BBC Radio 4 host Nick Robinson has taken the broadcaster’s anti-Corbyn bias so far that a Daily Mail journalist has told him to “step down”.
If Nick Robinson wants to enter politics he should step down as presenter of the Today Programme. https://t.co/SNlZ9sMxDV
— Peter Oborne (@OborneTweets) April 20, 2017
Robinson, the former BBC Political Editor, faced a huge backlash after publicly attacking Corbyn:
No-one should be surprised that @jeremycorbyn is running v the "Establishment" & is long on passion & short on details. Story of his life
— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) April 20, 2017
Impartiality from our public service broadcaster is especially important six weeks before a general election. But people felt Robinson was suggesting Labour is idealistic and incompetent, echoing the Conservative Party line.
Peter Oborne, a columnist for the Daily Mail, also tweeted:
If Nick Robinson wants to retain a reputation as an impartial BBC Today programmer presenter he should take this Tweet down. https://t.co/SNlZ9sMxDV
— Peter Oborne (@OborneTweets) April 20, 2017
BBC viewers took the episode as evidence of the broadcaster’s lack of impartiality. Craig Murray, a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, commented:
Unless the BBC takes firm disciplinary action against Nick Robinson for this, they cannot keep pretending that the UK any longer holds free and fair elections. For a state broadcaster to show this level of venom and bias against the opposition leader is utterly unacceptable.
It is indisputable that Robinson’s history is as a high ranking Conservative Party activist. They dominate BBC News, as a plain matter of fact. They have changed the culture of the BBC so they no longer feel any need to disguise their Tory cheerleading.
One social media user compared the BBC presenter’s anti-Corbyn tweet with one he sent about Theresa May:
For Nick Robinson, only in one person's case can a paucity of detail be described as elegance pic.twitter.com/S9din0263j
— The Sun Apologies (@SunApology) April 20, 2017
Another pointed out that Corbyn has clear policies on how to take on the establishment:
— Eoin Clarke (@LabourEoin) April 20, 2017
Facing growing condemnation, Robinson posted a statement on Facebook:
When I tweeted earlier that people should not be surprised by Jeremy Corbyn’s approach as it was “the story of his life” some read it as being pejorative and evidence of that establishment sneering. I meant no such thing.
My point was that the Labour leader is doing what he has done for decades and what brought him huge and unexpected success in his party. So no-one should expect him now to change his approach.
But a Labour source said:
We would hope when we enter the pre election period on 22 April that the media will call time on their character assassinations and start to concentrate on Labour’s policies, where we beat the Tories on every issue.
Robinson’s anti-Corbyn tweet is not a one-off. Nor are claims of BBC bias against Corbyn and his party mere opinion. A number of case studies represent an academic consensus that our public service broadcaster is biased against progressive politics:
- The BBC gave double the airtime to Jeremy Corbyn’s critics than to his allies at the start of the coup last June, according to content analysis by the Media Reform Coalition and Birkbeck, University of London.
- A major content analysis from Cardiff University revealed that the BBC is pro-business and conservative-leaning in its coverage. No matter which party is in power.
- 56% of the media’s Corbyn-related articles do not give the Labour leader a voice at all, according to a report by the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Become the media
So, unfortunately, we must take our public service broadcaster with a pinch of salt over the election period. Media smears must be called out at every opportunity. Only nationwide conversations between friends, family and coworkers can circumvent a hierarchical corporate media controlled by the powerful.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election. If you don’t have a national insurance number, a 5 minute phone call on 0300 200 3500 will get it sent to you in ten days.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Read more from The Canary on the 2017 general election.
– Read more from The Canary on BBC bias.
– Support and read independent news outlets that hold the powerful to account. Here are some we recommend. Please add more that you like in the comments:
The Canary, Media Diversified, Novara Media, Corporate Watch, Common Space, Media Lens, Bella Caledonia,Vox Political, Evolve Politics, Real Media, Reel News, STRIKE! magazine, The Bristol Cable, The Meteor, Salford Star, The Ferret.
Featured image via Tompagenet