I've only just seen this incredible story in the Mail; I thought the news feed was a parody at first. But no. Iain Duncan Smith is furious and has complained bitterly because the BBC led its news bulletins with the story "with more criticism of the Government’s changes to the bloated benefits system". George Osborne is said to be miffed as well. "Mr Duncan Smith claimed the corporation had run five negative stories this week alone about sickness and disability benefits, and ‘ignored’ a major announcement on an extension of his flagship new universal credit." The attack goes relentlessly on. "‘Who is the biggest opponent of welfare reform? Not a weak Labour Party, but the relentlessly negative BBC,’ he said. We have successfully introduced the benefits cap to make sure a life on benefits must not be more attractive than working and we have achieved record employment, with more women in work than ever before. But the BBC news appears to consistently rely on a narrow band of commentators who are overwhelmingly negative." The DWP has lodged a formal complaint.
This is absolutely chilling. It confirms what we knew; that the BBC has to tread gingerly because of overt threats to its funding. But it's a direct undermining of democracy. The state broadcaster must report only what the government wants it to report. It must never criticise. It must allow a minister to say whatever fiction he wants to.
Iain Duncan Smith is a very dangerous man. He has the mindset of a dictator, delusional and unhinged, and he is being allowed to wreak havoc. The BBC must not give in to this blackmail.