Wednesday 29 August 2018

More on John Simpson

For those who would like a little more John Simpson, here's the opening of his Radio Times piece (no link available, so I'm transcribing it directly from the magazine, £2.80):

'The BBC hasn't changed'
We're not biased - it's our job to give people arguments they hate
I'm getting really fed up with the complaints and criticisms being directed at BBC News at the moment. Not so much from our usual critics, the hardliners on the left and the right, who habitually claim we're biased because we're not actually biased in their favour. No - it's middle-of-the-roaders who are doing the complaining now. 
The great majority of moderate-minded British people have always been the BBC's strongest supporters. They back us because we try to give them a balanced, unexcitable, honest view of what's going on.  
But now I find myself reading article after article in the newspapers by people who start off, "I've always been a supporter of the BBC, but...". The basic idea is that the BBC has changed. Once it was even-handed, and now look at it.  
Well, I promise you, with the perspective that 52 years of working for it gives me, it's not the BBC that's changed, it's them. Maybe it's because they're so used to social media, and hearing only the kind of views they like, that they're enraged by having to listen to arguments they hate.  
At present it's Brexit. Before that it was Scottish independence. People have allowed themselves to be persuaded that there's something wrong with being given open and unbiased information from BBC journalists. Well, I'm sorry, but I don't think any subject is too important to keep our minds closed about it.

"Well, I'm sorry, but I don't think any subject is too important to keep our minds closed about it", says the man who isn't remotely open-minded when it comes to the subject of BBC bias.


  1. This part of Simpson's self regarding apologia is one of those BBC-PC-Guardian tropes, that when you examine it falls to pieces:

    "Maybe it's because they're so used to social media, and hearing only the kind of views they like..."

    In my view the internet has exposed people much more to differing views. In the past people tended to mix and chat only with people of their own class. They tended to read one daily newspaper that had a consistent line. Their access to information was very limited - what they saw on the two or three channels on TV, what they heard on one or two radio stations and what books were held in the local library. There was no Wikipedia or Google.

    It's pretty obvious when you think about it but of course Simpson types aren't interested in the truth. They are interested in belittling some viewpoints and bigging up others (their own).

    1. Yes, very good MB. I think that the BBC, other legacy media and also increasingly the Government, do not like "social media" exactly because it allows a much more free flow of information and opinions.

    2. Agreed. That's why they have moved to install censorship via the internet billionaires.

  2. For a long time people have been used to the BBC being the voice of authority; it sounded and looked authoritative; whether it was the news reader or that man from Washington, he seemed a fount of knowledge and he sounded like the voice of reason. We didn't know about Washington in depth and we didn't know he was a raging lefty, if he was.

    The BBC is still quite good at sounding reasonable, analytical and informed as it delivers its prepared mini essays. It is still regarded as a voice of reason among some people. I don't know how many. Probably quite a lot among the young.
    Some of us have got more sceptical and more informed as we've got older. And we're more vocal via this machine as we find out more about the organisational agendas and people behind the image of the man in the overcoat in Washington.

    Simpson, as per the piece he got ticked off for, where he wrote about people tuning into the BBC for guidance on what to do about Brexit, still thinks the BBC is the voice of authority and he expects us to take him as the authority.


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