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The BBC is one of the most important institutions in Britain; it is also one of the most misunderstood. In this urgent report on the institution, Tom Mills shows that despite its claim to be independent and impartial, and despite widespread claims of left-wing bias, the BBC has always sided with the elite. Now, with the Conservative Government calling into question the future of the licence fee, and digital platforms rapidly transforming the sector, has ‘Auntie’ come to the end of the road? Mills argues that on the contrary we urgently need public digital media and a radically transformed BBC.
“Impressive ... a direct challenge to the notion of the BBC as a pillar of liberalism and social democracy”
“Reveals that far from being a sanctuary for independent journalism, the BBC is intimately connected to the power it is supposed to hold to account. This book is a brilliant corrective to mainstream histories of the BBC and a valuable reminder of the need to build a democratic media that is free from vested interests.”
“The BBC is a key element in Britain's unwritten, and rarely described, constitution. The role it plays is inseparable from the misconceptions that surround it, and that it energetically promotes. Tom Mills has set aside both liberal and conservative fantasies about the institution and describes it as it is in fact. The result is required reading for those who want to understand Britain, and an invaluable resource for those who want to change it for the better.”
“If ever anyone took seriously Margaret Thatcher's belief that the BBC was a hotbed of socialist and subversive propaganda, Tom Mills offers the opposite – and, on the face of it, more convincing – view ... Mills traces the corporation's evolution into a broadly social-democrat organization (in editorial terms, at least), and then into the neo-liberal claque it appears today: business-obsessed, apparently blind or deaf to labour relations and workplace issues, happiest when rolling out corporate mergers and balance books, but just as puppyish in its support of unpopular foreign policy.”