''Tonight at Ten...President Macron issues a blunt warning against ITBB opening a new open thread''. We'll be ignoring him though.
Thank you for your comments.
Roads such as Canning Street, Cannon Hall Road, Dundas Road and Havelock Street were named after people who were heavily involved in slavery.
BBC says historic street names are racist. Despite most people disagreeing, it's reported without quotation marks, so clearly represents BBC News's own view. They also say Havelock was "heavily involved with slavery" despite zero connection. Fact check please?
Indeed, Major General Sir Henry Havelock (1795-1857) wasn't involved in slavery in any way, shape or form.
Robert has now asked the BBC to change the headline and correct the article:
Could you please add quotation marks around that very much non-factual and highly contentious description? Could you also please correct the sentence on Havelock, who had no connection with slavery. This is precisely how fake history spreads.
Update: The Times uses this headline, with appropriate use of quotations marks (and doesn't get Sir Henry wrong]:
There is navel-gazing, and then there is the sight in The Princes and the Press (BBC Two) of BBC presenter Amol Rajan reporting on media editor Amol Rajan reporting on the Royal family criticising the BBC. Absurd doesn’t cover it.After the second and final episode of a series that has caused so much controversy, what have we learned? That there was rivalry between the Royal households. That Harry hates the press, and Meghan got terrible headlines. That Palace sources, whose job it is to secure favourable press coverage for their royals, may have briefed certain journalists in the hope of doing exactly that. Any and all of this information has been available to read in the newspapers for several years. Recycling it for television has achieved nothing, except to sour relations between the BBC and the Royal family.
Radio 4 has become so determined to address multicultural diversity, gender issues and identity politics that it forgets about all-embracing inclusion. People who live outside a narrow class of well-off professionals with rigidly right-on opinions, almost all of them in London, no longer feel included by the station. If you’re not part of the self-proclaimed metropolitan elite, you are unlikely to hear your views reflected. The BBC seems to ignore the obvious fact that ‘B’ stands for British — and its remit is to broadcast to the whole country, not just a few fashionable streets around Islington.
The BBC is guilty of a grave disservice to its audiences in continuing to give prominent airtime to a communist-supporting scientist as one of its go-to experts on pandemic restrictions, without any real attempt to contextualise or counterbalance her criticisms. Professor Susan Michie, of University College London, a super-rich longstanding member of the Communist Party of Britain, was lined up as a main expert to pass judgment on the prime minister’s announcement of measures to tackle the new Omicron variant....Michie’s revolutionary views — she is said to be dedicated to establishing a socialist order in the UK — are surely relevant when evaluating her critique of pandemic policies. The BBC, which prattles on endlessly about the importance of impartiality and objectivity, seems to have a blind spot when it comes to Michie. Its first duty must be to its audiences, who have a right to be told much more about the experts given valuable airtime.
Every aspect of the station now seems obsessed with preaching at me. Even The Food Programme devotes most of its slot to criticising British tastebuds for being too staid and monocultural. If Radio 4 thinks that the very food on my plate must be co-opted into the culture wars, I almost wonder why I bother switching on at all. Increasingly, when I do, the station gives me another reason to grumble.
News Addict: Thank God this guy has gone. He was one of the main reasons I stopped watching the BBC during the US election. One of the most biased, unprofessional, emotionally unstable political correspondents they have ever had. Good riddance.
So where is he off to next? To present Today? To replace Laura K as BBC political editor? To take over Andy Marr's sofa? To host a new BBC News Channel programme in the evening called Talking Pints...with [hic] Jon Sopel?
Just before 6.20pm I checked the Sky News website and saw this lead headline:
The Sky report quoted Gerald Darmanin, the megaphone-mouthed French interior minister, sounding off tonight and saying that those crossing the Channel are:
...attracted by England, especially the labour market which means you can work in England without any identification.
Britain must take its responsibility and limit its economic attractiveness. Britain left Europe, but not the world.
We need to work seriously on these questions, without being held hostage by domestic British politics.
M. Darmanin is very 'off-message' there, BBC-wise - at least in the first two paragraphs of the quote above.
He's saying [a] that the people in the boats are mainly economic migrants, and [b] that the UK's economically attractiveness is acting as a magnet for such people, and [c] that we in the UK need to make our country less of an easy touch to deter them from coming. And I think he's right on all three counts.
I wondered how the BBC News website would report that and saw that they got round to it late, at 6.54pm, under this headline:
Moreover, it was the BBC-palatable bits that led the BBC report.
[The BBC evidently wants to keep the focus on French anger at the non-'serious' UK.]
You have to go to the 15th paragraph of the whole BBC report, close to the end, to get a short mention of M. Darmanin's 'off-message' bits.
Now, I don't think there's any way that this isn't deliberately deceptive on the BBC's part.
They omitted the bit about how the migrants crossing the Channel are ''attracted by England, especially the labour market which means you can work in England without any identification''.
And - even more of a giveaway - that short 15th paragraph [''But he also argued that the UK had to assume responsibility by making itself less economically attractive for illegal migrants''] is immediately followed by a longer one that re-asserts the BBC's preferred take:
In the few studies that exist, family ties have been identified as the main reason migrants wish to travel from France to the UK. Immigration expert Marley Morris told the BBC the UK had introduced policies that make it much harder to work illegally.
Note in passing here that this is cannily, preemptively caveated with the words ''in the few studies that exist'' - yet those studies are the ones the BBC have been citing again and again in recent days - and that the BBC then adds a touch of 'bias by authority' by calling Marley Morris an ''immigration expert''. I'd never heard of him, but he's a think-tanker from the centre-left IPPR with views to match. [I see that back in 2019 the BBC weren't averse to properly introducing him as ''Marley Morris, of the Institute for Public Policy Research, a centre-left think tank". Here they were keeping schtum and just going for ''immigration expert''.]
For me, this is an example of the BBC 'controlling the narrative' at its clearest. I don't see any other explanation for it.
The mouthy French interior minister said some things at a high-profile meeting that the UK was excluded from - some of which fitted the BBC's ongoing narrative, and some of which went completely against it. And, after waiting to report it for a while, the BBC crafted a report to;
 put all the emphasis on the criticism of the UK they approve of, and
 both [a] downplay and [b] try to counteract the criticism of the UK that flatly contradicts their ongoing narrative.
And  there was a spot of 'bias by omission' too.
It's agenda-spinning, biased, dishonest reporting, plain and simple.
Please feel free to read it for yourselves and disagree if you think I'm wrong.
(1) There seemed to be note of alarm or panic in voice of Emily Buchanan as Archbishop Sentamu threatened to go off script suggesting asylum seekers might actually be grateful for receiving sanctuary.
(2) I note the presenter moved rapidly on when he suggested Muslim asylum seekers should not prioritise maintaining their Islamic faith but should instead be first concerned about just being safe in whatever foster home, Christian or otherwise, they found themselves placed in.
One can't help but admire the persistence of these lobby journos, who plug on with their "Why aren't we going harder?" / "Plan B now!" questions, even after they've already been posed by about 15 other people at the same press conference. True grit and determination. Reminds me of turning up at uni tutorials having not read the book, and someone else in the class has used your one talking-point, so you have to make it again but using a slightly different form of words.
Have we become so desensitised to knife crime that the murder of a 12-year-old girl by other children doesn't even lead the news?
These [royal] correspondents have all walked straight into Rajan’s trap. He was the editor of the Independent, they must have thought, he’ll understand, he’ll listen, he’ll take me seriously.
She suspects him of “laughing at them inwardly” [e.g. “at Amanda Platell of the Daily Mail trying to sound cute rather than just plain bitchy”].
...how on Earth to explain Rajan’s own, no less comical mode?
He seems to doubt anyone watching could have even the vaguest grasp not only of the basics of journalism, but of the English language itself. “She is a COLUMNIST,” he says, of Platell. “Which means she provides OPINION.” Hammy pauses, disappointed sighs, patronising explanations: he is very good on Today on BBC Radio 4, but here he sounds ridiculous, half-Hercule Poirot and half-Richard Madeley.
Former BBC presenter Libby Purves enjoyed Rachel's piece, tweeting:
Hilarious. And has Amol The Righteous bang to rights as well!!!
|Alp Mehmet on GB News|
Sophie Rayworth: It will no longer give out prizes for Best Male or Best Female but instead choose one Artist of the Year. The Brit Award-winning singer Sam Smith who identifies as non- binary has campaigned for the change. He says he felt unable to enter last year because of the gender-based nature of the categories.
Grace Davies: BBC News referring to Sam Smith using he/him pronouns in the SAME SENTENCE as talking about him being non-binary has got to be the biggest eye roll of the year.
George Aylett: It's not faux outrage, misgendering does a lot of damage o people. The BBC knew Sam Smith's pronoun and still misgendered them.
BBC News: In a report about the BRIT award's removal of male and female categoroes, we regret that we inadvertently referred to Sam Smith using the incorrect pronouns, and will ensure we address them properly in future reports.
If you recognise the name George Aylett by the way, he/him is a Corbynista who ran for parliament in 2019. [He lost].
Before we go let's have a look at tomorrow's headlines...The Daily Mail has 'Everything we print is to some extent a lie, apart from this'.
In a rapidly changing world, it's almost reassuring that some things never seem to change.
The very curious incident here is that The Actor Kevin Eldon featured in The Story of the Twos too, as nervous-tic-afflicted General Disaster in Blackadder.
He must have missed their satire on BBC comedy punchlines over-relying on attacks on OMG The Daily Mail.
As Stephen Fry would possibly say, ''You bloody Disaster!!!''
Sopes, Maitlis and The Zurch gathered again for Americast this week to review the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, absolute oozing disapproval of Kyle Rittenhouse and his defence team and his supporters. The Zurch complained about two-tier justice for the rich because of all the funding for Kyle R; while Maitlis asserted that his gun was illegal despite the judge saying it wasn't; and Sopes sneered at him for meeting Tucker Carson and for becoming ''a celebrity'' after killing two ''protestors''; and both Sopes and Maitlis were aghast at him being offered internships, and played clips of some of his ''far-out'' high-profile Republican supporters, mocking and sneering at them; then The Zurch talked of the ''tragedy'' of the men's killing and how the Right was turning Kyle R into Captain America. And then came their guest, and she ruled Kyle R ''morally culpable'' and thinks the case should have been made against him over his handling of the gun. The bias was in plain slight, and this might have been MSNBC.
Anyhow, have you read Stephen Daisley's latest Spectator piece, Kyle Rittenhouse and the collapse of media neutrality? Oddly, he doesn't mention the BBC.
Update: Meanwhile, here's a little Twitter exchange that also, oddly, doesn't mention the BBC:
There aren't more asylum seekers asking for sanctuary in Britain.
Figures released today indicate asylum applications at their highest level for six years, at 37,000.
And there's a canny bit of jiggery-pokery here. The Times reports the same figures and says:
Asylum claims are higher than the number recorded at the peak of the 2015-16 European migration crisis at the height of the Syrian civil war, when applications hit 36,546.
That asylum claims are comparable or even slightly higher than they were in 2015 - at the very height of the European migrant crisis - is quite something.
It's all about how you frame it obviously. The Times's headline couldn't be further from Mark Easton's 'frame':
Asylum claims at highest level for 20 years as Channel crossings surge
I'm intrigued though about what was going on throughout 2001. 🤔 Ah, yes.
It doesn't matter what the issue is. In any argument between the UK and an EU member state the BBC crowd will always align themselves with the EU.
Brendan O'Hara, SNP: Last night I tuned in to the BBC 10 o'clock news to get the latest on this terrible disaster, and I was absolutely appalled when a presenter informed me that around 30 migrants had drowned. Migrants don't drown. People drown. Men, women and children drown. So will the Secretary of State join me in asking the BBC News editorial team and any other news outlet thinking of using that term to reflect on their use of such dehumanising language and afford these poor people the respect that they deserve?
Priti Patel, Home Secretary: Even during the Afghan operations and Op Pitting I heard a lot of language that quite frankly seemed to be inappropriate around people who were fleeing. So yes, I will.
I refer the honourable lady to Melanie Phillips: “Pass the smelling salts: the BBC is right. Why is the Home Secretary endorsing an attack on objectivity?”
So because she heard inappropriate language about Afghans, the Home Secretary is going to complain to the BBC for its use of wholly appropriate language to describe a different group of people in a different situation?
Why is Priti Patel endorsing this attack on BBC objectivity — the very quality which the BBC is usually rightly accused of lacking? Why is she thus giving implicit succour to those who exploit the accelerating crisis in the English Channel — a crisis which she and Boris Johnson have failed to resolve — to denigrate those who wish to uphold the integrity of their country’s borders and the rule of law?
The BBC is often very wrong, but on this occasion it is absolutely right. When a Conservative Home Secretary takes up a position to the left of the BBC, something has gone very badly awry with British politics.
John Clare, The Ragwort (1832)Ragwort, thou humble flower with tattered leaves
I love to see thee come & litter gold,
What time the summer binds her russet sheaves;
Decking rude spots in beauties manifold,
That without thee were dreary to behold,
Sunburnt and bare - the meadow bank, the baulk
That leads a wagon-way through mellow fields,
Rich with the tints that harvest's plenty yields,
Browns of all hues; and everywhere I walk
Thy waste of shining blossoms richly shields
The sun tanned sward in splendid hues that burn
So bright & glaring that the very light
Of the rich sunshine doth to paleness turn
& seems but very shadows in thy sight.
Kevin Saunders, Former Chief Immigration Officer for the UK Border Force: In the longer term, we have got to have offshore reception centres for these people. The draw to the UK is phenomenal. They want to come here because basically everything is free. And that's the attraction. That's why they wants to come. They are going to get housing, education, money, everything. That's why they are wanting to come...
And then came a report from the BBC's Lewis Goodall which contradicted the lived testimony of Mr Saunders, former Chief Immigration Officer for the UK Border Force.
Here are some quotes from that:
al-Muhajiroun(radical British group also known as Islam4UK, banned since January 2010) ie lower case "al", followed by a hyphen and capital "M". Make it clear in news stories that this group and others like it are regarded by the majority of British Muslims as unrepresentative - ideally, through a quote to that effect from a leading mainstream Muslim group such as the Muslim Council of Britain. Preachers associated with these groups should not be described simply as "Muslim clerics", but as radical, fringe or similar.
Supporters of Shariah(radical Islamic group)) Our policy is to run stories about this group and others like it (eg: al Muhajiroun) only if we can make it clear that they are regarded by the majority of British Muslims as unrepresentative - ideally, through a quote to that effect from a leading mainstream Muslim group, such as the Muslim Council of Britain. Preachers associated with these groups should not be described simply as "Muslim clerics", but should be labelled as radical, fringe, or something similar. Do not confuse the mainstream Muslim Council of Britain with the more radical Islamic Council of Britain - which should be labelled as self-styled.
gender/sexUsing appropriate language is an important part of how we portray people in our stories. Sexuality, race, ethnicity or disability should not be mentioned unless they are relevant to the subject matter. But when we do focus on one aspect of a person's character we should ensure we do not define them by it.Where possible, use the term/s and pronoun/s preferred by people themselves, when they have made their preferences clear.Gay/lesbian: Use gay as an adjective rather than a noun (eg: two gay men - but not "two gays"). It can apply to members of both sexes, but current preferred practice is to refer to "gay men and lesbians".For wider references, talk about LGBT people or the LGBT community (lesbian, gay bisexual, transgender). If this does not suffice, the preferred initialism is “LGBTQ”or“LGBTQ+” - the “Q” means questioning and/or queer, the “+”acknowledges not all people may feel represented by these initials. Where possible, however, initials should be avoided. The issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people can be very different and the more specific we can be with our language, the better.If using LGBT+ or another formulation - for example in a quote – consider the likely audience of the story and whether the term needs explaining. Instead of “LGB”, for example, consider “lesbian, gay or bisexual”.Homosexual means people of either sex who are attracted to people of their own gender, but take care how you use it. While it can be fine in historical, judicial or legislative references, it can be considered offensive in other contexts because of past associations with illegal behaviour and mental illness.Bisexual is an adjective to describe someone who is romantically and/or sexually attracted to more than one gender.“Gender identity” has come to mean how people feel or present themselves, distinct from their biological sex or sexual orientation. Use sex to refer to a person’s physical development and gender to describe how they identify themselves.Transgender, or trans, is a good umbrella term for a person whose gender identity differs from their sex at birth. A person born male who lives as a female, would typically be described as a “transgender woman” and would take the pronoun “she”. And vice versa. Use the term and pronoun preferred by the person in question. If that’s unknown – apply that which fits with the way the person lives publicly. If reporting on someone who is making their transition public, it may be appropriate to refer to their previous identity to help audience understanding. It may also be appropriate to refer to a transition to make sense of some stories.Transsexual refers to someone who has changed, or wishes to change, their body through medical intervention. Use as an adjective - do not say “transsexuals”, in the same way we would not talk about "gays" or "blacks". Transsexual is not an umbrella term. Many transgender people do not identify as transsexual and prefer the word transgender. Try to ask or find out which term a person prefers.Take care with the term “sex change”, unless referring specifically to the surgical element of a transition. It should not be used as a general description for a transgender person.Queer is an adjective used by some people who find more specific terms, such as “lesbian”, “gay”, “bisexual”, “trans” and “LGBT”, too limiting to describe their romantic or sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression. Originally a pejorative term, more recently “queer” has been reclaimed by some in the LGBTQ+ community, to describe themselves. However, it is not universally accepted and has the potential to cause offence. Be careful when using the term. We should not apply the term to an individual or group unless they have already adopted it.Non-binary is an adjective used to describe a person who does not identify as only male or only female, or who may identify as both . It is increasingly common for non-binary people to use the singular pronoun “they”. Obviously, we should not ascribe a gender to someone non-binary. But we may need to explain any use of “they” as a singular pronoun to the audience for clarity. This could be without explicitly mentioning their gender, however (eg: [First name surname] - who uses "they" and "them" as personal pronouns - is…).“Sexual preference” suggests a person chooses to be gay or bisexual. For the same reason, phrases such as “alternative lifestyle” should also be avoided where possible. Instead of “sexual preference” and “admits being gay”, consider “sexual orientation” and “is gay”.
Personal news: I'm leaving BBC staff in June after 35 years reporting on environment and energy. It's been great - but opportunities beckon in the post-COP26 world. More later.
His former colleague Richard Black has paid tribute:
Privileged to have worked alongside this usually brilliant, occasionally infuriating but unfailingly interesting brain for a decade at BBC News … a big loss, very hard shoes to fill. Intrigued to see what comes next for you, Rog.
Thanks to everyone for the amazing tributes. I didn't know I'd need a hanky. I will be available for after dinner speeches, Bar Mitzvahs, weddings and funerals. Especially after dinners...
Meanwhile, I'm sure his remaining colleagues will keep up the good work.
Here are a couple of links that suggests some of them - including the famous Marianna Spring - are already off to a cracking start, trying to bind together groups of people the BBC disapproves of into one handy, easy-to-smear bundle:
Marianna's made a career over the past couple of years reporting on anti-lockdown protests and focusing only on the conspiracy theorists in attendance, so much so that she risks being seen as a one-trick pony. Therefore, it's nice to see that she's spreading her wings and beginning to apply this narrowly-focused approach to another group of people the BBC disapproves of - those who don't adhere to the BBC's line on climate change. I'm sure Roger will be proud of her.