Saturday 16 May 2015

Looking ahead...

In times gone by here at Is the BBC biased? I would often predict and preview the following day's Sunday on Radio 4. 

Well, as I've already looked at the Sunday website, the time for prediction has passed. The time for previewing, however, still remains. [ does the time for updating.]


...the programme I've repeatedly (and some might say 'endlessly') described as "the broadcast version of the liberal catholic magazine The Tablet" [of which main Sunday presenter Edward Stourton has long been a trustee] is, apparently, going to feature a segment that the Sunday website describes as follows:
A thanksgiving Mass at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday will mark exactly 175 years since the first publication on the Catholic weekly magazine The Tablet. Trevor Barnes has been looking in the archives.
This blog's second post detailed the programme's links with The Tablet (think of it as the Catholic Guardian) and - especially after it was taken up by Damian Thompson (then at the Telegraph) and various leading Catholic bloggers - caused something of a stir, and a change of behaviour at Sunday. That change of behaviour has been slipping again recently, and tomorrow looks like marking the full return to favour of Sunday's print version, The Tablet

Do I really have to start this blog all over again?

[Update: The report on 'The Tablet' was full of admiring comments. It made it sound like a must-read magazine. At no point in the programme did Edward Stourton mention that he's a trustee of 'The Tablet'].

And, yes, despite last week's post mocking Sunday (Ed Stourton and David Willey in particular) for acting like groupies for Pope Francis, tomorrow's Sunday will, apparently, begin with Pope Francis:
On Sunday Pope Francis will canonize two native-born Palestinian nuns at a ceremony at the Vatican. Fr. David Neuhaus, from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, talks to Edward Stourton from a prayer vigil at the shrine of Mother Alphonsine.
Fr. Neuhaus is, pace Haaretz, a "standard Israeli leftist". You'd expect nothing less from Radio 4's Sunday, would you? [Update: Fr. Neuhaus expressed the views you would expect him to express about the plight of Palestinian Christians, unchallenged.]

And, following Sunday for nigh on five years, if there's a scientific matter to be discussed (and, on Sunday, there very rarely is), it's straight on the phone to astrophysicist and theologian David Wilkinson (of Thought for the Day fame). So I'm even less surprised to find that tomorrow's Sunday has booked David Wilkinson to deal with the question, "How does God answer prayers?" [Update: This turned out to be a plug for Prof. Wilkinson's new book.]

We'll also be hearing about "the Government's...list of new proposals to tackle radicalisation". My prediction is that it will be generally seen to be a bad thing and that several Muslim 'talking heads' , in particular, will be highly sceptical about it. [Update: This was a better piece than I expected. Yes, it began with the imam from the Salford University mosque, who was highly sceptical and engaged in grievance-mongering, but there were a range of voices throughout. Typically, however, the piece ended with the views of students at Salford University saying "for me I don't believe it has to do with Islam" and complaining that "99.99%" of Muslims shouldn't be tarred with the brush of extremism.]

We'll also, apparently, hear about the rise of religiously-unaffiliated people in the U.S.A., enjoy a chat with Sunday regular Linda Woodhead from Lancaster University (the nearest university to the much-loved seaside town of Morecambe) and an emeritus professor from Leeds about what people want from a religious leader [Update: ...a feature which Ed Stourton introduced as being based on a poll commissioned by 'The Tablet' "as part of its birthday celebrations". Ed praised Pope Francis's leadership skills], and also, intriguingly, get to hear about this:
The descendants of a Jewish community exiled from Spain more than 500 years ago will be granted legal rights to apply for Spanish citizenship. Alasdair Fotheringham talks to Edward about their history and how many will come home? [Update: Well, actually we didn't get to hear this. The item was dropped in favour of an interview about the Church of Scotland's decision to allow gay ministers]. 
Will you sleep tonight in anticipation of tomorrow morning on BBC Radio 4?


  1. Excellent Post.

  2. Yes, maybe 99.99% of Muslims don’t adhere to the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi school of thought:
    ("Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting”) but most Muslims still express negative opinions of Jews and are vehemently opposed to Israel.
    This may not bother a considerable percentage of the British public who have been imbued with a similar outlook courtesy of the BBC, but it will be impossible for pro-Israel Jews to exist in this country as the demographics inevitably make low level antisemitism (whether or not in the guise of anti-Israel activism) even more mainstream.

    If Theresa May and David Cameron mean what they say about valuing Britain’s Jews’ continuing presence here then they will have to do something about ‘not tolerating intolerance’ (by which I mean not overlooking Islam-fuelled prejudice against Jews) which requires a slightly more pro-active policy than merely introducing more rigorous measures to tackle terrorism.

  3. This is bad. The BBC really has a low opinion of religious broadcasting if it allows this. And Ed "Other Projects" Stourton has lost any integrity he had left when he was unceremoniously dumped in the parking log from Today.

    1. "The BBC really has a low opinion of religious broadcasting"

      The chappie installed at the top of that department must be simply livid.

      As we are in the geographical area, which often is not distinct from the religious one, whilst aware most here are well aware, I just wanted to add two links from only today on BBC Watch:

      Turning the other cheek, and backs, as circumstances dictate.

      As it stands there is an 'unconfirmed' caveat, but as the BBC is seldom capable of even this I allow it...

      "would leave readers with a markedly different impression than the version of the story promoted by the BBC"

      The BBC as a purveyour of 'news' that at best offers different versions to likely reality really doesn't seem great value, very professional or brimming with integrity.

      I once submitted a request for a translation of a dubious story in Spanish of a story on the Falklands as my 'O' level/holiday competency was not up to the task, and it was blown off at the first hurdle as it was deemed su pequeño secreto.

      At that point I realised just how much in our name overseas was down to agenda and/or competency of very poorly supervised or overseen folk, and the BBC was not about to let folk compelled here to pay for it to find out what it was they were saying elsewhere.

      An association that I will be telling Mr. Whittingdale I have no intention of being tarred with by any means.

    2. That BBC Watch piece about the translation of what the Pope told Prez. Abbas caught my eye too.

      BBC Watch are careful to note that almost every other media outlet (from the New York Times to the Jerusalem Post and Times of Israel, as far as I can see) is reporting the same thing, but they argue - correctly - that the BBC is meant to be simply the best, better than all the rest.

      I did my own researches into that BBC Watch post, trying to go beyond 'Google Translate' to see what translation works best and whether the English language translation from 'Vatican Insider', cited by Hadar, is accurate...thus meaning that the BBC DIDN'T check it out properly.

      I'm still none-the-wiser.

      The phrase "Sia un angelo della pace", featured on the original Italian-version 'Vatican Insider' piece, does seem to mean "Be like an angel of peace" (rather than "You are an angel of peace"), so BBC Watch looks to be right.

      However, googling further, most reports in Italian seem to agree that the actual quotation was "Lei sia un angelo della pace" and "lei" throws everything into confusion, as "lei" usually means "she" and seems to translate as "She is an angel of peace", which - given the vagaries of Google Translate - could very easily be a colloquial saying meaning...

      ...well, who knows?

      It COULD mean "You're an angel of peace", as much of the media has interpreted it as meaning, after all.

      As you say, not spreching da lingo isn't helpful here and I suspect the BBC would run rings around any complaint based on this.

  4. I wasn't aware of the Spanish allowing descendents of exiled Jews to come back and claim citizenship. Not sure what to make of it, either. But I'm surprised the BBC thought something else was more important than yet another story about Jews invading Muslim lands. ;)

  5. DP, I am surprised that the BBC are not reminding us that it was the Ottoman Turks who gave sanctuary to thousands of Spanish Jews. Off topic but I had to laugh at the BBC just now at the Chelsea Flower Show featuring the " Beauty of Islam Garden ". You couldn't make it up !


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