Tuesday 30 November 2021

BBC navel-gazing and metropolitan elitism

Here's a little Tuesday morning reading from the newspapers, starting with Anita Singh in the Daily Telegraph:

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.

And David Blunkett is back on the subject of 'woke' BBC Radio 4, this time writing a piece for the Daily Mail. He says:

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.

Meanwhile, The Times has a piece by Jawad Iqbal headlined The BBC has a blind spot over the bias of its Covid expert Susan Michie. It begins...and ends:

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.  

On which theme, by the way, I noted down the names of the first four interviewees on the BBC News Channel immediately following Boris's press conference the other day. All were what might be called 'lockdown hawks'. In order of appearance they were: Professor Susan Michie, University College London; Alex Norris MP, Shadow Health Minister; Professor Devi Sridhar, Chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh; and Dr Sarah Pitt, University of Brighton.

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