Is the BBC in thrall to Islam because of a Saudi landlord?
But with a Roman Catholic director general and a Methodist head of religious broadcasting, you might have thought there would have been a little reverence for the majority religion and respect for the Established Church.
Even at the cost of allegations of Islamophobia.
And then came a Muslim head of religion and ethics, and one might have hoped for a little reverence for the majority religion and respect for the Established Church.
If only to belie allegations of Islamophilia.
But the spiritual rot continues.
Peter Sissons was at the heart of news and current affairs programmes at the BBC for 20 years. He confirms what has already been confirmed: ‘At the core of the BBC, in its very DNA, is a way of thinking that is firmly of the Left.’
And he further observed: ‘…the one thing guaranteed to damage your career prospects at the BBC is letting it be known that you are at odds with the prevailing and deep-rooted BBC attitude towards Life, the Universe, and Everything’.
So, UN good; EU good; Socialism good; Green good; Palestine good; taxing the rich, good; government spending, good; Margaret Thatcher, evil; Al Gore, saint. Obama, messiah.
The logical corollary of this?
National sovereignty, bad; the ‘forces of conservatism’, bad; euroscepticism, ‘swivel-eyed’; Israel, rogue state; climate scepticism, irrational; Tony Blair, good; George W Bush, idiot; Sarah Palin, demented hussy.
But His Grace would like to look not so much at the BBC’s attitude to 'Life', which we observe and establish empirically is pathologically inclined to the Left; but rather what the Corporation makes of ‘the Universe and Everything’, for here the inculcation is far more subtle and the induction far more dangerous.
Mr Sissons says: ‘Islam must not be offended at any price, although Christians are fair game because they do nothing about it if they are offended.’
The increasing tendency for the BBC to interview its own reporters on air exacerbates this mindset. Instead of concentrating on interviewing the leading players in a story or spreading the net wide for a range of views, these days the BBC frequently chooses to use the time getting the thoughts of its own correspondents. It is a format intended to help clarify the facts, but which often invites the expression of opinion. When that happens, instead of hearing both sides of a story, the audience at home gets what is, in effect, the BBC’s view presented as fact.He warns:
And, inside the organisation, you challenge that collective view at your peril. In today’s BBC only those whose antennae are fully attuned to the corporation’s cultural mindset — or keep quiet about their true feelings — are going to make progress.While the number of committed Christians employed by the BBC is likely to be counted on one hand (if they dare ‘come out’) and diminishing, the Corporation’s Muslims are encouraged to be ‘out and proud’, if only to fulfil diversity quotas, and increasing.
But that may not be the reason for Mr Sissons’ observation that ‘Islam must not be offended at any price’.
It appears that a considerable portion of the BBC licence fee is going to a Saudi company.
While Pebble Mill moves to Salford, and thousands of BBC employees (sports, Radio 5 Live, Breakfast TV, CBBC, children’s Learning, Future Media and Technology) relocate ‘up North’ at huge expense and considerable inconvenience, there will be one winner laughing all the way to the bank.
John Whittaker is a billionaire property tycoon and the 35th richest man in the country. He is wisely exiled on the Isle of Man and is a friend of former BBC chairman Michael Grade.
Never heard of him?
The Daily Express informs us that Mr Whittaker is the boss of Peel Holdings, effectively the BBC's new landlord: ‘The company owns 200 acres of now prime land at Media City in Greater Manchester. Under a deal with Peel Media, the BBC will rent 36 acres of buildings and several TV studios. The terms of the deal are secret but Mr Whittaker’s company can look forward to large BBC cheques for at least 20 years.’
But what is not so well known is that ‘Ocean Gateway’, as the development is called, is only 68% owned by Mr Wittaker.
The other 32% is being generously provided by a Saudi multi-billionaire, one Khaled Olayan, who heads The Olayan Group.
John Wittaker and Khaled Olayan together not only intend to make billions directly from the BBC’s 20-year rental deal, but they will make billions more as many BBC staff will rent or buy from properties from them.
And let us not be so naïve as to think that this arrangement does not affect editorial policy.
There will be no Panorama investigation into the links between Michael Grade, Mark Thompson, John Whittaker, Khaled Olayan and billions of pounds of licence-payers’ money.
One wouldn’t want to cross Peel Holdings (especially if you’re vulnerable to the inconveniences of democratic election).
And neither will there be any objective examination of the BBC’s pathological respect and reverence for Islam.
One wouldn’t wish to annoy the Saudi landlord.