Saturday 21 September 2019

Some things new under the sun

In fairness to John Humphrys, he hasn't been entirely silent in the past.

We've reported (with some glee) both his earlier major swipes at the BBC. 

So - in that sense - you could say that you heard it here first! (Go on, say it!)

You may recall him upsetting Feedback's Roger Bolton in 2014 by criticising the BBC in The Radio Times for underplaying concerns over immigration and the EU because of a "liberal mindset", then telling the affronted Roger that "analysis" of the BBC's coverage would give him that impression too. "There was a mindset that thought that the right approach to Europe should be supportive", he told  Roger and his Radio 4 listeners. Unfortunately, he then rather spoiled it by suggesting that the problem was rooted more in the recent past than the present. 

But, also via The Radio Times, back in 2017, in a joint interview with all four other Today presenters, he then said "there's a disconnect between the people who run the BBC and a large chunk of the population", saying the people in charge at the BBC "tend to come with a set of liberal values that permeate their thinking, and therefore the thinking of the BBC". (His colleague Nick Robinson was having none of it).

And in that interview, he also gave us a sneak-preview of the anecdote I quoted from this weekend's piece in the Daily Mail, suggesting that a pro-EU mindset was still absolutely rampant at the BBC (like we ever doubted it!). Here's what he said in 2017:
I noted on the morning of the referendum that in the BBC almost everybody who came in, above all, all the bosses, looked absolutely stunned. And I suspect if you walked into a cafe round the corner frequented by a rather wider mix of the population, there wouldn't have been that same sense of being utterly stunned. They'd have been maybe a bit surprised, but perhaps not even that. I think we sometimes do lose touch with the population.
I gave him a "Well said John!" for that. 

So some of the views he's expressing now aren't new.

He's said them before, publicly.

But others are,...

...such as his direct criticism of Ben Hunte, the BBC's LGBT Correspondent, for wanting to be an activist-journalist and Breakfast presenter Ben Thompson for wanting to censor social conservatives (as well as his missile strikes on Eddie Mair), plus his sharp and unquestionably true comments about the BBC's strong and overpowering temptation to act as social engineers aiming to reshape society in their own image (something we see all the time). 

To conclude: If I liked popcorn, I'd be getting fat on it today.

1 comment:

  1. Fair enough, but that was all quite muted. A lot is down to context and what other verbiage you surround your comments with.

    At any time during his career Humphrys could have stood up at a podium at some big media event and delivered his views, which would have guaranteed maximum coverage. He chose not to. He kept them for a book that would get serialised and earn him another shed-load of money. One gets the impression he is driven by ego and money more than principle.

    But, yes, let us enjoy this "popcorn" moment. Will the BBC simply ignore the comments...or will they train all their big guns on him.


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