Biased broadcaster promotes a liberal agenda
—the Noble Liar
Published: 30 April 2019 (GMT+10)
What are we Christians to do? Society around us seems set on a determined course towards total abandonment of our Christian heritage. Moves are afoot in many places to remove the protections currently afforded to the unborn child (allowing abortion up to full term). More and more, we hear of tragic cases of euthanasia, sometimes against the person’s wishes. ‘Recreational drug’ use is increasingly prevalent among people of all ages, teenagers included. Every year or so, we are made aware of some new vice or other, such as ‘sexting’ or ‘revenge porn’. Much more could be added to this sorry catalogue of woes, and many of these things are causing havoc among young children too.
Tragically and frustratingly, instead of tackling these things at their root or seeking to tighten up legislation to deal with immorality and perversion, politicians of all colours are hurriedly joining the liberal bandwagon in promoting further confusion. In many countries, the rising generations know little or nothing about basic Christian teaching and are often hostile to the Gospel. Would-be street preachers must increasingly watch their backs as antagonists try to catch them in their words and accuse them of ‘hate speech’. Embroiled in this mess are the shameless, guilty, mainstream media—epitomised by the UK’s British Broadcasting Corporation.
Robin Aitken MBE1 may not be so well known today but he worked in various roles for the BBC for 25 years, as a reporter, executive—and notably, as news anchor on Today, the BBC’s flagship Radio 4 programme. He is now a strong critic of his former employer, as his recent books have made clear.2 This article draws from points made in his latest book, a powerful polemic, provocatively entitled The Noble Liar: How and why the BBC distorts the news to promote a liberal agenda.3 Much of what Aitken writes about the BBC could fairly be levelled at equivalent influential broadcasters in other nations, for example, Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the US’s Public Broadcasting Service. However, in terms of global media influence, few broadcasters come close to the BBC’s dominance, with its worldwide audience of 372 million people every week (p. 22).4 Moreover, with massive revenue from license fees5 and the sale of programmes overseas, the BBC’s income for 2017 almost topped £5 billion (pp. 23–24), $6.45 billion US at the time of writing.
Chapter by chapter, Aitken skillfully tackles many topics—including many politically incorrect ones—that millions of ordinary people talk about privately but are often afraid, through media intimidation, to discuss more publically. Some of the subject matter, understandably, is tied to current affairs—e.g. Brexit6 or the election of Donald Trump as the USA’s President7—but much else is of relevance to all who are concerned about the mendacity of the mainstream media, for instance, how the BBC uses bully-boy tactics in cheerleading for so-called ‘sexual diversity’. Aitken bemoans the “depressing herd instinct among the ivory towers” (p. 86) which leads to an oppressive intellectual climate in universities, chambers of commerce and the judiciary—pity those who step out of line on grounds of conscience. It certainly makes a book like this a highly compelling read.
Impartial or prejudicial?
The BBC’s own editorial guidelines state, “Impartiality lies at the heart of public service and is the core of the BBC’s commitment to its audiences” (p. 95). However, on a raft of issues, Aitken’s book convincingly demonstrates that the BBC’s claim is a bald one, even “a lie” (p. 163). This includes subjects like political correctness, racism and xenophobia, doctrinaire multiculturalism (the idea that all cultures’ values are of equal worth), radical feminism, euthanasia, pornography, abortion, transgender, divorce, same sex marriage, scientism (as espoused by Richard Dawkins), militant Islam, the rise in polygamy among Muslim men, the fact that “Christianity is now the most persecuted religion in the world” (p. 229), ‘fake news’ and more. In fact, while still in the BBC’s employ, Aitken presented its governors and the Director General with a dossier of glaring examples of its biased broadcasting. This leading journalist was pensioned off for his pains.8
All of this is deeply concerning for many ordinary citizens, not least sincere Christians. There is far too much helpful material in The Noble Liar to even list, let alone discuss in an article of this length. Nevertheless, it will have escaped the notice of few readers that the BBC has increasingly engaged in the belittling of biblical Christianity—and of course, it continually exhibits strong anti-Creation (pro-evolution) bias; all of which is a far cry from the spirit of its founders. A Latin inscription in an old entrance foyer of the BBC’s well-known London building translates as follows:
“This Temple of the Arts and Muses is dedicated to Almighty God by the first Governors of Broadcasting House in the year 1931, Sir John Reith being Director-General. It is their prayer that the good seeds sown may bring forth a good harvest, that all things hostile to peace or purity be banished from this house, and that the people, inclining their ear to whatsoever things are beautiful and honest and of good report [a clear reference to Philippians 4:8], may tread the path of wisdom and uprightness” (p. 280).
Aitken provides a devastating critique of the BBC, demonstrating with great precision the alarming degree to which it utterly rejects these wonderful founding principles today. The book deserves a wide readership, Christians included. But why does Aitken describe the BBC as ‘noble liar’?
“The title … draws on a concept originated in Plato’s Republic; a ‘noble lie’ is a myth or an untruth, knowingly propagated by an elite, in order to promote and maintain social harmony or advance an agenda. The BBC prides itself on being a ‘truth teller’ … But what ‘truth’ is the BBC telling?” (p. 13).
There you have it. The truth is not for sale, except that is, when the BBC decides to steer its course away from impartiality in order to advance its own agenda.
The following excerpts from The Noble Liar provide much food for thought, illustrating how the truth is twisted and distorted at the hands of the BBC (and other influential broadcasters worldwide), or otherwise denied. They are especially interesting to read, coming from the pen of a man who is not a biblical creationist, though clearly shows his Christian sympathies. In fact, while not discussed here, Aitken sometimes quotes from and discusses Scripture in showing the anti-Christian bias of the BBC.
“Today, what was once transgressive has become mainstream—though the radicals are never satisfied and are still determined to sweep away what little remains of the old morality” (p. 138).
“Within the BBC, any idea of an objective morality has been jettisoned to be replaced by a protean morality [which easily and frequently changes] that is built on the shifting sands of fashionable opinion and is constantly changing its ground” (p. 144).
Yes, indeed, and what is needed is a moral compass which only Christian faith, grounded in the historic realities of a pristine Creation and Adam’s Fall, can provide.
“The BBC attached enormous importance to [Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion] and its author was repeatedly, and respectfully, interviewed on all the main BBC outlets on radio and television. … The God Delusion became a global phenomenon which—given its intellectual mediocrity—takes some explaining” (p. 156 & 159).
Indeed, atheist Richard Dawkins’ book has “colour[ed] the opinions of millions around the world” (p. 160) but its many daggers drawn against biblical creation teaching and Christianity have been thoroughly refuted.9
“Political correctness is a pharisaical creed, shot through with self-righteous hypocrisy; it is a way of intimidating and demonizing political opponents for verbal infelicities, while allowing terrible wrongs to go unaddressed. It is the handmaiden of multiculturalism, and no organisation has been more assiduous in promoting its tenets and policing and punishing those who transgress than the BBC” (p. 208).
“It is one of the ironies of life in modern Britain that people who think of themselves as liberal are often deeply intolerant of the views of social conservatives; the new ruling class belong to a strange new category the ‘liberal bigot’. A true liberal is one who is prepared to tolerate the views of others, but these bigoted liberals are prepared to tolerate only those views they agree with” (p. 253).
After a book that uncovers so much deceit and demonstrates the insidious power of the ‘mendacious mainstream media’, Robin Aitken is surprisingly upbeat and optimistic in his outlook:
“The liberal hegemony has created an unhappy society which doesn’t really know what it believes in. … The qualities that made Christianity a force to be reckoned with—the truth that wins human hearts and compels belief—have not changed, and will go on winning converts to its banner” (p. 282).
Well, amen to that! We must stand with the Apostle Paul when he exclaimed, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16, NKJV). If we stand under Christ’s banner, faithfully soldiering on for equity and righteousness and standing against sin, the world and the devil, we shall indeed, by God’s grace, win souls (see Proverbs 11:30).
But there’s one area that Robin Aitken fails to really deal with, the undermining of the foundations of our Christian heritage by evolutionary humanism—and the way in which the BBC has been so complicit in this. The antidote to encroaching secularism is to go on proclaiming Creation in this increasingly godless age. With God’s help, Creation apologetics has the capacity to open people’s eyes to the prevailing deceit and confusion, and to win them over to the side of Truth. This was the experience of Allen C.:
“Hi Everyone at CMI. It’s about time that I should thank you. God allowed me to find Him, over thirty years ago. My paradigm was evolution and for ten years I ignored the conflict, I would not think, watch or read anything that would mess with these two paradigms. Then one day I picked up a Creation magazine, what a change, it gave me freedom to think; thank you all at CMI, you have set me free from the conflict and strengthened my faith.”
Also we rejoice when supporters like Danzil M. excitedly tell us how CMI’s literature is aiding their personal witness:
“Greetings in Jesus Name: I have been extremely blessed by your ministry. Your website has greatly assisted me in my dialogues with atheist and other types of evolutionists who seem to worship evolution. I can say that without your material (videos, books, articles) I could never have become the defender of Creationism as I am today. …”
The ‘noble liars’ of this world can be successfully confronted, by those prepared and equipped to be noble truth-tellers.
References and notes
- His MBE (‘Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’) was awarded in 2014. Return to text.
- Aitken, R., Can we trust the BBC? Bloomsbury, London, 2007; Aitken, R., Can we still trust the BBC? Bloomsbury Publishing, London, 2013. Return to text.
- Aitken, R., The Noble Liar, Biteback Publishing Ltd, London, 2018, 288 pages. Return to text.
- See ref. 3. All subsequent page numbers in parentheses in this article refer to ref. 3. Return to text.
- Payable by every UK householder who owns a TV—amounting to almost £3.8 billion in 2017! Return to text.
- The political saga that ensued after the UK’s referendum vote (23 June 2016) to renounce membership of, and exit, the European Union. Chapter two is devoted to what Aitken sees as the BBC’s highly prejudicial handling of Brexit. Return to text.
- See ref. 3, chapter 4. Return to text.
- Taylor, J., In taking on the BBC, has Robin Aitken become a modern martyr for truth? premierchristianity.com, 21 March 2019. Return to text.
- Bell, P., Atheist with a mission, Journal of Creation 21(2):28–34, 2007; also creation.com/delusion. Return to text.
- For example: Sarfati, J., The tyranny of ‘tolerance’, Creation 25(4):6, September 2003. Return to text.