Saturday 21 March 2015

Applying the BBC's 'compassion pill'

There was an interesting closing discussion on one of the BBC's favoured topics (at the moment), the housing crisis, on this morning's Today.

It featured the famous left-leaning economic commentator Will Hutton from the Work Foundation and (the somewhat-less-famous) Naomi Clayton from the Centre for Cities (an offshoot of the left-leaning IPPR think tank). 

Naomi, by sheer coincidence, used to work for Will at the Work Foundation, so that was nice. And they pretty much agreed about everything too, which was also nice. Plus no one mentioned immigration, which was nicest of all. 

A lovely Today-induced glow of socially aware niceness resulted. So there was no need then for anyone to swallow that 'compassion pill' which Newsnight discussed last night.

There's a pill now, apparently, that promotes 'compassion'. And 'compassion', if you were wondering, apparently equates to believing in social justice and opposing social inequality. [The Newsnight-following Twitterati were quick to advocate force-feeding such pills to Cameron, Osborne and Farage].

We're in he area of neuroscience here, of course. Being a typical BBC current affairs presenter, though, Evan Davis, interviewing one of the scientists behind the 'compassion pill', quickly asked him not to go into the science of the pill (what parts of the brain it effects, how the chemicals work, etc). That, however, was precisely the one thing I did want to hear about. 

What is it with BBC current affairs types and their apparent dread of scaring audiences with detailed scientific findings? 


  1. Remember, Ian Katz wanted to get away from that boring fact-heavy stuff. I hope Evan Davis is enjoying the spotlight and salary in exchange for giving up journalistic seriousness.

  2. The pay can't be that good as he can't seem to afford a suit that fits. :)


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