To defend the BBC is usually to address it's criticisms. Very few of them are actually valid, so I won't bother.
Without the BBC the quality of media in this country would plummet.
Have you seen other English language media?
Yes there's some good TV shows that come out of America, and the Hollywood machine of course, even the odd film out of Australia occasionally.
But have you seen their news?
All news has a form of bias. Accusations of bias are launched at every media outlet, and this is fair to some extent.
However the BBC goes out of it's way to avoid accusations of bias, particularly political bias, and anyone looking with a critical eye can see that in comparison the BBC reports with less bias than their UK competitors, and a damn sight less than any American news outlet.
Yes they occasionally go along with the news agenda set by others, but for the most part on their national broadcasts they are as impartial as possible.
Compare this to their accusers. Every single newspaper in this country has a fairly transparent bias in favour of a certain world view.
The BBC has to find the middle ground here, and indeed try to report in a way that the majority of people will find acceptable.
(written in November 2010, unfinished but published anyway, god knows we need the content)