Where Does BBC News Stand Politically?

Photo of BBC Scotland building

Is BBC News Politically Unbiased?

Many people claim that BBC News has a political bias. However, it is more likely that BBC News doesn’t favor either side. They are mostly non-political and allow both left-wing and right-wing speakers.

Photo of BBC Scotland building

They clearly accept points of view from either side of the political divide. They also stick to the center and try to avoid strong political messages.

Many people say that BBC News has a leftist bias, but others claim it leans right. Most likely, neither is true. BBC News does a reasonably good job of giving both sides a chance to voice their opinions. 

BBC News is Supposed to be Non-Political

BBC News is supposed to be – and even legally required to be – mostly non-political. The British government funds BBC News. Since it is funded by tax-payer money (or mandatory license fees), regulations require it to be impartial.

Where Does BBC News Stand Politically?

According to the British public, the British Broadcasting Corporation has a political bias. Only 37% of people agree that it is impartial, according to a 2018 poll. Other channels such as Channel 4 and ITV are more likely to be considered impartial.

However, people cannot agree on which political side the BBC favors. According to one study, 22% of people believe the BBC leans left, and 18% believe the BBC leans right. Since the numbers are so similar, and the BBC is legally required to be impartial, there might not be much political bias either way.

Evidence That the BBC May Lean Left

The BBC has been accused of being left-wing since at least as far back as the 1980s. BBC News coverage of the Falklands War was considered very biased.

Photo of the Avro Vulcan stragtegic bomber
BBC News coverage of the Falklands War led to accusations of left-leaning bias.

Associations between the far-right and the Thatcher government were biased enough that legal action against the British Broadcasting Corporation was successful. Since then, there have been many other claims of left bias on the political spectrum, including recent claims.

People who worked for the BBC have claimed that it is very left-wing and think of right-of-center views as extremist. The careers of the BBC staff make the channel seem left-leaning.

BBC News Stories That Show Leftist Bias

BBC News talks about climate change frequently and has been criticized for allowing a high carbon footprint while regularly talking about the issue. It has also been accused of not giving climate change skeptics a chance to speak their point of view.

The BBC argues that climate change is objectively real and that outright climate change denial is so unscientific that they do not have to cover it. The BBC shows both sides on other scientific issues, such as the safety of some vaccines and genetically modified crops.

Evidence That the BBC Might be Mostly Right Wing

Since around 2000, people have argued that BBC News actually leans right. A Cardiff University study from a little over a decade ago says that right-wing coverage is significantly more frequent than left-wing coverage.

Recent News Stories That Show Right-Wing Bias

During the lead-up to the Iraq war, the BBC arguably helped make the war seem necessary to British viewers. The BBC may also use a “gloom filter” when showing footage from China, artificially changing the colors of the footage to make China seem dark and threatening.

Photo of the Forbidden City in Beijing
The BBC is suspected of using a ‘gloom filter’ when covering stories in China to create a menacing undertone.

Is BBC News Pro-EU?

It may be true that BBC News has a pro-EU bias and was always against Brexit. BBC News does not necessarily maintain impartiality on every issue, and they might be biased against Brexit.

BBC News had five times as many speakers or at least twice as many speakers arguing for remaining in the EU than leaving it. After the Brexit referendum, Laura Kuennsberg (the BBC’s political editor) claimed that “the world is on acid” and was accused of anti-Brexit bias

Photo of woman at airport
The BBC was widely attacked for its widely perceived pro-EU stance during the Brexit debate..

The BBC Claims to be Impartial

The BBC The BBC guidelines state that “News in whatever form must be treated with due impartiality, giving due weight to events, opinion and main strands of argument.” Tony Hall, the director of the BBC, says that occasional cases of political bias getting past the editors does not mean that political bias is normal. 

BBC News is Much Less Biased Than Most News

According to allsides.com, BBC News is centrist even though the BBC channel as a whole is leftist. BBC News clearly does not take a strong leftist stance on whatever news event occurs. The BBC channel as a whole is leftist because of the stories they choose to cover.

BBC News often lets people on both sides of the debate speak. If an event causes political controversy, politicians or commentators with opposing views are often allowed to speak. As a state broadcaster, BBC News is supposed to inform people and help them make up their minds about different events and issues. 

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One Response

  1. The UK Government does not fund the BBC, rather they receive funding from license fee payers, and they get all the money, none going to the Government, but many Brits feel the BBC News bosses choose to hire people leaning more left than right, which sometimes you can see for yourself, when oponions start to creep into discussions and interviews, so much so even a four year old can pick up on, and all it manages to do is spawn more right leaning broadcasters to what they see is righting the wrong.

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