BBC Director: Britain Needs a Channel Like Fox News

Mark Thompson
Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Mark Thompson says partial broadcasters should be part of 'broad range' of channel choices.

BBC's director general Mark Thompson revealed that News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch had wanted his British entity Sky News to adopt a "Fox [News]-style" of journalism, at a panel on broadcasting impartiality last week.

Despite Murdoch's ownership stake, Thompson said "editors of the channel brushed off his wishes," according to the Guardian newspaper.

Thompson's comments, which came as a surprise to some of his fellow BBC journalists present, have made him an unlikely ally of Murdoch's despite a long-standing rivalry between the two news services.

In the U.K., public service broadcasters like the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, adhere to a standard of impartiality with television and radio hosts restricted from endorsing political parties or taking political positions on air.

While Thompson believes the BBC News services would remain impartial, he thought they should also broadcast other views deemed "extreme."

"But in the future, maybe there should be a broad range of choices? Why shouldn't the public be able to see and hear, as well as read, a range of opinionated journalism and then make up their own mind what they think about it?" he said.

Despite Fox News' ratings domination over CNN in America, Thompson believes a more leveled version could be adopted in England.

"I don't believe that necessarily means you get the dire consequences that some people see in America," he added. "Having a broader range of channels would actually strengthen that enduring tradition of impartial journalism across BBC, ITN and Channel 4. They would continue to be trusted."