By Mick Gregory
The BBC (the UK equivalent of PBS) has failed to promote real debate on major political issues because of the inherent liberal culture of its staff, a report commissioned by the corporation has concluded.
The report found that coverage of single-issue political causes, such as global warming and redistribution of wealth, and poverty, is often biased – and is particularly critical of Live 8 coverage, which it says amounted to endorsement.
The report warns that celebrities must not be pandered to and allowed to hijack the BBC reporting schedule.
The report found coverage of Live 8, the 2005 anti-poverty concerts organised by rock star campaigners Bob Geldof and Bono and writer Richard Curtis, failed to properly debate the issues raised.
Instead, at a time when the corporation was renegotiating its charter with the government, it allowed itself to effectively become a promotional tool for Live 8, which was strongly supported by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Geldof, Bono and Curtis were attempting to pressure world leaders at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, which was taking place at the same time, to help reduce poverty in developing countries under the banner ‘Make Poverty History’.
The BBC also ran a week long Africa special featuring a series of documentaries by Geldof and a day celebrating the National Health Service, prompting Sky News political editor Adam Boulton to tell a House of Lords select committee it was in danger of peddling government propaganda.
The report concludes BBC staff must be more willing to challenge their own beliefs.
It reads: “There is a tendency to ‘group think’ with too many staff inhabiting a shared space and comfort zone.”
We should applaud the BBC for actually investigating and releasing the results of this study.