Sunday 15 September 2019

Tales from the Sunday Papers


Former BBC China editor Carrie Gracie's book 'Equal: A Story of Women, Men and Money' is out now. According to Katie Glass in The Sunday Times it "pulls no punches" over her clash with the corporation over pay. 

She won, of course, and I've nothing but admiration for her work in China (the best of the BBC) or for bringing a proper, non-Gavin-Esler-like lack of partisanship to Dateline London

But the two things I've never really got about her campaign remain 'ungot' in my mind: 

Firstly, why should the BBC's China editor be paid exactly the same as the much higher profile and, presumably, far more demanding BBC North America editor (her initial spur to action)? 

And, secondly, when she gave away her back pay of £373,000 on the admirable grounds that it was about the principle not the money, let's not forget that the campaigning Fawcett Society's charitable gain was at the expense of BBC licence fee payers' money, not the BBC's money. I don't particularly want my wages be given without my consent to the Fawcett Society, to be honest. 


By most accounts Isa Guha is an excellent commentator on cricket - a former cricketer herself who knows her stuff. But when you see The Sunday Times headlining the news that the BBC has snapped her up with this kind of thing, "Isa Guha, the new face of BBC cricket, smashes a boundary or two. Asian and female, the former England player is being lined up to replace ‘pale, male, stale’ commentators on TV coverage of The Hundred", it's difficult not to think that the BBC is at it again, box-ticking. 

Of course, it's The Sunday Times who wrote it like that. Maybe, just maybe, the BBC chose her purely on merit and never gave a thought to her being "Asian and female" - though it's not very likely, is it?


So it's goodbye to the BBC iPlayer from tomorrow. Big Chief Purnell, the BBC's director of radio, is ploughing ahead with his controversial, expensive BBC Sounds app, despite many people not liking it. I preferred the iPlayer, but I can't say the new thing is that bad. So I don't mind it - except from everything beginning with a woman's voice saying "BBC Sounds. Music, radio, podcasts", which is quite irritating. 


A couple of weeks ago I complimented David Cameron to friends for not being a 'back seat driver' kind of ex-PM. I should have known better. It turns out that the only reason he'd been keeping his gob shut for so long was in order to keep his powder dry for his book launch. Typical. 

And guess what? Yes, he's of one mind with the leading lights of the Remain media establishment (including John Simpson) on the subject of the BBC not being anti-Brexit enough:
Almost the biggest problem I had was with the BBC. I felt it had lost its way in understanding the difference between balance and impartiality. The result was the voices of thousands of businesses arguing for remain given equal treatment to just a few prominent businesses coming out for leave. There were thousands of remain economists and a tiny number of Brexiteers, yet the BBC gave the latter the same weight as Nobel laureates.


  1. Isa Guha 'Asian and female' yes, but more importantly of Indian heritage. There has been a concerted drive from the BBC to shake off the Englishness of cricket - by making claims that India is now its true home of cricket due to the numerical superiority of support there and the financial clout this brings. The BBC's disappointment as expressed through the Asian Network that India failed to reach the finals of the world cup earlier this summer was clear. Remember - British Asians support their 'home' teams first and foremost with the English team coming a poor second. According to the BBC, this can be put down to the racism endured by British Asians as they grew up in a hostile environment, but applies only to cricket - not football. I sense that the new face of cricket Isa Guha is in response to this BBC narrative.

  2. I would say that the China editor's role was much more demanding than the US editor. Sopel is in friendly territory. He has about 20 staff who also generate anti-Trump material. He's had so much free time, he's been able to write a succession of money making books, as do all the senior American staff (Katty Kay, Nick Bryant).

    All Sopel has to do is switch on CNN and read the New York Times, and then regurgitate their propaganda. Gracie had to be proficient in the Chinese language and also negotiate her way around a hostile Chinese Communist bureaucracy. I don't think she had much if any support staff.

    The BBC is not really just "box-ticking" is it? It's engaging in ethnic cleansing. But only in its programming. You look at the BBC's Executive and you find they are 95% white.

    I hate even having to think in terms of race but the BBC is poisoning society with its racialised thinking. Remember, this is only the's going to get a lot worse, and very quickly if Corbyn's get his hands on the BBC.

  3. "There were thousands of remain economists and a tiny number of Brexiteers, yet the BBC gave the latter the same weight as Nobel laureates."

    This quote tells you everything about the blindness of the Remain supporting BBC. The voice of the CBI is not the voice of thousands of businesses, it is the voice of small number of big business leaders who have not consulted the membership. Thousands of Remain supporting economists only look at the economy and the EU is not the EEC any more... it is a political issue and not merely an economic one. The argument about impartiality is skewed by the limitations of the comment on issues. Arguing about economics as if this were the most important point of difference is completely biased as most Leave supporters don't consider economics the most important issue... sovereignty is the issue and the BBC continually ignores this issue.

    It's as if freedom from being an ignored province in the potential United States of Europe undemocratic superstate is an airy fairy idiot point of view while being a little bit better off in the short term by remaining in the EU is some virtuous self evident truth that needs no counter argument. 1000 economists have 1000 different opinions and Nobel prizewinners have contributed very little to the improvement of the wealth of any nation and its people.


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