Like many others I am still trying to understand the peasant’s revolt that is Brexit. One key factor in this has been the rise of social media and distrust of institutions such as the BBC. This article by Mark Simon Hockey, reproduced in full from Quora (registration required) provides some insight and deserves to be read by a wider audience.
As an added bonus, it provides an interesting commentary on the nature of private school education in the UK which chimes with my own experience.
Is the accusation against the BBC that it’s biased and left wing fair?
Mark Simon Hockey, MA. Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, St Edmund Hall, Oxford (1979)
Updated Jan 10 · Upvoted by Mark Harmer, former Studio Manager / Training Consultant at BBC (1984-2007)
The profound BBC bias is missed by many because it is not a simple Left or Right Political bias, and those who deny bias miss the subtlety of the problem.
Amongst News and current affairs journalists about 70% were privately educated (v 7% of the population as a whole). This group wins 25% of our Olympic medals, 26% of the places at our Law and Medical schools, but a full 70% of our BBC journalists, (and interestingly, about 70% of our judges).Moreover, within this group, the major,very expensive Public Schools are even more over- represented than the more modest less prominent private institutions. Within the 30% who are State Educated, Grammar schools (which most closely mimic the ethos of middle class private schools) are themselves massively over-represented versus Comprehensives. Finally, amongst those in charge of editorial control, and senior management, the major Public Schools dominate even more than amongst Journalists as a whole. ( These figures are available and reproducible to anyone).
Let me be clear. We are talking here about schools which cost £36,000-£42,000 per pupil, per year, and we are talking about families who may be financing two or three children through them for ten years each. You get the idea?
The result is not a question of political Left or Right bias, but a colossal Upper Middle Class bias which is so overwhelming that it passes without challenge within the BBC. It really doesn’t enter their heads that they could possibly be biased, because like many who have missed the point in answering this question, they look only for clear political bias, and of course that bias probably isn’t there so obviously.
I do not want to be misunderstood as suggesting any conscious “ruling class conspiracy” nor “old boy network”, not at all, it is vastly more subtle than these out-moded concepts, it is a sub-conscious and organic product of the human tendency to wish to recruit in our own image, and this afflicts institutions everywhere. The reason the BBC is obsessed with physical “diversity” is because it wishes to distract from the monumental lack of genuine diversity of opinion. So it wants Blacks, Asians, muslims women, the blind, Gays, the disabled, in a very public way, but only if these black disabled blind muslim gay women partake of the same upper middle class values of the institution as a whole. (And by the way, a very similar proportion of the Asian, Black, Muslim gay and disabled journalists were also privately educated).
The organic, pervasive bias of the BBC arises because the institution is populated from top to bottom with people from backgrounds that have ensured that they have never at any time in their existence had to be concerned about money in the same way that 90% of the population have had to worry about money.
If you are brought up in a family in which more money is spent on the education of its children than most families spend on rent or mortgage,food,drink and transport combined, you will be aware, and from a very early and impressionable age, that you have been born with advantages that you have neither personally earned, nor merited. Teachers in these schools drum into their pupils how privileged they are, and how their hard work is required to justify the financial sacrifices of their parents. Now this can of course result in the production of arrogant spoiled brats who despise those not raised in the same way. But these sort tend not to be attracted into journalism, which tends to appeal to the inherently more philosophical, thoughtful, and possibly those more desirous of public attention and approbation than the pursuit of financial gain. And for these gilded children of the Bourgeoisie, financial gain is anyway less of a pressing necessity than it is for most. However all from such backgrounds are likely to inherit an enduring sense of superiority ( and I mean in a genuine ,not an arrogant way), and entitlement, albeit one for which, to their credit, many feel no personal merit, and perhaps even a florid guilt complex, as it has just been bestowed upon them.
Why does all this matter, and in what way does it produce bias? (I hear you cry).
The colossally predominant Upper-Middle Class bias within the BBC makes those who work in it feel uneasy about demanding from anyone not born and raised with the the advantages they have been given,the same social,moral and intellectual standards as they demand from those of their own class,race, and culture.
The result is that failings, faults and even iniquities associated with any disadvantaged group, will not be criticised,discussed or even aired in any proportionate manner, if at all. Now this of course applies far beyond the BBC, it applies to most of the media, and the liberal Upper- Middle Class who dominate the broadsheets regularly vilify the “gutter press” which is populated by journalists they consider their social inferiors, who more often were State Educated, or if privately educated are less likely to form part of the Class of recipients of massive inter generational wealth transfers, ( ie are the children of “new money”) and who have no such qualms about reporting highly negative stories on Lower class, and underprivileged groups, from which they themselves have often emerged, and who therefore feel no compunction about “telling it like it is” (and admittedly, for reasons of circulation and attention, sometimes worse than it really is!).
This reluctance to report by the mainstream media has had two very unfortunate and very enduring consequences for our society. Firstly, hushing up bad things that happen mainly within disadvantaged groups, doesn’t help disadvantaged groups, because it helps to hide the problem from them and from anyone who might be able to help, and secondly, when it is unavoidable to mention the fact of inadequacy, iniquity or crime in a disadvantaged group it doesnt help to attribute the problem merely to “poverty”, as these well-meaning bourgeois fools serve up to the disadvantaged a ready-made excuse not to take responsibility or to change.
There are millions of very poor Whites, Asians, and Blacks, Muslims Hindus Sikhs and others, who are not obese, do not sexually abuse or torture their children, don’t genitally mutilate them don’t force them into arranged marriages, don’t murder them if they bring dishonour to the family, are not racist, don’t become absentee fathers, do support their children financially following divorce, don’t beat up gays or women, don’t kill or attack those of a different sect or belief, who do treat women as equals, don’t rape, don’t hand out young girls in sex rings, don’t defraud the benefit system, don’t take drugs, don’t end up in prison, don’t end up pregnant at 13, don’t smoke in pregnancy, don’t break into other people’s homes to steal, do attend for cervical smears,flu jabs and breast screening, are not alcoholic, do take exercise, do get their children vaccinated, do ensure they attend school properly dressed and fed, and do not disrupt the class through bad behaviour, do brush their teeth, don’t eat and drink trash, dawn to dusk, and don’t sit mindlessly in front of the Box for 6 hours a day.
So the criminal , abusive and inadequate minority within these groups are responsible for their actions and are regarded as being responsible by the decent and honest majority within these disadvantaged groups,: it is only the privileged elite who seem to want to exempt them from blame,punishment or reform.
This “privilege guilt syndrome” hobbles the privately educated in other ways too, they will criticise Nationalism (as long as its English) attack racism (as long as it is by Whites) decry sectarian and religious violence (as long as it is by Protestants against Catholics, or by Jews – ( those honorary Middle-Class Whites) against Muslims).
This has huge consequences for the way domestic social issues are handled. For example, the obesity crisis, which is currently responsible for overwhelming the NHS, even before the demographic time bomb can do so. We cant do anything about ageing, but there is a great deal we can do about obesity. And what is the contribution of the BBC toff elite? They attack fast food outlets (especially if they are American,of course) , Drinks manufacturers, Food producers and supermarkets for not labelling, Doctors for not “educating” patients, teachers for discouraging competitive sports, local authorities for a lack of exercise facilities. and finally of course the Government , for failing to control Fast food, supermarkets, food companies, doctors, teachers and the local authorities.
The only group to escape attack is the children and their negligent parents, who freely choose what to eat, and how to conduct their lives to the detriment of their own health, and of the NHS .
And of course this is because obesity is a Class issue, and therefore “untouchable” to toffs, the poorer you are, the more likely you are to be obese and to have obese children. And the fattest of all are those inter generationally dependent on Social Benefits. Everybody living on council estates knows this. And of course the same goes for smoking and a dozen other hugely significant patterns of self destructive behaviour. These are discussed in what the toffs deride as “the gutter press” and on social media. But mainstream TV and radio is out in an orbit of its own, serving the planet self-delusion, with nothing to say to planet Earth.
Because the BBC recruit and train even most journalists who end up on ITV and Sky, the whole TV media is left in a state of utter paralysis in dealing with one of the most pressing domestic issues of our day, because they are constitutionally incapable of identifying faults failings and causes of any problem which requires criticism to be made of anyone who is not also, like them, privileged and Middle Class. The Working Class, and in particular the “Benefits Class” are simply beyond criticism, in exactly the same way that the behaviour of “disadvantaged” ethnic and religious minority groups are beyond criticism, and not to be deemed responsible for their actions.
The poor and minorities are treated as if they were infants or mentally handicapped, entirely beyond being considered in any way either responsible for their own crippled lives or iniquitous inclinations.
In international news reporting the suppression is even more dramatic. When a Student is murdered, torn apart in Pakistan for “blasphemy” by other students in a University of 10,000,( Mashal Khan, 13 April 2017) shortly after the Pakistani PM (Nawaz Sharif) has declared blasphemy to be an “unpardonable offence” and all this after a Pakistani Cabinet minister has been murdered for having suggested blasphemy against The Prophet by a Christian woman shouldn’t be a crime, and hundreds of thousands turn out onto the streets to protest at the execution of his killer, (just a couple of more recent examples) these absolutely incredible stories are barely mentioned, nor is there any attempt to analyse the cultural issues behind them.
Compare the (absolutely correct) soul-searching by the BBC over the hideous Stephen Lawrence murder all the in-depth analysis of what gives rise to racist impulses, etc. And compare it with the even more hideous case of Kris Donald, (a white 15 year old seized off the street in Glasgow at random by a racist Pakistani gang, castrated and tortured for hours then burned alive) for which Francesca Unsworth was eventually publicly criticised for suppressing. (So successful was this suppression that you will probably not have heard of either of these names, but Auntie Google will help you, just put the two names together and read).
[edit 19.9.18] And Unsworth has just been made head of editorial control for BBC News and Current Affairs. Yet she was also the one behind the helicopter fiasco when she spared no expense (or sense), in trying to expose the real evil at the heart of our society: Cliff Richard. (Yes, she causes the Corporation to lose millions in legal costs and fines when the Courts denounce her mismanagement and stupidity; but she’s still in post). These same people spend two decades making sure no journalist looks into Pakistani taxi sex rings and rapings of black and white girls “in Care” across all major cities in the U.K. And when an independent person blows this wide open, so even the BBC can’t ignore it, who do they attack? The police and white social workers. No attempt whatever to ask if there is any sickness at the heart of a Religion which doesn’t recognise the testimony of a single woman as equal to that if a man in their own “Sharia Courts”. Christ, no! That would be Cultural Imperialism!
How can so much money be expended on education which results in such mind boggling stupidity?
Honestly, these are just a minuscule taste of merely the more recent acts of suppression by the BBC and other mainstream News outlets.
Hiding their own Class privilege, for shame, even makes the BBC dishonest, and a striking example of this was when , in an interview to James Landale, David Cameron announced, to the astonishment of the world, that he would not serve more than one more term as PM, and James was asked why Cameron had chosen to share this with him, he never once mentioned the highly pertinent fact that he had been a slightly younger contemporary of Cameron at Eton.
[Edit 22.11.17. Two more major examples of BBC and other TV media deceit I have drawn attention to elsewhere , illustrates the way Auntie believes it has to suppress Historical facts in order to protect vulnerable minorities like Irish Catholics and Muslims from potential British Working Class thuggery. So in the 1970s and 1980’s any “History Of Ireland” was only allowed to present the Irish as the passive victims of English invasion. Thus the period c 385–760AD (when it was the Irish who invaded Britain, created 4 Irish States in what later became England Wales and Scotland, raided and enslaved the length of Western Britain) is simply ignored. As if just never happened.
Precisely the same is done with any “History of the Crusades”, which are exclusively presented as a violent attack by Christians upon Muslim territory, again airbrushing out of History the fact that in the 400 years prior to the Crusades, the whole of the Middle East and North Africa was largely Greek or Latin speaking and almost entirely Christian, were forcibly over run and many converted by The great Islamic “Crusade” of the 7C-10C.
In both cases, terrorist bombings and atrocities were being conducted (by The IRA and Islamic terrorists) and the BBC felt the need to manipulate facts to help avoid a thuggish “backlash” against innocent Irish and Muslim minorities vulnerable on British housing estates, and in some contorted way felt lying about history might make ordinary British people somehow feel they “deserved” to be knifed, mown down by vehicles and blown up, and so less likely to put a brick through a minority neighbours window or slash his tyres. All utter tripe,of course every group has a few lunatics amongst them, but the British Working Class is nothing if not fair minded. But how ever could the Toffs in charge know this?
Upper Middle Class people live their entire lives without any meaningful contact with Working Class people, whose cause they espouse so ostentatiously.( No change since Disraeli’s book “The Two Nations”). Indeed they will do anything for the Working Class except sit next to them on a train, eat, drink, or go on holiday with them or allow their own children to be educated alongside them.
So they have a real fear of what they perceive to be the lower Classes’ potential for bigotry, racism xenophobia and thuggery. They feel that all that stands between civilised man and utter brutishness is an education at Eton Marlborough or Harrow. So they don’t think the public can be “trusted” with the full facts. “You can’t handle the truth”
The Upper middle Class and the BBC believe that, unlike themselves, the British Working Class isn’t intellectually, educationally or morally equipped to handle the truth. Hence the ingrained culture of suppressed and distorted facts, deceit and lies at the heart of what is allowed to pass as “public debate”.
The only approach that the televisual media have made towards acknowledging even the existence of a “Social Disaster Class” is in series like “The Jeremy Kyle Show” (ITV) (inspired by Jerry Springer in the USA,of course) and “Benefits Street” (Channel Four), but rather than deal with the devastatingly serious impact this Class is having in destroying both our public services and the National finances, the issue is treated rather as a type of social comedy, (without the need for any script writer – you just couldn’t make it up half the time). In fact it puts me in mind of “The Chimps Tea Party” that I used to see as a child in the 1960s at the London Zoo, in the era before we learned to take animals seriously.
Of course the BBC themselves haven’t dared go here at all.
It is because the internet has blown wide open this traditional Upper-Middle-Class stranglehold on mainstream media that the public has been able to learn the truth about so many forbidden things, and the public is simply appalled.
The plague of “false news” on the internet comes from a public now fully aware of the “false NO news” that governs the BBC, which has entirely and rightly lost the confidence and trust of the masses.
The result of all this “double-think” and exceptionalism by the privileged liberal privately educated elite which controls the BBC is that the ordinary masses have come to regard the BBC in particular and the liberal elite in general as a bunch of dishonest, inconsistent self-regarding virtue-signalling, out of touch, hypocrites whose opinion on anything can no longer be trusted or taken seriously. So the masses have simply stopped listening to their social and educational superiors, and hence, of course, Brexit and Trump. It simply doesn’t matter what the ruling elite think or say any more.
There has been nothing like this since the invention of printing and rise of literacy blew apart the monopoly of the Church on learning and knowledge, and it has, sadly, brought “experts’ ”, learning and knowledge more generally and widely into disrepute.