A group of history scholars is questioning whether viewers should trust the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), accusing the national broadcaster of presenting a slanted view of the nation’s history.
“The BBC, of all institutions, should never accept as fact arguments put forward by politically motivated campaigners. Sadly, it appears that tendentious and provocative arguments seem to be given preference, and they have often been relayed without proper concern for accuracy,” a spokesperson for History Reclaimed told the Daily Telegraph of the organization’s report, which accused the BBC of “rewriting British history to promote a woke agenda.”
The report, entitled “Can we trust the BBC with our history?,” was released Wednesday and was authored by scholars from some of the United Kingdom’s top universities, including Oxford and Cambridge universities. It details numerous examples of what the report called a “consistent bias” in programming related to British history, which the report said was mostly painted in a negative light.
“At their best, the BBC’s programmes are of high quality and are widely praised. But regrettably, it seems that the BBC, for all its merits, does not always respect the objectives set out in its charter and its claim to be strictly impartial,” the spokesperson said.
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Some examples the report cited include a travel documentary series that highlighted a 17th century slave holding port on Bunce Island, which the report said left viewers with the impression that “enslavement was a purely British enterprise.”
However, the report argues the series omitted the fact that “it was Britain’s Royal Navy which was later sent to suppress the slave trade, or that in doing so between 1808 and 1860 the West Africa Squadron captured 1,600 slave ships and freed over 150,000 African slaves.”
The report also goes after the BBC’s coverage of legendary World War II-era leader Winston Churchill, with author and broadcaster Lord Roberts accusing the network of pursuing a “fatwa” against the former prime minister.
The report notes that the BBC was forced to admit some of its coverage on Churchill’s supposed racism did not explore the full context of the issue, which it acknowledged did not “meet the standard of impartiality appropriate to a report in a news bulletin of this kind.”
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“The examples we have highlighted have other common features. They give a voice only to one side of a disputed past, even presenting false history as uncontested fact,” the report reads. “Furthermore, those presenting or being interviewed as experts generally have little or no expertise in the subjects on which they are making pronouncements.”
The report lists suggestions for how the BBC could improve its history programming in the future, including the establishment of an “advisory panel of properly qualified historians.”
“The BBC has laudable objectives and plays an important role in British soft power worldwide,” the report concludes. “But recent pandering to politically motivated activists, especially in the historical sphere, has contributed to calls for the end of the license fee. If the BBC carries on broadcasting politically motivated, gratuitously divisive and factually unreliable material such as the examples used in this report, calls to end the license fee will only get stronger.”
When reached for comment by the Telegraph about the report, a BBC spokesperson defended the network’s programming, accusing the scholars of “cherry-picking” examples.
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“Cherry-picking a handful of examples or highlighting genuine mistakes in thousands of hours of output on TV and radio does not constitute analysis and is not a true representation of BBC content,” the spokesperson said.
The BBC did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment on the report.