Elizabeth Butterworth is right to highlight the threat the Tories’ White Paper on broadcasting poses to the BBC (“Don’t Close the BBC!”, Solidarity 404).
One minor reservation: it’s hard to argue with the “White Paper calling for presenters’ wages to be made public”. Shouldn’t we be in favour of the high salaries paid by the Corporation to its executives and “stars” being made public?
On the issue of bias towards and interference from Government, I think this operates on three levels.
Firstly, there is interference by ministers in programming, by lobbying or seeking to influence the composition of the BBC board, either directly through their contacts or by threatening its licence fee revenue.
Secondly, the Corporation in its news coverage has a “small c” conservative outlook, generally favouring the status quo, whatever that is. It often therefore echoes the Government: pro-EU, anti-Scottish independence, pro-Trident, pro-monarchy etc.
Finally, the BBC’s political correspondents are much more focussed on Westminster and its backroom battles than others, notably Channel 4’s Michael Crick who has almost single-handedly exposed the abuse of election expenses in dozens of constituencies at the last General Election.
Matthew Thompson, Manchester