Rod Liddle Explains BBC Pro-Euro Bias

The former editor of Today, Rod Liddle, has a brief blog post for the Spectator defending his former colleagues at the BBC against charges of a pro-Euro conspiracy. That sentence doesn’t contradict my headline. As most people here know by now, Peter Oborne wrote recently about how Liddle complained to upper mandarins about the complaints he was hearing about the obvious pro-Euro bias among the talent on his programme. He was told in no uncertain terms by a senior BBC figure that Euro-skeptics are “mad”, so those complaints should be ignored.

How many different topics now have we seen to receive the same treatment, I wonder? Warmism, the EU, open borders, the evil of the Tea Party movement, “Green” Energy, the list goes on. Sometimes it does seem that there is a coordinated effort to get a certain Narrative out there. On quite a few stories, as has been shown on this blog time and time again, the exact same position is taken by the presenter on several different programmes, radio and television, not to mention BBC News Online, essentially across the spectrum of BBC broadcasting. Then there are those quotes on the sidebar of this blog, particularly the one from Jeff Randall, in which he says that the bias is visceral, they don’t even realize they’re doing it. To put it another way, it’s in their DNA (you knew I couldn’t resist that one).

So following up on Robin Horbury’s post about yesterday’s biased performance by James Naughtie, now Rod Liddle confirms it. Liddle heard the show, and has a few words to say on the matter.

The BBC was too wet to have concocted a Euro plot

I heard my name mentioned on the Today programme yesterday, which is always nice, to be remembered by your old manor. The journalist Peter Oborne was castigating the propagandist forces, as he saw them, which back in 2000 attempted to convince of the need for greater European integration and joining the Euro. These were, he said, the Financial Times, the CBI and the BBC, pre-eminent amongst which latter was the Today programme. Jim Naughtie picked him up on this and pointed out that at the time the programme was edited by me, and I could hardly be described as a Europhile (Jim said this with a soft veneer of loathing). He was right; I was editor back then and was mildly Eurosceptic. Oborne responded by saying that I had also complained about pro-Euro bias in the BBC but that my complaints were ignored.

So it wasn’t just Robin and John Anderson who inferred a negative attitude from Naughtie, eh? Liddle continues:

This isn’t quite right; Oborne seems to imply that there was a covert plot within the top echelons of the BBC in favour of the European project, and that’s not true either. It is rather more the case that the civilised, decent middle class liberals who ran the corporation genuinely believed that the Eurorealists were a bunch of deranged xenophobes, one step up from the BNP, and therefore their arguments should be discounted. I realise that covert plot or otherwise the result was the same – a heavy pro-Euro bias, and so you might argue my quibble does not matter. But the BBC’s bias was arrived at through a sort of inherent wet liberalism, rather than an actual plot as such.

And there you have it. This is exactly what this blog has been saying – not just about the Euro, but about a variety of topics – since its inception. There is a self-affirming, ideological groupthink on these issues at the BBC because of the personnel. BBC hiring practices ensure it, BBC editorial policies enshrine it, and the style guide reinforces it. It’s not just us saying this anymore. This will not change until there is a wholesale purge in certain departments, and complete rethink on journalistic practices.

I can’t leave without including one more bit from Liddle:

One part of the Beeb back then which was, however, entirely on board with the Euro project was the Brussels office. We presented the programme from their studio on one occasion and kicked the EU from pillar to post, to the clear discomfort of the resident correspondents. Our team, in the manner of football hooligans, then plastered their office with Just Say No and Referendum Now posters and stickers. I suppose you could argue that this showed clear anti-Euro bias on our part, but it was really just a spirit of mischief and an attempt to remind our Brussels colleagues that the country was not entirely behind the project, as they might have thought.

That last line could have been said about a dozen issues. Come see the bias inherent in the system.

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30 Responses to Rod Liddle Explains BBC Pro-Euro Bias

  1. George R says:

    Contrast to BBC’s pro-EU bias:


    (by Frederick Forsyth)   


  2. cjhartnett says:

    As I say elsewhere…the only creativity that the BBC seem to be involved in these days is in their Current Affairs output…in all other areas they are unoriginal and merely aping the opposition.
    Liddles “wet liberal” description is good…it is a whole raft of values that you either take as a package…or you go elsewhere. The whole package is indivisible…no chance of being nasty to Israel unless you`re a climate change fanatic as well.
    Therefore the BBC is utterly derivative and a mere reheating of Gramsci, Monnet, Chomsky…and prechewed and masticated by the drones and drudges, who are well apid and selected on the basis of NOT being creative, original or able to think anything from first principles.
    A Peter Day might get a slot to be thoughtful, but these moments stand out for their novelty value. The ocean of the commonplace is warm fuzzy and pays them well as a corporate load of nomarks.
    They are irredeemable…thankfully there are a lot of us now who know their game is up!


  3. hippiepooter says:

    I’m not aware of anyone accusing the BBC of having a pro eur-enthusiast bias due to a plot, merely that it has a self perpetuating and ever deepening bias through subversives gaining a foothold in the sixties and since then doing their utmost to recruit likeminded people.  I think Liddle is invoking the red herring of a plot to disguise the fact that he is very much blowing the gaffe on BBC bias.  Still wants to keep in with at least some at the BBC I guess, not to say having a rightful fear of the unmitigated hate campaign BBC Gramsci is capable of unleashing with their colleagues at the Guardian if they think someone is a big enough threat to them.

    Liddle was one of the sundry subversive recruits to the BBC. unfortunately for the BBC correctnicks, he has proved a maverick subversive, who delights in his old age in subverting subversion, within the parameters he has wisely set himself.

    Incidentally, I’m not sure if ‘soft veneer of loathing’ meant Naughtie was expressing it towards Oborne or Liddle?


  4. John Anderson says:

    David Preiser

    Great find – it is well worth reading the whole Liddle article, even if he is off-beam in suggesting that the endemic pro-Euope bias at the BBC was some sort of plot.  I don’t think Oborne was suggesting that.

    How is it that someone like Liddle ends up leaving the BBC,  while people like La Boaden oil their way up the ladder ?


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Liddle is not suggesting there was a plot.  The whole point is that it’s just a natural, visceral groupthink.  As Jeff Randall’s quote goes, they think they are on the middle ground.  And Ben Stephenson’s quote below it shows how the desire to enforce that is endemic.

      The Beeboids don’t even realize they’re doing it.  They’re completely detached.  That’s why, for example, Humphrys can laugh in the face of a guest who accuses Today of doing another ambush interview, or Emily Maitlis can laugh in the face of a guest who tells her Al Qaeda is at war.


      • sue says:

        “There is a self-affirming, ideological groupthink on these issues at the BBC because of the personnel. BBC hiring practices ensure it, BBC editorial policies enshrine it, and the style guide reinforces it.”
        Yes, you’re so right. The groupthink is impenetrable.
        It does make you aware of the futility of our endeavours. Did anyone notice the email that was read out this morning on Saturday Live? “Sarah from Birmingham says shame on you, I’m absolutely amazed at the amount of  left wing rhetoric you’ve had on the programme today.” The Rev Richard Coles passed swiftly on to the next email.


      • John Anderson says:

        The old saying was – “A fish does not recognise that it is wet”


      • hippiepooter says:

        It is inconceivable that the people like Humphrys and Maitlis are unaware of their bias.  Absolutely inconceivable.

        When I have done teaching and held classroom discussions, I have ensured that if anything I lean to the left in what I say to avoid the bias that I do have.

        The BBC left lean to the left, and from time to time hurl themselves full throttle, because they are of the left and wish to abuse their positions to propagandise for the left.


      • Henry says:

        Agreed. I do think their complacency is further evidence of an intellectual stagnation in the workplace that invites descriptions in the language of 1984

        Disgruntled ex-BBC-employees (Liddle was an early notable case) all tend to say the same things about the organisation. I’ve been in workplaces where 100 subtle forms of pressure are applied to keep people thinking the same way, and have always suspected a similar thing happens at the Beeb.

        That kind of atmosphere is deadly to original thought and probably encourages the promotion of brown-nosers. Selective stupidity becomes a virtue.


  5. Martin says:

    Dont’ forget the BBC has taken the EU shilling in the past in the form of loans.


    • ian says:

      and grants, isn’t it? Audio-Visual Programme…


    • Sceptical Steve says:

      … and has appointed a former European Commissioner (and current receiver of his EU pension) as its Chairman. This hardly encourages its staff to believe that the organisation would support a genuinely sceptical line on European issues.


  6. John Horne Tooke says:

    Maybe its not a plot, but the BBC is unable to control its bias. The people they hire are all from the same camp therefore it is inevitable.

    “Written by an independent balanced panel of eurosceptics and europhiles, it clears the BBC of deliberately trying to bend its coverage in favour of the EU and against eurosceptics. However, it said that there was substance to the concern that the BBC “suffers from certain forms of cultural and unintentionial bias” and that, despite the good intentions of producers, “nobody thinks the outcome is impartial”

    “The Today programme was criticised for not challenging assertions made by Gordon Brown in an interview that three million jobs depend on the EU, and that detaching from the EU would not be good for the economy.

    The Politics Show was criticised for suggesting that a guest presenter opposed to the euro for economic reasons was really more concerned about losing British pubs.

    A BBC Scotland news report was also quoted for suggesting that it was racist to oppose the euro. ” .”[Jan 2005]

    The likes of Naughtie and Humphreys are incapable of unbiased interviewing as I would be, but ulike them I do not have a duty to be impartial.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      A BBC news spokeswoman said that the report found no deliberate bias, although the BBC’s governors said they would formally respond only after BBC management, led by Helen Boaden, head of news, had a chance to study it and report back. The spokeswoman added: “This is a serious piece of work, and we will take it very seriously.”  
      Translation:  We will fight it tooth and nail.


  7. RCE says:

    Where’s Scott and/or Dez?


    • John Horne Tooke says:

      Reading the Daily Mail.


    • ltwf1964 says:

      in their own little lefty fantasy world,most likely 😉


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      I often wonder if the reason they leave this stuff alone is because they accept on some level that the BBC is biased the way we say it is, but their actual issue is that they just don’t like us, the people here, or our viewpoints.

      They understand that there’s truth to the message, but they dislike the messengers for a variety of reasons.


      • hippiepooter says:

        Scez supports BBC bias and hates seeing it exposed.  He wants the gullible to stay gullible.


      • Roland Deschain says:

        It’s more than an acceptance.  They know it’s biased but view that as their birthright, to be defended at all costs.


  8. John Horne Tooke says:

    Lets not foget this inconvenient truth:

    “Lord Patten’s pension is conditional upon him doing nothing to harm the interests of the European Union. According to Article 213 of the Treaty establishing the European Community..”


  9. George R says:

    “BBC turns its back on year of Our Lord: 2,000 years of Christianity jettisoned for politically correct ‘Common Era'”

    Read more:

    (‘Open Thread’ has disappeared.)