Nick Cohen argues the BBC is more trustworthy than bloggers. ORLY?

One of the most common lines used in defense of the mainstream media is that we need journalists, because bloggers can’t be believed. The line argues that journalists are trustworthy because they tell the truth, and if they stray the editorial process puts them back on the straight and narrow.

Nick Cohen in The Guardian runs the very same line, but in defending journalists he actually manages to show a big slab of twisting the truth himself. His example of “serious reporters and broadcasters offering a guarantee that what they say is true” in the context that “If they stray, their editors impose journalistic standards and insist on objectivity” is the BBC.

The BBC offers the most comprehensive guarantee. Politicians and lobbyists want to influence it more than any other news organisation because, despite occasional lapses, its reporters have earned the right to be believed.

The emphasis is mine, but it’s the key line: Cohen notes that there are occasional lapses. But how occasional really are those “lapses,” and are they indeed lapses or representative of a far more serious problem? Lets take a look.

BBC report damns its ‘culture of bias’

Times Online (2007)

THE BBC is institutionally biased, an official report will conclude this week. The year-long investigation, commissioned by the BBC, has found the corporation particularly partial in its treatment of single-issue politics such as climate change, poverty, race and religion.

It concludes that the bias has extended across drama, comedy and entertainment, with the corporation pandering to politically motivated celebrities and trendy causes.

BBC confesses bias on religion, politics

WorldNet Daily (2006)

An internal British Broadcasting Corporation memo reveals senior figures admitted the national news agency was guilty of promoting left-wing views and anti-Christian sentiment.

The BBC is a floundering giant with no moral sense

Daily Mail (Feb 2009)

drift and too vast to control, the BBC is a floundering giant that has lost its moral compass. Hardly a week goes by without another controversy engulfing it.

BBC Editorial Complaints Unit debags the Panorama WiFi scare

Bad Science 2007

You will remember Panorama’s WiFi program very clearly. Even the children in the school where they tried to film it spotted the problems with their methodology, and they were promptly booted out by a science teacher. …The BBC has upheld complaints against a controversial Panorama investigation into wi-fi health concerns, saying the programme had given a “misleading impression” of the state of scientific opinion on the issue.

‘Deceptive’ BBC fined over phone-in scam

Sydney Morning Herald (2007)

British media watchdog Ofcom imposed an unprecedented £50,000 ($118,000) fine on the BBC on Tuesday over a phone-in scam on Blue Peter, one of the public-service broadcasters most popular children’s shows.

The BBC was guilty of serious breaches of the broadcasting code, Ofcom ruled, by allowing a young studio guest to pose as a fake competition winner on the program.

BBC face investigation over show’s phone-in scam

Daily Mail (2007)

The BBC is facing an investigation after it emerged that viewers urged to call a ‘live’ cookery show had no chance of getting on air because it had been recorded a week earlier.

The BBC complaint of the day

Guardian 2009

I could actually go on and on and on with more examples, but I won’t. Internal BBC documents state that there is an institutional bias, they’ve been proven to subjectively edit stories, and on top of that they scam viewers.

Who would you rather trust – the BBC or a blogger? Given the evidence, bloggers would have to come out on top.