Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

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Left-wing bias ‘written into the BBC’s DNA’ - veteran BBC broadcaster

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
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LONDON, January 27, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of Britain’s most senior news broadcasters has accused the BBC of a systemic bias to the left and of bashing Christianity and traditional British values. Peter Sissons, a top anchorman of the BBC’s leading evening news slots, has said that the BBC’s leftist bias is so deeply engrained it is not so much a bias as a “mindset.”

“At the core of the BBC, in its very DNA, is a way of thinking that is firmly of the Left,” Sissons said. “The one thing guaranteed to damage your career prospects at the BBC is letting it be known that you are at odds with the prevailing and deep-rooted BBC attitude towards Life, the Universe and Everything.”

The Daily Mail, one of the English-speaking world’s most widely circulating newspapers, which is on the opposite side of the political editorial fence from the BBC, is serializing Sissons’s memoirs, titled, “When One Door Closes.”

In those memoirs he writes that in the BBC’s “pervading culture” of anti-Christianity, “Islam must not be offended at any price, although Christians are fair game because they do nothing about it if they are offended.”

“By far” the most popular newspapers read among BBC executives and staff, Sissons said, are the country’s two far-left papers, The Guardian and The Independent. “Producers refer to them routinely for the line to take on ¬running stories, and for inspiration on which items to cover.”

“I lost count of the number of times I asked a producer for a brief on a story, only to be handed a copy of The Guardian and told ‘it’s all in there’.” And those who want to read the Daily Mail are well advised, he said, to keep quiet about it. “Wrap them in brown paper or a copy of The Guardian.”

BBC editorial policies, he said, are “rarely spelled out” but “percolate through” the organization. Among them is that “whatever the United Nations is associated with is good” and it is “heresy” to question it.

“Soaking the rich is good,” and “government spending is a good thing … The Royal Family is a bore … All green and environmental groups are very good things. Al Gore is a saint.”

Sissons, a presenter of the BBC’s flagship political panel program Question Time, was also anchor of the country’s most-watched news shows BBC Nine O’Clock News and the BBC News at Ten from 1993 to 2003. He left the BBC in 2009.

The BBC is a publicly funded broadcaster that receives the bulk of its budget from license fees, set by the government at £145.50 per household for color televisions, and £49.00 for black and white. The license is required to receive any television transmission, whether it is received via terrestrial, satellite, cable, or the Internet.

British residents who do not own televisions are regularly threatened by the TV Licensing board with fines and visits from police if their address is found not to be licensed. In 2008, the BBC sacked a contracted company that had sent out over 6.6 million such threatening letters that were found to contain inaccurate information.

The total income from the nation’s estimated 24,877,070 licensed homes was £3.45 billion in 2009–10. The license fee is classified as a tax, with evasion considered a criminal offence. Since 1991 the BBC has been allowed the role of collection and enforcement of the license fee in its role as TV Licensing Authority.

Sissons is only the latest figure in a long ling of insiders and outsiders to criticize the network for its anti-Christian and strong leftist leanings. During the Thatcher Conservative government in the 1980s, the BBC earned the nickname “Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation” among some MPs.

Speaking to journalists at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch in 2009, Jeremy Hunt, the Opposition’s Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said the BBC has an “issue” with their “innate liberal bias.”

“I wish they would go and actively look for some Conservatives to be part of their news-gathering team, because they have acknowledged that one of their problems is that people who want to work at the BBC tend to be from the centre-left,” Hunt said.

In September last year, Mark Thompson, the current BBC Director General, admitted, “In the BBC I joined 30 years ago there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people’s personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left.”

But Thompson insisted that the BBC has changed its ways, telling Politics.co.uk, “Now it is a completely different generation. There is much less overt tribalism among the young journalists who work for the BBC. It is like the New Statesman, which used to be various shades of soft and hard left and is now more technocratic. We’re like that, too.”

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