Wednesday 8 January 2014

The Truth (but not necessarily the whole truth)


Isn’t hindsight brilliant?  - as that character on the fast show might have said. I mean, just look at the Arab Spring. The way the the BBC kindergarten eulogised the antics in Tahrir Square, even after, or was that during, the sexual assault of Lara Logan.
 Oh how we crowed when the BBC turned out to be mistaken. Of course there’s no ‘turned out’ about it. Like all history, it’s an evolving, never-ending situation, and who are we to jump to premature conclusions. On the other hand, if you can see an imminent car crash when others are still lost in euphoria while hurtling at speed in the wrong direction, it makes sense to whisper ‘watch out!’ even though you fear no-one’s listening.

So now we’ve started to hear the trickle of uncertainty over another of the BBC’s monumental heroes. Obama is losing his haloMelanie Phillips has written a disturbing article, which I urge you to read. “Delivering the West on a platter. When, and how will we ever know how that has turned out?

Will Nick Robinson be doing another mea culpa about anything else? Perhaps “The Truth About” series. The BBC’s other biases: vols 1, 2 & 3” 
Even one of those burka’d mea culpas where the mea is a travesty of the culpa, like the faux immigration fiasco would be better than nothing. Or would it? 

The truth about immigration, in which, (as many commenters  have already mentioned) Nick Robinson failed to convince anyone whatsoever that his piece about the ‘new improved’ re-calibrated unbiased BBC was nothing more than a pro-immigration puff piece. 

Even the Guardian’s notorious TV critic John Crace had his doubts. Let me cherry-pick a quote from his review of the programme, in the spirit of quoting people-you-fundamentally-disagree-with-about- most-things to underline your case: "How do we know you're telling us the truth about immigration now, Nick?"

And the people who sensed the rug was being pulled out from under their feet, you know, the people who were alarmed at the rapidly changing face of Britain, were presented as right-wing Little Englanders, and ridiculed with a bit of patronising telly-trickery in a somewhat malicious fashion.  
Such as: Asking random attendees at a county show type event  to ‘estimate’ the percentage of immigrants, with the aid of varying sized slices of some disgusting-looking pies. Predictably, they wildly over-estimated, therefore he was able to surprise them with the ‘real’ percentage to show that there was nothing to worry about. (I’d just have liked to hear how these figures were reached. I mean did the statisticians include second-generation immigrants? I don’t trust it. Did it take into account the disproportionate amount of hot-air generated by Anjem  Choudary and his less vociferous co-religionists, for example?) I digress.

He also rattled a collecting tin in front of the same people, to illustrate the alleged economic benefits of immigration, and bring some  ‘TV type reality’ to the material sacrifices the objectors might have to make, should immigration be stemmed. (They still said they would willingly pay more taxes in that unlikely event) That Chomsky quote couldn’t be more apposite, so excuse me for using it again, following Alan @ B-BBC and Craig, here on “Is”.
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”
Still talking of exploiting or cherry picking quotes from people who you fundamentally disagree with, I’d just like to mention the Jeremy Clarkson Arctic Convoys programme that went down so well with climate-change skeptics cynics, crowing with delight at a recent embarrassing antarctic expedition - it turns out (taking ‘turns out’ in its loosest possible sense) that the whole kaboosh was plagiarized  word for word from the work of a well-know holocaust-denying revisionist historian who is suing.   

I have no idea whether Clarkson agrees or disagrees with Irving. (I hope it’s the latter, but nothing would surprise me.)


Would you believe it? The Today programme featured the quenelle again.
The French President Francois Hollande has written to local authorities in France urging them to ban the controversial comedian Dieudonne on public order grounds. French philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy analyses.” 
The interview went quite well, but  just as things were hotting up - lo and behold, “I’m afraid we’ll have to leave it there.” Why? Because of the footie news. Oh well, I suppose if it weren’t for that footie quenelle, Dieudonne’s antisemitism wouldn’t have been of interest.
As Joan Bakewell says  “It’s an unwise man who picks a quarrel with comics”

If you did believe that, you won’t believe this.
In her report about the young Afghan girl who claims her brother made her wear a suicide belt, Caroline Wyatt included a (blink and you’ll miss it) sentence, the likes of which has rarely been heard on the BBC.
01:40 “The use of children as suicide bombers is less frequent, and perhaps, still, more taboo. In the past they have been used by Palestinian militant groups....”  Is that a first for the BBC?
I rather admire Caroline Wyatt. She (?) is always well prepared and well-informed.

I forgot to mention Paxo’s interview with Dieudonne’s holocaust denying, far-right political ally Alain Soral on Newsnight. I missed the intro, but I hear  he was introduced as ‘French writer and film-maker”.  This is a good example of the BBC breaching its guidelines on impartiality. I hereby illustrate this accusation with complaints about similar breaches from both sides of the chasm. Here and here.  Don’t be fobbed off with the BBC’s excuses about  about receiving complaints from both sides (therefore we must be getting it about right.) 

The BBC should tell the audience exactly whose opinion they’re hearing, and not mask, where relevant, the extreme political/ideological affiliations of a guest by using vague misleading terms in the introduction.   

1 comment:

  1. Now that you have highlighted it, that Chomsky quote is lingering convincingly with me too, I might like it on a bookmark.
    I can hardly bear to hear the limp excuse about complaints from both sides, again. It is such an insult in the face of inexcusable bias. It is my understanding that so convinced are some at the BBC of their moral superiority, that when they pick their side of an issue, they go on to persuade themselves that they do well to "educate" us all of its merit. So, in their eyes, its not bias, or campaigning at all, they have the moral high ground, which the rest of us lack, and they fulfil their "education" mandate by relentlessly, patronisingly & from all directions, belabouring whichever view they have chosen to favour.


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