Sunday, 19 Sep 2021

Margaret Thatcher’s ‘covert war’ against BBC laid bare: ‘Too often biased!’

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The BBC is considered to be more biased than GB News. A survey of 1,000 people by CT Group found that 42 percent of respondents thought the national broadcaster offered skewed coverage. In comparison, only 27 percent believed the same about upstart channel GB News – which vowed to give a voice to the unheard at its launch in June.

It has since been accused of right-wing bias and was described as “unapologetically partisan” by an Ofcom chief.

However, the British public saw otherwise, according to the poll, which was commissioned by GB News.

It found 36 percent of respondents considered the new channel biased.

Some 37 percent said they did not know.

Brendan Clarke-Smith, the Conservative MP for Bassetlaw, told the Telegraph: “These findings chime with what I hear from my constituents, who are sick of being preached to by media elites who live lives very different to their own.

“They don’t want a news channel that speaks down to them or tells them their views and values are wrong. That’s why GB News has been so refreshing.”

As BBC continues to receive accusations of bias, a 2014 report by The Telegraph exposes Margaret Thatcher’s “covert war” against the broadcaster.

A series of Downing Street memos unearthed by the publication show that an “unstated objective” of a sweeping review of the corporation’s finances was to “knock the BBC down to size”.

Mrs Thatcher reportedly favoured a series of radical moves to force the BBC to become more efficient, including introducing television sets which only showed ITV and Channel 4, and forcing its stations to run advertising.

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According to the report, she also held secret talks with a Conservative-supporting BBC controller, who had warned her that the corporations was “contemptuous of politicians” and saw itself “as a state within the state”.

Documents released by the National Archives show that the Iron Lady had similar views of the BBC’s coverage in the mid-Eighties.

A record dated January 9, 1985, of a meeting between Mrs Thatcher and Leon Brittan, then the Home Secretary, said: “The Prime Minister reiterated her concern about the BBC’s journalistic standards.

“News and current affairs coverage was too often biased and irresponsible; and some programmes on both radio and television were distasteful to the point of offending against public decency.”

The Telegraph report added: “In March 1985, Mrs Thatcher’s government initiated an inquiry, chaired by Prof Alan Peacock, of the financing of the BBC.

“It was billed as a wide-ranging review of the corporation’s funding arrangements and the future of the licence fee.

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“However, a memo written by Peter Warry of the No 10 Policy Unit reveals that some of the ‘unstated objectives’ in establishing the Peacock review were to ‘knock the BBC down to size, to force them to improve efficiency, and to prevent them from extravagantly expanding into everything from DBS to breakfast-time TV.”

The level of Mrs Thatcher’s concerns about the BBC were also apparent in her decision to hold talks with Ian McIntyre, then controller of Radio 3, in December 1984, the Telegraph reported.

Mr McIntyre, a former Conservative Party worker, claimed that the BBC “no longer measures up to the high standards, which it was itself instrumental in establishing”.

He reportedly wrote in a briefing note for the then Prime Minister: “Contemptuous of politicians and patronising towards the audience, it appears increasingly to see itself as a state within the state.”

Taking her pen to the memo, Mrs Thatcher reportedly underlined the phrase, “a state within the state”, three times.

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