Tuesday, 11 February 2014
The BBC's Double Standard on the Far Left & the Far Right
First posted: 11th April, 2013
On this morning’s BBC Radio 2’s “Jeremy Vine”, presented today by Jane Garvey, the death of Margaret Thatcher and her legacy were discussed.
One person who appeared on the show, via a live phone linkup, was Judith Orr of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).
Why has the BBC got a double-standard when it comes to the far left and the far right? I assume that the BBC would accept that the SWP is far left. (If this group isn’t; which group is?) So why is there virtually a “no platform policy” when it comes to the far right; but certainly not so with the far left? When Nick Griffin appeared on Question Time last year, all hell was let loose. However, members of far-left groups are always appearing on the BBC - and in other institutions - to discuss various subjects. Sometimes journalist and institutions have pleaded ignorance to this. (As when BBC journalists have claimed not to realise that Unite Against Fascism is a creation of the SWP as is led almost exclusively by SWP leaders. I have also heard BBC interviews with Martin Smith, Weyman Bennett and many others from the SWP-UAF.) On this occasion, however, the presenter actually introduced Judith Orr by saying “Judith Orr of the Socialist Workers Party”.
Many on the center, the left and right believe that the far left and far right “merge on their extremes”. History and ideology show this to certainly be the case. Yet far-leftists of all types have often been interviewed or given space on BBC television programmes as well as on BBC radio; as was the case with this Radio 2 example.
I know that not every BBC journalist or programme-maker will agree with this bias. However, in terms of the BBC’s general editorial and management positions there is definitely a double standard when it comes to the far left and the far right. (Indeed, they have a “no platform policy” for the far right.)
How is the BBC’s double standard justified?