Labour has quite rightly lodged a formal complaint with the BBC about the treatment of Diane Abbott on last week’s Question Time. The Shadow Home Secretary says that the show’s presenter, Fiona Bruce, “was clearly repeating Tory propaganda that Labour were behind in the polls”; that she was interrupted more than double the number of times Tory MP Rory Stewart was; and that she was not allowed to respond to a "blatantly abusive remark" from the audience.
Labour has told the BBC: “The way she was treated on Question Time was unacceptable and fed the hostility towards her. We expect the programme to correct inaccuracies, provide a full explanation of what happened during the show's production and to apologise to Diane.”
In its heyday Question Time attracted huge audiences. Although viewers have now crashed down to an average of 2.7 million, the bourgeois media still regards the show as one the jewels in the BBC’s crown. But the programme’s only real merit in the eyes of the ruling class is it attempt to pass off bourgeois propaganda as informed debate.
None of us should be surprised at this. The British Broadcasting Corporation is one of our supposed “national treasures” whose aims are to educate, inform and entertain the public that funds it through the licence fee. Under the motto “Nation shall speak peace unto Nation” the Corporation claims to be a pillar of impartiality and a reliable source of independent news at home and abroad. That was never the case back in the 1920s when the BBC was founded and it is certainly not the case now.
During the Second World War the BBC’s policy of credible reporting easily outshone that of the Nazis. When the war ended the BBC continued to serve the ruling class and defend British imperialism. It totally failed to report a famine in Bengal that resulted in around 10 million deaths and was the result of a deliberate British imperialist policy of deprivation, and defended colonial efforts to maintain the Empire in the post-war era.
During the Cold War the BBC cashed in on its war-time prestige to broadcast sophisticated anti-communist propaganda at home and all around the world in the service of Anglo-American imperialism. At the same time the BBC pioneered the sponsorship of arts and drama to compete with commercial television and justify its licence fee.
Those days are now long gone. Although the state-owned broadcasting service still promotes some serious dramas, its news and current affairs output is just cheap, dumbed-down and third-rate bourgeois propaganda.
It consistently supported NATO aggression against Serbia, Iraq and Libya and US-led efforts for regime-change in Syria whilst turning a blind eye to routine Zionist atrocities in Gaza and the West Bank. Whilst obscure Russian, Chinese and Korean dissidents are treated like latter-day Gandhis, the regular weekend ‘Yellow Vests’ riots in France are ignored. No wonder millions are turning to Russian, Middle Eastern and American news networks as well as the social media for their news.
The only cure is to end government control over the BBC and allow the public to elect the corporation’s board members. That’s what Jeremy Corbyn says he’s going to do when Labour win the next election. Let’s make sure he does!