Prime Minister David Cameron has thrown down the gauntlet to what is bound to be fulminations from the left: he has moved to take the oversight of his country’s prestigious government broadcasting out of its hands and put it in the care of a neutral moderator.
Cameron has the wind behind his sails, however. Not only has there been increasing criticism from its usual critics and internal inquiries which reported specific prejudice on certain issues [Israel and the Mideast are notorious], but the network has suffered even more tabloid-type scandals. Not the least was a prominent child program star being accused of active pedophilia.
But the substantial criticisms of the BBC are not that different than those some of us believe afflict our own National Public Radio. You only have to listen to the relatively new mid-afternoon “Here and Now”, a review of public events apparently copied out of the universally popular late afternoon commuter “All things considered” [again with perhaps some debt to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation]. It not only is dripping with bias but is a crude imitation of its forebear.
Down Under, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has just been handed a weapon by the Australian Broadcasting Company, which suffers from the same malaise as its Anglo-Saxon government sponsored sisters. The ABC went on the air with a program moderated by a notorious pro-jihadist activist to the dismay of even its loyal following.
The truth is that in radio and TV as in other aspects of life, “who pays the piper calls the tune.” Governnent subsidies for radio and broadcasting are bound to bring with them interference from the current administration, even in the Anglo-American democracies. And subsisdies to the media are as much interference with the press as any other violations of freedom of the press prohibited by the first amendment of The Constitution.
NPR and the Public Broadcasting System’s TV are, like the mainstream media quintessentially liberal, of course. In the past five years, its line has also become synonymous with such constant defensive reporting of the Obama Administration that amounts to pure and simple slanting of the news
The American government-supported networks claim their government subsidy is minimal; but why then the howl from it and its supporters when any attempt to defund if takes life? The truth is that with all the contributions of tax-free foundations, etc., “public” radio and TV receive as much as 40% of their revenue from government, national, regional and local, as well as “non-governmental organizations” That later, my dear, is taxpayer money! NPR, particularly, is a spendidly professional news product and ought to stand on its own, with its adoring public’s contributions.
Give the relatively fat salaries paid their executives, [“double dipping” in some cases when they appear on commercial radio and TV], their huge administrative costs, and their earnings from toys and other associated sales, the government-supported radio and TV have gotten fat and even more editorially warped.
It’s time to get them off the taxpayers’ back. Or at least take the first step by neutering them with an independent and effective monitoring board as Cameron is about to do in England.