Sunday 22 September 2019

My Last Words on John Humphrys (well, for today at least)

You may already have read this, but if you haven't...

Kathy at The Conservative Woman has written forcefully about John Humphrys's post-Today criticisms of the BBC. 

Don’t just blame the BBC, Mr Humphrys, blame yourself is the piece's punchy headline. 

She makes the same case some of you, our dear readers, have also made. 

Kathy's case runs as follows:

John Humphrys criticisms ring true but also hollow. He should have spoken out much earlier and not waited till two days after reaching retirement and gaining the gigantic safety net of his MASSIVE BBC pension to speak out about BBC's bias - especially its anti-Brexit bias. 

So much for his integrity!

He saw it. He must have known the utterly damning News-watch stats (especially those about Today). But he stayed in place and didn't speak out. 

So why didn't he use his bully-pulpit on Today to shame the BBC or, if that didn't work, resign in protest over it if he felt it was so wrong? 

Was it because of the tremendously large salary he got? 

And why did he front so many of Today's "daily doses of Project Fear" without openly objecting? 

And won't he now continue to front BBC TV shows (like Mastermind) and still take the biased BBC's shilling, despite everything?

"He was never brave enough to make a stand", Kathy says. "And where in this window into the world of BBC bias was his own mea culpa – his own confession of his failure to take the behemoth on?"

All of this may be harsh, but there's a good deal of truth in it and a lot for John's conscience to chew over.

Yes, as I noted yesterday, it's not entirely true that JH has been silent about such things in the past.

He's burst out twice before (both times in The Radio Times) to the displeasure of his BBC colleagues, publicly saying some of the same things about the BBC's left-liberal, pro-EU mindset.

But, backing up Kathy's case, as MB has remarked, his earlier comments were far more muted than those expressed in his post-Today (would-be-best-selling) book, as laid out by the Daily Mail.

So, a case study then of John Simpson's "institutional BBC timidity", with his friend John as its flesh-and-blood embodiment?

A thought did strike me though, having read recent pieces about him: Did he eff and blind at the BBC behind the scenes on the question of bias and try to get them to mend their ways? I'm guessing that he grumbled loudly, but little more. Whatever, there was no discernible effect as far I can see. 

Still, we are where we are, and he is where he is. 

And his remarks about the BBC contain so many damning quotes that blogs like this - and like-minded newspapers - will be using them for years against the BBC.

So many of his comments vindicate us, and are absolutely damning. 

Also, being an eternal pragmatist, as one commenter at TCW said, I wonder if by relentlessly ratcheting up the unforgiving denunciations of outlying BBC types (like him) for being timid and self-serving if they only start spilling the beans on the BBC after they leave the BBC (which, in fairness to JH, he isn't actually doing - neither leaving the BBC entirely nor denouncing the BBC for the first time), future such would-be BBC whistleblowers, now lying low and fearful inside the BBC and biding their time, might feel it's not remotely worth it after all - and, in fact, positively harmful to their wellbeing - to spill their bean-stuffed guts about the BBC after they fly Auntie's nest.

The BBC's mighty monolith might, as a result, become even less leaky than it already is.

I, personally, want more leaks. Many more leaks and revelations. The more the merrier. Even if they come after the  cowardly BBC person in question has left the BBC with rare flowers, tears made from diamonds, 24-carat-gold EU clocks and Guy Verhofstadt chocolates, a mock Eric Gill statue, and a huge sackful of gripes.

Gimme, gimme, gimme!

And, of course, however unfamiliar it may be to you, there's the other side of this story - 'complaints from both sides' - and that's that John Humphrys has become one of the top two BBC hate figures in recent years in the more fetid echo chambers of pro-EU hardliners, the 'woke' brigades, the nastier climate apocalypse outriders, and the gathering hordes of the far-Left. 

They loathe him, and can't stop foaming at the mouth about him.

And their frothing has surfaced, again and again, on Radio 4's Feedback - which (as regulars will know) I've long felt has been suspiciously helpful to the huge campaign against him. 

For such haters (despite him voting Remain, as he's now admitted), he's long been a sexist, reactionary, right-wing, 'climate-denying', pro-Brexit dinosaur. 

The one thing they've wanted more than anything else has been to get him out, preferably sacked.

The amount of bile that's poured out on Twitter on against him on his every appearance in recent years has been beyond staggering. I know that because, in the interests of this blog, I've frequently watched hashtags connected to Today (may God protect me!) and I've witnessed the scale of the abuse pouring in against him. It's been beyond tidal or torrential, more a daily tsunami of hate, every day he's appeared.

He could have called the police on thousands of people for 'hate crimes' against him, so vituperative have been far too many of the comments against him.

(Naturally, being John Humphrys, he hasn't).

And, yes, it was mainly because they thought he was anti-EU and pro-Brexit (to repeat, despite him voting Remain, as he's now admitted). 

That nice Lord Adonis, you probably won't be surprised to learn, openly rejoiced that he's gone:
I am delighted that John Humphrys is leaving the Today programme. He dragged it down to a radio version of the Daily Mail - it needs big change.
Ah but, aren't such people a small, unrepresentative minority, despite their very loud Twitter mouths?

It's complicated, isn't it? 

Of course, many people don't think it's complicated at all, which complicates things even more. 

Yes, John Humphrys was never prepared to martyr himself over his reservations about BBC bias. His protests were muted, at best. But now he's vindicated us and given us quote after quote that we can use to show, from the bolted horse's mouth, that many of the things we've been saying for years are true. 

The End.


  1. As George Orwell might have said:

    "If liberty means anything at all, it means waiting until you're drawing your pension before you tell people what they do not want to hear."

    And let's not forget Jane Garvey's recent handy reminder of the champagne celebrations at Broadcasting House after Blair's first election victory back in 1997.

  2. Let's also not the forget, now that has been overshadowed by Brexit, the utter dismay at the BBC when Cameron won an overall majority over Labour. It took then over half a year to get over it, boring the public senseless with endless analysis of what Labour did wrong.

  3. Humphrys has taken the money and kept shtum for 40 years. Now he's comfortably retired he reveals the rotten state of the BBC's liberal leftie bias. All these years of dissembling so-called impartiality where the liberal left get twice as much air time - especially without interruptions from hurrumphing sneering interviewers - as the Conservatives. Conservatives in recent years who are Remain supporters get an easy ride, while Leave supporters get interrupted all the time.

    Today is just a leftie propaganda programme where "balance" no longer exists. Humphrys was there for decades and rarely bothered to maintain balance. Recently Boris is sneered at and denigrated daily. He may be a bit shambolic, but they never sneered at the useless Blair or Brown when they were in power.


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