The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has a definite feminist bias, particularly the BBC online. It is perfectly acceptable for outlets such as The Guardian to be biased because I can choose whether or not to support them. The BBC, however, is funded by a ‘poll-tax’ on television ownership and most of us have to pay for it and have no choice in the matter. That means the BBC has to hold itself to very high standards of objectivity in reporting.
When it comes to reporting party political issues the BBC, by and large, does a good job. But then again, that is easy because you only have to make sure you invite equal numbers of interviewees from the two main parties. Where the BBC gives itself away is in the reporting of cultural issues.
The headline below appeared on the BBC online on the 31st August 2021.
The article is about feminist fly-posting, which is putting up posters without the permission of the property owner. They are a source of irritation to most people including myself. The headline, however, gives the impression that women risked fines for their feminism. Not so, feminists would be treated the same way as anyone else caught fly-posting. For example, anti-vaxxers and COVID-denialists. The clickbait headline presented an inaccurate picture. The article also gave the impression that these women were ‘bravely’ risking fines. The reality is that the risk of being caught is very low indeed and fly-posting is just just one of many low-grade public nuisances along with litter and graffiti.
The headline also fed into the narrative that women’s voices are not heard heard through normal channels and as a result they have to resort to the sort of strategies adopted by underground revolutionaries. The reality is of course different. Others have shown that at every level, a young, mainly female demographic with strong political views, dominates publishing. See blog post toxic femininity and publishing and two other useful articles. One, in UnHerd, How Activists Captured Publishing by Sam Leith and two, in The Critic, Publish or be Damned by James Innes-Smith. What this means is that when it comes to relations between men and women it is almost exclusively, the feminist perspective that is heard. There should be no need for feminists to resort to fly-posting to get their point across.
In response to numerous complaints, the BBC argued that headlines have to be concise, which of course they do. But they can also be accurate. Here is my suggestion, if the BBC thinks this story deserves coverage; feminists risking fines for fly-posting.