BBC accused of ‘metropolitan liberal bias’ as new political show launched

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‘Context’, the latest instalment to the BBC News programmes list, is a new discussion show which launched on Monday. BBC presenter Christian Fraser said it would be home to “a wide range of opinion” and will “leave no stone unturned”. But critics of the corporation remain to be convinced.

Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group, Britain’s oldest conservative think tank, predicted that, far from proving the BBC is capable of presenting all sides of the argument, Context will simply “underline” its current problems.

Chief among these, he said, was its promotion of a “tired liberal metropolitan establishment” view.

He told “I made the point just the other day that for years we we’ve been told that the BBC makes every effort to provide balance, but what the BBC do on programmes like Question Time is have a Conservative MP, a Labour MP, and a Liberal Democrat MP on and argue that represents balance.

“The reality is they are all of the liberal metropolitan world view, with minor differences on the nuances of policy.

“This couldn’t have been better underlined by the BBC’s subsequent announcement of a fresh new political show [Context].”

Mr Harris-Quinney said that the direction of the show was clear before it even began.

Advertised as being among the show’s guests in its first weeks were Sarah Vine, Pippa Crerar (both journalists) and Ed Vaizey (Tory politician).

For Mr Harris-Quinney, these amounted to “the perfect embodiment of the tired liberal metropolitan establishment that underpins every aspect of what the BBC does”.

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Other guests tipped to appear on the show in its opening weeks were Amanda Renteria, former adviser to Hillary Clinton, Sonia Khan, former adviser to Chancellor Sajid Javid and Ron Christie, former adviser to President George W Bush.

Ahead of its launch, Mr Fraser insisted: “[Context will bring] a wide range of opinion and analysis to the hottest topics from around the world.

“The show will provide lively debate as we welcome a different panel of experts every day, ensuring we leave no stone unturned.”

Mr Harris-Quinney suggested that, despite the size of the BBC’s budget, such debate is far more likely to be found elsewhere.

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He said: “What channels like talkRADIO and GB News have exposed is that there is an entire parallel universe of commentators, organisations and individuals.

“The BBC have an infinitely greater budget than both of those channels combined to source a greater variety of guests, yet they use the same people with the same views over and over again.”

This follows the resignation of BBC Radio 4 presenter Nigel Rees, after 46 years, due to the corporation’s “diversity” drive.

He told the Sunday Times: “We [at the BBC] had prescriptions to have diverse groups and disabled guests. I didn’t agree with it at all but I went along with it because I had to. It came from upstairs and it seemed to be a general priority.”

Mr Harris-Quinney highlighted that, while the BBC is fond of ensuring its programme’s display a diversity of various identity groups, it suffers one major problem: “A shocking lack of diversity in viewpoints.”

A BBC spokesperson indicated they did not wish to comment.

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