BBC bias? Yes, but not to the left researchers say

BBC not left biasedWriting at The Conversation, Cardiff University lecturer Mike Berry looks at whether the BBC is biased.

He concludes, despite the regular screams of left wing bias by the right wing press, that Tories get more airtime than Labour.

The BBC is not pro-EU, quite the reverse. But reportage “saw Europe almost exclusively through the prism of political infighting between Labour and the Conservatives so a rounded debate… was almost completely absent.” Voices arguing for the benefits of EU membership were, says Berry, very sparse.

As for the BBC being anti-business, again the opposite applies.

Berry concludes: “The BBC tends to reproduce a Conservative, Eurosceptic, pro-business version of the world, not a left-wing, anti-business agenda.”

The Lib Dems? In the detailed analysis, Berry and colleagues write: “Beyond the Labour and Conservative parties, other parties – including the Liberal Democrats – have a very limited presence.”

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at

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  • Mmm other Parties except Ukip is how it feels. Beeb seems obsessed with Farage.
    I have assumed that the background of the Trust Chairman and of the Political Reporter explained some of the bias.

  • Interesting article, actually it shows our media works through a set of prisms.

    However to say there is bias because of the last two people with Conservative connections is very funny when one thinks of those like Hugh Pym and James Purnell with Lib Dem or Labour links.

  • Simon Shaw

    So did that happen with Tesco then?

    If not, can you point me to some of the frequent examples (seeing it must be almost half of all business representatives that are ‘aggressively’ questioned)

  • Peter Watson 23rd Aug '13 - 5:57pm

    @Simon Shaw
    I would suggest that through high-profile programs like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den the BBC promotes a very pro-business perspective.

  • In matters EU it should be no surprise. The BBC like most of the rest of the media goes for “The PM battling for Britain” line or “The UK V’s everyone else” line most of the time. It rarely goes to the trouble of: “We have an (EU wide) issue. The solutions are a OR b OR c. Which will be chosen and why?” Nor does it cover the EU ideological/party angle on issues with the EPP favour this, the Socialists that – instead it is country A v’s B where possible.

  • Simon Shaw

    So you have no evidence for your hypothesis – surely it should be easy to come up with plenty of examples

  • Geoffrey Payne 24th Aug '13 - 7:19am

    I get fed up listening to Today in the morning where all they ever interview at around 6.20am is an economist who works in the City and trots out the same neoliberal orthodox economic line – the same people who support light touch regulation of the City and failed the spot the economic catastrophe that followed on from that in 2008. It is not that these people are not interesting, but that they are not challenged. It is almost likes party political broadcast for the Tory party.

  • The BBC is also very conservative when it comes to reporting royalty or religion.

  • Andrew Colman 24th Aug '13 - 2:19pm

    Very much agree with the sentiment of the article.

    I have never seen coverage of issues like Peak Oil, International Tobin tax or Land value tax on the BBC. However UKIP has had loads of coverage over the past year.

    For a breath of fresh air, Watch ru,tv , in particular the keiser report. this program has taken a critical look at the current economic crisis and the corruption behind it which is absent from most other mainstream broadcasters inc BBC.

  • A Social Liberal 24th Aug '13 - 2:39pm

    Personally, I don’t believe that the Beeb has either a left, right or centrist bias. It probably does have more right of centre voices than left, but that is the nature of the beast – you want the reaction of government to important events and at present this government is a right wing one.

    I do despair when the likes of Andrew Neil consistently invites right wing loud mouths onto the (in his case) Daily/Weekly politics but I freely acknowledge that this is probably because they are loud mouths rather than that they are right wing.

    I think comparing the BBC News with Sky News will indicate the bias free nature of our state television.

  • It depends what you mean by right wing bias. It has a heavy bias towards the royal family and employing people from the middle and upper middle classes. It’s basically old school establishment, with some PC trappings. It does seem to favour the tories in programs like the Daily Politics and the Andrew Marr show. To me it’s alway seemed slightly stuffy and old boy network,. If I’m honest, I resent paying for posh people to travel around the globe to looking at trains and stuff. Actually thinking about it it is blatantly public school boy true blue Tory through and thriogh.

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