Dr Tom Mills: “There is no doubt the BBC has been biased towards Corbyn”


I speak here as an academic
and a Corbyn supporter, which obviously affects
my perception of this. To my mind I don’t think there’s any doubt that the BBC has been biased,
to use a slightly crude term, towards Corbyn. I think that’s consistent with most of the scholarly research though, which is that people who exist outside of the official consensus,
will tend to be treated with suspicion and hostility… or will tend to be marginalized within BBC editorial culture. Now, why is that the
case in terms of Corbyn? Well, we have some good research on the BBC’s reporting of austerity. Basically the Keynesians,
the people who were in favor of a stimulus to the economy rather than a cutting of the deficit, barely appeared in news reporting in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The idea that overspending
led to the crisis itself, which was a lie pushed
about by the Tory Party, it started to inform BBC reporting. So the anti-austerity
message that Corbyn led was completely against the grain of how the BBC has generally reported. Now, there’s another element of this which is the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is a longstanding opponent
of British militarism, and that really touches on something much more deeply ingrained
in the BBC’s DNA, not just the relationship
with the security services, which is the subject of the recent report, but a very close relationship
to the Ministry of Defence which goes back to the
beginnings of the BBC, and also a relationship
with the Foreign Office via the World Service; BBC Monitoring, which is a sort of open source outfit for the British intelligence services. And so there’s a whole range
of very deep relationships between the BBC and the British state. And moreover, the British
political elite themselves have shared a consensus on foreign policy, which Corbyn steps outside
of, and the BBC’s reporting has tended to defer to political elites in terms of setting the political agenda. So all of that means that
Corbyn has been greeted with a mixture of puzzlement and
occasionally of hostility from the BBC, which to my mind departs very starkly from its
mission to report impartially.

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