These media sources have a slight to moderate liberal bias. They often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes) to favor liberal causes. These sources are generally trustworthy for information, but may require further investigation. See all Left-Center sources.
- Overall, we rate the BBC Left-Center biased based on story selection that slightly favors the left and High for factual reporting due to proper sourcing of information.
Factual Reporting: HIGH
Country: United Kingdom
World Press Freedom Rank: UK 35/180
Founded in 1922 by John Reith, The British Broadcasting Company is Britain’s public broadcaster. The company later became the British Broadcasting Corporation. The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) began its daily radio transmissions in 1922. The BBC currently provides television, radio, online services throughout Britain and overseas and is headquartered in the Broadcasting House, London, United Kingdom.
The BBC began the world’s first regular television service in 1932. During the second world war, TV broadcasting was suspended and BBC radio was an important source for news and entertainment. The BBC held a monopoly on television in Great Britain until 1954 and on radio until 1972.
Funded by / Ownership
The BBC operates under a Royal Charter, which is renewed every 10 years. The Royal Charter abolished the BBC Trust and the regulatory functions of the BBC Trust were transferred to The Office of Communications or Ofcom, in 2017. The operations of the BBC are governed by a board of directors, consisting of thirteen people. Currently, the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England David Clementi is the Chairman of the BBC, and Tony Hall is the Director-General of the BBC (Editor-in-Chief ). The BBC is financed by consumer license fees on broadcasting receivers (1947 Wireless and Telegraphy Act) which enables BBC’s UK services to be free of advertisements and independent of shareholder and political interests.
Analysis / Bias
In review, both sides of the political spectrum have accused BBC of either having a liberal bias or conservative bias. For example, an Evening Standard article based on an interview with a former BBC employee describes the BBC as a “Nest of Lefties promoting a progressive agenda and political correctness.” According to a Times of London article the BBC is biased against Israel, therefore it has a left bias. The BBC states in their editorial guidelines that they are impartial and free from both political and commercial influence. The BBC also has an Executive Complaints Unit in which the Daily Mail published an article regarding how the complaints unit works. The article states “There was also a sharp increase in accusations of political bias and religious prejudice.” The BBC then wrote a response to the Daily Mail article: “The Mail also said that the figures ‘showed the level of dissatisfaction over issues such as left-wing bias, offensive content, and inaccuracy’. In fact, there is a very wide range of reasons why people complain. For example, we often get complaints of ‘bias’ about the same programme from two or more opposing sides of the many issues we cover, not just ‘left-wing’”.
According to New Statesman research, which was examining the impartiality of BBC’s reporting shows that in certain areas they lean right, such as business, immigration, and religion. Examples of right bias, includes the BBC being accused of doctoring the image of Jeremy Corbyn, who serves as Leader of the Labour Party (Corbyn identifies as a democratic socialist) wearing a Russian style cap in front of a Moscow skyline to make him look more Russian. BBC rejected the complaints by claiming the decision to publish Corbyn in a “Lenin-style cap in front of the Moscow skyline was not designed to convey an impression of pro-Russian sympathy on Corbyn’s part but was in keeping with an editorial decision made on the basis of sound news judgment”.
A 2014 Pew Research Survey found that 60% of BBC’s audience is consistently or mostly liberal, 26% Mixed and 13% consistently or mostly conservative. This indicates that BBC News is preferred by a more liberal audience.
When reporting general news the BBC always sources its information and uses minimal loaded words in headlines such as this: Trump chief of staff John Kelly to leave White House job. When it comes to reporting on the USA and in particular President Donald Trump, there is a negative tone directed at Trump and his policies. In general, the BBC covers both sides of stories, with a slight bias in favor of the left.
Failed Fact Checks
Overall, we rate the BBC Left-Center biased based on story selection that slightly favors the left and High for factual reporting due to proper sourcing of information. (5/15/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 08/22/2020)