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Can We Trust the BBC? [Kindle Edition]

Robin Aitken
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This book asks a big question: can we trust the BBC? As the most famous media brand in the world, the BBC is growing bigger and more powerful every year. Its reputation depends on honest and accurate journalism. But this book argues that the Corporation's own pervasive political culture imperils its impartiality. It demonstrates how some groups and viewpoints get favourable treatment while others are left out in the cold.

The book examines the concept of 'public sector broadcasting' and asks if that has come to mean simply radio and television free of commercial bias. It argues that there are other 'hidden persuaders'
that we the audience should be alert to. Drawing on the author's twenty-five years as a BBC reporter and executive, the books blends analysis and sharp polemic to paint a vivid picture of life inside the news machine from a uniquely privileged point of view. It also tells the story of how the BBC responded to a dissident in its own ranks.
Robin Aitken responds to the criticism of the book by many ex-BBC employees through the media spectrum on its initial publication, and details his correspondence with current employees over his decision to publish. This book is a timely contribution to the ongoing debate about public broadcasting.

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"A wonderful book." Damian Thompson, Telegraph Blogs, 'Holy Smoke'"

About the Author

Robin Aitken is a former BBC reporter and journalist. He spent twenty-five years working across all levels within the corporation, from local radio to the Today programme.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
98 of 107 people found the following review helpful
Bearing in mind the sheer size and influence of the BBC, and the manner in which it is funded, this book is very important. It is thoroughly researched, well-referenced yet easy to read. Many sections of my well-thumbed copy are now heavily underlined. Excellent.

Chapter headings are:

1. The best broadcaster in the world?

The beginnings of the Beeb. Its transition from upholder of the establishment, to the post-1960s era when "the BBC joined in the new mood until it became a battering-ram in the hands of those who wanted to see the old order crumble"

2. A reporter's progress

The author's career in the BBC, starting in the 1980s, when there was still some objectivity in news bulletins. How this changed under "Birtism" from 1987 onwards, when "the task was to make sure reality conformed to our preconceptions."

3. Blowing the whistle

Mr Aitken raised his concerns about institutional left-wing bias at the BBC with his bosses and was told that, as he was so "disaffected" he should consider leaving the BBC.

4. Who are these people?

Profiles of many of the big bugs and head honchos of the Beeb. Most of whom have links with the Labour party, or have worked for The Guardian, etc - all facts are backed up with full references so you can research more if you wish

5. The best European

The obsessive pro-EU bias of the BBC, in stark contrast with the majority view of the UK. The 1970s "mini-purge of editorial staff who were 'ideologically unsound' on Europe". Pretending that Labour Eurosceptics don't exist so that the BBC could present Labour as united on Europe. An overall airtime bias towards Europhile speakers of 2:1.

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Important. 23 July 2008
By Stephen
As an Ulster Protestant I can say that the BBC is clearly biased against the Unionist community in Northern Ireland. Thus Robin Aitken's chapter "The Despised Tribes" struck a deep chord.

I can give a brief recent example: this years Orange Twelfth of July parades were the most peaceful, family friendly and cross-community in years. However on the 11th night small groups of Roman Catholic rioters were involved in minor scuffles with the police. The national BBC coverage reported this as trouble at the Protestant Orange parades and showed footage of vicious rioting from three years ago!

The chapter on Europe is also damning in the blatant favour shown by the BBC to both the Labour party and the "Europhiles".

An important book about a revered British institution that needs to sort it's act out.
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102 of 118 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real truth about the BBC - for the first time 21 Feb. 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Robin Aitken was a senior journalist at the BBC who realised that the corporation expects all its staff to sing from the same left of centre, pro EU and anti USA hymnsheet.

Whe he complained he was variously ignored, fobbed off, sidelined and even threatened by superiors right up to board level.

I think this is the first time any BBC insider has broken ranks and revealed the bias, distortion and selective reporting that goes into BBC

current affairs broadcasting.

Definitely a "must read" for anybody who wonders why they have to pay a compulsory licence fee for one sided news coverage.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Institutional BBC Bias 22 Aug. 2007
A brilliant read which gives chapter and verse (and more) to what many licence payers feared. Proof that the BBC has been undermined from within and should have been privatised with the other nationalised industries - and still should be. Pro EU, anti British attitudes are illustrated time and time again. I agree with the reviewer who thinks a copy should be given with every licence which supports the 30,000 people employed by this frightening propaganda machine.
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63 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Mankind cannot bear too much reality.' 8 May 2007
The answer is `No' by the way.

But you knew that already, didn't you?

The great con of the BBC, as expressed in this book, is that, bar pensioners, every British household that contains a TV has to pay a flat tax for the privilege. This is then used to subsidise a vast organisation which then proceeds to indoctrinate the British (and international) viewing and listening population with leftist orthodoxies which are ironically anti-British - TV as a medium is absorbed unreflexively and is thus the most powerful form of mass mind control ever invented.

This well written, neatly organised and flab free book can be read in one sitting.

The cumulative effect is devastating, reaching a crescendo in Chapter 8: The Moral Maze, which answered something I have long been puzzled by - that is the internationally accepted and deeply unfair myth that the Catholic Church is responsible for the spread of AIDs in sub-Saharan Africa via it's doctrine on contraception - the book traces this ludicrous piece of disinformation to it's source - a single episode of a Panorama programme called `Sex and the Holy See' broadcast on Sunday 12th October 2003. A BBC graduate himself, on a Wolfson College Press Fellowship project, provided the detailed itemisation and revelation of the systematic lies and distortion of this programme, so no claim of external bias can be made.

A copy of this book should be given gratis to everybody who comes up to pay for the TV license in the next year. Personally, I would just tell everybody to destroy their TV sets, get their minds back and rescue their children, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The inside story on BBC bias.
If you think the BBC is fair, honest and balanced you haven't read this book
Published 3 months ago by Greydog
1.0 out of 5 stars Trying to convince us that the BBC should be a clone of the Daily Mail
Aitken is unashamedly a Conservative and his axe to grind is that the BBC does not represent his Daily Mail style views. Read more
Published on 7 Mar. 2013 by Andrew Dalby
1.0 out of 5 stars Establishment safe in BBC hands
The idea that BBC is some kid of leftist propaganda organ is utterly ludicrous nonsense which I can only be put down to a bunch of Daily Mail reading neo-Cons who want to sit down... Read more
Published on 29 Sept. 2009
1.0 out of 5 stars Can we trust the argument put forward in this book?
Can we trust the BBC?
By Robin Aitken

Chapter 6 Despised tribes.

In this chapter Aitken states the BBC is biased against particular groups and political... Read more
Published on 22 July 2009 by Dizzy
1.0 out of 5 stars A little boy tries to criticise the big boys...
Aitken appears to be Scottish and to have worked about 25 years for the BBC. The BBC had a training scheme; it also had something like a monopoly on equipment, which was far more... Read more
Published on 28 May 2009 by Rerevisionist
4.0 out of 5 stars Little new, good for background
This is a worthwhile read for anyone who would like background on the BBC's obvious leftist bias. However there's little in the way of genuine revelation here. Read more
Published on 22 April 2009 by Bookbuff
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth
From a one time supporter of the BBC over the years reality has been kicking in. The BBC is deeply biased. Read more
Published on 17 April 2009 by Random Task
1.0 out of 5 stars I think the BBC is skewed more to the right than the left.
I cannot argue that the skewing of facts to present some group, the Catholic church in one instance, badly is a positive thing. Read more
Published on 30 Dec. 2008 by Silent river
5.0 out of 5 stars I agree: we need a non-p.c. alternative to Radio 4
I'm very glad to find it's not just me that feels angry that we have to pay for "progressive" propaganda if we want to own a telly.
Published on 9 Oct. 2008 by O
5.0 out of 5 stars The BBC looks like a Marxist propaganda organ
No, we cannot trust the BBC.

This author is correct, I have noticed a dramatic decline in the quality and relevance of BBC programming, and the rise in absurdly Marxist,... Read more
Published on 11 Jun. 2008 by Richard Perrott
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