A biased BBC isn't worth its licence fee
The Rev Paul Flowers has been exposed as a buffoon, who had no idea of the size of the bank of which he was Chairman.
He has also been shown by hard evidence to be a grotesque hypocrite, with a personal life quite out of keeping with his position in the Methodist Church.
Those who trusted him have acted accordingly. The Methodist Church has suspended him indefinitely. The Co-operative Bank forced him to resign. Even the Labour Party, no stranger to internal irregularities, has suspended him.
The Mail on Sunday, acting quite properly in the tradition of robust journalism, played a major part in his downfall by exposing his drug abuse. Mr Flowers might well feel aggrieved at that. Even saints (which he is not) dislike being shown up in public.
But why did the supposedly impartial BBC feel it was its job to sympathise with Mr Flowers, and to give him a platform for an orgy of public self-pity, combined with crude, baseless abuse of this newspaper?
The BBC’s bias is most clearly shown by its frequent failures to pursue and interrogate those with whom it secretly sympathises. Yet it will turn like a tiger on those of whom it secretly disapproves.
Who can forget Jeremy Paxman’s relentless interrogation of former Tory Home Secretary Michael Howard, in which he asked the same question 12 times?
But in his encounter with Mr Flowers, Mr Paxman was transformed from tiger into purring pussycat.
His questions were gentle lobs. He failed to rebuke Mr Flowers for blatantly flattering him with allusions to his supposed ferocity.
Mr Paxman even laughed sycophantically at an unfunny remark about scripture, as if the two men were Oxbridge dons maundering over the port.
He did not press Mr Flowers on his not-very-Christian unwillingness to offer a proper apology for his actions or show any convincing remorse.
He failed to challenge Mr Flowers’s refusal (on spurious legal grounds) to discuss his alleged drug abuse, or his claim that he cannot afford to sue The Mail on Sunday, in this era of no-win, no-fee lawyers.
The real reason for his silence is that this newspaper’s stories are true.
We cannot know the reason for this toothless, flaccid performance by the famed Grand Inquisitor of the BBC.
But there is a clue in the way in which Mr Flowers was wholly unchallenged when he used the interview to attack The Mail on Sunday as ‘pseudo-fascist’, the sort of baseless, politically illiterate abuse that might be shouted at a student demonstration, rather than spoken by a man of the cloth.
How ironic that last week’s Mail on Sunday revealed Mr Paxman’s Newsnight colleague Duncan Weldon tried to minimise his own past as a supporter of the BNP.
The BBC simply does not deserve the great privilege of the licence fee if it cannot try harder than this to be fair.
The Queen herself will never complain openly about anything. But the Government should be ashamed of the thoughtless way in which they have overloaded the Monarch’s schedule in the first week of June.
They should also note that the 87-year-old Head of State has been forced to take on back-to-back engagements precisely because her Parliament, full of fit and well-paid young men and women, has so little to do.
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