1 July Wall Street Journal commentary - The Beeb's Bias by Robin Aitken.

I experienced a sense of vindication recently when I read that the BBC was about to publish a document admitting a pervasive liberal-left bias in its output. As this was the theme of my recent book, "Can We Trust the BBC?," it seemed I would be able to indulge in a spectacular bout of I-told-you-so-ing. Alas, that brief, heady moment proved premature. For while the report is a careful piece of research, it pulls its punches when it comes to bias within its own News and Current Affairs department--where it matters most. Richard Tait, chairman of the BBC's "Impartiality Steering Group," point-blank denied that there is any bias in its news output. The Beeb has never been distinguished by a culture of robust self-criticism.

I know this from experience: Toward the end of my 25 years as a BBC reporter I began writing a series of internal memos, first to senior news executives and finally to the BBC's Board of Governors, detailing an entrenched liberal-left bias that seriously undermined the BBC's claim to be an impartial news provider. Referring to well-documented incidents, I posed several questions: Why did we keep hiring established left-wing pundits, but never any journalists with right-wing credentials? Why did we use "right wing" as a yah-boo term to mean "anything we don't like"? Why did we never give U.S. actions the benefit of the doubt--in contrast to our strenuous efforts to be "fair" to Britain's avowed enemies?

The reaction was a studied indifference from everyone up the command chain. In a way, the BBC's attitude makes sense. The most important asset for any news organization is credibility. It is the mortal fear of "brand contamination" which in the past persuaded BBC executives to keep a lid on any discussion of the organization's failure to live up to its obligations to fairness and impartiality.

And there has been wide-scale failure. On every issue of public policy and political controversy, the BBC's instincts are to side with the progressive, liberal wing of politics...