Friday 13 March 2015

Self-advertising on the BBC

I have to say that I didn't really warm to the initial moans on this week's Newswatch

A smattering of Newswatch viewers complained about the suspension of Jeremy Clarkson from the BBC being made the lead story on BBC News. They didn't think it merited the attention - or that the mass petition calling for his 'saving' should even have been reported. 

Given that petition (now nearing 900,000 signatures) and given the fact that vast swathes of the British public appear to have been talking about it (something I can vouch for), surely one day of Jezza leading the BBC News isn't disproportionate, is it? - a point presenter Samira Ahmed put to viewer Paul Hills.

However, I was somewhat taken up short by a point Paul then went on to make:
So often it seems to me that we get some self-advertising on the news. You know, Strictly comes up as a new item on the news broadcast. Well, I like that too but, again, it's not about news. And, actually, the first nine minutes of that particular broadcast [BBC One's News at One] it went on to talk about how the media was having lots of trouble with the election debates, and the whole thing struck me as incredibly self-regarding and the media was being the news when, in fact, the media is supposed to present the news to us, to keep us informed, to help us understand what's going on out there, rather than just bring in the stuff that just tickles their fancy, if you like, or seems important to them.
There's a lot of truth in that, isn't there? What "seems important to them" does, indeed, need questioning. 

And the BBC is certainly prone to navel-gazing, rival-bashing and shameless self-promotion (think of the regular plugs on Today for some investigation to be broadcast later that day elsewhere on the BBC). 


  1. In some ways it's the little things that count...

    Like the pro-Sharia propaganda inserted into the Home Front Radio 4 drama tonight. I haven't been following it but had it on in the car. There seemed to be an episode focussed on some salt of the earth working class character forming a mutual respect bond with a Muslim seafarer - they were bonding over their liking for polygamy. The non-Muslim was a bigamist of course. But they both agreed that polygamy was fine because it was easy to love more than one woman. Indeed polygamy was all about romantic love.

    A nice bit of pro-Sharia propaganda inserted into something supposedly reflecting the realities of WW1 life on the Home Front.

    1. Not a few Beeboids have a fondness for polyamory, so this probably seems normal to them.

  2. I think in the case of the media having trouble with the election debates, that's more news because the media people are having trouble and they hate it when they don't know what's going to happen or can't see a way to influence it. That's a big deal to them, so it takes over the news cycle.

    As for Clarkson, this is a case where I think it is news. After all, we're told so many times how the BBC simple follows what's hot on Twitter and the like. Finger on the pulse and all that. Now that some disgusting BBC boss has told the Mail that Clarkson is like Savile, they deserve all the attacks they get over this.

  3. 'I have to say that I didn't really warm to the initial moans'

    I have to confess to not watching it much any more since I went catch-up, but I have always wondered what actually got shared before the filter kicked in on what the public would be told what the public was thinking.

    However a few times I have watched it via a link Samira Ahmed does seem to be more diligent than many in pursuing uncomfortable logic threads with whatever is chosen by her producers.

    However, as a technique it can serve well to set-up a complainant collection who may not be the A-Team, hence ready for various falls.

    It's worth checking the BBC online complaints homepage to see what they usually are claiming is exercising the nation. I very much doubt it usually is.

    Someone could challenge them on this, but the suspicion would be that they'd very soon run up against the BBC's very untransparent walls. Leaving one only the option of trusting them.


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