Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Media
28 August 2009

Is the BBC biased?

Peter Hitchens thinks I'm wrong to dismiss claims of left-wing bias

By Mehdi Hasan

I have a piece in this week’s magazine arguing that the BBC, far from having a left-wing or liberal bias, is, if anything, more of a right-wing and conservative institution. The BBC, I write, has “an Establishment bias, a bias towards power and privilege, tradition and orthodoxy. The accusation that the BBC is left-wing and liberal is a calculated and cynical move by the right to cow the corporation into submission.”

In the same issue of the magazine, Peter Hitchens, the Mail on Sunday columnist, argues from personal experience that BBC staff “are so enclosed in a world of left-liberal assumptions that they do not even understand the question”.

Peter has now contacted me by email to complain about my piece, and to suggest that I have misrepresented the right-wing argument about BBC bias. He says I am “quite mistaken” about the likes of Nick Robinson, Andrew Neil et al.

So here is my challenge to him: Peter, either here on this blog or on your own blog, try to convince me and the NS readers that you’re right and I’m wrong about the Beeb. I doubt you’ll manage it.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them