Douglas Carswell

12 AUG 2016

BBC balance is baloney

The BBC Trust has published a report on BBC impartiality in presenting statistics. It concludes not just that the BBC is impeccably impartial, but that it should be "braver" in "guiding the audience". Is it April 1st already?

During the referendum campaign, I and other Leavers were constantly interrupted by BBC interviewers while trying to get across basic facts and figures about Britain's EU membership. We were barely allowed to articulate our arguments, let alone have them contradicted.

I didn't notice the BBC challenging Project Fear claims about economic collapse. In fact, it's still reporting them as fact – even now they've proved to be nonsense. Why are the so-called "experts" stating them never taken to task?

Yet the FT has reported the BBC Trust's findings as evidence that the BBC didn't attack Leavers enough. If only it had tried to discredit Vote Leave contributors more! Then the voters would have swallowed elite groupthink got the "facts".

Since the end of the referendum campaign – and its explicit restrictions on bias – the BBC has let its full pro-EU sympathies show. This is, after all, the organisation that commissioned staunch Remainer David Aaronovitch to explain why people voted Leave.

So I'm not sure what's more absurd: the idea that the BBC was somehow too easy on Leave campaigners, or the fact the FT – and perhaps the BBC Trust - seriously thinks it could have been.

In its outlook, the BBC is indistinguishable from the Guardian. No one could confuse it for FOX News. The problem is that, unlike the papers, it pretends to be neutral. That fiction is one of the reasons so many people – especially, I suspect, Leave voters – no longer trust it.

Impartiality, for any media outlet, may actually be impossible. But if the BBC is going to be the broadcast wing of the Guardian, it shouldn't be funded with licence-fee-payers' money.

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