Sunday 21 January 2018

James Naughtie gives us his impartial view again (sic)

A typical Trump supporter

I had to grin near to the start of Jim Naughtie's Trump-focused documentary on Radio 4 this afternoon, Is Trump Remaking America?.

Very alert regulars may remember this ITBB post from November 2016 (though I'll forgive you if you don't):

Well, can you guess what sort of 'typical' Trump supporters Jim began with today? Oh yes, once again it was rootin tootin countryfolk attending "a gun and knife show" with guns of every type, plus barbed-wire-covered baseball bats and samurai swords. 

At least the BBC is consistent!

And then it was onto Uncle Jim's commentary, which was about as 'non-aligned' as Cuba during the Cold War.

It began with: Trump's "lurid brand of politics", "an unforgiving political discourse", "a time of conspiracies", "the American zeitgeist is wild", "Trump is the emblem of an attitude unleashed". And that was just its first few sentences...

...and on it went down the usual routes, with lots about racism, anger, melodrama. 

Jim may think of himself as nobly impartial but this wasn't anything like impartial reporting. [Ed - You'd have to be severely cloth-eared (no offence!) not to hear that.] His disdain for and disapproval of Donald Trump oozed through in virtually every sentence and choice of word he uttered. 

Uncle Jim's cast of 'talking heads' - Trump critic Philip Bobbitt (a constitutional expert who keeps predicting Trump will have to resign), Trump critic Paul Bledsoe (a partisan Democrat), Trump supporter Diane Katz (from the conservative Heritage Foundation), Trump critic Hawk Newsome (from Black Lives Matter) and Trump critic Shira A. Scheindlin (a liberal {in the American sense} judge) - was about as balanced (4:1 against Trump) as you'd probably expect from an impartial James Naughtie documentary...

...and Jim's impartial sympathies weren't hidden from view. Diane Katz got the roughest ride; Hawk Newsome the softest ride. 

I won't say any more about this programme other than to say, if you hate Trump you'll love it and (knowing the way people are) also more-likely-than-not think it wholly fair and reasonable...

...just as (I bet) James Naughtie thinks it was wholly fair and reasonable too.

But it really wasn't wholly fair and reasonable. It was strongly biased. 

1 comment:

  1. Naughtie's American junkets and jaunts should be viewed through the lens of literature because, after all [getting excited], is the nation not indebted to the BBC for awarding him with this platform from which he can enrich the nation's literary tradition - one that stretches back as far as the enigmatic Beowulf, through the Bard himself, through supreme story-tellers like Dickens and Greene, and is now held like a much valued family heirloom in Naughtie's plump, protective palm - as I say, to enrich this nation's literary lifeblood, nourish it anew, by use of ornate, convoluted, frankly baroque sentence construction that now hangs in the air, now soars skyward and now lands with a bathetic bump, not unlike Trump himself who seems only too ready to dishonour the office of the Presidency that once was once hovered just above the ground, as in the years of Clinton and Eisenhower, or - when America felt lucky - was taken to the heights of oratory and promise by the greatest of them all: FDR, Kennedy and Obama, all Democrats of course, but let that pass. Perhaps.


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