Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

BBC Bringing 'Sophisticated' News to America
real clear politics ^ | June 06, 2006 | Gerard Baker

Posted on 06/06/2006 8:26:45 PM PDT by tbird5

To much fanfare, and a fair amount of predictable gushing from its liberal admirers in the US, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the state-owned bureaucracy that bestrides the UK cultural and political landscape like a colossus, launched a 24 hour news channel in America last week.

Billboards in Manhattan bellowed the BBC's message to passers- by, promising that the corporation would be bringing "news beyond your borders" into Americans' parochial little lives.

The Beeb, as it is known back home, evidently senses an opportunity. It is steadily expanding its deals with public radio stations across the country to carry its World Service news. Online it is already far and away the most used website based outside the US.

Emboldened, its mangers now clearly think the time is now ripe to enter the US TV news market and offer a distinctive product. A few years ago the former boss of the BBC attacked American television news for too slavishly following the government line. Instead the BBC now says in its publicity, it will offer "both sides of the story".

Roughly translated this means the BBC thinks that, while the vast majority of Americans are morons who are perfectly content to swallow right-wing rubbish from their political and media masters, there is an educated and sophisticated elite on the coasts that feels somehow its worldview is underrepresented by the current giants of the mainstream media in the US.

This might come as surprise to Americans casually familiar with the output of CNN, CBS, NBC or ABC but the BBC is happy anyway to add its own little three-lettered logo to the vast and steaming alphabet soup of liberal bias.

Why should anyone worry?

Let me instantly declare an interest. I'm an employee of the Times of London, part of Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp global media company, and I'm also an occasional contributor to Fox News here in the US. If you think that makes me an imperfect commentator on the BBC, let me also say that I worked for the corporation for seven years.

The truth is, whoever says it, that the BBC is a publicly funded leviathan, accountable to virtually no-one but itself with increasingly global ambitions, ambitions that in a world of rapidly converging media outlets, are eminently achievable.

It's certainly true that the BBC is run by some of the very cleverest people in the UK. Its drama remains unsurpassed, its entertainment highly popular and it exports its output around the world.

But its producers and managers share one thing in common -a public-sector, European liberal, metropolitan elite view of the world.

Now this is all very well and unobjectionable to the ordinary viewer if all you're watching is elegant and expensive productions of Anna Karenina or the progenitors for shows such as Survivor or American Idol.

But it creates some very visible problems of truth and fairness in the free world when you're talking about the globe's largest news provider, which is what the BBC now is.

BBC News is produced by a very large team of ideological confreres, who, with a very few exceptions subscribe to the smart London set's view of the modern world.

This thinks, roughly, that capitalism is some sort of conspiracy by evil men against the ordinary working stiff and that big government and higher taxes are the only route to a fair society.

It believes that Europe is the acme of human civilization and that if only Britain and America would emulate it (or in Britain's case, completely subsume itself within it) the world would be a much better place.

It declines to call Islamist terrorists terrorists because the word is a value-loaded one, but it never fails to pore in infinite detail over every "atrocity" committed by America or British forces in Iraq.

It thinks in any case that the war on terror was all got up by oil industry tycoons and clever neocons and that there is no real threat from violent political Islamism at all.

It believes Palestinians are the innocent persecuted victims of violence and imperialism (a recent Jerusalem correspondent memorably confessed to weeping openly when she caught sight of Yassir Arafat's coffin at his funeral in Ramallah) and that the murder of innocent Israeli citizens is on a moral par as victims of war with the killing of Palestinian terrorists by Israeli forces.

It scoffs at religious belief (the last head of its vast religious affairs department was an agnostic), but it holds the doctrine that man--made global warming is true with the passion of any enraptured spiritualist awaiting Judgment Day.

It believes passionately in equal rights for homosexuals, though of course it urges cultural sensitivity when dealing with countries where such "deviancy" is rewarded by execution.

(For examples, almost daily, of all of these traits, see websites such as

But it is in its America coverage that it come gleefully into its own.

To the BBC's editors and reporters America is a country of backward, grass-chewing, Bible-toting religious fundamentalists, ignorant of almost everything that goes on beyond their shores. Americans are obese, gun-wielding fanatics devoted to despoiling the planet with their greed for ever larger cars and ever heavier hamburgers. The US is a country of grotesque inequalities of income and wealth in which the few rich laud it over the indigent many, fuelled by tax cuts and the hacking away of welfare programmes.

Its political coverage at least is balanced. This says Republicans are greedy, warmongering crooks but Democrats are no better - they're merely paler versions of ignorant nationalist capitalists.

BBC reporters travel the country in a state of bewilderment and bemusement at the pathos of it all. They approach their subjects like missionaries venturing into a leper colony - with an odd mixture of contempt and pity, the perfumed handkerchief stuck firmly under the nose to prevent contamination. Safely back in Washington and New York, of course, they all live high on the hog, fully enjoying the fruits of American economic success and low tax rates. Oddly enough they're nearly always reluctant to leave the imperialist superpower for the social democratic nirvana back home and many find ways to extend their tours.

And now the BBC wants to bring all of that accumulated knowledge and reporting expertise from around the world into American homes -and beyond.

Last month Mark Thompson, the corporation's director general, told the Financial Times that his long term aim was to take on Google and Yahoo as the principal global provider of information.

Of course, you don't have to watch, so what's the problem?

The problem is that while the BBC funds some of its international coverage from commercial sources, its prestige and brand prominence owe entirely to its vast $5bn worth of public funding back home.

This is paid for by a compulsory (yes, this is Europe after all) levy on every household in the UK (on pain of imprisonment for non payment).

Steadily using its privileged poll tax base and the massive resources it provides, the BBC is strangling creativity and enterprise - not just in domestic television and radio, but on the web. With more and more newspaper and magazine readership moving online the BBC is well placed to knock lumps out of large numbers of local and national newspapers - all the while stealthily tilting the world's political consciousness firmly leftwards.

In happier times, Americans' exposure to the BBC was limited to gems such as Fawlty Towers and Are You being Served?

In future it will be no laughing matter.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: arrogance; bbc; bias; cureforinsomnia; egotism; europe; monopoly; propaganda; statepropaganda
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 101-111 next last

1 posted on 06/06/2006 8:26:46 PM PDT by tbird5
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: tbird5

Where's the BARF ALERT?

2 posted on 06/06/2006 8:29:04 PM PDT by goodnesswins ( "the left can only take power through deception." (and it seems Hillary & Company are the masters)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5

NPR has been broadcasting the BBC World News for years. Hasn't had much of an audience penetration in the US at all.

As long as they show mysteries, I'll watch, if they show their news readers, I'll pass.

3 posted on 06/06/2006 8:31:25 PM PDT by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5

LOL. Most Euro's I know are ignorant fools. And one common denominator is that they all watch BBC.

4 posted on 06/06/2006 8:32:15 PM PDT by Fenris6 (3 Purple Hearts in 4 months w/o missing a day of work? He's either John Rambo or a Fraud)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5

I don't see pimping Socialism and trashing America as being "sophisticated." Then again, I'm not a liberal DemocRAT.

5 posted on 06/06/2006 8:33:05 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (DemocRATS! America's Lynch Mob.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5

FOX this.

6 posted on 06/06/2006 8:33:27 PM PDT by VU4G10 (Have You Forgotten?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5
I lost the little respect I had left for the BBC when I heard about one of their reporters crying over the death of the terrorist named Yasser Arafat.
7 posted on 06/06/2006 8:36:49 PM PDT by Madison Moose
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bnelson44

The BBC news seems to be the only place to get international news anymore. The networks and cable news shows don't show anything going on in the rest of the world, while the BBC still does.

8 posted on 06/06/2006 8:42:20 PM PDT by eddie65
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: tbird5

The British armed forces don't want the BBC broadcasting to their troops in wartime. That tells me all I need to know about which side they're on.

I enjoy watching BBC America on cable, but their news is dryer than a popcorn fart.

9 posted on 06/06/2006 8:43:46 PM PDT by gcruse (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5

Another channel not to be on my favorites list, thus not on my remote.

10 posted on 06/06/2006 8:45:24 PM PDT by razorback-bert (Kooks For Kinky)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: eddie65
But it is warped.

Personally, I rely on the Internet.
11 posted on 06/06/2006 8:46:21 PM PDT by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: tbird5
I'm old enough to remember when the BBC was respected throughout the world as a source of truthful information--but that was back when the Russians looked to the Western newsmedia for truth and Westerners dismissed Pravda as a propaganda machine.
12 posted on 06/06/2006 8:55:17 PM PDT by Savage Beast (9/11 was never repeated--thanks to President George Bush and his supurb leadership.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5

American news sources tend to cover the United States mainly. The BBC offers a larger area of coverage, although it tends to be liberal. Plus, their website is tidily arranged, whilst many American news websites are a riot of color and haphazardly arranged.

13 posted on 06/06/2006 8:55:31 PM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Jedi Master Pikachu

I had to live outside the US for a few years to realize how inwardly directed our news is. American ignorance of what's going on in the rest of the world is a fertile ground for the jingoism that makes for the Ugly American impression both at home and when traveling.

14 posted on 06/06/2006 8:59:27 PM PDT by gcruse (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: bnelson44

But how to get news from other countries? Many countries have English versions, but for one website with global coverage, the BBC still stands out.

15 posted on 06/06/2006 9:03:53 PM PDT by Jedi Master Pikachu (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Jedi Master Pikachu
Just realize that all news from the BBC is filtered through a liberal sieve. As is most news originating out of the UK or EU.
There is no such thing as "objective" news coverage in Europe. They don't really have that concept. Every news outlet has a political agenda.
16 posted on 06/06/2006 9:07:15 PM PDT by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: tbird5

BBC is the same as CBS a big load of BS

17 posted on 06/06/2006 9:23:59 PM PDT by Echo Talon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5

Didn't we already cut the chord with England?

18 posted on 06/06/2006 9:25:21 PM PDT by bannie (The government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tbird5

Their motto can be: "Not necessarily true, but it is sophisticated!"

19 posted on 06/06/2006 9:29:00 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gcruse
"The British armed forces don't want the BBC broadcasting to their troops in wartime. That tells me all I need to know about which side they're on. "

The BBC is the Pravda of modern TV news.
In fact the BBC is even worse.
Today the BBC is the propaganda, disinformation and dirty tricks department of Al Quaeda.
Under no cirmcumtances will this POS news be on in my house.
20 posted on 06/06/2006 9:29:54 PM PDT by Jameison
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-6061-80 ... 101-111 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson