Radio 4's Thought For The Day is embroiled in Left-wing bias storm

Radio 4’s Thought For The Day is embroiled in Left-wing bias storm over its No 10 ‘sleaze’ claims

  • Recent Radio 4 segments have included veiled criticism of political figures
  • One Thought For The Day contributor referred to Greensill lobbying controversy
  • Critics say comments have no place in slot dedicated to spiritual contemplation

The BBC has been accused of breaching impartiality guidelines by including Left-wing bias and anti-Government rhetoric in its prestigious Thought For The Day slot.

Recent editions of the segment, which is broadcast every day as part of Radio 4’s Today programme, have included veiled criticism of senior political figures and even references to recent sleaze scandals.

Critics say the comments have no place in a slot dedicated to spiritual contemplation and meditation and are unacceptable so close to the nationwide elections on Thursday.

The row centres on three editions of the programme broadcast towards the end of last month.

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg last night said he had taken pains not to name any individual in relation to the quote about bodies piling up

Novelist and screenwriter Rhidian Brook, who has been a contributor to the slot for over 20 years, referred to the Greensill lobbying controversy, remarked that ‘the old paradigm of having friends in high places still persists’ and added: ‘We have witnessed a series of situations which look like privileged people gaining privileged access to privileged people because of their privileged position.

Novelist and screenwriter Rhidian Brook, who has been a contributor to the slot for over 20 years, referred to the Greensill lobbying controversy, remarked that ‘the old paradigm of having friends in high places still persists’

‘It has caused some to suggest that we are living in a chumocracy.’

In another recent appearance, he said that ‘a malodorous cloud has hung over many recent news stories, a stench of injustice, a whiff of scandal, the smell of a rat.’

Meanwhile, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg said on the show: ‘Whoever spoke the terrible sentence about bodies piling up rather than another lockdown, it has added insult to injury and brought tears, pain and well warranted anger. It’s exactly what we don’t want in the public discourse. ‘

Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg last night said he had taken pains not to name any individual in relation to the quote about bodies piling up. 

Last night, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen MP said: ‘There is more than a whiff of political bias here.

‘This would appear to be politically motivated bias and in breach of BBC purdah rules which dictate what can be broadcast in the run-up to an election.’

‘I think it’s clear that Thought For The Day is no longer telling the Gospel truth.’

For his part, Mr Brook rejected any suggestion of bias and said: ‘I would defend the slot’s right to speak truth to power. Over the years, I have always done that irrespective of which government was in power.’

A BBC spokesman said: ‘Thought For The Day always features speakers from the world’s major faith traditions reflecting on topical events and issues in the news, as these selected ones do.

‘Listeners hear a wide range of views across different episodes as well as throughout the Today programme, meeting the BBC’s editorial standards for impartiality.’

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