Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic has slammed the BBC for a secular and liberal bias which pervades their news and current affairs programmes.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien also warned that prominent atheists such as Richard Dawkins are given disproportionate airtime by the broadcaster.
The Cardinal’s comments were echoed by a former BBC assistant editor who said that the bias is so “dominant” at the Corporation that it is deemed a “neutral world view”.
Only last week the BBC Director General Mark Thompson said that the Corporation had previously been massively biased towards the political left.
Now, in an interview with The Sunday Times, Cardinal O’Brien criticised the BBC saying: “Senior news managers have admitted to the Catholic church that a radically secular and socially liberal mindset pervades their newsrooms.
“This”, he said, “sadly taints BBC news and current affairs coverage of religious issues”.
The Roman Catholic leader also called on the BBC to appoint a religion editor, something for which a Church of England bishop has also called.
The Sunday Times also reported an ex-BBC Newsnight assistant editor saying that many senior journalists at the Corporation agree that it is secular, socially liberal and has an institutional bias.
David Kerr, who now works for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland said: “The biggest problem is that the philosophy is so utterly dominant that it’s presumed to be a neutral world view”.
He commented: “That’s what leads to so many instances of unthinking, unintended, institutional bias against both traditional forms of Christianity and social conservativism in general.”
A spokeswoman from the Corporation said: “The BBC’s commitment to religious broadcasting is unequivocal.
“BBC news and current affairs has a dedicated religion correspondent, and works closely with BBC Religion, ensuring topical religious and ethical affairs stories are featured across all BBC networks.”
In May BBC presenter Roger Bolton said the BBC television is in the hands of “secular and sceptical” executives who ignore religion.
He also commented that bosses at the broadcaster’s TV channels “view religious coverage as a rather tiresome obligation to be minimised rather than a rich and promising area to explore”.
Speaking to the New Statesman BBC boss Mark Thompson said that despite previous accusations that the corporation has been pushing for the legalisation of assisted suicide, the BBC doesn’t campaign on political issues.
He said: “The BBC is not a campaigning organisation and can’t be, and actually the truth is that sometimes our dispassionate flavour of broadcasting frustrates people who have got very, very strong views, because they want more red meat. Often that plays as bias.”
However, In February the BBC faced allegations of pursuing an “incredibly zealous” campaign in favour of assisted suicide from a group led by Lord Carlile.
The Care Not Killing Alliance accused the BBC of providing “biased” coverage on the issue, after it broadcast Sir Terry Pratchett’s lecture encouraging “euthanasia tribunals”.