This week the Centre for Policy Studies published a report claiming to have found a left of centre bias in the BBC’s online reporting of think tanks. They also claim right of centre think tanks are more likely to receive health warnings than their left of centre counterparts.
The CPS itself is hardly impartial on the BBC – it argues for a smaller BBC and campaigns against the licence fee.
Leaving this aside there are several points about the report that are worth noting.
The report crucially doesn’t give details of the actual news stories in which the think tanks are mentioned, omitting useful context. We don’t give health warnings about think tanks, we aim to describe them. The CPS also haven’t published their own definitions for describing the think tanks concerned - another crucial omission. Nor do they provide concrete evidence to back up their claims or publish the full methodology used – although they do point to references to searches on Wikipedia.
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Francesca Unsworth is Deputy Director, BBC News and Current Affairs