Guess what? This report based on actual, real evidence and not ideas plucked from the hot air of a rightwing dinner party, found there was no leftwing bias. Yet again, coverage was tilted to the right.
Among political sources, Labour and Conservatives dominate coverage accounting for 86% of source appearances in 2007 and 79.7% in 2012. Our data also show that Conservatives get more airtime than Labour. Bearing in mind that incumbents always receive more coverage than opposition politicians, the ratio was much more pronounced when the Conservatives were in power in 2012.The observations made in my small examination of Question Time appearances are borne out by the systematic study of BBC output.
In strand one (reporting of immigration, the EU and religion), Gordon Brown outnumbered David Cameron in appearances by a ratio of less than two to one (47 vs 26) in 2007. In 2012 David Cameron outnumbered Ed Milliband by a factor of nearly four to one (53 vs 15). Labour cabinet members and ministers outnumbered Conservative shadow cabinet and ministers by approximately two to one (90 vs 46) in 2007; in 2012, Conservative cabinet members and ministers outnumbered their Labour counterparts by more than four to one (67 to 15).
In strand two (reporting of all topics) Conservative politicians were featured more than 50% more often than Labour ones (24 vs 15) across the two time periods on the BBC News at Six. So the evidence is clear that BBC does not lean to the left it actually provides more space for Conservative voices.
Yes, sure, a foam flecked Tory will be able to find reports that are critical of the government's record, or an occasional item on the EU in which it is not denounced as the USSR's second coming. But facts are stubborn things. The numbers show the BBC is a big C Conservative institution.