BBC ‘impartiality’ questioned – yet again
Media Lens reminds us that two BBC insiders – former senior BBC figures – would dispute the frequently brandished depiction of BBC ‘impartiality’.
Greg Dyke, a former BBC director general, believes that: ‘The BBC is part of a “conspiracy” preventing the “radical changes” needed to UK democracy.’ He says that a parliamentary commission should look into the ‘whole political system’, adding that ‘I fear it will never happen because I fear the political class will stop it.’
And Sir Michael Lyons, former chairman of the BBC Trust , said earlier this year that there had been ‘some quite extraordinary attacks’ on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn by the BBC.
The first paragraphs of their latest analysis, ‘BBC Propaganda Watch: Tell-Tale Signs That Slip Through The Cracks’ are summarised here.
In a recent BBC News interview following the death of Cuba’s former leader Fidel Castro. Dr Denise Baden, Associate Professor in Business Ethics at the University of Southampton, who has studied Castro’s leadership and Cuban business models, was asked by BBC News presenter Justine Mawhinney for her views on Cuba and Castro. It’s fair to say that Baden’s responses didn’t follow the standard establishment line echoed and amplified in much of the ‘mainstream’ media.
Mawhinney kicked off the interview with the standard Western propaganda line about Castro: ‘He ruled with an iron fist, didn’t he?’
Baden immediately challenged the cliché: ‘Well, that’s something that everyone’s fond of saying. But when I talk to the people who live in Cuba, and the Cubans who’ve come to live in the UK, that’s not the story that I get. The feeling that comes through is of Fidel Castro almost as a father figure. So, the older generation tend to see him as a hero of the revolution. They’re aware that many of them wouldn’t even be here if it wouldn’t have been for the health advances and the equalisation of resources that he provided.’
The academic, who visited the island in 2013 and 2014, ‘drawn by its record on sustainability’, then pointed out that it was the crippling US embargo on Cuba that was responsible for much of the hardships suffered by the Cubans for over five decades: a crucial point that the BBC interviewer significantly did not pursue.
Mawhinney then raised Castro’s human rights record. Baden addressed the issue of free speech first: ‘When I went to talk to people in Cuba, I found it remarkable how freely they all spoke about Fidel Castro, and Raul Castro, and the policies. I was expecting from the discourse we hear that people would be afraid to speak out. And that wasn’t what I found – people spoke out very freely.’