Friday 8 September 2017

Is the BBC a lost cause?

As regular readers might know (or guess) I am a big fan of Harry’s Place. I only lurk, because I made it a rule not to acquire an online presence by commenting here, there and everywhere. I might do that when I give up this blog. Also, I’m too much of a wimp to create a load of sock-puppets and creative IDs and pretend they’re not me.
What I particularly like about H.P. is the palpable sense of ‘family’ below the line, which I think is pretty unique in the blogosphere. I’m not  saying I approve of the the vitriol, which can spring up all of a sudden for no obvious reason. It’s colourful I suppose, but that's the internet for you.

Lurkers like myself would probably have the impression that the general consensus on Harry’s Place is that the BBC is a bit of a lost cause. 
"Come on! Harry’s Place is a lefty blog," I hear you say. Well, it kind of isn’t these days, especially now, what with the rise of Corbynism. And, of course it’s a Zionist blog, and the commentariat are not just any old commentariat, they’re the M & S variety. 

So why am I saying all this? I nearly forgot. It’s about the BBC. However well informed, highly qualified, educated, literate and eloquent the btl H.P. family may be, they’re not all geeky about the BBC like we are. We seem to know all the presenters by name and can remember things they said years ago. (By the way, I see Jon Donnison is back reporting on hurricane Irma, as is Alan “I’m telling your story” Johnston.)  
So when Sarah AB wrote about Radio 5’s breakfast show, which tackled the BBC’s flavour of the month news item, namely the news concerning some members of the British Army belonging to the banned neo-Nazi organisation National Action, the discussion inevitably turned to Nicky Campbell. 

I know Nicky Campbell is, or used to be one of the pet hates of contributors to the Biased BBC blog.  If you search the site for ‘Nicky Campbell’ about 200 posts pop up, mostly concerning The Big Questions or Radio 5 Breakfast.
I myself wrote at least two of them, way back in 2011 or thereabouts.

"So nothing changes," I hear you say. "You’ve wasted about eight years of your life blogging about BBC bias, and had precisely zero effect." Well, that’s as may be, but in fact things do change. Have changed. For one thing The Big Questions has improved. I quite miss it when it’s off air. Is it that I myself have become more tolerant, or is it that the BBC has tried a little harder to get better quality guests? I don’t know, but when Douglas Murray agrees to appear on the show, it can’t be that bad. 

And Nicky Campbell is a good presenter. He handles the volatility much more competently than many a hardened BBC professional.  As to how much serious understanding of Islam-proper he has, who knows? He’s no scholar, nor does he claim to be, but let’s say he’s matured. Nowadays he seems less credulous when it comes to being taken in by the likes of Mo Ansar.

Here is another confession. I don’t listen to radio 5. I don’t even know how to tune in, should I suddenly decide I want to. I did follow the link on H.P. though, and I have to say the very tone of it wasn’t to my taste. I don’t want to be rude. Actually I do. It sounded dull, childish and irritating and I don’t think I’ll be visiting again. 
Many people on ‘right wing” blogs (you do realise that anyone right of Jeremy Corbyn is now considered right-wing) have mentioned the BBC’s disproportionate interest in the news about four or five members of the British armed services being investigated for belonging to a “proscribed anti-Semitic and homophobic group”. That’s it. That’s how the group is being described, as if the BBC believes that hearing about that particular duo of hatreds is all we need to know to ensure we are horrified at the very idea. Well, we are. But when identical dual prejudices are associated with Islam, as they famously are, it’s somehow deemed insignificant. I don’t get it. 

Incidentally, while we’re on the subject of BBC presenters, someone brought up Emma Barnett. She seems to be a BBC favourite at the moment, (you know how the BBC over-exposes its pet presenters till we’re sick of the sight of them) Grilling is Emma’s forte. One minute she’s demolishing Jeremy Corbyn’s  credibility, next she’s humiliating the gymnast Louis Smith for mucking about in a manner offensive to the Muslims. 
It’s indiscriminate grilling that grates. Yet we call for impartiality, and you can’t get more impartial than indiscriminately dishing out your grillings. Or can you? It may be technically impartial, but it seems unintelligent. Choose your victims wisely, is all I can say. 

Here’s Pat Condell. (H/T Daphne Anson)

I don’t think that would be popular on Harry’s Place, but it’s a damn sight more sincere than the feigned 'game' - ‘find the extremist’.



  1. Well, I just listened to PM on R4. There was a feature about the Manchester Arena re-opening tomorrow. The reporter talked to two of the seriously injured who are recovering. But I think never once were the 26 dead mentioned. Certainly Islam or the name of the bomber were not mentioned. In fact, I noticed that the report always talked about "the bomb" not "the bomber".

    Overall to answer your question Sue, I do believe the BBC is a lost cause. It's funding model guarantees this - unaccountable, self-regarding, lecturing, self righteous, over paid ... I could go on. Maybe in 10 years time there can be a relook, but I'm not hopeful as the current charter was granted without much challenge of the BBC. I fear anyway that Governments, even Conservative ones, like the BBC just the way it is.

    For myself, I never watch it's TV programs, or use it's website. It's just R4 to hear some voices that I use. But far too often it's just like a broadcast version of The Guardian and although sometimes I can laugh at their unworldliness, very often I just have to switch off.

    The internet provides my escape to reality and to the balance in news and analysis (like Pat Condell's youtube video you linked) that the BBC doesn't try to provide. Perhaps in 10 years time when it is noticed that hardly anyone is using the BBC, there will be a serious rethink about an organisation that was already past it's sell-by date 50 years ago when ITV started up. But I doubt it.

    1. Elli Fant-Indaroom9 September 2017 at 00:14

      I agree the BBC is a lost cause. I've said that before. I'm sad about that. There is no reason why in principle you can't have a tax-funded
      no-subscription media service that is dedicated to democratic ideals but is otherwise impartial and not a proselytising mission promoting a narrow interpretation of what is good. But clearly the way our history has gone we have ended up with a dangerous organisation that is looking to completely wipe out the UK and its culture. It has to be stopped. The Timid Tories won't do it. I hope Anne Marie Waters may make some headway if she leads UKIP. Personally I still favour democratisation of the BBC - so we vote for the management board but we have to move away from the anti-poor tax and move to opt-out subscription.

  2. With the advent of streaming services I watch very little live tv nor streamed BBC tv. In fact my household could probably legally get away with not paying the licence fee, if it wasn't for the fear of being prosecuted regardless....

    The only services I actually consume is Radio 4, because my job intials a lot of driving and the BBC website because I spend far to much time on my phone. Both are a lost cause, trapped in their own guardian lefty overly worthy bubble, so far gone that if you're in the bubble you don't even know you're in it.

    1. Radio 4 has become unlistenable too for long stretches of the time - it has become even more PC than BBC TV PC Central. From the Archers to news to documentaries to faux mathematics like More or Less to Front Row over which Samira Ahmed has been squatting with her agenda to Woman's Hour (still in these transgender times? - lol surely not!) to drama to book choices to science (lock up all climate change deniers now!!!).

  3. In their search for balance, the BBC seize upon any news story that can offset what we all know to be the reality of terrorism. Neo Nazis and KKK in Charlottesville, National Action Neo Nazi suspects serving in the armed services, the van man at Finsbury Square - all have received coverage on the BBC. This, they can hold up evidence of even-handed reporting, when judged against London or Manchester bombings, but in fact it is appeasement towards a minority of society whose ideology ferment the concept of martyrdom and self-sacrifice in the name of Islam (and paradise for the bombers). The news should be reported strictly dependent upon the outcome of these events. We can all make our own judgement. No amount of BBC spin and bias will deceive the audience into thinking that the gravity of these events are somehow weighed and balanced in the way they hope.

    If the BBC is not to become a lost cause, it must start to engage with the majority of the population. Appeasement will never work, it will just add fuel to the flames.

    1. Yep, it's as if the BBC were pumping out propaganda about the persecution of the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia in 1938 as though there was some kind of symmetry with what was going on next door.

    2. It's not a bad analogy to use the concept of symmetry to judge the BBC's performance. In order to give more weight to the far-right, the fulcrum must be moved further and further to the left . There is no longer any room in this for centre-right , only far-right.

  4. Technology is going to kill the BBC in 10 to 15 years anyhow.

    More and more people are moving over to streaming services and the easiest way to police its use and ensure payment is via a login and username. No pay no service, no need for any enforcement or court cases or strange restrictions on watching "live" tv. It when that happens I can see a lot of people completely dropping the BBC.

    All the government needs to do is inact the above in the next charter, how could the BBC argue with a fairer, cheaper to enforce system?

  5. " could the BBC argue with [] fairer..."

    I suspect the argument would be that fairness would reduce the ability to keep the talent needed to help nudge the deplorables towards being more accepting of the changes needed to their lives (to accommodate an unasked for developing population profile). Quite a mission - too risky to leave the payer in charge of the tap.

  6. Although the BBC gets billions from the licence fee, it seems it has given up on the idea of having British reporters report for the BBC. I heard some near incomprehensible report on the Mexican earthquake by a local who had a comic-sounding May-hee-karn accent heard only in 1950s westerns. The BBC must have at least 20 people covering the Trump Fascist Dictatorship full time. Could none of them pop on a plane as Mexico is only next door? Can't the BBC stretch to a Latin American reporter? If the BBC really can't, can't they just get someone who speaks English as a first language to report, someone from an agency like Reuters.

    This is a growing trend - I also heard near incomprehensible reports by Africans from various parts of Africa and from various parts of Asia. Oddly though, you would never get a Japanese reporter covering Japan a Russian covering Russia, for some reason. Despite having plenty of opportunities to use American reporters whose speech is well understood in the UK, it seems like they prefer to maintain an expensive operation there while cost cutting elsewhere. Just one more little reason why the BBC is a lost cause.

    1. An exception currently seems to be BBC's Jane O'Brien, who on their Facebook feed reports from the middle of a hurricane LIVE (as opposed to?).

      A few questions do occur. For instance why is she outside in a fetching sou'wester when sound and vision are limited by the howling gale and rain that are not real surprise components, rage around her?

      Or why is she and a crew one of few other than fellow Pultizer aspiring wet workers from the world media there, when folk have been told specifically not to be?

    2. Now that BBC TV is using London gu'uh 'English' for continuity announcements we can hardly expect foreign correspondents to speak English.

  7. The BBC is of course also not a cause, but an imposition.

  8. Fake news, false symmetry, opinion presented as news, contorted agendas, favoured minorities, anti-populist tropes, anti-democratic narratives, no borders propaganda, promoting the degenderising of humanity, failure to tell the truth about an insidious ideology (its history, beliefs and current practice)...the charge sheet against the BBC is long. The defendant refuses even to enter a plea: it doesn't recognise the court of public opinion.

  9. Make sure you read this from News-Watch everyone:

    Craig has been covering the follow-up to this story , but now the full facts have emerged, should we not be receiving an apology from the BBC for professional negligence in their reporting of the matter?

    1. Nigel Farage has his say courtesy of News-Watch:

      We shouldn't hold our breath though.


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