Daily Mail accuses BBC of left-wing bias…because the Guardian is more expensive

If the Mail's number crunching was honest, it would suggest the BBC is right-wing


The Daily Mail has accused the BBC of ‘following a left-wing agenda’ based on which newspapers it purchases for staff.

The story notes that in 2014 the BBC spend £127,643 on copies of the liberal Guardian, versus only £40,482 for the Daily Mail itself: “The startling figure is nearly 45 per cent higher than its bill for any other title, despite the Guardian accounting for a tiny fraction of Britain’s newspaper sales.”

What the Mail doesn’t tell readers is the number of copies purchased by the BBC for the two papers is almost identical.

The Beeb bought 80,679 copies of the Guardian compared to 78,463 copies of the Mail. That’s a difference of a mere 2216 over the year.

Across a year, that amounts to 221 copies of the Guardian a day, (not many for an organisation the size of the BBC) versus about 214 for the Mail – in other words, very close, and not anything like a big enough difference to justify the charge of bias.

The basis of the disparity in expenditure appears to be due to the Guardian, er, being more expensive than the Mail (£1.80 versus 60p weekdays). So the paper’s use of these numbers is extremely misleading.

But what about the other papers?

While the Mail’s print edition only runs the story, it’s website has the stats: (click to enlarge)

Mail BBC paper purchases 2014

If you just take the explicitly conservative papers – the Mail, Express, Telegraph and the Sun – the BBC spent a whopping £201,684 on right-wing papers last year, or 262,236 copies. If you throw in the Times it’s £280,509, or 339,403 copies.

If you add up all the papers that backed the Tories in the general election (and exclude the Star), the Beeb spent £436,745 on pro-Tory papers in 2014. That’s 440,995 copies.

On the liberal papers – the Mirror, Guardian and Independent – the BBC spent £229,087 or 202,546 copies.

So if newspaper purchases are evidence of bias or a political agenda at the BBC, they demonstrably point Right . It’s good of the Mail to flag this up.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

Read more: 

The Sun wants to scrap the Human Rights Act…after using it to defend its reporters

Murdoch-owned Times attacks BBC for ‘media empire’ monopoly

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20 Responses to “Daily Mail accuses BBC of left-wing bias…because the Guardian is more expensive”

  1. James Chilton

    Why doesn’t the BBC staff read these newspapers online? It would be a lot cheaper.

  2. Philip

    The Independent backed a Lib Dem/Tory coalition. Not exactly left wing.

  3. GhostofJimMorisson

    Oh for god’s sake, not ANOTHER Daily Mail article from LFF! It’s quite pathetic and boring. It seems that, since the election, LFF has had very little to say, other than ‘whataboutery’ rant.

  4. Vally

    The Beeb bought 80,679 copies of the Guardian compared to 78,463 copies of the Mail.

    They should be buying 30,000 copies of The Guardian, max.

    The Guardian circulation is so poorly low that they’re becoming an irrelevant entity and therefore don’t represent that many people at all – but they still have the guts to purchase the most copies of The Guardian. This absurd bias is clear.

    If anything, they should be buying two times more copies of The Mail than they should The Guardian if they wish to represent the population properly. Infact, even more. That goes for The Sun et cetera too.

  5. Cole

    The Guardian is not irrelevant at all. It’s highly succesful online, much more so that the Telegraph.

    However, why does the Beeb actually buy all these papers? Don’t they have Internet access?

  6. Hard Little Machine

    Let’s be clear. The BBC and the Guardian are both hysterically left wing. The difference is that while the BBC wants to nuke Israel, The Guardian wants to exterminate all of the Jews everywhere. Subtle difference.

  7. Anti_Femastasis

    the BBC is right-wing

    In which universe?

  8. Woody

    To be fair corporate media is the biggest issue facing the left. Most people get their political education either directly or indirectly (the broadcast media) from the newspapers.

  9. Brumanuensis

    Oh look, it’s our old friend the ‘argumentum ad populum’ fallacy, popping up again.

  10. Brumanuensis

    Let’s be clear: you’re a moron.

  11. Hard Little Machine

    I’m neither shocked nor worried you’re a Nazi

  12. Brumanuensis

    I’m flattered, to be sure.

  13. Bosun Higgs

    I would describe the Beeb as ‘Blairite’ rather than left-wing. This is most evident in its drama and comedy outputs with their curiously narrow, stilted, but rather cosy view of the world

  14. Bosun Higgs

    No, I think the Guardian would make a nice homeland for them, perhaps in Madagascar, where they could practice traditional craft skills and play klezmer music.

  15. ChasInNJ

    The Guardian is so “irrelevant”, it has a US edition that won the Pulitzer Prize. Compare that with the US edition of the Daily Mail.

  16. Cole

    Are you completely nuts?

  17. Hard Little Machine

    I’m sorry you’re a Jew hater. Carry on.

  18. chazwyman

    You fucking universe.

  19. BlueApesRevolt

    The dark and obsessively paranoid minds at the Daily Hiel see left wing bias where there is none ..in fact they see any deviation from their parochial and snobbish mindset as subversive .
    The Mail and all of the other people and institutions that compose the right generally within politics and the media (i.e the Tories ,Mail,Express ,Torygraph ,Sun etc ) get so used to their worldview dominating the newspapers and at times the television news that it probably comes as a shock to them when they step outside their bubble and hear/ read any alternative perspectives .
    The Daily Mail’s owner and editor probably think that their paper sits squarely in the center ground of UK politics. .and not on it’s hard right.

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