Let’s play Woke Bingo. The rules are simple: every time someone says ‘woke’, feel free to shout ‘bollocks’ (you’re almost certain to be on the money).
You could start playing with last weekend’s edition of Mail on Sunday – “Top Tory launches TV rival to ‘woke wet BBC’.”
Sir Robbie Gibb is a former adviser to Theresa May (terrible Tory PM but a sight better than the one we’ve got now). Before that, he worked for the ‘woke wet BBC’, where he was in charge of the political programme output.
Any argument can be made into a plank with which to beat the BBC.
For instance, the fact that a noted Tory ran the political output of the BBC adds ammunition to those who see the BBC as a right-wing conspiracy organisation.
Gibb is now part of a media consortium behind GB News, which dismisses the BBC as “the most biased propaganda machine in the world”.
The BBC doesn’t do everything right and sometimes its behaviour seems designed to bring about its own downfall.
One of the chief architects of anti-BBC feeling is former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, the nation’s least favourite toad (happy to show bias on that one).
Farage was too often given undue prominence by the BBC, especially on Question Time, in a misguided attempt to counter allegations of anti-right bias – How can we be anti-right, here’s Nasty Nigel again.
Same case with Andrew Neil, a prominent voice on the right who was gifted a lofty platform on the BBC. Now Neil is reported to be joining Toad Master Farage in a separate right-wing news TV platform from Rupert Murdoch.
The template for both of these new ventures would be Murdoch’s own Fox News, the highly profitable American channel filled with opinionated ranting of the sort we don’t see here on TV.
Our broadcasting rules on due impartiality prevent a news channel from showcasing the one-sided opinion merchants you see on Fox. So it is likely that these would be opinion channels rather than news channels, although the edges will be muddied.
New channels cover most topics as and when they happen, and make editorial decisions that leave them open to accusations of bias. Opinion stations just jump onto their soap box and shout, lacking any wider responsibility.
The BBC has many enemies. They include free-range extreme right-wingers, disgruntled left-wing followers of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, conspiracy lovers of all political stripes who believe Covid-19 is a state-create myth propagated by the BBC, and self-serving media barons who stir up nonsense stories about Land of Hope and Glory.
I’d say the BBC is not truly biased or woke or wet, although it does tie itself in knots trying to please all of its critics, and consequently risks pleasing no one.
‘Left-wing BBC comedy’…
Also in the news this morning, the Daily Telegraph reports that new director general Tim Davie is threatening “to axe Left-wing BBC comedy” which he sees as too anti-Trump, anti-Tory and anti-Brexit.
Whether this is true remains to be seen, but surely it misses the point that satirical comedy tends to aim upwards – and as the Tories are nearly always the ones in power, they are rightly the butt of many jokes.
Have I Got News For You is one comedy show likely to displease Mr Davie (if that Telegraph story is true). Well, it’s past its best but still rises to the moment on occasions, and I watch out of mostly happy habit.
But just imagine, if only we could think of a right-wing politician who used an appearance on HIGNFY to burnish his popular image and twice went on to host the show.
And who was promoted in this disgraceful way by the woke wet BBC? Yup, Boris Johnson, Tory stand-up comedian and part-time prime minister.