BBC bias is well capable of swinging an election or referendum
The BBC is an immensely powerful organisation and the way it presents news significantly impacts election/referendum results. In 2017 economists of the Columbia Business School, analysed 18 countries’ news media markets and developed a “power index”.
Across all countries, the UK had the most concentrated media sector, mainly due to the BBC. Over all mediums, the BBC influences 81% of people who consume news and has the most power to affect public opinion of any news organisation worldwide.
According to the researchers, it required just 5% of the BBC’s audience to be completely trusting of its output to give it the power to swing a close election by 1%. It could swing an election by 2% if 10% of consumers were naïve. This makes it much more powerful than, any major UK newspaper.
To achieve the same result a major newspaper would require in excess of 38 % of its readers to be trusting of its content. Poll after poll suggests that the BBC is the most trusted news source in Britain, and therefore the combination of its reach and reputation means its output substantially impacts elections and public opinion.
The trust in the BBC has been cultivated by the Westminster government, over many years and the perception of trustworthiness is easily maintained since newspapers have editorial viewpoints and priors, and the BBC claims to be absolutely impartial.
But with great power comes great responsibility and the issue of bias is critical, as it only requires a small proportion of people to question the impartiality of the presentation of a news item to reduce the impact on public opinion. (Cato Institute)
The Westminster government influences the bias of the content of news and current affairs presentation of BBC (Scotland) ensuring Scottish affairs eg independence and SNP Scottish governance are presented in a negative format or not reported on at all. The financial share of the distribution of the compulsory annual licence fee is very unfavourable to Scotland since only about 20% of money collected from Scot’s for the BBC coffers finds it’s way back to Scotland and this is only transitionary since the bulk of programming is contracted out to Menthorn, a concern whose controlling company is based offshore in a tax haven. Broadcasting policy is retained by the Westminster government which is unfair to Scotland and this needs to change so that a balanced output can be achieved. Without change the outcome of any independence referendum in the future could be prejudiced against “Yes” by between 2% – 4% massively distorting the outcome as it did in 2014.