Of all the TV stations, the BBC is the one I follow most, although these days I rarely watch TV and it is either car radio (invariably Radio 4) or BBC iPlayer catch up or listening on the Internet. My favourite shows as far as car radio goes is the Today program and PM, when I listen while I am on the road. Other Radio 4 programs I listen to regularly are The Archers and TMS special and there is often something fascinating on some other show. Today it was “In our Time” and the subject was: “the Rapture”. Over the weekend I indulged my nostalgia watching a “Strictly Come Dancing” podcast.
I regard the BBC, despite its faults, as an important institution. Given the stuff I can and do watch or listen to and important services like public broadcasting and the World Service, and all WITHOUT annoying adverts, I for one don’t resent paying the annual licence fee. However, the faults are there and they are significant. Indeed, they have always been there. I recall in the seventies the spates between Mary Whitehouse (whose concerns I shared) and Sir Hugh Green (its then Director General) over broadcasting inappropriate material. I have noted when it comes to Christianity and subjects like religious persecution the BBC are poor and agenda led. My beef these days is about bias and it is not just me saying it. What about Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party agenda and my environmentalist friend, Jonathan Fuller, who feels arguments regarding climate change are being given short shrift?
This was brought home to me this morning as I was listening the Today program while driving my car. I refer to a lady interviewer who I guess was relatively new to the program and the Conservative Party chairman, when the main subject it appeared was Boris Johnson’s performance in Parliament yesterday. She gave him a hard time and came off better. Moreover, I didn’t have a problem with this. Casting my mind back over the years, e.g. to when Robin Day was operating and even until he retired last week after decades of service, but with caveats, John Humphries, I generally thought they were knowledgeable and fair, showing good humour, who tried to get to the bottom of what listeners wanted to know and earned the respect of the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, who knew they could not easily fob off. This was in contrast with the interview I was listening to yesterday. An American lady was being interviewed about the move to impeach Donald Trump. She sounded credible but appeared to be given free reign to argue why this move was justified. But she was not challenged and none of the points, if I were in the Trump camp would want put to her, were raised. When the interview was over it turned out the interviewee was the daughter on the one instigating impeachment procedures, Nancy Pelosi. This was an opportunity lost and it is unacceptable.
Much as I would love the BBC to continue and prosper, it is not what it should be. While, unlike Jonathan (above), campaigning is not my forte, waking people up, however, is and just maybe this will make a difference. If we are going to have a brave new world of impartial, intelligent, balanced, fair news reporting, the BBC has to change!