The first of Alcoholics Anonymous’ famous twelve steps is to admit that you have a problem. The BBC did that today, acknowledging that it historically had a “massive bias to the left”:
The director general of the BBC admitted Thursday that his organisation had been guilty of a “massive bias to the left” but said “a completely different generation” of journalists now works at the broadcaster.
Mark Thompson told the right-of-centre Spectator magazine that there was an institutional bias when he joined the organisation, reinforcing the findings of a 2007 internal report which concluded that greater efforts were required to avoid liberal bias.
“In the BBC I joined 30 years ago, there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people’s personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left,” Thompson said.
“The organisation did struggle then with impartiality. And journalistically, staff were quite mystified by the early years of Thatcher. “Now it is a completely different generation. There is much less overt tribalism among the young journalists who work for the BBC,” he added.
I like that phrase, “overt tribalism.” It’s a nice way to refer to the Journolist mentality. It leaves open, of course, the question whether left-wing bias at the BBC has been eradicated or has merely gone underground. In any event, the BBC’s confession can only be a good thing. It would be nice to see American news organizations follow suit. We can see it now: “My name is CBS, and I’m a liberal.”