Saturday 19 December 2020

Nick Bryant sums up the BBC's view of the year


The final From Our Own Correspondent of 2020 ended with an unusually long item by Nick Bryant, the BBC's perma-tanned and opinionated New York correspondent. 

Given its length and placing, it was clearly chosen to represent the BBC 'at its best'.

It strove for effect and I suspect it will be 'award-winning', given its content - and the applause it's already receiving from the usual people. 

I will try to summarise it for you, as it absolutely reeked of BBC bias:  

Nick's mum "called it" early: 2020 "has become a byword for all that was wrong, the worst year ever".
Nick himself thought that the vast bush fires in Australia and "the enormity of the climate emergency" were going to be the big story of 2020, and the start of a new era [a great reset so to speak]. He said the fires were such a catastrophic event that he felt they "would separate 'the past and the future' into 'the before and after'".

But then along came Covid. 

A long passage about how the virus has changed the personal lives of 'people like us' ended with him talking about 'our' "lofty vantage point of privilege" ('us', "the fortunate few") then led to chastising reminders of the plight of the poor and the migrants of New York struggling to put bread on the table and middle class New Yorkers queuing for food parcels. 

[It really is quite insufferable when genuinely privileged people like Nick Bryant put on a righteous, condemnatory tone of voice and take the moral high ground and start lecturing listeners - as if he's smugly appointed himself our conscience, and self-absolved himself by doing so].

And then came this resounding, very FOOC statement:
Just as poverty became a propagator of the pandemic, the pandemic became a propagator of poverty.
That's one of those mighty phrases FOOC writers often come out with, but is it true? 

Take the first clause: In what way was poverty "the propagator of the pandemic"? Surely, it came out of an increasingly affluent China and was spread by "the fortunate few" travelling around the globe?

As for the second clause: It's certainly true that poverty is being propagated - and is likely to 'propagate' a massive amount more as time passes, especially if lockdown continues, widens and deepens - but by what is the propagation being done by? By the pandemic itself? Or by people imposing severe lockdowns?

Anyhow, then Nick Bryant launched into a series of political points, all reflecting the BBC mindset to the very last dotted i and last crossed t. 

He argued that:

(a) The world needs multilateralism not unilateralism. 
(b) Nationalism is "myopic". 
(c) The United Nations has been "sidelined" by the major powers (a bad thing).
(d) The World Health Organisation has been "ensnared" in politically-motivated criticism (also a bad thing).

Then came a particularly striking passage: 

He said that "a strong body of evidence" suggests that countries run by female leaders (Angela Merkel, Jacinda Ardern, etc) handled the crisis "more expertly" (no one every mentions Belgium when that claim is made), and then said this:
By contrast countries governed by presidents and prime ministers who surfed the populist wave with a macho swagger often did poorly.

He openly named "Donald Trump's America, Jair Bolsonaro's Brazil and Boris Johnson's Britain" as his three examples of such "macho" swaggering populist surfers, then sneering:

The virus could not be sloganed away.

It's a way of thinking many share, and many don't. Quite why licence fee payers who fall into the latter camp should have to stump up for his opinions (or prejudices) is an obvious question. 

He later returned to the Trump theme, saying that the Trump administration's management of the outbreak...:

...may come to be seen as the most catastrophic domestic policy failure of the past 100 years.

He then claimed that Covid exposed "two duelling realities" in America, "one based in fact, the other in scienceless fiction" [a very binary, black-and-white view of things, don't you think?]

And on it went, though China's Xi being mean to Australia and misinformation being "the scourge of the online world", till Nick ended by talking about his new baby daughter, born amid "anti-racist protests" and the joy this has brought him.

So - award please! - he's now full of "intense and conflicted emotions of dread and fear and joy", of memories for those who have lost their lives of feelings of being "thankful for the magic of new life and grateful for making it to the end".

Congratulations to him on his new daughter. Hope she has a lovely life. I only hope her father doesn't tell her too many scary stories.

It really is extraordinary how the BBC can claim to be impartial when its senior reporters are given free rein to write and broadcast such one-sided, contentious stuff. 

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