Author Alex Nunns dismantles the myth of BBC impartiality in a brutal number crunch

The BBC Sunday Politics logo

Alex Nunns, author of The Candidate, has dismantled the myth of BBC impartiality with cold, hard facts.


For the past year, Nunns has recorded the guests on BBC Sunday Politics‘ panel of experts, categorising them as either “right”, “centre” or “left”. And his findings are shocking:

The odd error

Nunns did make the odd mistake in his lengthy quest. For example, on 16 July 2017, he tweeted:

However, that didn’t inhibit his overall argument. Because actually the Sun’s political editor Tom Newton Dunn sat in for Julia Hartley-Brewer.

Again, on 10 December 2017, he tweeted:

In fact, journalist Isabel Oakeshott replaced Toby Young; a like-for-like replacement, I’m sure we can all agree.

The list

The list of guests with the most appearances on the show makes for scandalous reading:

So the Sun’s political editor has appeared on 20 shows in comparison to just three appearances for the leading “left” guests. This is so imbalanced that it conjures images of a young child and their father playing on a see-saw.

Nunns admits that balance has improved slightly recently:

But the numbers still fall way short of balance:

Centre-left and left are the same, right?

Some have criticised Nunns for his decision to class some centre-left panellists as centrists:

But Nunns explains why the idea that slightly left-of-centre panellists represent the left is dangerous:

And seeing centrist panellists as ‘left wing’ dictates what is acceptable:

Typically, those in the centre ground argue for change that works within the status quo. Whereas those on the left want to change the status quo.

Therefore, excluding ‘left’ voices from the panel means it doesn’t reflect the electorate as a whole:

But portraying centrist viewpoints as representative of ‘the left’ does maintain the myth of impartiality.


Nunns’ figures provide indisputable evidence of what many have been arguing for a long time. That the BBC gives disproportionate space to views that affirm the establishment and avoids real left-wing voices.

One of its flagship political debates has had 53% right-wing panellists in the last year compared with only 10% from the left.

How do you defend that?

Get Involved!

– Support The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.

Featured image via BBC iPlayer


We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed