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Can We Trust the BBC? Hardcover – April 10, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (April 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826494277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826494276
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,724,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"expected to cause quite a stir."
(Oliver Marre, Observer, 05/11/2006 Observer)

"wonderful book"
(Damian Thompson, Telegraph Blogs, 'Holy Smoke')

"[Aitken] has certainly got hold of something."
(Eastern Daily Press)

Review in The Morning Star, April 2007
(Steve Andrew Morning Star)

Mentioned at end of authors own article.
(Robin Aitkin The Catholic Herald)

mentioned in The Catholic Herald (after an article by Robin Aitken)
(The Catholic Herald)

Op-ed piece byAitken.- Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2007 (The Wall Street Journal)

-Mention. TCS Daily, April 12, 2007 (TCS Daily)

Title mentioned in review by Alex Danchev in Times Literary Supplement, 2008.


'Can we trust the BBC? According to .. Aitken, the short answer is no. Aitken's is a sceptical question. The straight-talking, right-thinking Aitken is the man to administer it.'
Times Literary Supplement, 16 May 2008
(Alex Danchev Times Literary Supplement)

"A much needed and brilliant expose."

Contemporary Review, September 2008


Mention in article concerning author's charity work. Oxford Times, October 2009


"expected to cause quite a stir."
(Sanford Lakoff Observer)

"wonderful book"
(Sanford Lakoff)

"[Aitken] has certainly got hold of something."
(Sanford Lakoff)

Review in The Morning Star, April 2007
(Sanford Lakoff Morning Star)

Mentioned at end of authors own article.
(Sanford Lakoff The Catholic Herald)

Op-ed piece byAitken.- Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2007 (Sanford Lakoff)

-Mention. TCS Daily, April 12, 2007 (Sanford Lakoff)

'Can we trust the BBC? According to .. Aitken, the short answer is no. Aitken's is a sceptical question. The straight-talking, right-thinking Aitken is the man to administer it.'
Times Literary Supplement, 16 May 2008
(Sanford Lakoff Times Literary Supplement)

About the Author

Robin Aitken is a former BBC reporter and journalist. He spent twenty-five years working across all levels within the corporation, from local radio to the Today programme.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Rusty Johnson on June 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Beeb's Bias

WSJ Online Journal

By ROBIN AITKEN
June 29, 2007

I experienced a sense of vindication recently when I read that the BBC was about to publish a document admitting a pervasive liberal-left bias in its output. As this was the theme of my recent book, "Can We Trust the BBC?," it seemed I would be able to indulge in a spectacular bout of I-told-you-so-ing. Alas, that brief, heady moment proved premature. For while the report is a careful piece of research, it pulls its punches when it comes to bias within its own News and Current Affairs department -- where it matters most. Richard Tait, chairman of the BBC's "Impartiality Steering Group," point-blank denied that there is any bias in its news output. The Beeb has never been distinguished by a culture of robust self-criticism.

I know this from experience: Toward the end of my 25 years as a BBC reporter I began writing a series of internal memos, first to senior news executives and finally to the BBC's Board of Governors, detailing an entrenched liberal-left bias that seriously undermined the BBC's claim to be an impartial news provider. Referring to well-documented incidents, I posed several questions: Why did we keep hiring established left-wing pundits, but never any journalists with right-wing credentials? Why did we use "right wing" as a yah-boo term to mean "anything we don't like"? Why did we never give U.S. actions the benefit of the doubt -- in contrast to our strenuous efforts to be "fair" to Britain's avowed enemies?

The reaction was a studied indifference from everyone up the command chain. In a way, the BBC's attitude makes sense. The most important asset for any news organization is credibility.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Aitken tells the following story. After a bombing incident in which Prime Minister Thatcher was nearly killed by the IRA he heard this not untypical comment in the BBC newsroom, "Pity they missed the bitch". One remark does not of course make for a picture of a whole newsroom, but Aitken provides plenty of evidence here that the BEEB is indeed less than patriotic, very biased to the Left in promoting its own agenda. For instance its enthusiastic stance for Great Britain joining the European Union, or its very soft non Cold War-ish attitude towards the former Soviet Union prevented it from treating fairly opponents of its views.

As one who has listened to the BBC for years on the Middle East I can attest to its almost total lack of balance and objectivity in relating to the Israeli- Arab conflict. Time and again there are interviews in which the spokesmen for the Arab position would blame everything on Israel, and the spokesman supposedly for Israel would be chosen from the extreme left wing of the Israeli political spectrum and so also blame Israel. The fundamental idea was always that the poor Palestinian Arabs were innocent victims and the Israelis cruel oppressors.

This is what Aitken has to say on this issue.

""My view is that the Palestinians and the Palestinian leadership is the architect of its own misfortune in many ways. Whereas, what comes across from the BBC's presentation of events in Palestine and the Middle East generally, is that in some ways, the Palestinians are a put-upon victim minority, and it's the beastly Israelis who are doing the dirty to them.

"And you know, that is not a fair presentation of the position.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jill Malter on August 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've seen public television and heard public radio on more than one continent. And there are some good and bad aspects to them. On one occasion, I was shocked to hear exit interviews on the radio with voters in a democracy. Although the race was close, the more than one dozen interviewees all were strongly for the same candidate! There was no attempt to show the other side at all! I realized at once that this was both bad and biased reporting. On top of that, the other candidate won!

Recently, I read a book called "The Voyage of the Matthew." It was produced by the BBC. And, of course, the book was recreated on public television. It all seemed pretty good to me, as the BBC often does fine work, although I have to wonder about anything it has a hand in.

According to Robert Aitken, the BBC has a strong political bias. One person Aitken mentions wrote that if it could submit a slate of candidates, their platform would be anti-racist, pro-abortion, pro-women's and gay rights, pro-UN and EU, pro-union and anti-big business, pro-high taxes, pro-government spending and intervention in industry, anti-private education, anti-private health care, pro-local democracy and local councils, pro-multiculturalism and ethnic minorities in general, pro-foreigner and foreign governments, especially if they are left-wing, anti-monarchist, anti-prison, and anti-American.

If this is true, it's not good. Yes, I am a liberal, and I have many of the same political positions. But the BBC is supposed to represent the taxpayers in Great Britain, and those taxpayers deserve coverage of their views. I'd say the same thing about any biased media.
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