The BBC is massively and systematically biased. I'm not referring to its position on left vs right, or on Israel vs Palestine, but to another question - that of the merits of dispersed vs centralized knowledge. On this issue, the BBC has taken a strong but unquestioned stand that's wholly pernicious.
Put it this way. Why should the BBC spend so much on reporting on the Democrat and Republican primaries, when it can just quote the betting prices, in the same way it mentions the FTSE 100 index? In principle, such prices should convey all available information about Clinton's, Obama's or McCain's prospects cheaply and efficiently, saving the huge cost of having a mob of reporters over there. When the Beeb is trying to cut 2500 jobs, you'd think it'd seize upon an obvious way of saving money whilst still telling viewers and listeners what they need to know.
Of course, there are some things reporters could tell us that the markets don't - like why we should give a damn about the race. But they are not doing this.
So why is the BBC using expensive reporters rather than cheap markets? This is where its bias creeps in. It seems to believe - almost certainly unthinkingly - that reporters can do better jobs of gathering and processing fragmented and dispersed information than can markets.
Leave aside the issue of whether this is correct or not - personally, I think it's silly. The point is that this bias has very nasty effects, especially as it is repeated year after year and by other media. There are three of them:
1. It fosters support for hierarchical centralized decision-making, which in turn leaves ordinary people powerless over their own lives. If a journalist can process all information about primary elections efficiently, we are invited to believe that bosses can likewise process all information relating to company performance without a need to involve workers.
2. It breeds big, complicated government. Support for big government arises from a belief that it's possible for clever people to know lots of things and therefore manage them from the centre. Again, the BBC systematically but unthinkingly sustains this notion.
3. It undermines support for free markets. The case for free markets, as Hayek saw, is that they are information-processing devices. In rejecting this view, the BBC encourages anti-market attitudes. Is it any wonder therefore that so many markets - in macroeconomic insurance, carbon permits, congestion charging, organs, whatever - are so woefully underdeveloped?