Monday, 31 January 2022
New Year Open Thread
Sunday, 30 January 2022
Your Views on GB News
I’ve been disappointed recently. Bigly.
I know GBNews is a breath of fresh air. Big sigh. Tell me what antidote to the currently biased MSM wouldn’t be?
I’m aware that Andrew Neil was so disgruntled with what he described as ‘UK’s Fox News’ that he got on his hobby horse and rode off in all directions - for example to Channel 4., and apparently also back to the Beeb.
However, nothing and no one is ever perfect, and as an alternative to the BBC, GBNews isn’t completely doing it for me. I still enjoy watching much of it, but regret that it has to be in a ‘best of a bad job’ kind of way. 'Least worst'.
If you’ll allow me to use the label ‘left-wing’ pejoratively, well, the BBC is so blinded by its own institutional bias it’s hard to see how it could be fixed. Personally, I don’t necessarily see the label ‘left-wing’ as an insult, but I’m using it as such here for convenience. Know what I mean, ‘Arry?
(I wonder what happened to Frank Bruno. Oops! I fear he’s been sectioned. )
Despite Tim Davie’s promised top-down overhaul, if that was indeed the promise - I can’t quite remember - recent staff appointments in the news department indicate that things are heading in the opposite direction. I think the BBC is actually doubling down.
I ought to explain my disappointment with GB News. Firstly, I do agree that it has settled down considerably since the shaky debut. Sound and lighting problems sorted, new presenters hired, and people of substance gradually agreeing to appear, cautiously sensing that being seen on GB News doesn’t automatically nix their credibility.
My main disappointment is that several of the ‘personalities’ are being allowed, nay, encouraged, to opine willy nilly on subjects other than their niche specialisms.
Take Nigel Farage. He with the smokers’ cough and overbearing manner. He was someone to be reckoned with on your Brexit. Indeed, he is Mr. Brexit. He was and is persistent on your illegal immigration and wouldn’t let it lie. He is undoubtedly super-qualified to opine on these topics, but expertise in certain areas doesn’t automatically confer expertise on everything else under the sun upon one.
My disappointment is that I think he is unduly strident and overbearing on various other topics yet silent on others. Mark Steyn is another case in point. (Or case in disappoint) He used to be someone to be reckoned with too. Very much so. Now I’m not quite sure. However, it’s unwise to project your hopes and dreams prematurely onto any individual; maybe best to wait till they’re long dead?
It seems that GB News is, in general, pretty restrained on Islam. Only Patrick Christys so far has spoken up on behalf of Israel and British Jews.
I watched a shocking example (scroll to 1:35: 54) of ignorance by the host, Conservative MP Dehenna Davison this morning, during a feature ironically titled “Common Ground”. It might be common ground for some people, but - let's just say it’s debatable. Watch as Davison fawns over guest Imam Ajmal Masroor (of The Big Questions notoriety) as he tells a sentimental tale about a generous donation of books to the people of Gaza while spouting some rabidly antisemitic, wildly perverted, and untrue ravings against Israel.
Start at 1:35:51
Maybe it’s too late. The demographics ensure that robust criticism of that ideology is out of bounds.
So, is there hope for GBNews? Your views?
The nub of the matter
The BBC’s problem with Jews goes back several generations, and, as with Corbyn’s Labour, the reason lies in the slow but sure percolation of the most toxic parts of left-wing culture of the 1970s. Only when the BBC confronts its anti-Israel bias will it find that it makes fewer slips in its handling of Jews.
Inspector Gadget: Today, the media will not inform the public that between March 1971 and 30th January 1972, republican terrorists in Northern Ireland murdered 52 British soldiers. Hypervigilance was a consequence, and once again, their own population paid the price. #context
I think that should at least be acknowledged by the likes of the BBC.
Peter Hitchens v Marianna Spring
Is the BBC Licence Fee now being used for Thought Policing?The BBC has now moved on from trying to tell us what to think, to policing those who don't share its views. Last week I was approached by a Marianna Spring, who proclaims herself the Corporation's 'Disinformation Reporter'.She wants to question me about my work during the Covid panic. I'll keep you informed about her enquiries, which are proceeding.But my view is that her very title is an expression of prejudice. 'Disinformation' is just a long way of saying 'lying'.If she thinks I'm dishonest, then let her say so on the BBC and we'll see how that goes. But in general, if you want to investigate something, you start with an open mind and see what you find. How can your mind possibly be open, if you glorify yourself as a judge of truth before you even start? And remember, this is being done with licence-payers' money.If the BBC wants to hunt down 'disinformation' about the Covid crisis, it is my view that it should clean its own house first.
Saturday, 29 January 2022
Justin Webb knows its makes sense
I am genuinely more at home with silence than I am with even informative noise. So at home, although I work on Radio 4 and it pays all my bills, my wife turns it on and I turn it off.
He does right.
'None of them paid anything for almost ruining my life.'
What becomes increasingly evident as our interview proceeds is that he is not just angry and disappointed with the police, he feels even more let down by the BBC.
He is deeply unhappy that former BBC director-general Lord Hall emerged unscathed from the debacle and has retired, that director of news Fran Unsworth — who signed off the use of the footage of the police raid on Cliff's home — is soon to retire, and the journalist who covered the raid, Dan Johnson, has seen his career go from strength to strength.'The BBC were out for the scoop, weren't they?' says Cliff. 'None of them suffered anything, that's what bugs me. They all got on quite well after what they did to me. None of them paid anything for almost ruining my life.'
Referring to his legal action against the corporation (which saw him win £210,000 in damages), he adds: 'We were prepared to stop everything if they apologised. Halfway through the court case, if they [had] apologised, we would have said, 'OK, thanks'. But they didn't. So I am still frustrated.'
Thursday, 27 January 2022
A new arrival
I just saw a tweet from the BBC News Press Team that said:
- Donald Trump as frontrunner = sign of apocalypse.
- Got it. Racists for Trump.
- This is what it was like watching Brexit returns. Disbelief.
- I'm disgusted by everything today. A plurality of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton but Democrats seem to be falling into line 4 Trump. WTH.
- White people at trump hq on TV claiming they're "taking our country back." I'm sick. I can't believe this.
- Watching the news and fielding texts reporting new covid cases from friends/family, it feels like the Trump Era has reached its inevitable conclusion: chaos and plague.
- Everyone loves John Blankley. [Democrat candidate in Greenwich, Connecticut]. Wish he had won his election in Greenwich.
- The economy does better when a Democrat is in office. 
- Hard to imagine any of the Republican candidates holding their own against Hillary Clinton 
Dirty Jews; what price 'Never Again'
Well, it’s Holocaust Memorial Day again. What is that? Let the BBC explain it to you:
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day - an event that happens every year to remember the millions of Jewish and non-Jewish people who were killed by a group called the Nazis, during World War Two. Find out more with our guide.
I’m probably being hypersensitive, but my antennae twitch when I hear the qualifier “all forms of” attached to alleged racism. (note ‘alleged’ and note the hedging-your-bets phrasing: “millions of Jewish and non-Jewish people”.)
Does that imply ‘millions of Jews as well as millions of non-Jews?’ Why is it always “antisemitism-and-all-forms-of-racism” but never “Islamophobia-and-all-forms-of etc? I mean, is Islamophobia so abhorrent that it doesn’t require the oblique implication that “your grievance is nothing special.”
The Bus Rolls On.
Video has emerged of a group of men spitting at a bus full of Jewish teenagers in Oxford Street where the group were celebrating the first night of Chanukah.pic.twitter.com/orOrA9kJEu— The Jewish Chronicle (@JewishChron) December 1, 2021
Video has emerged of a group of men spitting at a bus full of Jewish teenagers in Oxford Street where the group were celebrating the first night of Chanukah. pic.twitter.com/orOrA9kJEu— The Jewish Chronicle (@JewishChron) December 1, 2021
The saga of Oxford Street bus-gate rumbles on. The BBC has been investigating itself again and finding itself innocent. Not exactly innocent your honour, but not completely guilty either; only ‘partly’. Just a bit. A little bit antisemitic, you know, for balance.
Which do you want - the short-form or the long-form version of their findings?
Anyway, the BBC has added an / some (must be especially careful with our singulars and plurals) updates and amendments to the report.
“……….Since publication of that amendment, the claim a slur could be heard has been disputed by Hebrew speakers and others. In response to criticism of the reporting the director general of the BBC instructed the Executive Complaints Unit (ECU), which is editorially independent from BBC News, to investigate a number of issues relating to the original reporting of the incident and the subsequent dispute over whether a slur could be heard.”
and they’ve kindly inserted a link to the ECU (Executive Complaints Unit) ruling, see above.
Melanie Phillips goes into more detail. This is never-ending saga is an example of the Beeb digging itself deeper into its sorry little hole, but the Jewish press isn’t about to let it go without a robust counter-attack.
"It is a travesty that the BBC thinks that it can toss the Jewish community a bone by upholding minor elements of our complaint while defending almost the entirety of its reportage and conduct over the course of this abominable saga. Sadly, this sort of stonewalling is exactly what British Jews have come to expect from our public broadcaster.
GB News has spoken.
There’s the Muslimness issue. I haven’t addressed it on the blog so far because my ‘phobia’ might interfere with my perceived objectivity. (If there were such a thing as 'my perceived objectivity')
All I will ask is - what’s the difference, if any, between the two antis? Namely anti-Muslimness and the dreaded Islamophobia? I don’t know, but maybe ‘Muslimness’ implies an unacceptable degree of religiosity (behaviour that manifests (negatively) as adherence to certain Islamic “dos and don’ts” within the religion) such as homophobia, antisemitism, misogyny and assorted illiberal attitudes and prejudices that affect one’s objectivity.
The lady at the centre of the controversy, Nusrat Ghani MP, doesn’t seem to have been embracing the more negative aspects of the aforementioned non-objective definition, so the whole thing seems somewhat ‘conjoured-up’ to me, coupled with the fact that this kerfuffle and partygate itself, is old news.
As it’s Holocaust Memorial Day I’m including something about the rise of antisemitism in general - perhaps not directly, but certainly fundamentally related to the BBC
This article appeared in a fashion mag of all things. One I’d never heard of. Glamour Magazine. It somehow makes me think of Elton John in massive platform shoes.
Horrible as this was, most of the antisemitism I have encountered on campus hasn’t been from my fellow students but from my teachers.
Yep. The antisemitism present and rising in our universities is appalling. The primarily left-wing march through the institutions. What price ‘never again’.
One of the most obnoxious, university-based perpetrators of this is an ITBB favourite, Ghada Karmi.
She is an academic, and her upside-down version of history is currently popular throughout anglosphere academia. Another thing - even our favourite TV personalities like Robert Rinder are noticing it.
Last week, I was talking to a friend whose sons happen to love falafel. She was telling me how her boys recently went to their favourite restaurant in Golders Green to eat a load of them. As they sat outside munching, they spotted a car slow down in the road. Suddenly, the driver unfurled a Palestinian flag, screamed “dirty Jews!” and drove off.
This brings us full circle; “ Dirty Jews”
That abusive ejaculation, which sounds familiar, illustrates my contention that the BBC’s Oxford Street mis-perceived ‘slur’ - namely that the enhanced audio contained the unlikely phrase “Dirty Muslims” - is a typical example of projection. It also substantiates the proposal that BBC staff may have misheard the phrase as a result of the “Apollonian tendency” [described as] the mind’s inclination to create order or meaningfulness, especially when encountering unfamiliar information.
Barry Cryer - Laugh In Peace
alter ego - a priest who's full of himselftamper - what you take on a Yorkshire picnicgladiator - an unrepentant cannibal
- Hawaii Fi-Do
- Arselick and Old Lace
A woman walked into a shop to buy a parrot, a beautiful blue-and-gold job, and she said to the man, "How much?", and he said, "Twenty quid".She said, "Twenty pounds? He's beautiful."He said, "Well, I have to be quite frank with you. It's got a bit of form. It's got a bit of history. He was in a brothel and, to put it delicately, he's got quite an extensive vocabulary."She said, "I'll take a chance on that", took the parrot back to her flat, took the cover off. The parrot looked round her flat and said, "New place. Very nice".Two daughters walked in. The parrot said, "New place. New girls. Very nice indeed."And her husband walked in, and the parrot said, "Hello Keith."
It reminded me of the story of a man who shot a golden eagle, which is a preserved species. And he was up before the magistrates and was permitted to make a statement, and he said, "I'd no intention of shooting that golden eagle. I was shooting a pheasant and in a split second the golden eagle flew into my sight. Complete accident".And they thought, "That's quite an explanation", and out of curiosity one of the magistrates said, "What did you do with it?"He said, "I ate it".And the magistrate said, "What did it taste like?".He said, "Rather like swan".
There was a wonderful story of the late Denis Thatcher arriving at Paddington in a rush, and he had a ticket but not a reservation. So he got on this train. It was packed from front to back, and he wandered all down the train looking for a seat.Suddenly he came to some empty seats and he thought, 'What's this?'. And on the window was a sticker that said, 'Reserved. Reading Psychiatric Hospital'. So he thought, 'I'm all right till Reading' and read his paper.The train stopped at Reading and people got on and sat round him, the party from the hospital. And the man in charge said, 'Hang on, we've got one too many here. I must do a headcount' and he went '1,2,3,4...who are you?' And Denis said, 'I'm the husband of the Prime Minister', and the man said, '4,5,6.7...'!
(1) A couple going out for dinner, and she's in the bathroom trying on a new dress, and she came out of the bathroom and said to her husband, "Does my bum look big in this?" He said, "Oh be fair, love, it's quite a small bathroom".(2) A parrot in a cage in the window, and a woman walked past in the road, and the parrot said, "You're a fat cow", and she was outraged and complained to the parrot's owner, and he said, "Behave or I'll sellotape your beak up". So the parrot stopped. And two hours later the same woman walked past the window and the parrot said, "You know what I'm thinking."
For Holocaust Memorial Day
If you were impressed by that then wait until you try Haas's String Quartet No. 2, 'From the Monkey Mountains', Op.7 of 1925, where the undoubted traces of Janáček's two great string quartets (The Kreutzer Sonata and Intimate Letters) don't in any way detract from a remarkable achievement. There are four movements, of which the first, Landscape, is closest throughout to the teacher's idiom. The second, Coach, Coachman And Horse, however, has a remarkably original main section that will surely get you pricking up your ears! The slow movement, The Moon And I..., is certainly mysterious - and very beautiful. As for the final movement, Wild Night, well that holds a surprise which I won't divulge. It's a musical first too, historically-speaking. I'll just say that if you were in any doubt about the Chinese inspiration behind the piece, you won't be after hearing this part of it! Yes, Haas certainly had a sense of humour. (There's more evidence for that in the rather inebriated-sounding second movement of the Wind Quintet, Op.10 of 1929). This superb work should be in the repertory of most string quartets, though I suspect I can guess why it probably won't be (as I'm sure you can too).
My teasers there still stand. You'll have to listen to it to find out!
2 Orthodox Jewish men were brutally attacked last night in London, on the eve of Intl. Holocaust Remembrance Day. How can this violent, hatred-fueled antisemitism STILL be in existence in 2022, nearly 80 years after the #Holocaust ended?#AntisemitismWatch 🌍 #UK #StandUpToHatred pic.twitter.com/XfUG8W7tU8— StandWithUsUK (@StandWithUsUK) January 27, 2022
Monday, 24 January 2022
A very sad story
This is a very sad tale of multiple tragedies. My intention here is primarily to focus on the BBC’s conduct, but also to recount a bit of a story.
Michael Rosen is one of the BBC’s most treasured contributors, and as Craig reminded me, his radio programme ‘Word of Mouth' is interesting and exceedingly listenable.
He has broadcast several first-hand accounts of his near-death experience due to Covid-19 - the bad one - and has expressed his sincere gratitude to the NHS and explained how well they treated him.
He experienced a devastating personal loss several years ago when his eighteen-year-old son died suddenly of meningitis. He wrote so movingly of it at the time that I very well remember feeling deeply sorry for him and his family.
However, he is also a keen Corbynista, and I do recall the below-the-line contributions he made to Harry’s Place, back in the days when that was an ideologically left-leaning, and if you’ll pardon the anomaly, a pro-Zionist website. He was, back in the day, a bit of a troll, as his comments were somewhat provocative and, well, troll-like. Agent provocateur is the phrase I’m a-lookin' for.
Another red flag was raised (for me) when I noticed that Rosen was a fan of the self-confessed antisemite Roald Dahl, whose own family had to issue a posthumous apology on his behalf, in order to shift more of his merchandise. (Most kids, including mine, like Dahl’s stories. I think the stories have a bitter and twisted subliminal agenda, but I did read them aloud to my own children - metaphorically hanging my own personal antipathy to the author on a peg at the bedroom door.
If you’re interested, Rosen was in a spat with TCW’s Laura Perrins in 2016 on the Beeb’s Daily Politics hosted by Jo Coburn, when the left-wing Momentum movement was more of a thing.
That roughly sets out my feelings about Michael Rosen. However, there is another and even sadder part to this unfolding tale. It gets bizarre.
Michael Rosen saw something on Twitter he didn’t like. It was the kind of thing people do online, poking fun at people like Jeremy Corbyn by way of some nifty photoshopping.
Someone on Twitter had doctored a picture depicting the magic grandpa apparently reading to some schoolchildren, originally a photo-op created to demonstrate Corbyn’s cuddly ‘Grandpa-ness.
The book in the Tweet had attracted Rosen’s attention because it was Rosen’s own popular Bear Hunt-themed children’s book - but with a twist. The book’s cover had been substituted for another image - The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion - and, obviously to everyone but Rosen, intended as a dig at Corbyn’s antisemitism.
Rosen didn’t see the joke. He took umbrage, bigly. Not only that, but he somehow interpreted the Tweet itself, and therefore the tweeter, as being antisemitic. As to how he worked that out, nobody has so far offered a credible explanation. As far as I can tell, it was a massive inversion of the actualité and if anything, a combination of gaslighting and self-denial.
This is where the BBC comes in. Last May, the BBC put out an article on their website.
Michael Rosen condemns Northumbria Uni lecturer's manipulated image tweet, illustrated with a jokey pic of Rosen peering smilingly through two huge piles of his books.
The article is sparse. It doesn’t name Rosen’s accusé, but alludes to him as “Northumbria Uni lecturer.”
The content of the article implies that the Uni Lecturer is an antisemite and Rosen’s ridiculous accusation is reproduced in the form of a quote.
The book's author, Michael Rosen, has condemned the tweet as "loathsome and anti-Semitic". The member of staff has been approached for comment
The BBC is careful to stress that Rosen is “not in favour of anyone being sacked over this”.
Whatever you make of this poorly constructed article, it certainly lacks logic and is so badly explained that it leaves an impression diametrically contra to the actuality.
Although Rosen was gratuitously magnanimous about the sacking, the University in question did what universities as employers do these days; they dealt with it with predictable unsupportiveness and wokeness typical of present-day academia.
So now the University Lecturer is dead. We are not aware of what has happened but one can speculate. He was 38 years old for God’s sake.
Peter Newbon received hate mail and was bullied online in wake of tweet about Jeremy Corbyn
A coroner will investigate the sudden death of a Jewish academic “remorselessly bullied” on social media after he was accused of anti-Semitism by one of Britain’s best loved children’s authors.
Peter Newbon, 38, a father of three young girls, died a week ago in the wake of a Twitter “pile on” that had left him feeling under pressure, according to friends. He was found dead last Saturday.
His partner, Rachel Hewitt, said his death had left her “broken into a million unbearably painful pieces”.
“Through his work as a senior lecturer in the humanities at Northumbria University, which he joined in 2012, Pete inspired students with his passion for Romantic and Victorian literature.
"In his political campaigning, particularly against anti-Semitism in Labour, he showed bravery, integrity, and a fierce sense of right and wrong. His friends have told me they loved his gentleness, goodness and irrepressible humour.”
The North Yorkshire and York coroner court is due to open an inquest at a later date.
I’m sure Michael Rosen feels pretty bad now. One hopes so. But the BBC hasn’t quite got round to reporting this tragedy yet, and one does wonder how they’ll pitch it, when and if they do.
Sunday, 23 January 2022
Remembrance of Recent Mamories...
- You look fantastic. I'm so happy I've found someone such as yourself who is focusing on the harmful effects of online conspiracies and abuse. Thank you for your work.
- Green suits you. Thanks for your hard work x
- Looking lovely!
- Fab hair. Looking forward to watching the programmes.
Introspective Post (with parsley sauce)
My trusty old laptop, which has seen me through a lot of blogging, decided to take against the letter 'e' the other day.
Now, there have been novels in the past - Ernest Vincent Wright's 1939 Gadsby and Georges Perec's 1969 La Disparition - written entirely without the letter 'e', but I don't think a blog about BBC bias can be written without it.
After all, I'd have to refer to *mily Maitlis and L*wis Goodall and Mark *aston and Mik* W*ndling and Gary Lin*k*r, etc, and it might looks as if I was swearing about them.So I've gone onto my reserve laptop and can't get back into Disqus yet to reply to the discussion on the open thread. So I'll do it here instead:Things are undoubtedly getting worse with the BBC, and to a startling degree. I thought they were getting a bit better in the early 2010s, but things began deteriorating again after 2016 and have spiralled downwards over the past couple of years at a dizzying rate, especially in recent months.It used to be fairly manageable keeping up with it, but it's getting harder almost by the week to wrap a mere blogger's cerebral cortex around it. At this very moment I'm looking at everything's that gone on over this past couple of days and almost despairing about even beginning to sum it up, never mind do justice to it.This is where you, dear readers, come in.When we withdrew last year, you stepped in.In preparing my favourite post of last year - 2021 in a Nutshell - I drew heavily on your comments on the open thread, especially for the missing months.You barely missed a thing.So please keep commenting and pointing things out - when you've the time and the inclination.As you've been saying, we may be small but it's good to have another separate, distinct, manageable gathering place for sharing what we've all heard and seen, alongside other likeminded sororal and fraternal sites.I still believe we're a very useful resource with a fascinating and ever-expanding archive, like a village library - even if much of what we've been saying for years is now pretty mainstream and even though we've probably been superceded.And, of course, it's a library with lots of beautifully-crafted, profoundly-thought-out and often very funny pieces by Sue, highlighting matters that really matter. She's the George Eliot of ITBB compared to my George and Weedon Grossmith.
And thank you again.
Gordon's still alive!!!
Talking to people
Edward Stourton: We asked two people from Lancashire's Jewish and Muslim communities to reflect on what happened. Saima Afza is a Muslim from Blackburn. She's a former local councillor and a former Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire. Jeremy Dable is Jewish and lives in Preston. He used to be a member of the town's interfaith forum.