Saturday, 21 June 2014

Open letter to the BBC

Dear BBC,

In a list of my favorite public bodies, I value you second only to the NHS. For me, you have always been a shining beacon of truth and balance in an increasingly owned and cynical world.

But you see, I've followed your fortunes long before the coalition took power.

I remember the James Murdoch speech of 2009, where he threatened your very existence as an irritating stumbling block standing in the way of his family's domination of our collective global opinions. And I remember that he was a regular dinner party guest of David Cameron, Rebecca Brooks and others at the time.

http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Media/documents/2009/08/28/JamesMurdochMacTaggartLecture.pdf

And I remember that one of the first things the coalition did was to inflict huge cuts on your budget and that David Cameron described those cuts as "delicious".

http://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/oct/20/bbc-cuts-spending-review
http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2010/10/bbc-cuts-cameron-brussels

I remember how they threatened you for providing balanced reporting of their austerity programme, even threatening to stop your funding arrangements if you didn't change your coverage.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bbc-grant-shapps-tory-mp-2647207

Since then, I've had my own experiences of the BBC, so I can add anecdote to evidence.

I campaign on government welfare reforms - ESA, DLA, PIP, Universal Credit, the Work Programme, Bedroom Tax. I'm your main cmpaigner contact for those stories, ao I also know that almost every time you've reported these issues at all, Iain Duncan-Smith has fired off furious letters and complaints to you.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/aug/19/iain-duncan-smith-bias-bbc

I know that he dictates to you how his issues are to be reported or refuses to engage with you at all. I know that he refuses to attend debates of any genuine substance and even refuses to send any of his minions  in his place.

I know that countless stories have had to be dropped because of this refusal to engage and that researchers say they have never seen anything like it.

I know that I provide accurate, fact based research to several of your top people, but also know that they ask me not to reveal my involvement or they will be "in trouble".

But most of the country don't know any of this. They see you as I used to see you, as a free voice in a complicated world. They trust you as I trusted you. They believe that you tell them facts, not news. They know that the Mail or the Mirror or Sky might have an axe to grind, might try to mislead or sway them, but they assume that what you tell them is as close to the truth beneath all of that spin as you can reasonably get.

I remember with pride how I watched your coverage on 9/11. I was waiting to see how Tony Blair would handle a roasting from the TUC, but that speech never happened. Within moments, I watched along with the rest of the world, forgetting to breathe. as hijacked airplanes exploded into the gleaming towers of the World Trade Centre, and so watched you coverage from the very 1st minute. Occasionally, I switched to CNN or other US channels for a different perspective and was horrified by their trailer-voice drama and inflammatory soundbites. I watched them fudge the whereabouts of President Bush when you had shown footage of his arrival at the White House hours before.

I learnt in those hours that when horrifying tragedy hits, I want you there with me. I want to be British, I appreciate that you will risk your lives to bring me truth more than almost anything else. I want to know that whatever pressures and temporary challenges you are faced with, you will always be the BBC of my childhood.   Never biased, never intimidated and never owned.

Like the NHS, you are owned by all of us, and something deep in your DNA has never forgotten that. Something deep in our society has always appreciated it, always agreed to go on paying for it, somehow knowing it was our best shot at free speech.

However Iain Duncan-Smith might stamp his feet today, his welfare reforms ARE in chaos, they ARE a fiasco and they ARE in meltdown. I have been trying to expose these failures for 4 years now and I need you to tell them too. Because this DWP have overseen the greatest social crisis in a generation and as far as I know, the BBC have never hidden that kind of news from the people who pay its licence fee.







20 comments:

  1. I think you are giving them too much credit.

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    1. Yes I have to agree I think you're being a bit too nice to them Sue, but I understand your point. The BBC never used to be this bad they have obviously lost their way, or are terrified of being abolished. They are fast losing the peoples support, and they need us right now, they need to realise this quickly.

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  2. Very well said. The truth be out!

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  3. Nicely written. I am frankly dismayed by their lack of coverage of the massive turnout the march against austerity. Tens of thousand of people in central London a variety of disdain on display and they choose to ignore it over some nobby apology by Wayne Rooney on Facebook

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  4. Spot on. The BBC are under the Tory cosh, as events in London today have shown.

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  5. This article truly shocked me,I didn't think this could be happening in this country,the home of Free speech.The BBC should be ashamed,that they are allowing themselves to be manipulated and gagged like this

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  6. I have been sharing your posts through my Twitter feeds for a couple of years now. I am a member of the Labour party in my local area and I see sharing the Labour views as a part of my duties as a member. This post has to go down as one of the most popular posts that I have ever shared. Thanks for posting such a great post.

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  7. You're right, though ironically enough the YES Campaigners in Scotland would agree with you, but point to the strong links between Labour in Scotland and the BBC for the outrageously partisan coverage, just as in London the Tory links enable them

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  8. The good old BBC - no more, it's been got at by a greasy little man who shouts and stamps and tells them what they can and can't report on.
    The demonstration in London today was amazing, but you won't hear about it from the BBC, or the rest of the media. To that I say, you no longer speak the truth, you cater only for your money masters and not your licence payers, or your fans. You are as bad as the tory party who also do a disgraceful job and are also paid by the taxpayer.
    You will never get another penny from me, you haven't for the last 7 years and I'm proud of that now.

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  9. I've been dismayed with the BBC for a number of years but things just get worse, if it wasn't bad enough ignoring mass protests the world over, they start ignoring the ones that matter most here in the UK.

    Add their blatant ignoring of the Green Party in the latest elections (you know the greens who have an actual MP, while all the noise was about a party who have none!!).

    And their impartiality is truly dead.

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    1. Blame the Electoral Commission for that one. They told the media that UKIP were to be given the same level of coverage as the main parties, not sure why, something to do with the pre-existing level of media coverage, probably... *headdesk*; but they did not say anything about the Greens or any other small party, with or without MPs.

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  10. IDS is a danger and the biggest threat to vulnerable people in living memory and the bbc need to get wise and fast so that lives can be saved in the future

    my gut feeling is that the bbc have told all the journalists to keep their mouths shut where IDS is concerned and knowing the bbc very well that is the order of the day the same with the royal family

    in fact anyone working for the establishment will be under strict orders to keep their mouths shut if they know what's good for them



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  11. I worry that it's taken you this long to realise and write this. Well done, now everyone needs to share this.

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  12. Wonderful post, we should all worry. http://www.bbcradioforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1167

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  13. IDS will one day become ill or die, or the conservatives will be voted out and then the cowardly BBC will need not fear his wrath and can once again report on genuine issues associated with the needs of the people in Great Britain and the world. Just pray it happens sooner than later, or something!

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  14. The castration of the BBC began with Alistair Campbell and the new Labour spin machine, I'm sure the BBC has always been leant on implicitly by the government of the day but Campbell made it explicit and nasty.
    The BBC has always been, first and foremost, a champion of the status quo, hopelessly London centric and a vile combination of small c conservatism and metro liberal. I am sure there is much the BBC kept from us.
    It's funding needs putting beyond politicians who consider themselves paymasters. bill40 https://twitter.com/bill1303

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  15. I used to think the bbc was well worth the license fee. That has all changed.

    I will never ever support thw BBC again! As far as I am concerned they have let down this country. For a supposedly fair and objective public service broadcaster to ignore and refuse to report things like the sell off of the nhs, the destruction of the welfare state (and peoples lives), etc is unforgivable.

    As far as I am concerned, do away with the license fee and let them fend for themselves.

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    1. So it's not bias in the BBC that you're concerned with, it's that the current bias works the wrong way for you. You seem to dislike that the BBC doesn't report from your ideologically-clouded perspective.

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  16. Maybe it's that this issue just isn't as big to the wider public as you think. Every anti-Government voice of disdain doesn't necessarily warrant media coverage, there are too many groups with various gripes for this to happen. Truth is that the majority of the public want a benefits system that incentivises work and understand the system isn't going to be perfect first time. The romanticisation of the BBC is pretty saturated too. It's a state media outlet, that's all.

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