Beeb bashing stories are a curious breed: for a while, everything goes quiet – even at Northcliffe House – and then a rash of them appear at once. And fishing for plaudits today – with the usual level of success – has been the loathsome Toby Young, who has seen a piece of “research” he likes, and so has decided it is sufficiently authoritative for him to back.
Forget the vino, just use the glasses
As I pointed out earlier today, the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), formerly the domain of Margaret Thatcher and Keith Joseph, has now been reduced to jumping on the right-wing “BBC bias” bandwagon. Tobes thinks that their research is just what he wants to see: “it concludes that the Corporation is far more sympathetic to Left-of-centre think tanks than it is to Right-of-centre ones”.
Really? So how come folks like the humourless Matthew Sinclair of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance get invited on so often? And while Tobes is figuring that one out, perhaps he can explain the presence of the CPS’ Tony Lodge on the Daily Politics recently to plug his significantly fallacious suggestion that there should be more open access competition on UK passenger rail services.
The BBC gives regular airtime to right-wing politicians and pundits, including Nigel “Thirsty” Farage (a semi-permanent fixture on Question Time), Michael “Oiky” Gove, Young Dave, Peter Oborne, Tobes’ pals James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole and the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines, and of course Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips.
And talking of Staines, Tobes then cites a slice of spin from the Guido Fawkes blog (public trust rating when last polled: 4%) as evidence that the BBC has allowed a left-wing think tank to get a plug without calling it out as one (the Fawkes rabble assert that, because someone associated with the think tank was once a Labour candidate, this makes the whole organisation a "Labour front").
Tobes also makes the classic mistake of mixing the terms “liberal” and “left”. He should know better: even his pal Delingpole calls himself “liberal”, although in what is claimed to be the “classical” sense (ie he thinks Ayn Rand was a wonderful author and not at all a thoroughly unpleasant and intolerant person). But he knows that James Harding must “sort out” the Beeb prontissimo.
All of which means that Tobes is looking for cheap hits at the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs, where those who drift around the comments sewer respond eagerly to anyone laying into the hated BBC. But, as a fact based argument for the Corporation’s reform, it is in the same league as the mythical chocolate teapot, although it quotes impeccably right-wing sources in support.
So it’s about the same as the rest of his output. No change there, then.