For some, the BBC has been dead since the 1980s or 1990s – even then it was pro-establishment as it always has been. For many, they lost their credibility during the Brexit process or during the chastisement of Jeremy Corbyn (who could forget the infamous “Russian” Newsnight image). The decline has continued unabated as a decade of license fee debates has led to record low payments and now with covid, their failure to hold the government to account has been laid bare. They have become nothing more than a place to parrot government lines and prop up the status quo.
However, what has become most abundantly clear following their coverage of protests in 2020 and 2021, culminating with their unbelievable non-coverage of the enormous protests against lockdowns and vaccine passports/mandates. Climate protestors and BLM protests get full coverage, but were you to only consume BBC news, you’d be unaware as to the scale of debate and outrage bubbling up surrounding the vaccine passports and mandatory covid vaccinations. Whether you agree with these protests is not the point – the BBC is not there to present you with things you agree with, it’s meant to report on what is happening in the world. The cause of protestors is irrelevant, the fact it is happening is news-worthy – as 10s of 1000s of people on streets across the world should be.
When I had the opportunity to interview Peter Hitchens last year, we spoke about the BBC and when he suggested they be abolished, I smirked. Hitchens took me to task for smirking at what he believed was a necessity for the survival of British democracy.
“A lot of the major media in this country have failed completely; the BBC has actually now deserves to be closed down because it has completely failed to observe its charter agreement… I’m quite serious about this, I don’t think that there’s any question… The BBC’s charter obliges it to take an impartial stance on issues of major controversy and this is the agreement the legal agreement under which the government collects the license fee for it. I think the BBC has and can be demonstrated to have failed to be impartial; this has become effectively a government broadcasting service and when this is over, if it ever is over, then one of the things I shall do will be to campaign for the close closure of the BBC and its replacement by a new broadcaster which is prepared to abide by the charter in agreement. I think there’s no question that they’ve destroyed the justification for their continued existence by what they’ve done.”
The entire point of the press is to hold governments to account and report on the daily goings on in the UK – the biggest and most consequential stories. They’re already failing to give us an accurate picture of what is going on the UK, so perhaps they’re still asking tough questions? Think again. They have become utterly complicit in the corruption of our institutions, failing to ask difficult questions and providing an easy outlet for No. 10 leaks to dominate news coverage. So how can they survive?
The BBC have always propped up the Establishment line, it’s natural, it doesn’t even need to be conscious – most of the journalists in the BBC are living in the Westminster bubble and have become unwitting victims to the mediacracy that prevents anyone who rocks the boat from rising to the top of any major news organisation. This problem isn’t even specific to the BBC – it’s our entire media class. None of the Establishment stands to gain from a better-educated populace, so it is only natural that the media stand in the way of honestly informing the public and holding power accountable – the two roles for which the press is crucial. The truth is too dangerous, so why would they report it. The BBC is dead, the mainstream press is dead. It’s time we replaced them with something of our own.