BBC: The broadcast arm of The Guardian

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’.

Peter Sissons

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?’.

19 Responses to “BBC: The broadcast arm of The Guardian”

  1. 1 Uncle Badger 22/01/2011 at 1:48 pm

    I’m glad to see someone raising the issue of Coulson’s hounding. I have no time for either him or his master, the oily autocrat Cameron, but it has been clear for several months that the BBC and its political stablemate have had him in their sights.

    Of course, one measure of Cameron’s utter uselessness is that neither he nor any of the snivelling nobodies he’s appointed as ministers have had the courage to stand up to the BBC. If they had, Coulson would still have his job.

  2. 2 Jonathan Stuart-Brown 22/01/2011 at 2:06 pm

    The Guardian has only 250 000 sales and falling. Of these only 50 000 are genuine. The rest are Libraries, University Departments, Government Departments, Council Departments, Quangos, Charities, Trade Unions and The BBC itself. The producers do not pay for their own copies.
    Of the 50 000 most are in West London and many just to read job adverts.
    A Freedom of Information request is needed but rumours are that at times over the last 30 years, The BBC gave The Guardian up to £25 million subsidy a year via its monopoly on recruitment ads. The BBC has 2 million pages on its own website ranked number 45 in the world and top 10 in UK. Why advertise with any paper but if you must why not non-London regional papers (whose regions pay 85% the licence fee) ?

  3. 3 JimBob 22/01/2011 at 4:03 pm


    In the post below on the BBC, you refer to an earlier post in which you described how a contributor had informed you about a complaint he’d made to the BBC, over a BBC “Hardtalk” interview of the Maldives’ President Nasheed, by the programme’s presenter Stephen Sackur. Specifically, that Sackur had not questioned the President’s claim that the Maldives were sinking under rising sea levels, when scientific studies had shown that the sea was not rising.

    The theme of this post on the BBC-Guardian axis provides a clue, but a convincing explanation is provided by Sackur himself, in his interview of Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger at the Frontline Club in June 2008:

    Sackur begins:

    “Ladies and gentlemen good evening. It’s a real pleasure to be here for me. I love saying that we’re in a standing room only audience. Thank you all very very much indeed for taking the time to come out tonight. I think you’ve come because we’ve got a fantastic guest.

    “Alan Rusbridger, I’m sure you all know, as the long-serving editor of the Guardian.

    (turns to Rusbridger)

    “Sparing Alan’s blushes I can tell him I’ve been reading his pieces ever since I was a teenager in a Guardian-reading family, remembering the scurrilous stories you used to write in the Guardian’s diary. You were the Guardian’s diarist for a while, weren’t you, and they stayed with me, so thank you.”

    (Rusbridger became editor in January 1995.)

  4. 4 WAM 22/01/2011 at 4:07 pm

    As for oil prices and what drives them

    Click to access TIE_W07_Verleger.pdf

    Also, there are WEB lcetures of dr Verleger on this subject.
    Also, please have a look on the grain prices – it is the same mechanisms – commodity futures hedging

  5. 5 JimBob 22/01/2011 at 4:31 pm

    Further to my post above, a profile of Newsnight’s political editor Michael Crick, which the Daily Telegraph’s Saturday magazine “Seven” published in June 2007, illustrates graphically just how dominant the Guardian is, in the thinking of the BBC’s staff. The interviewer, Nigel Farndale wrote:

    Crick writes his political biographies in here, surrounded by football memorabilia, an impressive collection of politically themed mugs, a display of American presidential lapel badges, a news-stand banner for the Evening Standard that screams about Jeffrey Archer being found guilty, and a copy of the Guardian.
    The only thing that seems out of context is the copy of The Daily Telegraph next to it.
    “Actually, the Guardian is my mother’s. I’m the one who tends to read the Telegraph.”
    But what if his colleagues at the BBC find out? He gives the first of many slightly mad, cackling laughs.
    “’It’s funny, I heard about a BBC executive who went to join colleagues for an away-day in Manchester, and when she checked into the hotel the staff on reception asked if she would like a copy of the Guardian sent to her room in the morning. She asked why the Guardian. That was, of course, what all her colleagues who had already checked in had ordered.”

  6. 6 JimBob 22/01/2011 at 4:50 pm

    But of all the admissions of Left-liberal bias, the best of the lot is this one, below, penned by the Labour-supporting former editor of Today, Tim Luckhurst, the founding professor of Kent University’s School of Journalism. Writing in the Times in April 2005, he confessed:

    It is painfully obvious that the corporation is saturated with left-wing values. It disparages competition and worships consensus. Views prevalent in liberal universities percolate through every aspect of policy. Political correctness and cultural relativism are holy writ. Democracy is usually good, but not in America where it produces the wrong result.
    This progressive orthodoxy did not incense me when I joined the Today programme. I had started my career as an adviser to Labour’s Shadow Cabinet. I believed Conservatives were morally deficient and was delighted that most of my colleagues agreed. Those who thought otherwise were considered oddballs to be pitied. But as I climbed the BBC ladder the atmosphere began to grate. …
    … The left-wing consensus can only change if the BBC reforms its selection procedures and eradicates a hierarchy that is modelled on the Civil Service. Changes proposed by the present Director-General do not address these issues. They must, because the BBC does not accurately reflect the diversity of opinion in Britain.

  7. 7 Shevva 22/01/2011 at 5:07 pm

    Funny thing i was reading this biased piece ( at the grund and reading the comments on the Coulsan story and thought i might get more balanced reading from Google News ( trouble is all the reports on google are from the Grund, they wouldn’t have an agenda would they?

  8. 8 Uncle Badger 22/01/2011 at 7:16 pm

    Shevva – you wouldn’t be the first to suggest that. And it’s certainly why I stopped using it after a week or so.

    I’m commenting at around 7.15pm. A few minutes ago I turned on BBC Radio 4 – they were still gloating about the Coulson scalp.

  9. 9 Rereke Whakaaro 22/01/2011 at 7:18 pm

    Let me see if I have this right.

    The BBC receives the (compulsory?) licences fees extracted from the British public.

    Some of this money is channelled to the Guardian by way of payment for advertising that the BBC does not need because they have their own website for the purpose.

    The Guardian, in turn provides the editorial context and scope within which the BBC’s own news and current affairs programming is based.

    The result is a self-confirming purveyor of “the message”, because each media outlet can refer to the authority of the other.

    The missing pieces of this jigsaw are how, where, when, and from whom, “the message” originates. Of these, the last piece is the most central.

    [Note: I have added a question mark after “compulsory” because I do not know if you have to pay even if you do not own a reception device?)

  10. 10 Green Sand 22/01/2011 at 7:37 pm

    The following letter was published in the DT on 4th September 2010

    “BBC recruitment”

    SIR – Andrew Gilligan (Comment, September 3) claims: “I don’t think the BBC’s bias was ever exactly ‘Left-wing’… any bias is towards the official, the conventional and the established.”
    The BBC refused to give me any figures for spending on advertising for staff recruitment, but I obtained them for 2004 under the Freedom of Information Act. In the Guardian, the BBC spent £231,944; in the Telegraph, £32,535; in the Times £6,159.

    Eric Hester
    Bolton, Lancashire

  11. 11 Uncle Badger 22/01/2011 at 11:05 pm

    Gilligan, he speak with forked-tongue. I find it hard to imagine what definition of ‘official’, ‘conventional’ and ‘established’ he is using when the BBC so eagerly embraced such heterodox beliefs as cultural relativism, AGW and Islamophilia.

    They might have become that holy trinity of his, but only if the lad is confusing effect with cause.

  12. 12 snodger 23/01/2011 at 5:47 am

    Why does anyone continue to pay the licence fee?

  13. 13 Jim 23/01/2011 at 12:33 pm

    @Snodger: I don’t. Anyone with a broadband connection has no need for one, as long as you use the Iplayer and other on demand streaming services. I use a site called which has links to streams of thousands of TV shows – all free! (And no, this isn’t spam, just someone who got fed up with paying the BBC to promulgate left wing views!).

  14. 14 FergalR 23/01/2011 at 3:02 pm

    This guy, Duncan Clark, is consultant editor on the Guardian environment desk:

    He also works for BBC Worldwide (their commercial arm) and he’s strategy director of 10:10 (makers of that awful “No Pressure” snuff propaganda).

  15. 15 M'roo Gaufau 12/11/2012 at 12:38 pm

    Loving the amusing defence of Coulson. What will you publish if he gets locked up?

  16. 16 Roseanne 18/05/2013 at 4:01 pm

    I’m very happy to find this web site. I wanted to thank you for ones time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and i also have you book-marked to see new information on your web site.

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