Friday 26 February 2016

Things I've read (and can remember)

Having (it appears) become merely a weekend blogger, Friday night now seems to mean catching up with all sorts of things - and trying to remember all the other things about the BBC which have flitted across my mind in the past five days. 

(I wish the world would slow down. There's been far too much going on and my brain isn't what it used to be.)

Among the things I've read this week have been the following:

1THE CONSERVATIVE WOMAN: Biased BBC will load the dice against Brexit and Cameron’s claim he has banished “ever closer union” is a legal fiction - both by former BBC producer David Keighley.

The first piece looks at the BBC Trust's slippery behaviour - first, in slipping out the BBC's editorial guidelines on the corporation's EU referendum coverage and, second, regarding the Trust's offhand rejection of MPs' concerns about monitoring BBC bias.

The second piece includes a striking example of pro-EU bias from the BBC News website, awarding "a win" to David Cameron for 'exempting us from ever-closer union'. Whether the PM has actually done so (legally-speaking) is disputed, so the BBC awarding him "a win" might be premature (and biased).

2. THE NEW STATESMAN: The BBC has never been a natural home for Eurosceptics – just ask the young Michael Gove - a piece by former BBC head of television news/former Today editor Roger Mosey.

Mr Mosey, as might be expected, puts a generally pro-BBC case, but admits:
(1) that he "came across vanishingly few EU withdrawalists in [his]broadcasting life". 
(2) that BBC colleagues would 'hear' "the flapping of white coats" when "Tory Euro-bashers" and UKIP's Lord Pearson denounced the EU and BBC pro-EU bias. 
(3) that he thinks the BBC is too London-centric and, thus, thinks too much like pro-EU London than the rest of the country. 
(4) that like the rest of the Westminster Bubble, the BBC tends to concentrate more on "process" than "policy" (hence, presumably, all the 'splits' stuff).
(5) that BBC staff are "much more In than Out".

3. THE SPECTATORWho will watch for BBC bias in the EU referendum campaign?  - by Charles Moore... which Mr Moore hopes that pro-Leave campaigners will be monitoring the BBC for bias (I think his wish will come true!) and where he recalls a couple of hours of biased (pro-EU) BBC broadcasting on Today (a classic example of what I've recently been calling a 'snapshot').

An incidental moment in Charles Moore's piece recalls another Speccie piece by Rod Liddle (prior to Nick Robinson's arrival). Rod strongly suspected that John Humphrys was the rumoured "Tory" on the Today team. Charles suspects that John Humphrys might be the one non-Remain member of the Today team.

(That might explain the otherwise baffling series of features slagging him off over the past year or so on Roger Bolton's Feedback - a series of attacks that has always felt oddly personal to my ears.

Well, if the BBC can fill its airwaves with endless speculation, so can I!)

4. THE JEWISH CHRONICLEIsrael must stop making it easy for the boycotters - by John Ware.

The headline doesn't tell the full story here. The veteran BBC Panorama reporter lands a few solid punches on the strange and frequently antisemitic BDS brigade.

5. THE DAILY TELEGRAPHThe media is twisting the knife into Israel over the 'lone wolf intifada' - by Eylon Aslan-Levy.

Those notorious BBC headlines make their appearance here, and Eylon makes a strong case against the media in general. 


  1. Some thoughtcrime in Ware's piece, even while he condemns the settlements. He will be punished.

  2. Two obs:

    1. Mardell asks Artur Fischer (Berlin Stock Exchange CEO) what he thinks about the idea that the EU would offer a second referendum to the UK. Gets a typically teutonic response (both ingratiating and threatening) ending with "Why would we?" Mardell's response to that? "Good question." !!!

    Well obviously Mardell can't do his job properly so I'll help him: that's a disingenuous question, not a good one (specifically designed to avoid giving a straight answer to the question). Why? Well, firstly there is the historical evidence that the EU has engineered second referendums on two occasions (Ireland and Denmark). Secondly, the EU Elite (including Eurofanatics like Osborne and co.) would be desperate not to lose a big player like the

    (from about 12:40)

    2. An early warning of bias: on PM Eddie Mair promised as regular items where we will be given a "range of expert opinions" on questions relating to the Referendum...alarm bells began ringing in my cynical ears. Where will this "range of expert opinions" be drawn from? Will it be from EU funded academic entities like the Oxford Migration Observatory? Or campaign groups like Save the Children or Liberty? Or shadowy pro-EU "think tanks" like Open Europe, which draw money from super-rich oligarchs and the like? I very much object to the BBC/PM view that there are objective facts here. Are the ONS figures on migration "facts"? Of course not as the "doubling" of NI numbers issued shows. And in any case how do you define migration? We include people who come here to study for three years and then return home. But we don't include people who have business visas and live here on a semi-permanent basis. Or take imports to the UK. Are imports from the USA that pass through Rotterdam before entering the UK, American or European imports?

    1. That question on whether or not a Brexit vote would prompt a round of reflection and offers of a second chance from the EU might have been prompted by Michael Howard's statement to that effect. Grasping at straws, perhaps, but Beeboids not named Andrew Neil are not known for original thinking on this issue.

      I took it from that perspective and not from the establishment forcing the Irish to vote again on Lisbon until they got it right.

      As for BBC 'expert opinions', all are brought in according to either how they think they can use them to promote the agenda or, if not, stitch the guest up and/or present them as an example that anyone on that side of the issue is a nut job.

      Aside from that, interesting point about US imports moving through EU ports before entering the UK. From my own personal experience in the recording industry (CD and digital), the path doesn't matter because there are other factors informing the rules, like intellectual property, royalties, EU - yes, EU, superseding British - regulations, and which entity has territorial rights.


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