Last week the BBC revealed the salary rates for employees earning over £150k per year. The furore has been immense with three distinct themes being clear. There are enormous pay gaps based on gender (that’s male and female if you were unsure), race and class. The BBC is one of the world leaders in lecturing others about equality, racism and classism and to no one’s surprise, they are the world leaders in the very things on which they presume to chide others. For some recent lectures, err I mean articles from the BBC on this subject, you can read here and here.
The wages the British public pay the presenters is enormous to start with and any comparison to the private sector is irrelevant as the BBC is always at pains to point out to everyone how they are different to private industry when it comes to their function.
Presenter bias and political leanings being justified is all well and good, but when it comes to pay they want to be judged like everyone else. Their reasoning is as hypocritical as their reporting and their treatment of staff.
To quote a few salient points from The Weekend Australian:
‘Two-thirds of the corporation’s 96 highest earners are men and the top five collectively made three times the salaries of the five best-paid women.
A race divide was also criticised, after it emerged that (Chris) Evans received roughly the same as all black and minority ethnic high-earners put together. The 10 BME broadcasters who made the list collectively earned up to £2.24m.
Female broadcasters whose salaries fell below the £150,000 threshold included Jane Garvey and Jenni Murray, who present Women’s Hour on BBC Radio 4; Lyse Doucet, the BBC’s chief international correspondent; and Emily Maitlis, a presenter on Newsnight on BBC Two.’
Sky News have done a little extra digging and found that there is a significant class gap in employment at the BBC as well:
‘I’ve been doing some research and number crunching. The list contains over 80 on-screen names. No fewer than 45% of the BBC’s best paid stars went to private schools. That compares to 7% of the nation overall.
Just think about that. If you send your child to private school it increases their chances of being one of the biggest names in TV and media by a factor of six.
The gender pay gap may be too large but it’s not nearly as big as the class pay gap for the people who never made it in the first place because of their background.’
Generally, libertarians are not interested in people’s gender, race or class, they’re interested in their ideology and belief system. In an employment situation, their only interest would be if someone can do the job and this is a typical libertarian view on life and society. Fixations on gender, race and class are simply tools of diversion and division from cultural Marxists used to create wedge issues. When it comes to the BBC, these are the issues they constantly fixate on and use to frame public debate; at least it is when it comes to everyone else. ‘Do as we say, not as we do’ apparently.
There is only one type of diversity the BBC needs and it’s the type they ferociously fight against: diversity of opinion and diversity of philosophy. The BBC is a monolithic and monochromatic social and political black hole representing the views of a social clique, and it uses its immense size and influence to continually distort public debate and warp opinion.
This is an excellent opportunity to remind ourselves of the common sense libertarian view on government involvement in this type of service. Like almost all services governments try to deliver, they become cost bloated and tend to become an extension of the overarching philosophy of government.
Whatever the question is, more government is the answer and with that enlargement comes more taxes, more control and less liberty.
If there was ever an argument for state media in any developed country, those arguments have long since evaporated and even the flimsiest pretence can be blown away with simple reasoning. It’s 2017: an age when people get their news from a thousand sources on a thousand platforms from every conceivable viewpoint. No one needs a 400 pound schoolmarm telling them to treat everyone equally while they do exactly the opposite.
The way to fix this latest piece of hypocrisy from the BBC is not to increase costs, so wages can be lifted or to reduce wages to make them equal. The solution is to sell it off and allow media wages to be regulated by marketplace supply and demand just like they are in every real world media organisation. That way, media organisations and content live or die by the allocation of your dollar, not by compulsory fees or taxes propping up an organisation that attacks and undermines cultural views it doesn’t like.
One very interesting side point to come out over this is statements from both sides of politics about direct interference to ‘fix’ the problem. British Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said the government would push the BBC to cut rather than raise pay to tackle the divide. Labour indicated that Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn would slash the income of top-earning BBC stars if he entered Number 10. A senior party source confirmed that its pledge to implement a maximum 20-1 ratio between the highest and lowest-paid staff in public sector organisations would apply to the BBC.
So there you have it. Seems like the government can intervene in the operations of the state broadcaster after all. Now if they’d only address their blatant bias they might be onto something.