Saturday 28 June 2014

Pushing Atwan up a hill forever

Not Polly Toynbee

Alas, poor Sisyphus! - punished by being forced to push an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action for eternity. Thank the gods that that poor man's only a Greek myth!

Still, it could be worse: He might have been forced to watch Dateline London for ever and ever. For his sins.

Today's edition began by discussing David Cameron, Mr Juncker and the EU. 

In an ideal world where the makers of Dateline London really cared about being 'BBC impartiality', they would have made sure that the assembled panel would offer some variety of views on a controversial matter like this. Instead we got pro-EU French writer Agnès Poirier of the left-wing magazine Marianne, pro-EU British writer Polly Toynbee of the left-wing Guardian, pro-EU Palestinian leftist Abdel Barri Atwan (again) and Henry Chu of the Los Angeles Times. 

Agnès Poirier praised Mr Juncker and said he wasn't dangerous and attacked David Cameron for "bullying", mocking "The Charge of the Right Brigade". Atwan described David Cameron's actions as "strange". Henry Chu said Cameron hadn't been "smart" here by not playing a "long game". Gavin Esler said, "But if he was playing a long game the Conservatives would be within the European People's Party, the EPP, which is the majority centre-right grouping in Europe". "Right," said Henry. Polly Toynbee then denounced Cameron for always playing "the short term quick advantage", called him "ignorant" about the process, with Gavin Esler chipping in, "There were even debates about it! Public debates about it! In English!" to back her up. "I know!", said Polly. Cameron was "asleep on the job", ranted Polly, calling him "completely incompetent". Atwan said, "But he's damaging the national interests of his country". "Absolutely," said Polly. Agnès Poirier attacked British "tabloid propaganda" on the issue. Polly Toynbee said leaving the EU would be "disastrous" and denounced David Cameron again. "And everyone will lose," said Agnès. "Yes," agreed Polly. Polly then said that Mr Juncker is the sort of uncharismatic guy people need. Agnès agreed. Atwan then agreed with her, and denounced Tony Blair. Gavin Esler moved on. And I switched off.

Unlike Sisyphus, I'm not forced to watch Dateline London for eternity. I could, very easily, if I so choose, never - yes NEVER - see Abdel Barri Atwan's Saddam-like face ever again, and never have to sit through such outpourings of BBC-harnessed leftist consensus-building ever again either.


Some demagogue

Dateline London might strike you as a funny old show to have harped on about for so long. I would imagine that very, very few people in the UK ever watch it or know it even exists, BUT it is one of the BBC's flagships news programme to the world as a whole. It is the public face of serious BBC TV current affairs to potentially vast numbers of viewers outside the UK. What would those viewers make of Britain, as seen though the prism of the endless parade of sneering leftists who infest Dateline, under the only-fitfully impartial chairmanship of Gavin Esler?

Dateline London remains perhaps the most consistently biased programme on the BBC. It has got better over the years though, perhaps (I might hope) as a result of my endless lists about it (both here and at Biased BBC). A greater number of Conservative-minded British voices appear on the programme than used to do, when you could go a couple of months without one (which nothing but British left-wingers appearing as guests), but the Left (British or otherwise) still dominates to a degree that is hardly compatible with the BBC's editorial guidelines. Plus, Abdel Barri Atwan remains the most regular guest by some margin (despite his record of extremist remarks, especially about Israel).

As I've said before the idea behind it is a wonderful, interesting one. The way it usually pans out in reality may please Guardianistas around the world, but it's not impartial BBC broadcasting in any way, shape or form.

It either needs radically overhauling - with a new presenter, a vast influx of new guests, and a huge determination to balance the panel appropriate to each edition - or it needs scrapping. 


  1. But the people were diverse. That's what the BBC mean by a range of views. Even if they all think the same.

  2. Lets call it Leftwing London.........


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