Monday 1 January 2018

I remember 2017 like it was yesterday...

Radio 4's Sunday programme offers perhaps the most undiluted liberal bias to be found anywhere on the BBC - Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph (2010)

Though yesterday is already 'so last year', I must just dip back into it to mention Radio 4's Sunday, as the programme more than lived up to its reputation for 'undiluted liberal bias'. 

The first topic was President Trump's first year on office and his impact on religion in the USA. Instead of a balanced discussion we were merely given an interview with a liberal American journalist, Sarah Posner. Her comments dripped with disdain and disapproval for the President. Here's a flavour:
Oh my! Well! What relationship with Islam! I mean, for example, President Obama had a good relationship. Trump has stomped all over that with his Muslim ban, with his anti-Muslim rhetoric, with his unwillingness to even recognise that he engages in anti-Muslim rhetoric. So there's probably never been a president, at least in recent memory, who's had such a terrible relationship with American Muslims and probably with Muslims around the world, and I think the Jerusalem declaration was just another nail in that coffin, in that relationship.
Next came a report on following two calendars at New Year as that nice Trevor Barnes spent a Sabbath evening with liberal rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and her Muslim friend, the Guardian-writing journalist Remona Aly. (Both are very much 'BBC' religious types. Laura often does Thought For The Day on Radio 4 and Remona often does Pause for Thought on Radio 2). Interfaith harmony reigned. 

Then came a segment on populism, social media, fake news and trust with philosopher Baroness Onora O'Neill. The interview went down a predictable route. (Social media bad; traditional media good.) The Baroness wants social media to be 'structured' to make it clear where there's evidence and where there's not - i.e. for social media to be made more 'transparent'.

After a BBC piece about the BBC - namely a feature about Radio 4 LW's The Daily Service  - there was a look-ahead-to-2018 discussion with journalist Harry Farley and Sughra Ahmed from Stanford University. Sughra previewed the royal wedding and said how Meghan Markle, for her, is "real, especially for multicultural Britain". Harry then talked about the "huge significance" of having a woman as Bishop of London, and blessings for same-sex marriages. Sughra moved onto the "ongoing mainstreaming of Muslim female attire", which Harry said was especially interesting in the light of more "hardline" responses, such as the burqa ban in France. The Pope in Ireland was also discussed before Sughra discussed the "deep concern" of "so many of us" about anti-abortion laws in the US. 

Finally came an interview with Archbishop John Sentamu, wherein (among other things) the Archbishop told us that Donald Trump's intervention over Jerusalem "wasn't helpful" and chuckled that four couples from the US were at his Christmas Day service wearing badges saying, "He is not my president". 

Now, of course, there was much of interest in what Baroness O'Neill and the Archbishop of York had to say, and the feature on The Daily Service was quite interesting. (Lord Reith had specified that it should be "Christian, undogmatic and manly"). The programme was, however, highly restricted in the range of views it offered. 

My New Year's resolution is simply to remember to write 2018 instead of 2017. Hopefully, Sunday's will be to work much harder at dispelling the impression it gives of offering  'undiluted liberal bias' week in and week out. 

Anyhow, Happy New Year to them too!


  1. A shame they can't be more transparent themselves. "Look, really... I just can't handle free speech and the battle of ideas. We need more censorship online to stop anyone to the right of Tony Blair - and for me Tony Blair is already far too right wing - to stop anyone beyond that point from being allowed to query our left-liberal dogma. We don't really like religious belief but we don't mind religious identity as long as it's the sort that sits comfortably with reading the Guardian and nodding along to Mark Mardell on the radio. We're only doing programmes like this to contain religious enthusiasm within bounds. Let's face it: religion is dangerous in the wrong hands."

  2. Yes I was listening whilst I was complaining about their 6am Climate Doom intro to Dr Rowan Williams wacky show (He toned it down but 10 mins later “2017 has been a year of Great Chaos across the world in the political world as well”

    I spotted that Sarah Posner was being wrongful/deceptive so tweeted under their post :
    @BBCR4Sunday failed to challenge guest Sarah Posner on her assertion
    #1 "Trump has no relationship with Muslims"
    ..em 1st country he CHOSE to visit was Saudi
    #2 SP said "Trump's #MuslimBan"
    ..that is #fakenews
    Travelban is by dangerous nation list, not limited to Muslims

    1. At the time I checked her record, she's been on the prog seemingly their go to person to supply BBCcorrectspeak on Trump.
      Ostensibly reporting on US evangelicals she's described as an ex-evangelical.

    2. Thanks, I knew I'd heard the name before somewhere. I should have recognised her (especially with that whiny voice).

      Yes, she's been on 'Sunday' at least three times already in the past year or so (talking about Mike Pence, Trump withdrawing from the Paris climate deal, and Trump and the 'Johnson amendment).

  3. typo "She's often been on the prog"

    Now the philosopher sounded like a man
    - "It's a problem that on the internet people are anonymous"
    #1 BBC reposts are often anonymous :ie news reports not bylined, or using "sources say"
    #2 In logic Evidence is independent of the messenger
    I suspect that Greenpeace's line on anti-fracking comes out of Moscow, however that doesn't matter, cos I will tackle the argument not the man.
    It would be nice if the BBC had a policy of telling us of guests' conflicts of interests but they only do if it's non-lefties eg "right wing think tank"
    #3 Anonymity has been a great benefit of the internet, allowing controversial topics (say gays in Iran) and whistleblowers to be aired.
    Trustworthiness of Emperor's small boy doesn't matter, cos you TAKE the evidence and then VERIFY/TEST it
    .. eg if the claim is extraordinary (Trump Dossier) then the evidence has to be extraordinary (it wasn't)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.