Sunday 1 July 2018

Getting clean

I think the cure is working. You know, the cure for blogging that I mentioned the other day. It’s not like giving up booze (how would I know?) and I don’t think it’s like giving up smoking, admittedly a hazy memory from another life. 

By the way, I’m referring to watching television. You don’t have to be fanatical about giving up and you don’t have to pursue it relentlessly, in an all or nothing fashion, afeared of slipping back into the abyss through one careless glimpse.

Watching the occasional news bulletin or snippet of Newsnight isn’t going to lure you back to your old square-eyed habits. In fact the opposite. Snippets and snatches almost seem to throw the flaws into the spotlight. Breakfast time programmes churned out on the BBC and the commercial channels are abysmal. Trivial, gossipy, shallow, unimaginative and sickly. Don’t watch any of them. Just don’t.

On a supposedly deeper level, Emily Maitlis’s interview with the Hungarian minister of foreign affairs Peter Szijjarto was astonishing.  Newsnight must have missed the memo about the BBC’s charter, something to do with impartiality, apparently. So they say.

Emily Maitlis might well think Mr. Szijjarto represents the epitome of right-wing, racist, intolerant, fascistic, nationalistic, supremacist xenophobia. But really, whose views do the viewers want to hear? Are we more interested in observing Emily Maitlis’s opinions than Mr. Szijjarto’s? 

Certainly, Emily Maitlis revealed her opinion of Mr. Szijjarto. In fact, we couldn’t have learned any more about what she thought if she simply handed the baton to the interviewee. She might as well have. I imagine anyone could get the hang of making exaggerated gestures of disapproval while constantly interrupting the answers. But ‘interviewing’ is supposed to be a craft. The idea is to draw out the interviewee, not browbeat them into defensive obfuscation. Not that Mr. Szijjarto was browbeaten, nor did he obfuscate. This was the most unsatisfactory interview I’ve seen in ages, but hey, I haven’t been watching many.

The BBC’s default position on Israel is even more obvious when you don’t watch too much TV. I keep catching breathless announcements about Prince William’s visit being ‘the first time a Royal has  gone to the Palestinian territories.” And then some quip about Israel objecting to the term “Occupied” -  “but that’s what it is,” opined Sunday Morning Live’s whining, metropolitan media-bubble-inhabiting guest and part-time antisemite Christina Patterson. Sorry for the “smear,” but that’s what you are. She’s as ignorant now as she was back in 2010, and just as opinionated with it. But so are most of the BBC’s contributors. 

The other day I intended to update my post with some remarks about Peter Oborne’s Daily Mail article on the same topic, but I deleted it instead, thinking ‘what’s the point?’
Needless to say, Oborne’s take on the royal visit was exactly as one would expect from a notorious anti-Israel obsessive. People with overtly antisemitic attitudes are to be seen and heard on the BBC much of the time, and appear to be highly regarded. They even get to host The Week in Westminster with their chummy but sneering round-ups of, well, the week in Westminster. 

And to finish my point, I’ll just mention the debate that took place yesterday (Saturday) in Westminster Hall. The topic was “the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians” or unarmed protesters demanding the right of return. (You know, the one that Jeremy Corbyn called for the other day.) 
Funnily enough most of the MPs who expressed their utter condemnation of Israel were from the Labour Party. Why, anyone would think some sort of party briefing had been circulating.


  1. The most telling example of Maitlis's total inability to think beyond the BBC's liberal left bubble is her comment: "You do know you don't have a migrant problem in Hungary, don't you?"

    She cites the fact that Hungary has only 3,600 migrants. And that's the point. Hungarian people have looked at the godawful mess that multiculturalism has made of the "more enlightened" countries of Western Europe and decided they want no part of it.

    What number of migrants would make the arrogant, ignorant Maitlis happy? 36,000? 360,000? 3,600,000?

    Any of those number would bring more rape, social conflict and, yes, terrorism to Hungary.

    Fair play to the Hungarian chappie for standing his ground and making a forceful defence while retaining his composure.

    My God, Maitlis and others of her ilk at the Beeb really hate democracy, don't they?

    1. Yes, it's a bit like that joke about the guy sprinkling the anti-elephant powder on the ground..."But there aren't any elephants around here," says a puzzled passer-by. "Yes, I know. The powder works well doesn't it?"

      It was in any case an absurd argument. The PC lunatics always claim it's not about numbers until they turn round and tell you "The country's changed. It's a different place now. Better. More diverse..." So it WAS all about the numbers then...

      The Hungarian guy did well, in remaining composed. But I think there is only one tactic that works with them and it is the full on Trump counter-attack. A better Hungarian chappie might have said "Well I remember your correspondent Jenny Hill leaping up and down excitedly at the Berlin station welcoming all those migrants. She didn't look like a reporter doing her job. She looked more like a cheerleader. That was before the events in Cologne that New Year's Eve. And now even Merkel acknowledges Germany has a huge migration problem. So your hysterical line of questioning is entirely unacceptable. You, the BBC, lost the argument."

      By the way, Jenny Hill is still at it. I heard on the World Service today telling listeners the crisis in Germany is about politics and not migration.

      Whereas before she was an excited puppy, now she is a determined ostrich.

      Again numbers were cited, the reduction in the number of detected undocumented migrants coming into the EU. But Germany's migration crisis is just beginning. Nearly all the migrants of 2015 want to start chain migration, bringing in claimed "dependents" and spouses. They're nearly all young, ready to start families. They're mostly unemployable by German standards (they have to be given state-subsidised make-work jobs). They are a huge drain on the social housing and welfare system, costing Germany already tens of billions of Euros.

      Jenny Hill doesn't cover any of that.

  2. The is so much hate and anger in Emily in this interview. Her eyes and facial expression give it away.

    Its simply wrong to conduct an interview in that charged up state.

  3. Just a side point...why do the BBC insist on calling Burma "Myanmar", and Bombay "Mumbai" - but don't call Hungary "Magyarország"?

  4. There have been several other OTT interviews of Hungarian ministers on BBC recently. Clearly Hungary has joined the BBC’s target list with Trump , Brexit , etc..

    The subtlety of the Hungarians reply is damaging to BBC views and Maitliss and co. Scream and shout to obscure it. They say “We follow the democratic whereas you have chosen differently” but of course we haven’t been consulted on mass immigration. Just shouted at.

  5. The BBC can't stand Orban, a man who puts aside a day a week for reading (not ministerial briefs, but intelligent stuff - like Homo Deus by Israeli writer Yuval Noah Harari) and who clearly thinks deeply about historical and social trends. That is the antithesis of the sort of politician they like - the soundbite merchants - Obama, Macron, Blair (well used to like) with their dog-like adherence to the platitudes of political correctness. Orban really jerks their chain.

    It's a shame we have no one remotely like Orban in our political world in the UK. Why are our politicians almost universally shallow, unprincipled, obsessed with money, intellectually low grade and unable to see the dangers that lie ahead?


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