There has been a notable focus on some key men’s issues by the BBC recently which is a refreshing change for an institution often accused by Men’s Rights Activists – and even Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman – of being anti-men.
Last year we had – after decades of weekly Woman’s Hour – a 6 week run of Men’s Hour – a nervous little chap of a programme that got slapped from the left and the right but is still coming back for more with a second series of Mens Hour due this Spring.
This year we’ve already had two BBC programmes on male victims of domestic violence on Radio 4, Panorama’s “Feckless Fathers” investigation on BBC 1 and even a celebrity Grieving Old Men section on Radio 2.
So does this represent a sudden change in heart at the BBC or was the BBC never anti-men in the first place. Is the BBC just reflective of a whole range of opinions, constantly upsetting men’s rights activists with Woman’s Hour and then sending in Jeremy Clarkson to upset the “furious thin-lipped feminists” and even things out a bit?
As a proudly pro-male (and pro-female) organisation we of course would like to see far more pro-male programmes dealing with some of the serious issues that we face – particularly from the BBC that we all pay for (and let’s face it even though we now know that men don’t cause pay gap, the consequence of the gap is that men probably pay for more BBC licence fees than women)
But is the BBC really biased against men? In 2005 the BBC’s own news reader, Michael Buerk hit out at the BBC’s anti-male culture saying “almost all the big jobs in broadcasting are held by women” who “decide what we see and hear”.
The Men’s Network chair recalls a BBC commissioner refusing to accept that men experience domestic violence and turning down a radio play on that basis.
But looking at the positives, by virtue of the broad range of programmes it does commission, it’s fair to say that the BBC has shone the light on many unseen issues in the past such as women who sexually abuse children which Panorma covered over a decade before the Vanessa George case came to light in 2009.
So is the BBC really biased against men?
In parts, like society as a whole, undoubtedly yes.
Is it fundamentally and absolutely anti-male? Like society, no, and we as people who care passionately about men and boys need to make far better use of all the media – The BBC included – to present our case in a way that is irresistible to the media.
And that way maybe we won’t get so very upset when the few programmes that cover our very important issues aren’t 100% in our favour – which is an understandable response from any group of people who rightly feel their voice is not being heard.
In the meantime why not read this post on Institutional BBC bias from the Rights of Man blog and hear about the Fatherhood Institute’s Experience of being involved in the making of the “feckless fathers” programme.