One way to measure media groupthink is to find out which papers journalists are reading.
And for the second year in a row, the most widely read newspaper by the BBC staff is The Guardian, a left-wing paper with a declining print circulation and a regular contender for HonestReporting’s Dishonest Reporting Awards. Heh. That sentence also describes the BBC.
The Commentator filed a Freedom of Information request to find out how much the publicly funded BBC spends on newspapers.
The news comes despite the continuing decline of the Guardian newspaper circulation amongst the general public. The paper, which openly declares its Left-wing editorial line, is one of the least read outlets in the United Kingdom, chalking up around 215,000 sales per day in 2012, compared with the Daily Telegraph’s 518,000.
Despite these statistics, the BBC continues to purchase more copies of The Guardian (68,307 copies) than both the Telegraph (57,763) and The Times (59,490) and manages to pick up 50,398 copies of The Independent over the course of a year, a paper which registered an average of just 75,802 sales per day so far this year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The Commentator further questions why the Beeb increased its spending on newspapers by 17 percent when most UK papers continue to freely provide their content online.
Indeed, while The Guardian’s print circulation is indeed tumbling, the paper’s real influence comes from its online presence. Last year, it was the third most-read online paper in the world — 38,931,000 unique visitors, to be precise. (I’d like to know what percentage of the web site’s readers are from the UK.)
It’s old news that The Guardian and BBC are like-minded and out of touch with the British mainstream. But the Beeb’s also out of touch with the rest of the online world. If nearly 39 million Guardian fans are smart enough to read online for free, why can’t the BBC tighten its belt like the rest of us?