Almost everybody has an opinion about the BBC’s political coverage. More often than not you will hear cries from all angles – left, right and centre – denouncing Britain’s state-run television Corporation as being supposedly biased against one particular political persuasion or another.
Given what is essentially an almost universal denunciation of the BBC’s supposed political impartiality from all sides, it would be perfectly reasonable for many to simply assume that the Beeb’s political coverage must therefore be equally critical of all sides in equal measure.
However, political bias is a particularly nuanced and difficult subject to quantify with cold hard evidence. It is very often not what is said that is the problem, but what is being ignored, downplayed or under-reported that creates bias.
Every democratic society has what can be described as an acceptable political discourse, and with the advent of gradual cultural liberalisation over time throughout Britain, it is understandable that the acceptable political mainstream generally shifts over time to exclude more extreme views that are no longer widely held in society.
This acceptable political mainstream has been fairly decided through the ballot box in Britain since 1918, and it is this which the BBC – through its impartiality charter – promises to remain impartial towards and to reflect adequately and appropriately in its political content.
However, 3 years ago, a political earthquake was brewing in Britain – one which the BBC still haven’t seemingly come to terms with.
In 2015, Jeremy Corbyn was elected to lead the Labour party – a man whose principled left-wing views were treated with ridicule and dismay by huge sections of his own MPs, and by almost the entire British media.
Just two years later, after easily surviving an attempted leadership coup by being voted in with an increased majority by the Labour membership, but being massively behind in nationwide polls, Corbyn’s ideas were to be given the acid test when Theresa May decided to call a snap General Election.
General Elections are the true barometer for political ideas, and both Theresa May and the entire British establishment were sure that Corbyn’s politics were simply a flash in the pan – ideas that would be broadly dismissed by the British public who would surely see sense and hand the Conservative Party a landslide majority.
I’m sure you won’t need reminding, but Jeremy Corbyn’s ideas were not rejected by the British public. In fact, Corbyn managed to increase Labour’s vote share by a staggering 9.6% – the second biggest positive swing in the party’s entire history.
It was unquestionably one of the biggest political shocks that Britain has ever seen, and one that should have firmly shifted the accepted political discourse away from the Thatcherite pro-privatisation, pro-greed neoliberal agenda, towards Corbyn’s social-democratic, pro-nationalisation, pro-community standpoint.
However, despite 40% of the British public voting in favour of his agenda, the BBC have essentially acted as if nothing had happened, appearing entirely unwilling to re-address the balance in accepted political discourse that Corbyn’s General Election earthquake demanded.
And now, incredible statistics compiled by pro-Corbyn author Alex Nunns have thrown significant light on the BBC’s inexcusable refusal to address this mammoth political shift.
With 40% of the British public voting for Corbyn, and 42% voting for the Tories in 2017, you would imagine that an impartial BBC would at least begin to aim for similar ratios in terms of the political persuasion of guests they choose to appear on their flagship political programmes.
However, the figures compiled by Nunns of were truly incredible – showing that on the BBC’s flagship Sunday Politics programme, just 10% of guests were in any way representative of Jeremy Corbyn’s politics.
This was compared to a staggering 56% of guests who held views comparable to those of Theresa May and the Conservative Party.
For a year since the general election I've done a thread recording the guests on BBC Sunday Politics' panel of experts (https://t.co/i5dRZNZMA7). Just 10% of the guests have been from the left, 33% from the centre (encompassing the centre-left), but over half—56%—from the right.
— Alex Nunns (@alexnunns) June 19, 2018
And now, the ever-brilliant video makers at EL4C have turned Nunn’s year-long project of exposing the BBC’s brazen refusal to respect Britain’s political true political outlook into a ‘dramatic, nailbiting’ video.
You can watch EL4C’s fantastic video that visualises Alex Nunns’ statistics below:
Woah. @EL4JC made my monotonous series of tweets about the Sunday Politics panel into a dramatic, nail-biting video. Who's gonna win this battle of right vs left? Tension all the way. pic.twitter.com/RpTLkfBxN0
— Alex Nunns (@alexnunns) July 1, 2018