It isn’t like we didn’t know this already, but confirmation from someone who has experienced it at first hand, time and again, is always worth a great deal more than outside observation.
In the later stages of my career, I lost count of the number of times I asked a producer for a brief on a story, only to be handed a copy of The Guardian and told ‘it’s all in there’.
It is worth restating that with The Guardian’s well known and self professed liberal left bias, the BBC cannot possibly be considered in any way impartial because it relies so heavily on that paper to inform its chosen editoral narrative.
That is why we constantly see Guardian journalists on BBC programmes providing biased analysis and see the two organs collaborating closely to achieve a particular outcomes, the most recent example of which was the witch hunt resulting in the bringing down of Andy Coulson. There have been other instances in the not too distant past of BBC and Guardian collusion to bring someone down in order to further a political agenda. Something else Sissons says is worth repeating:
What the BBC wants you, the public, to believe is that it has ‘independence’ woven into its fabric, running through its veins and concreted into its foundations.
The reality, I discovered, was that for the BBC, independence is not a banner it carries principally on behalf of the listener or viewer.
Rather, it is the name it gives to its ability to act at all times in its own best interests.
The BBC’s ability to position itself, to decide for itself on which side its bread is buttered, is what it calls its independence. It’s flexible, and acutely sensitive to which way the wind is blowing politically.
Complaints from viewers may invariably be met with the BBC’s stock response, ‘We don’t accept that, so get lost’. But complaints from ministers, though they may be rejected publicly, usually cause consternation — particularly if there is a licence fee settlement in the offing. And not just ministers, if a change of Government is thought likely.
Just watch that last sentence come true as the coalition comes under pressure and an election draws near. This is what informs BBC editorial lines on politics, climate change, the economy, industrial unrest, foreign affairs and international institutions such as the EU and the UN. All of which helps to put this post into its proper context – with the words ‘independent’ or ‘independence’ used no less than seven times in the BBC’s response.
And this is how our money is used. Now Peter Sissons has followed Robin Aitken in confirming the true nature of the BBC, the question is not ‘will the BBC now change?’ but ‘who will be next?’.