The following article was written by my good friend and comrade Adam Samuels and appears on the Dorset Eye website. The original article can be found by clicking on this link.
I did unpaid work at the BBC in a couple of locations with their news & current affairs teams several years ago now. I decided not to pursue a career with them because I was appalled at what I saw in the culture of the BBC’s news & current affairs programming. However, never in a million years did I believe the standards would fall to such a level that the BBC would become a full-on outright lying propaganda machine for any government. Yes, the BBC has always been part of The Establishment, but this past election has shown the BBC’s credibility has absolutely gone. Totally gone. They have, and I use this word carefully, betrayed the country and electorate.
To be very clear here, it’s not just the BBC. But to see the BBC, on several occasions, actually edit footage, removing boos and replacing them with cheers for Johnson, changing footage and adding things in from the archives and then passing it off as footage/news from that day. The avoiding of reporting on basic things; so, for example, during the election period alone, I barely saw any BBC journalist ask Johnson about the massive (in relative terms) problem with anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim and general outright, blatant racism in the Conservative Party.
So, Evolve politics (and others) exposed Johnson writing a book referring to black people as n*****s and c**ns several times, referring to Jewish people as controlling the world’s finances, referring to Arabs as “crooked nosed” etc etc. Obviously, also, his MANY racist comments previously, his outright homophobic comments. I didn’t hear/see him be asked about the actual Holocaust deniers that the Tories suspended as candidates. Or many councillors suspended then re-instated without any due process, despite blatant racism. I never saw Johnson asked WHY his government is officially affiliated with (and vote with) the almost openly anti-Semitic Hungarian government (and Polish government).
I have not heard Johnson be asked about Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins and Britain First joining the membership of the Tory Party. Or about Jacob Rees-Mogg’s anti-Semitic comments. Or about Johnson being sacked twice for lying by his own party, for him lying to the Queen, to Parliament, about all the back-tracking he has already done in the first week of this new government. Or about his rampant sexism. Or about the seemingly open hostility to the Trans community. Or about the still astonishing treatment of the ‘Windrush’ generation. I have no idea at all why the BBC allows on racists and hate-spreaders like Melanie Phillips, Douglas Murray, Rod Liddle etc, and-despite publishing actual Nazi propaganda targeting left wing commentators and where they live, political editor of The S*n ‘newspaper’ Tom Newton-Dunn. Unchallenged.
I saw the chief political reporter for the BBC compare Johnson’s lies to the Queen, his family, his Ministers, the electorate, Parliament etc to Jeremy Corbyn saying he watched the Queen’s speech. I saw this same reporter blatantly break the electoral code by reporting on postal votes than no one (should have/had) seen, and that it was “looking bad for Labour” re these votes. Totally illegal to do/say that. Then, disgracefully, I have seen lead presenter after lead producer come out and DEFEND all this as being some kind of ‘conspiracy theory’ and dismiss this. THAT is how a dictatorship acts. Not a democracy. I mean, how on earth do you defend a BBC reporter saying live on air that it is hoped Boris Johnson “gets the majority he so deserves”?! HOW & WHY are they defending this behaviour?!
So, why the BBC in particular that I am targeting? Well, because of the reach and influence of the BBC across the world. I credit the staff members and those who have left key roles for trying to be heard and criticising the BBC for such behaviour. But then, obviously, it barely gets reported or even acknowledged. WE also pay for the BBC. they are legally obliged to be impartial. Especially during an election campaign. As we have seen from several independent reports now about the election coverage, the media-from the press to advertising to broadcast media, has totally abandoned impartiality. This is EXACTLY the kind of behaviour the BBC and others (correctly) condemn Fox News & Trump for.What is perhaps even worse, because of a clear, irrational outright hatred of Jeremy Corbyn, the so-called ‘liberal’ media has joined in. I know from journalist friends how the BBC & The Guardian, for example, outright lie about world politics. I have seen it myself earlier this year when I was in Cuba. Remember, The Guardian was once the paper that exposed the Wikileaks story. Now it is the one protecting those exposed & condemning those that exposed these things. I would like to single out brilliant people like Tom Mills, whose book on the BBC I highly recommend. Also, the employee of The Daily Mail group & staunch Conservative Peter Oborne, for his bravery in taking on his own newspaper and naming & shaming these journalists. Peter Hitchens too. Again, someone whose politics I do not share, but I admire their honesty & bravery in exposing their colleagues.
This is not something to brush under the carpet. As you can see from the media attacks on Keir Starmer, for example, who hasn’t even officially entered the Labour leadership contest & who can hardly be labelled as on Corbyn’s side of the party politically!, this is now seemingly permanent. We in Labour have to realise that ANY leader even slightly to the Left of Genghis Khan, is going to be absolutely & totally destroyed, undermined, abused, ridiculed etc by the media. ALL the mainstream media. What is more, this is casually seen as acceptable and so just shut up about it. Well, frankly, fuck that. If you get sick of people like me saying these things then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW YOU ARE BEING LIED TO BY OUR MEDIA. Instead of attacking those trying to expose these atrocities.
The consequences of this propaganda are very, very serious indeed. We have seen massive rises in hate crime, an emboldened actual fascist far right who, literally, now ARE the Tory party. We have seen minorities physically & verbally assaulted. I myself was assaulted while out campaigning. OAPs have literally been knocked out campaigning. Why? Because, in every case, of the media’s outright lies, and Johnson et al’s outright lies. Can you imagine the uproar and media coverage if this was Tory supporters receiving this abuse?! If it was Corbyn who had done & said the things Johnson has-and is.
These are genuinely very, very, very scary times. The echoes with the 1930’s UK are there for all to see. In the same way the racists & fascists were emboldened then by our media and right wing politicians/commentariat, we are seeing this now. ALL of us need to unite to fight this, because if we don’t, the consequences are something even more scary than anyone reading is contemplating. Remember, these things are ALREADY happening and already being defended and not exposed by our highly, highly irresponsible media & commentariat.
What is so sad, is the BBC’s propaganda has gone unrewarded-they are now more under attack from those they lie on behalf of. It gets even worse with the Tories throwing out there the laughably absurd ‘dead cat’ story about BBC Radio 4 bias from the ‘Today’ programme. OBVIOUSLY this is literally the opposite in reality, but it then distracts from the obvious bias the BBC has shown the Tories. It then allows the BBC to say “Well, if both sides are shouting re bias, it must mean we’re getting the balance correct.”
Finally, and this is vitally important, we NEED a BBC. We need a public broadcaster who informs, educates & entertains. I will, as Corbyn and those most attacked often do, defend the need for a BBC. But, obviously, this one has done untold damage to its reputation. Let us hope the damage is not permanent, and let us hope those making the decisions are removed absolutely ASAP. Our country may well depend on it. Until then, WE must UNITE, defend our communities, defend the independent media and do the media’s job for it, as best we can. Solidarity.