Tuesday 19 October 2021

Newsbeat disrespects Birmingham, Sopes exits the US, the BBC calls someone 'far-right', actual antisemitism rages, Big Ted and Little Ted criticise the Government and 'Genetically Impartial' former BBC bigwig Helen Boaden resurfaces - Various subjects


Oddly, except for passing through Birmingham New Street, I've never been to Birmingham, England's second city [after Lancaster]. 

Having read the Guardian today with their headline 'Three-quarters of BBC Newsbeat staff decline to relocate to Birmingham. Vast majority of youth news service’s 40 employees indicate they will not move to new base in Midlands' [the poor lambs want to stay in London] I'm now tempted to go there sporting a 'The BBC Doesn't Want to Live in Birmingham' t-shirt.


Meanwhile, and moving on...

Dame Jon Sopel, the BBC's North America Editor, has some breaking news, tweeting today, ''Some personal news: I’m off.. After 7+ fab years in DC, 3 books, 3 presidents (one kept me busier than others) it’s time to return to the UK and BBC mothership.'' 

This present US president should have been keeping him busy too, but I'm sensing that the loss of the thrill of the hunt and the fun of the easy applause for his endless sarcasm about Donald Trump has sapped the energy of his reporting recently and that the many, manifest failings of the increasingly unpopular and calamitous Biden-Harris administration aren't something he wants to chronicle, especially given Joe Biden's increasingly apparent personal difficulties. 


Staying in foreign parts...

Sometimes BBC bias makes life a lot simpler. The Wikipedia article on French presidential hopeful Eric Zemmour goes into agonies over how to label him. Is he 'on the right' or 'conservative right' or 'right-wing' or 'far-right' or 'radical right' or 'Gaullist' or 'Bonapartist'? Academics and media outlets disagree about how to describe him but the BBC has no doubts whatsoever. A single BBC News (UK) tweet last night contained the phrase 'far-right' three times. Anyone like him is always 'far-right' as far as the BBC goes. It's so simple.


M. Zemmour has an Algerian Jewish background, so I'm not sure if the BBC would cast him in the next series of Ridley Road. The non-Jewish main actor who did appear in Ridley Road as a Jew, Eddie Marsan, has been targeted by antisemites thinking that he is Jewish. To quote The Kinks, it's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world.


Meanwhile, The Times reports that Baroness Benjamin [Floella from Playschool] isn't happy about some publicly-funded schemes being at risk and wants the Government/tax payers to step in and cough up. She wants to protect BBC funding too. 

What caught my eye is that one of the schemes, the Audio Content Fund, is run by our old friend Helen Boaden, a former director of BBC News. 

Reading the Wikipedia article about her brought back so many memories. including:
Boaden received criticism following the July 7 terror attacks in London when she issued a memo instructing BBC staff not to refer to the perpetrators as terrorists, arguing that the term "can be a barrier rather than aid to understanding". Former BBC reporter Martin Bell was one of those who condemned the memo, accusing the BBC of being "overcautious" and noting that the attackers seemed to meet the definition of terrorists. Writing in The Spectator, Michael Vestey suggested "it's almost as if the BBC is afraid of offending suicide bombers in the Muslim world".

Despite being explicitly criticised in the Pollard Report for handling the Jimmy Savile affair so casually, she continued to thrive at the BBC before leaving and moving on to the likes of the aforementioned scheme and - for some reason - the board of the UK Statistics Authority. You obviously can't keep an ex-BBC high-up down. There are clearly no barriers to her advancement.

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