallen from 37,000 children aged between 6-12 in 2019 to 24,000 in May this year. Mr Kasper noted that Ofcom had earlier warned that if audiences did not engage with the BBC, support for the licence fee could be eroded, and had now said it made sense for more children’s content to be provided online. It had also decided to impose safeguards to ensure the quality of programmes on CBBC was maintained while allowing the amount of news content on the live television channels to be reduced from 85 to 35 hours a year.


BBC ‘SEEMS SWEPT UP IN AN EMOTIONAL TIDE’:  Former Guardian political editor Michael White tweeted (28/7), ‘. . . .Lots of anti-racist talk on BBC Radio 4’s Today (again) today, much of it muddled, conventional thinking (again). It’s an important issue, but BBC seems swept up in an emotional tide. I switched to R3 where there are no complaints (yet) that music is too dominated by dead white Germans.’


THE BBC’S BROADCASTING MONOPOLY: At The Mallard website (28/7), Serena Lit argued that the BBC is essentially a ‘broadcasting monopoly’ with a ‘stranglehold’ on the industry, saying that the Corporation uses its size and licence fee funding to win advantage against commercial rivals. Where they have to earn their income from adverting the BBC ‘only advertises its own projects across the entire network’.

‘For decades’, she wrote, ‘the BBC has been failing to uphold its charter obligation to provide original services by choosing to create outlets and produce content remarkably similar to what is already being provided by the commercial sector’, and she wondered if top-rated BBC shows would have proven able to compete with Netflix or Apple ‘without help from the licence fee and the BBC’s free in-house advertising’.

‘The bulk of BBC iPlayer’s traffic is a direct result of the licence fee’, she stated. ‘Given we are all obligated to fork out £157.50 a year for it, many feel (understandably) compelled to get their money’s worth. Consequently, we have no meaningful indication of how popular the BBC and its content actually are with the British public’.


BBC’S ‘CHURCHILL TRASHING’ POLL LAUNCHED: Kathy Gyngell (Conservative Woman 29/7) argued that recent BBC reports about Winston Churchill, in which he was said to have caused the death through famine of three million people in the Bengal Famine of 1943,  felt like dangerous ‘dog-whistling’ to appease the most ignorant and aggressive end of the so-called anti-racist movement, and she invited readers to vote on the question “Is it time to stop calling Churchill a racist?’. Kathy asked:

‘Is trashing Churchill’s reputation deliberately fuelling the fires of division and prejudice? Is it time to stop denigrating the man who courageously led the West’s battle for freedom against the unspeakable evil of the Nazis?  We want to know what you think.’

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