CORRECTION: This article was amended at 11.40am on 26 September to make clear that Labour supporters elected Corbyn on the biggest mandate in Labour’s history, not the UK’s.
Jeremy Corbyn called out BBC presenter Andrew Marr’s pro-establishment bias straight to his face on 22 September.
Facing out of the blue comments about whether he will stand down, Corbyn said:
This exchange begins at 25:10
Labour supporters elected Corbyn as leader on the biggest mandate in the party’s history.
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Still, Marr continued down the line of questioning:
Can you give me a commitment… that you will definitely be leader of the Labour party into and after the next general election?
I’m taking the party into the general election… to end austerity, to bring forward policies that bring about a better standard of living and better opportunities for people all across this country… I did 40 events during August alone.
To which Marr said:
And if you become the prime minister of this country, are you going to… serve… a full term?
Corbyn then challenged the questions:
Why wouldn’t I? … I’m very surprised at this question actually, Andrew. What are you trying to say?
It’s clear why Corbyn suggested that Marr wants him gone. The host has demonstrated his pro-establishment bias on many occasions. For instance:
- He allowed Theresa May to sell her Brexit paradox (that she will have no hard border and end freedom of movement) to millions.
- In an interview with May, he ignored a ministerial resignation that happened the same morning.
- He allowed May to talk nonsense about a non-existent “Brexit dividend”.
But the issue does not just relate to individual presenters like Marr. Numerous studies have shown there is systemic bias across the BBC:
- A major content analysis from Cardiff University revealed that the BBC is pro-business and conservative-leaning in its coverage.
- Analysis from the Media Reform Coalition and Birkbeck found the BBC gave double the airtime to Jeremy Corbyn’s critics than to his allies at the start of the 2016 coup against him.
- 49% of BBC executives went to a private or grammar school, according to a 2019 Sutton Trust study.
BBC bias is a huge problem that prevents the UK from having an informed debate on politics. The Labour party is proposing to reform the public broadcaster through separating it from government and bringing in elected regional boards.
As Marr’s bias demonstrates, we need to ensure the BBC is accountable to its audience.
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