Saturday 25 January 2014

'Dateline': Business as usual

Today's Dateline London demonstrated that however much pressure the programme comes under from outside sources - usually bloggers - to be a bit more inclusive and less of a a left-liberal talking shop, it will keep reverting to type. Hence my reluctance to even talk about it any more. 

Today's castlist was  classic Dateline. It consisted of (a) strongly pro-EU, anti-Anglo-Saxon-model-of-capitalism French left-winger Marc Roche of Le Monde (France's answer to The Guardian); (b) left-wing, environmentalist, Guardian/Observer writer Isabel Hilton of China.dialogue; (c) Abdul Barri Atwan, left-wing Palestinian extremist; and (d) John Fisher Burns of the liberal New York Times - all voices very firmly on the Left politically, except for Mr Fisher Burns ("the dean of American foreign correspondents") whose ideological standpoint is hard to judge, but who doesn't seem to conform to the usual Dateline model. 

On the subject of Britain's apparent economic revival, presenter Gavin Esler's opening question posed Labour's 'standard of living' question before Marc Roche attacked Britain's economy, our standard of living and the inequalities caused by the Anglo-Saxon model. Isabel Hilton also attacked our economy, calling it "extraordinarily fragile", and agreed with Mark about the unsustainable inequalities of our neo-liberal economic model. John Fisher Burns disagreed with Marc Roche and asked 'what's not to like?' about our return to growth, being interrupted repeatedly by both Marc and Isabel for his pains. (He'd listened to them without interrupting them, but they were immediately onto him for disagreeing with them. What is it with people like them that they can't stand being disagreed with and feel the need to instantly gang up on any dissenter?) Atwan then joined his left-wing allies and attacked austerity effects on "the poor people", saying austerity is "not working" and attacking the government over immigration. (No one interrupted him). Marc Roche then expressed his approval of Ed Balls's 50% tax on the grounds of "equity". 

Typical, predictable Dateline. You could have guessed what at least three of them would say in advance. (In fact, you could have scripted Marc Roche and Atwan's contributions for them.) Who can stop the bias?

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