Daily stories are helping to fuel the Tories' 'war on the BBC'
After the Tories ‘declared war on the BBC’ in the wake of the general election, Beeb-bashing has become a daily sport for the newspapers.
Toby Young helped get the ball rolling in the Mail on Sunday on May 11 by complaining of left-wing bias in the BBC’s election coverage.
The next day the government appointed John Whittingdale, who in October called the licence fee ‘worse than the poll tax’, as secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport.
The papers have since been quite inventive in shoehorning in anti-Beeb stories into their news pages.
Here are the top 10 anti-BBC stories from the right-wing press this week.
1. Daily Mail accuses BBC of left-wing bias…because the Guardian is more expensive
The Mail reports that the BBC spent more money in 2014 on copies on the Guardian then the Mail, as evidence of the BBC ‘following a left-wing agenda’. But the number of copies was almost the same – the Guardian just costs more.
Adverts seeking to have more people with disabilities on television are apparently newsworthy. Cue the Mail’s Richard Littlejohn.
3. Telegraph reports a BBC governor hired a prostitute with public money…30 years ago on the Orient Express
Book about the corporation’s history provides a great – if bizarre – excuse to bash the Beeb.
4. Daily Mail blasts BBC for defaming the memory of Winston Churchill
How dare they allow a historian to suggest Churchill liked a drink and broke up strikes! Oh, hang on…
5. The Sun slams BBC for bosses’ car allowance…which has dropped by over a third
Monday (June 1)
The amount spent on company cars by managers has actually decreased by £300,000, and the scheme was scrapped for new staff three years ago. Not that the Sun mentioned these facts.
6. The Times reports the BBC defamed the author of Alice in Wonderland
The paper quotes an author who doubts the well-known rumours about Lewis Carroll. The BBC evidently hates our childhood memories.
7. Daily Mail says BBC boss ‘admits election coverage was ‘infected’ by wrong polls’
Tuesday (June 2)
Good thing the Mail never reported any of those opinion polls.
8. The Times reports weatherman Michael Fish calls BBC forecasts ‘simplistic’
Today (June 3)
Will the insults from this troublesome corporation never end?!
9. Daily Mail jumps on remark by BBC boss on the definition of ‘success’
The Mail reports BBC News boss James Harding called Victoria Derbyshire’s new show a success ‘despite it attracting as few as 39,000 viewers’. Harding actually said: ‘by the standards that we set it, it has far exceeded our expectations’.
10. The Times reports the BBC sent its economics editor to a style guru after viewer complaints
The horror. The horror.
As the debate over renewal of the BBC’s royal charter next year continues, this press campaign is likely to rumble on as well. Presumably the aim is to condition public opinion to welcome the government’s proposals – or even stoke demand for stronger measures. We may have to keep an eye on this.
Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter
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