DAILY MAIL? ?27.10.07
Facebook reveals the BBC as a liberal hotbed
By JANE MERRICK and KIRSTY WALKER -
The BBC has frequently been accused of having a liberal bias. Now the corporation's own staff appear to have confirmed this by revealing their political views on the networking website Facebook.
A survey of BBC employees with profiles on the site showed that 11 times more of them class themselves as "liberal" than "conservative".
BBC staff have revealed their political views on the networking website Facebook
Critics seized on the figures as evidence that the supposedly impartial corporation, paid for by the licence fee, is dominated by liberals.
All Facebook members can record their political views in their profile choosing between very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal, very lib "other".
They can also keep their stance a secret.
Research by the conservativehome. com website showed that 1,340 staff put themselves in the "liberal" or "very liberal" category, compared with just 120 who were "conservative" or "very conservative". Some 340 regard themselves as "moderate".
BBC employees went Facebook mad earlier this year, with thousands signing up to log their profiles.
A total of 10,580 are registered on the site, but not all have declared their political views.
Because the website was created in the U.S., there is no choice of "Labour", "Conservative" or "Liberal Democrat".
But separate research revealed that nearly 80 per cent of those who describe themselves as "liberal" on Facebook either vote Lib- Dem (49.9 per cent) or Labour (38.5 per cent).
Just 3.9 per cent in the liberal category said they vote Tory. The research was carried out by Samuel Coates, the deputy editor of conservativehome, a Tory grassroots Internet site.
He said: "The sheer size of the ratio of liberals to conservatives surely goes some way to confirming what many Conservatives already feel about the BBC.
"They can rightly feel aggrieved that their licence fees don't go to a more representative institution. Its employees are very professional but the self-perpetuating institutional bias of them all sharing similar world views makes it hard for them to diagnose this problem.This disillusionment partly explains the dominance of conservatism on the internet."
Senior BBC journalists such as John Simpson and John Humphrys have questioned the corporation's bias in favour of the Government.
A search of the UK-wide Facebook "population" reveals a much smaller liberal to conservative ratio of just 2.5 to one.
Narrowing it down to the London network which most BBC employees have joined, the ratio is around three to one.
Earlier this year, an independent review commissioned by the BBC found that it was out of touch with large swathes of the public and guilty of a "bias of omission".
The report noted that the BBC had "come late" to several important stories in recent years, including Euroscepticism and immigration.
It said these were "off limits" in terms of a "liberalminded comfort zone".
Roger Mosey, the former head of BBC television news, told the review that the corporation displays "fairly overt support" for multiculturalism.
He recalled a news item about ethnic communities becoming the majority in parts of East London, where a reporter had told him that they had "worked really hard" to find a white resident who was happy with the situation.
Director of news Helen Boaden admitted that she had conversations with journalists who thought "you could not say nasty things" about people who happened to be black" even if they were true.
Last night the BBC refused to comment on the research, insisting it was a "private matter".
But a well-placed insider said that staff who were Facebook members were likely to be warned to remove their political views from their profiles in the wake of the row.