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The BBC foists on us a skewed version of reality.

BBC managers' pay too high, Lord Patten admits. Meanwhile, straitened financial circumstances mean that ITN — once a worthy competitor — no longer is. And that is just television: in national radio terms, the BBC stands alone and unchallenged. I would argue that Radio 4 is the single most influential media entity in the country. BBC editors do not feel they need to follow the agenda of newspapers such as The Telegraph , the Mail or the Times , though they take more notice of the Guardian and the Independent.

BBC TV controller Charlotte Moore fights back against culture secretary

This underlines a truth not sufficiently acknowledged — that all journalism is a matter of selection. And to understand why the BBC chooses as it does, you have to understand who makes those selections. BBC selection boards naturally enough tend to go for candidates made in their own image and likeness. In this way, the system becomes self-reinforcing. Aspiring young BBC journalists know that they will be expected to show an interest in a particular type of story. So an internal culture is constructed, recruit by recruit, which reinforces an established world view.

In my years at the BBC, I was usually surrounded by people who viewed centre-Right opinions as suspect, odd or even immoral. People such as Gloria De Piero, now the shadow minister for women, but who — when I worked alongside her for a brief period — was a producer for On The Record, the now-defunct weekend politics show.

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Married to a journalist at the Guardian, she came with the full set of right-on opinions. Both good, intelligent journalists — and both unmistakably Left-leaning and therefore in BBC terms mainstream. A consensus emerges, and because the corporation is fiercely hierarchical, the juniors — nurturing their promising careers — take their cue from their elders and betters.


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This amplification effect is what gives BBC news output such enormous clout. More than 90 per cent of us listen or watch the BBC every week. For many people, the BBC is their constant companion — from dawn to dusk it is the background soundtrack in the lives of millions. That is why, uniquely among media organisations, the BBC performs the role of gatekeeper to the national debate.

Wellcome Trust and BBC Placement Scheme

By what stretch of the journalistic imagination was that the most important story of the week? Why did the BBC promote it with such obsessive zeal? Pursued intelligently, that could have provided us with a key to understanding Miliband.


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Instead all we heard was a prolonged howl of outrage as the corporation sided with the Labour leader. But more humdrum examples are on display every day. Typically, these are based upon an allegation of shortcomings in some public service.

Do you trust the BBC?

Often the story originates from some charity, think tank or academic. The recent story about care workers being limited to minute visits to the elderly was a typical example. Of course, failures in the public services should be examined, but the quality of service is not the only consideration; with national finances so parlous, cost too is vitally important.

Facebook is a more trusted news source than the Daily Star, according to a survey of nearly 2, UK adults. Timeline June 27, BBC-funded Local Democracy Reporter scheme to complete UK rollout in Northern Ireland this summer June 26, Newsnight's Emily Maitlis reveals she 'nearly gave up' on journalism as young reporter June 24, Danny Baker to revive axed BBC Five Live show as podcast As part of the survey, 1, adult aged 15 and over who follow the news were asked which sources they feel are trustworthy and impartial.

Respondents were asked to rate 26 news providers, including commercial radio generally, out of 10 for each category, with daily and Sunday editions of newspapers categorised together. BBC News 6. The Sun 3.

Can We Trust the BBC? by Robin Aitken

Aside from the Telegraph newspapers 4. They were closely followed by Google News and the Metro both 5. Sky News, Five News both 5. Tabloid newspapers, the websites mentioned above and Al Jazeera all scored below 5 in terms of trustworthiness, with the Daily Star and Twitter both 3. Aside from the i 5 , all broadsheets scored between 5.