BBC News has a Center bias. AllSides gives this bias rating with low confidence. We downgraded our confidence in this rating from "medium" to "low" following a July 2020 independent review of BBC. AllSides has found some evidence that BBC may display a slight Lean Left bias.
A Center media bias rating does not necessarily mean a source is unbiased, neutral, perfectly reasonable, or credible. It simply means the source or writer rated does not predictably publish perspectives favoring either end of the political spectrum — conservative or liberal. A Center outlet may not show much predictable bias, or its bias leans to the left and right equally at different times. Center doesn't mean better! AllSides encourages people to read outlets across the political spectrum. A media outlet with a Center rating may omit important perspectives, or run individual articles that display bias, while not displaying a lot of bias overall.
AllSides details an example of BBC displaying a left media bias in its reporting of summer 2020 protests in London, which BBC described as "largely peaceful." AllSides uncovered evidence that there was a significant amount of violence at the event.
A July 2020 independent review by an AllSides staffer found BBC does not display many of the common types of media bias, though it sometimes presents subjective statements as fact and employs slant, which is when reporters only tell part of a story and omit other perspectives.
BBC has shown it takes claims of bias into account. In May 2020, BBC announced it had hired a bias-checker for its social media accounts to ensure the taxpayer-funded outlet remained neutral, following a controversy that reportedly let to tens of thousands of complaints, according to The Guardian. In the incident, BBC Newsnight‘s Emily Maitlis reportedly declared as fact that the prime minister’s senior aid Dominic Cummings “broke the rules” and Boris Johnson’s “blind loyalty” to Cummings allegedly led to “fury, contempt and anguish” from the public. BBC reportedly deleted the viral clip of the comments from Twitter, and issued a statement that it “did not meet our standards of due impartiality" and stated “staff have been reminded of the guidelines" of impartiality. BBC also set up a dedicated page for complaints.
On Dec 27, 2013, the AllSides Bias Rating™ for BBC wasCenter. This rating represented the bias for the news pages published online, but did not reflect opinion or editorial content. As of July 2016, a small majority of nearly 800 AllSides users who voted on The BBC's bias rating disagreed with our rating of center, but those who disagreed are split on whether it is left or right, so the BBC bias rating remained center.
According to the 2014 Pew Research Study, Where News Audiences Fit On the Political Spectrum, 26% of BBC readers hold political values to the political center or with mixed values. Roughly 60% of BBC’s audience holds left or left-of-center political values (compared with 38% of all respondents to the survey). About 13% of BBC’s audience holds right or right-of-center political values (compared with 26% of all respondents to the survey).
Claims of BBC Media Bias
One BBC anchor, Andrew Marr, stated that the BBC has a liberal bias. It was not specified if whether this referred to all BBC news coverage, or just editorial pieces.
According to Wikipedia:
The BBC has long faced accusations from conservatives of liberal and left-wing bias. Accusations of a bias against the Premiership of Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party were often made against the BBC by members of that government, with Margaret Thatcher herself considering the broadcaster's news coverage to be biased and irresponsible. In 2011, Peter Sissons, a main news presenter at the BBC from 1989–2009, said that "at the core of the BBC, in its very DNA, is a way of thinking that is firmly of the Left". Another BBC presenter, Andrew Marr, commented that "the BBC is not impartial or neutral. It has a liberal bias, not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias." Former BBC director Roger Mosey classified it as "liberal defensive."
About BBC News
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a public service broadcaster that was founded in 1922 by John Reith. Based in the United Kingdom, BBC is the largest broadcaster in the world with approximately 35,000 total employees, attracting an estimated weekly audience of 76 million, and broadcasting worldwide in 28 languages. The BBC World News channel is a 24-hour information outlet that broadcasts a diverse mix of news, such as sports, weather, business, and current affairs. Until the television became culturally significant, the BBC was broadcasted on the radio throughout the United Kingdom. The radio reached every family in the UK.