Monday, 5 November 2018

A Tale of Belief and the BBC

Talking of hatchet jobs...

Here's John Sweeney!

As soon as I looked at the Radio 4 schedule today and saw A Tale of Belief and the Courts: Joshua Rozenberg investigates the Christian Legal Centre I thought, "That will probably be a hatchet job on the Christian Legal Centre". 

After all, conservative Christian campaigning organisations campaigning for Christian values and the rights of traditional Christians really aren't the BBC's cup of fair trade tea. (To put it mildly).

Now, of course, a hatchet job can only be a true hatchet job if it's seriously open to doubt that the person or organisation being hatcheted deserves a hatcheting. So is it open to doubt here?

Given that the balance of voices in the programme, 'talking heads'-wise, was 5:2 against the Christian Legal Centre and that I'd place a rough estimate of the total 'talking head' airtime as going quite possibly as high as 4:1 against the CLC, this certainly wasn't a balanced programme - stats-wise at least. 

And no one from the CLC agreed to cooperate with the BBC, so their voices were absent. 

And the overwhelming (im)balance of voices against the CLC was drafted in support of Joshua's narrative and the CLC's defender (who. very nicely, sent Joshua a 'thank you' tweet today) was duly contradicted by Joshua as his narrative resumed. 

Yet Joshua, who's been a part of my listening life for so many years now, did make a damning-sounding case against them, wielding either his hatchet or his scalpel (to taste) expertly. 

I was left almost entirely believing him by the end.

But I still had a bit of a queasy feeling about it all. Should I trust him on this? 

His closing words, in an only very slightly roundabout way, expressed the view that the Christian Legal Centre could and should have been prevented from getting involved in the tragic case at the heart of the programme. He could hardly have made his own view clearer. 

Maybe the CLC do more harm than good, and are dodgy, but I think I've got to the stage now, sadly, where I just don't trust BBC expert presenters, even the mighty Joshua Rozenberg, especially when they appear to be on a mission. Even if it's a perfectly valid mission. 

Is that my problem or the BBC's problem?


  1. Depends on whether you are still forced by law to take, and pay for Joshua's version, and if Joshua is shown to be less than impartial, swallow it anyway even if you have concerns to voice.

    As it is at present.

  2. It should have been called A Point of View. Then put on a balancing programme giving a different Point of View, that of the Christian Legal Centre. How about that, BBC?