Here's a little riddle.
I believe that Rupert Murdoch, an Australian with US citizenship, has far too much influence over politics in this country and that he uses his media outlets to push his political agenda at every opportunity.
It is accepted by all but the most confused individuals that the output of News Corp is habitually politically biased. It is also undeniable that British politicians feel they must court him in order to ensure that he doesn't set his attack dogs on them and that he has had considerable influence over the policies of New Labour. Lance Price famously described him as the 24th member of Blair's cabinet and he has access to the Prime Minister the likes of which ordinary members of the public could only dream of.
This is not good.
Whenever I try to draw attention to this, there will always be someone who broadly shares Murdoch's political views ready to tell me I'm a patronising git. "That's so typical of a condescending bruschetta munching Guardianista. You assume that the great unwashed are stupid mindless drones being helplessly brainwashed by this bias. People are smarter that that, you know. You leftists just can't come to terms with the fact that people can think for themselves..."
That sort of thing.
Here's the riddle.
Murdoch's newspapers, and others who would benefit from the removal of a reasonably neutral news service, constantly harp on about the damaging affects of the alleged bias of the BBC.
So, can the media shape public opinion or not?
And can I have my cake and eat it a the same time?
(I've left all the rest of the stuff about alleged BBC bias out because I really just want to focus on this one question. You probably won't be surprised to learn that I do already know that the license fee is compulsory for anyone who receives or records television programmes in this country.)