Sunday 14 July 2013

This morning's 'Sunday'

7.00: I'm 'live blogging' this morning's Sunday - though I lack the technical wherewithal to do it like they do it properly. So it's just me typing as the programme is being broadcast! Has my experiment with predicting which topics would and wouldn't feature on this week's edition proved correct, or not - based on prior experience of the programme's many biases (as I see them)?

7.10: Edward Stourton is presenting this week. The first topic is Ireland and abortion. That was inevitable for Sunday - a "given" indeed (as I put it in the last post)! The Irish parliament's vote to allow abortion in certain circumstances is the first subject. Edward says "the Catholic hierarchy" was against it. (Only the "hierarchy"?) He's talking to Patsy McGarry of the social liberal Irish Times. 

7.15: Next, something else I predicted: "an Anglican row over something"! This row is over the scrapping of three dioceses in Yorkshire due to a reorganisation. A report by Kevin Bocquet. Some people support the scheme, some people don't. Bishop Nick, Bishop of Bradford, is in danger of losing his job. (Nick Baines, a fellow blogger, is a Sunday favourite). The report ended with a family hoping for women bishops - a curious ending. 

7.21: The "concern" over the Egyptian Army's pursuit of the Muslim Brotherhood is being reported on now by Andrew Hosken, BBC. I'm classing that as the "breaking news from the Arab world" feature". A third correct prediction in a row then! (I wish I had this sort of luck with the national lottery!) Andrew's report gave a range of views from Egyptians for and against the Muslim Brotherhood. 

7.26: The same subject. An interview with Tarek Osman, Egyptian writer. Ed begins by raising the topic of anti-Christian violence, as a Christian was beheaded in Egypt yesterday. Tarek says the anti-Christian activity is being perpetrated by a "tiny" minority. They then moved on to the Muslim Brotherhood and its future. He says the modern MB has changed from scholars to businessmen over recent decades, and that a split might emerge between the old strain and the new strain.

7.31: The violence in Northern Ireland. Ed is talking to a former director of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council. 

7.34: Aliens. A chat about the consequences for faith of the existence of alien life with Thought For The Day regular David Wilkinson, a theologian at Durham University. I didn't predict this! Still, a plug for a TFTD favourite isn't out of the ordinary for Sunday

7.39: A report from Bosnia by Trevor Barnes, prompted by a ceremony to commemorate the Srebrenica massacre of Muslim 18 years ago. This is the predicted "Muslim grievances" story this week. (Correct prediction No.4). It's a massacre that needs remembering, of course - the biggest massacre in Europe since the end of the Second World War, but why report on it this week? I'm getting a feeling that the big religious story of this week - the bombing of one of Buddhism's holiest sites (presumably by Islamic terrorists) isn't going to be discussed. Why on earth isn't this being discussed? Why is Sunday concerned so much about attacks on Muslims but not about attacks on Buddhists (or Jews, Hindus or Sikhs)?

7.46: A discussion on the European Court of Human Right's ruling to allow killers to have their whole life tariffs reviewed, to "a predictable chorus of outrage" (as Edward put it, rather predictably). I think I can class this as my "something about human rights" story of the week (Correct prediction No.5). We heard from lawyer Harry Potter (who openly backs the ECHR ruling) and Nick Spencer of the think tank Theos (who seems to be against the ruling).

7.53: That's it for this week. 

Well, that was all very predictable. In fact, I'm gob-smacked at how many predictions I got right. Beat that Mystic Meg! 

I really shouldn't have been able to predict so much of the content of a programme in advance - but then that's Sunday for you. It's obviously a deeply predictable programme. 

Though there were no "Christian-related abuse stories" and no "call for something or other by a left-wing campaign group", all the other usual ingredients of the Sunday diet were present and correct -  the "breaking news from the Arab world", "something about human rights", "the usual airing of Muslim grievances" and "an Anglican row over something." "The abortion debate in Ireland" was indeed "a given".

Just as predictably as what was discussed was what wasn't discussed...shamefully, nothing about the attack on the major Buddhist holy site, for starters. The concerns of Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs very rarely get an airing on Sunday. They just don't seem to register on the programme's consciousness - unlike Muslims, of course, whose concerns are aired most weeks. The anti-Semitism row over the latest Lib Dem to attack Israel was also, just as predictably, ignored. I just knew the new Pope's backing for the Ordinariate would be ignored too, given the programme's previous bias on the subject. (Tabletistas are none too keen on the Ordinariate). None of the other interesting religious subjects being reported this past week - and posited in the preceding post - were considered either. How unsurprising!

Well, I think that experiment worked. I think it shows that Sunday does indeed have a number of biases, which it reveals most weeks. Given that, I will keep on doing it.

UPDATE 9.45: You can listen to the programme for yourselves now here.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent stuff Craig-may the Lord bless you for giving up a lie-in to listen to this predictable piffle.
    Have you noticed, too, the dilution of the "Sunday Service" that follows on...none of that old time religion, nor indeed any kind of sermon that sets a tone that a Christian would be encouraged/challenged by.
    Todays was from the Manchester Phil or what have you?...certainly not a place of worship I`d have known.
    Lots of Prom-type competent singers...but I`d be surprised if there was any kind of Christian emphasis on the gospel.
    Like their other OB takes on Sunday worship...very syncretistic and pagan in my book.


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