Sunday 21 October 2018

Variety is the spice of life

I've said it before so you probably won't be surprised if I say it again...

...(especially given that I may sometimes repeat myself, and that sometimes I do repeat myself as well)...


The newspaper reviews on Sky News are vastly superior in terms of balance and impartiality than those on the BBC - and usually a good deal more enjoyable too.

And there are certainly more Brexit supporters on Sky's paper reviews than there are on the BBC's.

(I intend to quantify that in an old-fashioned ITBB study - to be presented shortly).

I was reminded of this yet again after watching this morning's BBC News Channel paper review, which was an absolute joke in terms of impartiality.

[By 'absolute joke', incidentally, I don't mean something like this: 
I went into the cake shop earlier, bloke said, "All cakes £1." I said, "Can I get that one?" "£2" , he replied. "£2?", I asked. He said, "Aye, that's Madeira cake."]
Yes, on the BBC this morning viewers were given two almost-identical-minded Brexit-unfriendly journalists (one from The Independent, one from The Sunday Times) who agreed on the need for a second referendum, and on much else besides.

(Apparently The Independent co-sponsored it with The People's Vote campaign I learned from the Indy guy).

It was such a 'safe', 'BBC' discussion, with presenter Carole Walker dutifully adding the odd mild 'balancing' question for impartiality's sake.

Frankly, it was dull.

Meanwhile Sky this morning gave its viewers something far more intellectually bracing - and fun: namely Liz Kershaw and Julie Bindel, with their polar opposite views on Brexit.

Neither were po-faced, and their discussion ranged far and wide and was, at times, anything but 'safe' and 'BBC' (e.g. over transgender matters).

They were both marvellous, even when I didn't agree with them.

Incidentally, Liz - the second longest-serving female DJ in the UK (after Annie Nightingale) - is often deliciously trenchant in her views of BBC reporting. Here, for example, is her take on Mark Easton's reporting of the Huddersfield Pakistani paedophile grooming gang story this week:


  1. That's interesting. I thought from that other post where you listed the BBC ones, that they had somewhat higher profile (for want of a better expression) individuals.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say the Sky Press Preview guests are exactly enjoyable, apart from Andrew Pierce and Kevin Maguire.

    The irritation factor is quite high, for me anyway, with some of the other regulars. Rachel Shabi and Ayesha Hazarika are frequently on, as they are on the BBC. Hazarika drowns out Tom Newton Dunn who is quiet in manner and voice but usually has something more interesting to say. Shabi is a Corbynist foghorn. Sonia Sodha is unbearable except when paired with someone who can keep her in check. Isabel Oakeshott can do that. Stig Abell and Jenny Kleeman are fairly similar but usually paired together. Generally he's a pain. And Christina Patterson - although she's paired with Matthew Syed who is reasonably interesting. Carole Malone is on occasionally with Abel.

    They do have people on from Spiked, who are a bit different from the usual and are pro-Brexit, so there is that. Alex Deane is another counterweight but is rarely, since he was given a full going over by Sodha. And Kate Andrews was another regular but haven't seen her lately. There's also a woman from the Taxpayers' Alliance - Chakrabarti I think her name is. Suzie Boniface of The Mirror is up there - or even worse - than Sodha levels of unbearable. And another Labourite, from a think tank, is Faisa. Can't think of her surname. Hard to listen to as well.

    1. I keep on seeing Alex Deane with Polly Mackenzie (my favourite pairing), though that's probably only because I look out for them. And, as you say, Spiked people - like Brendan O'Neill and Claire Fox - are quite regular. Even the annoying ones there sound more interesting than the BBC regulars.

    2. I was thinking about the Shabi Treatment the other day...have you noticed how when the other guest expresses a view she disagrees with she gives them that wide-eyed,broadly smiling, condescending or pitying look as if to say: "Clearly you are suffering from some kind of mental affliction that causes you to not understand the devastating power of my arguments." She then restates her position (usually devoid of supporting evidence), apparently trusting that mere repetition - slow repetition, as when working with a child - is going to change the other guest's opinion.

    3. Yes I've seen that look many times. I think she is highly regarded in some circles and certainly by herself.

  2. LK also tweeted
    \\ Liz Kershaw

    Oct 19
    More Liz Kershaw Retweeted Julie Gibson
    If all perpetrators are Pakistanis (born there or born to parents born there) and Muslim
    and victims are not and selected for that very reason then it's a race crime //

  3. Aha, I can find the text that Liz is quoting from
    It's Fridays 10pm BBC1 News
    \\10:01 pm
    20 men have been found guilty of being part of a grooming gang that raped and abused girls in huddersfield over a seven—year period. the men, mostly of pakistani heritage, were convicted of more than 120 offences against 15 girls, the youngest of whom was just 11. the girls were plied with drink and drugs, and some were abandoned on the yorkshire moors. from leeds crown court, danny savage reports. a bus station. the car park of a diy store in huddersfield.
    10:02 pm
    a lonely moorland. just a few of the places where vulnerable children were groomed and sexually abused by men of mainly pakistani heritage. so many men were involved that three trials were needed. a judge has now ruled the 20 who were convicted can now be publicly identified. one of them was mohammed ibrar, nicknamed "bully", a huge man who used his physical prescence to intimidate. one of his victims was thrown out of his car when she refused to give in to his depraved demands. he kept punching me and punching me, it felt like my nose was broken. they kicked me and i got out of the car and i started running. i jumped over the fence and i started running down the moors, then i ran back up and saw them drive off. i had tojump in front of a car covered in blood at 4am in the morning to get a lift back to huddersfield. the ringleader, amere singh dhaliwal, was jailed for life and told he must serve a minimum of 18 years.//

    1. 10:03 pm
      the judge said his treatment of the girls was inhuman. 0ne scenario which kept cropping up in these cases is that victims were driven up here onto the moors at night. if they didn't do what their abusers told them to, they were beaten up and dumped. imagine being a child, left in this wilderness in the dark, having been physically and sexually assaulted by someone you thought cared for you. it's a very frightening place. there's so much moorland up here, they can be anywhere, can people. this farmer vividly remembers distressed teenage girls knocking on the door of his remote hilltop home. over the years, he's had to take several to safety. as i looked out there was three girls, that obviously looked roughed up and confused. they didn't know where they were and they asked could they come in and could i help them? and what was the impression you got of what had happened to them? it looked like they'd been knocked about by somebody, something funny...
      10:04 pm
      something very suspicious had happened, i could tell by their hair, it was everywhere and they were just... she would come home disorientated, scratches, bites... the mother of one schoolgirl victim told us what everyday life was like. on one occasion she came home and her neck was completely black with bites from one side to the other. a taxi had just pulled up outside and pushed her out. i could see another girl in the back and then itjust drove off. i change my hours so i could pick her up after school. i changed my hours so i could pick her up after school. i used to dread bank holidays, when i knew she was going to be at home and i couldn't monitor her. victims and their families said they repeatedly told west yorkshire police what was happening here, but no arrests were made until years later. today, the force refused to answer criticism from the prosecution that their conduct was disgraceful. the local council says it all happened when child sexual exploitation was effectively ignored. these crimes took place a number
      10:05 pm
      of years ago at a time when, as we know sadly from other cases, in other parts of the country, that the issue of child sexual exploitation was not well defined or understood. since then, lessons have been learned. most of the men so far sentenced for this litany of abuse have each been jailed for at least 15 years. another four defendants will be sentenced next month. danny savage, bbc news, west yorkshire. our home editor, mark easton, is with me. we've seen a pattern of cases like this in the last five or six years... rotherham, 0xford, woakes del potro derby, banbury, telford, peterborough, aylesbury, bristol, halifax, 03, newcastle, huddersfield, this is a familiar scandal, the sexual abuse of
      10:06 pm
      vulnerable children in english towns by groups of men are predominantly pakistani heritage but others, too. it went on for decades but only in the last six or seven years have people taking proper notice. indeed it isa people taking proper notice. indeed it is a crime which until recently was rarely discussed in public. child sexual abuse is often ignored oi’ child sexual abuse is often ignored or covered up, the protection of institutional reputations or the protection of community cohesion has been put before the protection of children. the grooming gangs of provincial england have tended to operate where the disinfectant of public scrutiny fails to reach, the poor areas of town, around the minicab ranks and the fast food joints, the twilight zones of urban life, and child abuse thrives in dark corners where people look the other way or don't ask difficult questions. but when we do look, we find schoolmasters, care workers, priests, tv presenters, shopkeepers
      10:07 pm
      and minicab drivers, when we look, we find. and the only crumb of comfort from this deeply painful process is that by exposing what is at the heart of our society, belatedly we are making our children hopefully a little bit safer. //


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