Brainwashed from birth: the cult of the BBC

13 July 2013

9:00 AM

13 July 2013

9:00 AM

Last week I was on holiday with my family on the Algarve. The good news was that, thanks to the BBC’s widespread availability in Portugal, we didn’t miss out on Murray at Wimbledon. The bad news was that, for the same reason, we couldn’t escape The Apprentice.

But this isn’t an anti-Apprentice column. It’s an anti-BBC column prompted in part by something annoying somebody said to me on Twitter the other day. I’d written, not for the first time, that I considered the BBC ‘a total waste of money’. And the tweeter replied primly, ‘The BBC is a total waste of money or actually you quite like Today, Proms, Glasto, wildlife docs. Can’t have it both ways.’

No, actually, you can. For example, if I were to bake you the most fantastically delicious passion cake you’d ever had with the scrummiest, most unctuous, orgasmic cream-cheese topping and lots of crunchy chunks made from the best organic Californian walnuts but I were to charge you £145.50 for it that would still, for all the cake’s intrinsic merits, qualify as a total waste of money.

And that cake would be even more of a total waste of money if it were soaked in purest essence of Moronica Communitarii, a powerful chemical that warps the brain so that your default response to any issue is ‘Why isn’t the government doing more?’, and which distorts your vision so that when you look at, say, the NHS all you can see is something that looks like ‘the envy of the world’ and which makes you vote for people like David Cameron and think he’s not doing badly all things considered. Especially if, adding insult to injury, consumption of that cake was near-compulsory on pain of imprisonment or a hefty fine.

Which, the sharper among you may have twigged, is where we are now with the BBC. The BBC is good in parts but outrageously expensive and ideologically toxic yet it goes on getting away with murder because so many useful idiots, like my tweeting friend above, have been culturally conditioned into assuming that without it the sky would fall in and the bodies would lie unburied by the streets and never again would we witness programming of the epic magnificence of Question Time, Teletubbies, or EcofascistWatch with Chris Packham.

Another of those useful idiots is a man named Stuart Prebble — a former ITV executive, apparently — who was paid by the BBC to look into the issue of BBC bias and has just produced a report entitled ‘Well done the BBC! You’re marvellous and you mustn’t change a thing!’ Or perhaps that wasn’t the title, but it was the general gist, so I expect that the BBC very much feels it got its money’s worth with the £175,000 of our licence fee it paid for the report.

Prebble noted that the BBC’s position on immigration and the European Union was somewhat at odds with that of the audience it supposedly represents as the Voice of the Nation. But apart from jovially suggesting that the Guardian-recruited BBC apparatchiks who treat their customers with such contempt ought to ‘get out more’, Prebble appeared sublimely untroubled by what this said about our quasi-monopolistic state broadcast media.

My advice in turn to Prebble would be ‘watch TV more’. Then he’d see that BBC bias isn’t just confined to immigration and the EU. Everything from its position on Israel to its stance on the badger cull parrots so shamelessly the bleeding-heart prejudices of the metropolitan bien-pensant minority that really, if the BBC took its charter obligations seriously, it ought to commission a report into it. Oh wait…

But we know all this. What seems more pertinent to ask is why, despite all the evidence of institutional Toynbeeism, nothing ever changes. Really, it’s a question no one born British can easily answer. The subliminal brainwashing starts even before we’ve achieved consciousness. Among my earliest memories are of my father, religiously tuning the car radio every hour on the hour to catch up with the latest Radio 4 news bulletin. Then comes Blue Peter. Then the Radio 1 roadshow. Then, eventually, The Archers or Radio 3. It’s as much part of the British life furniture as cream teas or bank holiday tailbacks or chicken tikka masala. How could you possibly conceive of a world without such things.

So it’s perfectly understandable that my Twitter friend and Stuart Prebble think the way they do. They’re just wrong. Earlier we mentioned wildlife programmes and, yes, it’s true the BBC Bristol unit comes up with some corkers. Problem is, they’re quite incapable even of filming bloody animals without inserting the usual blatant propaganda. On a David Attenborough documentary the other day, they managed to slip in an utterly mendacious factoid about temperatures in Africa having risen by 3.5 degrees in two decades. Can you imagine such an ‘error’ being made in the opposite direction. No, you can’t. That’s the problem.

Maybe they should stick to tennis and Glasto. They still do those quite well.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments
  • Julio!

    Oh dear. It still stings, doesn’t it James?

    • Theralen

      Stinged by Aunt Sally?

  • The Red Bladder

    Why didn’t you just come out and say in clear language “Gissa job, please Mr Murdoch!”

    • I believe I have said this perfectly clearly on many occasions. I don’t need some half-arsed leftist wag as my comedy interpreter.

      • The Red Bladder

        Oh so others have seen through your pleadings have they? To be honest you’ll never get a job with News UK, they’ve already got one Jeremy Clarkson, why would they want a pale imitation with a total lack of shorthand?

        • UKSteve

          Why does a blog need completely uninformed ignoramuses to post their ridiculous bilge on a regular basis, to pollute the reasonable debate that can take place between adults?

          • The Red Bladder

            I would really have no idea my dear old chap. Should you discover the reason do let me know, in the meantime best wishes to you.

          • UKSteve

            Well, I asked here because you seem to be an accomplished practitioner.

          • The Red Bladder

            It’ll be a lifetime of practice that did that. Oh that I could play the piano as well.

          • UKSteve

            Now I’m envious. I’d love to play the piano, or violin!

          • The Red Bladder

            As would I but at my time of life I shall have to stick to playing what I’m best at – the fool!

          • UKSteve

            Nah, you’re never too old! Never say die!

          • The Red Bladder

            Oh that you were right – still ’twas all a lark!

  • Andrew Barnes

    “The BBC is good in parts but outrageously expensive” – so, a sort of curate’s Faberge egg then?

  • EwanUzarmi

    The next Director General needs to be someone like Jim Davidson. (Although perhaps we have enough Scotsmen in high places already)

    • Andrew Saint

      If there is room for one more Scotsman what about John Reid? Ex-Commie who eentually saw the light and now one of our least PC senior politicians. A right bruiser too – can just imagine him getting his tackety boots up the arses (two left cheeks) of the BBC’s Notting Hill set.

  • Marie Dean

    The Beeb is awful. No news, just liberal opinion and editing. I do not watch, except for Cricket, but then I only listen. Good article; and the Beeb has a list of words news commentators cannot use-laughable. And, there should be no licence and no government sponsored stations; period

  • Liz Kidd

    Worth at least three times the licence fee for the Proms alone! Never mind all the other glories. Just don’t get it do you. Try living in the States or Europe and see how you like the TV offerings there!

    • US PBS shows documentaries that are vastly superior to their CGI-obsessed BBC counterparts.

      • MellorSJ

        I wonder who the one person (so far) is who downliked this comment.

        Have they actually seen a PBS documentary?

        • disqus_KdiRmsUO4U

          I have and they are excellent.
          Even University Challenge came from the USA lol

          Still runs I think : called College bowl.

    • UKSteve

      Do they also have qaungos to enforce TV licence taxation, using intimidation techniques on the elderly and infirm, and psychological terror tactics on people? Where else in Europe do they have a state-enforced licence fee?

      The BBC is a vile, crypto-Marxist, propaganda machine for multicultutralism, and the awful Channel 4 is catching it up. The quality of “news” reporting in this country has been in the gutter for 20 years at least.

      • Where else in Europe? Sweden for example.

        • UKSteve

          Well, as it turns out, Sweden and France.But that’s it. And in Sweden…..

          “However, the number of households not containing a TV set are considered by Radiotjänst to be a lot fewer than the 10% that don’t pay licences. The personnel of Radiotjänst i Kiruna AB have no authority to investigate inside households (for instance flats on higher floor levels)”

          Here, Crapita can apply to a magistrate for a search warrant.

          • They do harrass you over phone though and since this year it’s mandatory to pay the license if you have a computer, smartphone or tablet.

            Source: I’m a Swede.

            Don’t worry, I’m on your side on this matter, Steve!

          • UKSteve

            I did guess Karl 🙂

            Yes, they use all kinds of tactics here – it is utterly pathetic! Do you know about the “TV Licence detector vans” that were around here since 1972?

            It was all bullsh1t – part of the psychological ops.


          • Wow, interesting. Didn’t know about it. Thanks for the link!

          • UKSteve

            I found a website written by electronics engineers who said that this technology couldn’t possibly exist even in 2013, much less 1972!

          • Check this article out: (you’ll have to translate it to english)

          • disqus_KdiRmsUO4U

            TV detector vans pre date 1972.
            TV’s radiate and that radiation CAN be detected.

            How discriminating is the detection, ie on what can it pin point an apartment or an apartment block I do not know.

    • MellorSJ

      Then please pay a company to provide the Proms, and leave the rest of us alone.

    • johnslattery

      I did. It’s just as good and/or bad. It’s not much different.
      What do you dislike about European telly, Liz? Obviously you know a lot about foreign telly, or you wouldn’t be able to tell us the BBC is better. So why is it better?

    • Knives_and_Faux

      Actually the TV in the states is world class, puts BBC programming to shame.
      You are living with a thirty year old delusion from a time when what you say was true.

  • I’ve always been surprised by barely hidden collusion between the BBC in Cornwall and the ‘local’ Labour party. Ex-Labour MP Candy Atherton’s PR company has former BBC blogger Graham Smith listed in its personnel. I’m not the only one to have noticed a distinct bias for Labour in his electoral comment.

  • Joe Blo

    “But apart from jovially suggesting that the Guardian-recruited BBC apparatchiks”

    The BBC spends about 35% of their recruitment advertising in the Guardian. The remaining 65% is distributed over about 190 other media outlets such as the “Asian Leader”, “BlackBriatin”, “Chinatown the magazine”, “Ethnic Britain” etc.

    And yes, I have cherry-picked which media outlets to list.

  • vircantium

    Agree. If the BBC output is so fantastic and such wonderful value for money, why do they need to force people to pay for it?

  • rtj1211

    THe good, the bad and the ugly at the BBC:

    Proms, Radio 3, the tennis, the medical soaps.
    The Liverpool bias on the football punditry teams (new lot at BT are just as bad). The weather forecasting online. THe appalling sycophancy to Alan/Lord Sugar and the complete inability of some Apprentice to call it as it is in front of 20 million people by calling Sugar a self-serving pompous past-it egotistical has-been. It’s the biggest load of shite I”ve ever watched. If you put 12 chiefs and no Indians together, of course you get shite. Didn’t Sugar learn that in 40 years of business?? Or did he just hire 100% subservient little sycophants to pander to his dictatorial demeanour????
    Climate Change agenda. EU reporting. Links to sports gambling scams. Hornets nest of surveillance and electronic shenanigans.

  • disqus_KdiRmsUO4U

    I yield to no one in my distaste for the BBC’s coverage of domestic politics., but to say it is expensive is ridiculous.

    What is wrong , leaving aside the broadcast deceits of the trendies, is the compulsory licence fee.
    Give the people a choice and see what happens.

    I’m old enought to remember the introduction of ITV.
    BBC viewing figures nose dived.

    Many thought standards lowered which they probably did, but the Oxbridge ‘wonkas’ are still heavily subsidised ; they demand too much ‘cos they think too highly of themselves !

    Many Oxbridge types oppose(d) Classic FM
    Someone did as I recall. I read about their views, who ever they were, in the Guardian.(expletive not deleted)