The Noble Liar How and why the BBC distorts the news to promote a liberal agenda
By Robin Aitken
To some, it is the voice of the nation, yet to others it has never been clearer that the BBC is in the grip of an ideology that prevents it reporting fairly on the world. Many have been scandalised by its pessimism on Brexit and its one-sided presentation of the Trump presidency, while simultaneously amused by its outrage over ‘fake news’.
Robin Aitken, who himself spent twenty-five years working for the BBC as a reporter and executive, argues that the Corporation needs to be reminded that what is ‘fake’ rather depends on where one is standing. From where his feet are planted, the BBC’s own coverage of events often looks decidedly peculiar, peppered with distortions, omissions and amplifications tailored to its own liberal agenda.
This punchy polemic – now fully updated to cover the Corporation’s tortured relationship with the government and explore the challenges for the new Director-General – galvanises the debate over how our licence fee money is spent, and asks whether the BBC is a fair arbiter of the news or whether it is a conduit for pervasive and institutional liberal left-wing bias.
"Bias in the news is dismally, but brilliantly, adumbrated in a new book by Robin Aitken, a BBC staffer for more than 25 years. Aitken, sick to the back teeth of the partisan nature of the corporation’s news coverage, concludes that the BBC has “whether through carelessness or hubris” given up any pretence of impartiality, preferring instead to promulgate its philosophically asinine world view."The Sunday Times
"The Noble Liar maps a world of self-obsessed and irresistibly comic liberals against whom the pendulum may already have begun to swing."Conservative Home
“The Noble Liar is going to make a lot of people feel uncomfortable. Good. Today more than ever we need to shake up the public debate about major institutions and be forced out of the comfort zone of our echo chambers. Those of a liberal disposition – who are so virtuous in their rightness that they are ruthlessly illiberal about those who disagree – may squirm at the accuracy of their depiction in this important book. Those who are happy to be noble liars to promote their greater truth may be stung by the deconstruction of how they are contributing to a festering rot at the heart of media institutions. But good for Robin Aitken for courageously taking on thorny taboos and making us rethink received opinion. Aitken uses the BBC as his main focus, but is skilful in his critique of the national broadcaster, invaluably allowing us to reflect on key contemporary issues: institutional contempt for the values of the millions of people, distortion of media impartiality under the guise of fact-checking and the preachy nature of an ever-narrower news agenda that avoids discussing prickly questions that challenge liberal consensus.”
Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, author of 'I STILL Find That Offensive!'
“I thoroughly recommend this book. Nobody should be ignorant of what they are buying with their TV licence fee.”Graham Parkhouse, The English Churchman
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- Paperback, 368 pages
- ISBN: 9781785906008
- 30 June 2020
- ISBN: 9781785904332
- 20 November 2018