Along with their gushing and sycophantic coverage of the passing of Margaret Thatcher, the right-leaning part of the Fourth Estate has taken the opportunity to use the occasion to kick anyone not deemed to be sufficiently deferent and supportive. So that means there will be plenty of Beeb bashing, because the Corporation does not serve up the news in a manner that meets with their approval.
To achieve this, the message has to be relentlessly pushed that the BBC is guilty of bias, but here a problem enters. Saying, effectively, “you’re biased and we’re not” just puts the Sun and Mail in one very draughty glasshouse. So, to prove their point, the viewers were roped in. But then the press seem to have run out of viewers’ opinions. And desperation has taken over.
The Murdoch press has kicked off the desperation drive by inventing facts where none exist, a skill they deploy with some regularity. The Sun, with minimum subtlety, thunders “Moaning minnies ... how offensive that the BBC is stoking dissent over the former Prime Minister’s funeral”, projecting onto the hated Beeb something that is happening only in its hacks’ minds.
“And then there’s the cost of the funeral. The BBC gleefully provides a stage for its Left-wing mates to throw their hands up in horror ... We know the BBC is the broadcasting arm of the Labour Party” it goes on. What this actually means is that broadcast media is the one that makes the deepest and most significant impact on the public, and that means Rupe and his downmarket troops come off second best.
Then they fail to allow comments. And, although real viewer opinions had previously been allowed past the filter, things are no better at Northcliffe House: following the earlier “Public anger at BBC bias” has come “Readers' fury at 'biased' BBC website: Corporation accused after negative articles appear about Baroness Thatcher”. Then readers are told that there have been 766 complaints about BBC coverage.
But either the viewers making online complaints have dried up, or the Mail has become desperate, because their only supporting evidence comes from ... reader comments on the Guido Fawkes blog. And most of those are anonymous, and look as if the Fawkes rabble write them themselves. Seriously, if all the Dacre doggies can do is to quote the Fawkes blog, that’s their credibility shot.
And in any case, as the deeply subversive Guardian has pointed out, yesterday’s complaint count at the BBC was just 227 who said their coverage was biased against Mrs T ... while there were 268 who accused the Corporation of bias in favour of her. And 271 people complained about too much time being devoted to covering her death and legacy. Not that the Mail or Sun will be reporting that.
So the Beeb bashing turns out to have no real support. No change there, then.