BBC TV News reported on Friday that "a leading republican" had been arrested on a charge of murdering soldiers in Northern Ireland. In fact the arrested man, Colin Duffy, is not known to be a member of any of the main republican organisations in the UK. He has, however, been associated with a small group in Northern Ireland that opposes the "peace process".
The BBC's description of Mr.Duffy as a "leading republican" followed immediately on a report that a BBC an opinion poll had shown continued majority support for Britain's feudal monarchy. That report had concluded with the statement that only a minority of Britons wanted a republic.
The BBC, which has described itself as "the greatest force for cultural good on the face of the earth", justifies its annual levy on TV watchers by the quality of its progammes. It argues, in particular, that the standard of its news reporting is superior to that of its competitors. It will find it hard, therefore, to explain the use of the unqualified term "leading republican" to describe a little known individual accused of terrorism immediately after a report on support for democratic republicanism in Britain.
The Corporation has a long history of bias in favour of monarchy, epitomised by Richard Dimbleby, a correspondence who is renowned for using his job with the BBC to encourage worship of the Windsor family.