Saturday 5 February 2022

A Saturday Selection

I've been a bit out-of-action recently, but here are a few things I noted down this week:


Never mind Partygate. Sue Gray and Dame Dick need to investigate the Foreign Office for blowing lots of licence fee payers' money on a sparkling farewell party for departing BBC North America editor Jon Sopel. 

That's reported by Steerpike at the Spectator

You'll find beneath his piece this comment from former Harry's Place regular Lamia which will doubtless strike a chord with many of us:

Sopel spent the four years of Donald Trump's presidency Tweeting his disapproval of Trump and his Tweets, helping keep the humble folk of Broadcasting House and North London in a permanent state of gratified superior outrage. Once Joe Biden got into power, Sopel and the BBC simply lost interest in reporting about the US President, except what flavour of ice cream he likes. Sopel is a worthless journalist, let alone a journalist for a supposedly impartial broadcaster, because his personal and political biases have infected and dictated everything he reports (and everything he doesn't report about). Not only should he not be the BBC's political editor - if the BBC had any standards (yes, we know it doesn't...) then he would have been sacked years ago. So obviously he's a shoe-in as BBC political editor.


Rod Liddle probably ought to hang up his satirical spurs because BBC reality is outpacing him faster than the winner of the Kentucky Derby. A Guardian exclusive reports that the BBC is preparing to broadcast a new take on Dickens's Oliver Twist that will “make a conscious effort” to put food poverty “to the fore” and echo footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to reduce child hunger. Very BBC.


The BBC is celebrating what they call “a hundred years of our BBC” and they've released a two-minute campaign video - in response to Nadine Dorries - about how the “BBC belongs to all of us”. As you'd expect,  the last word - “every one of us” - goes to Sir David Attenborough and the whole party political broadcast on behalf of the BBC ends with the caption, “This is our BBC.”

The estimable Lance Forman responded:

If the BBC belongs to me - Please can they release the Balen Report which examined anti-Israel bias at the BBC. The BBC have spent circa £500,000 to keep this covered up. With antisemitism rampant there is a public interest in releasing this. Transparency belongs to us all!


The BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson pompously gives us “a reminder”:

Just a quick constitutional reminder for the BBC’s 100th anniversary: it belongs to the people of the UK. It doesn’t belong to the government. And, contrary to what the current Culture Secretary seems to think, it isn’t state-funded.
It may not be, but it still drags thousands of reluctant viewers through the courts.


As Paul Homewood notes, BBC Future has a piece by some white woke guy called Jeremy Williams headlined Climate change divides along racial lines. Could tackling it help address longstanding injustices? The pasty-faced gentleman in question has a book out tooClimate Change is Racist: Race, Privilege and the Struggle for Climate Justice, thereby evidently making him absolutely irresistible to the BBC. I'm not sure I was even aware of BBC Future. The BBC has no many tentacles it's hard to keep track.


I see some people on Twitter have been complaining that BBC One's main new bulletins gave mere seconds to the jailing of former Labour peer Lord Ahmed of Rotherham for paedophilia last night. Indeed, News at Six gave the story 17 seconds and News at Ten gave the story 13 seconds. It beggars belief.


It remains a telling fact that Newsnight has still never covered the Barry Gardiner/Chinese Communist Party influence story or that their policy editor Lewis Goodall, despite being a hyperactive Twitterer, has never tweeted about it either - despite the CCP's influence on the UK being one of the biggest new stories out there. I put it down to bias. 


Wagner's Ring cycle lasts 17 hours and runs for over four days. In it the bronzed Valkyrie Brünnhilde disobeys the Director-General of the gods Wotan, ensconced in Valhalla House. The weak Wotan, despite Brünnhilde's flagrant disregard of Valhalla editorial guidelines, merely slaps her wrist by giving her a talking-to and then sentences her to a good night's sleep on a luxury bed surrounded by fire. The dragon-slaying idiot Siegfried awakens her with a kiss and an embittered, self-righteous Brünnhilde then - after various twists and turns - mounts her mighty steed Grane and, immolating herself in the process too, brings about the fiery destruction of Valhalla House and the godly board. Similarly long-lasting is the BBC's Monologue cycle. In this saga the bronzed Emily Maitlis disobeys pasty-faced chief god of the BBC Tim Davie. Tim Davie weakly slaps her wrist by mildly saying she might, possibly, not have been quite entirely right - and then does nothing more. She disobeys him again. And again. And again. Always playing throughout to her main audience, her fellow Valkyries on Twitter. The Trump-slaying Jon Sopel awakens her with a kiss and she mounts her mighty stallion Twitter and disobeys Tim Davie yet again. So what happens next? Well, if my tortuous Wagner analogy runs on, Emily's biased behaviour will help precipitate BBCdämmerung, The Twilight of the BBC, as Tim Davie sits forlorn in Broadcasting House as everything around him goes up in flames and, amid floodwaters, the Thamesmaidens swim in to take back the BBC licence fee. So is Tim Davie ever going to do something about her? She's making a mockery of 'BBC impartiality' and sneering at her BBC bosses, but I doubt he'll do anything. He doesn't seem the type to tackle BBC bias full on. As BBC TV sitcom Valkyrie Mrs Slocombe was wont to say, he's ''weak as water''. 


BBC disinformation reporter Marianna Spring has been busy promoting a new 10-part podcast series “investigating the human cost of pandemic conspiracies online in one town, who believes them - and why” for Radio 4 and BBC Sounds. She “will share more details soon!” This drew a sarcastic reply from Peter Hitchens: “Looking forward to this, Marianna Spring. Obviously this is the most urgent lack in BBC coverage of the last two years. But will a mere ten episodes be enough?”


The BBC's diplomatic correspondent James Landale followed UK PM Boris Johnson to a press conference in Ukraine with the Ukrainian president and provoked criticism in some quarters for “making the UK look like a joke” by asking Boris about Partygate rather than Russia-Ukraine. I suspect that as extraterrestrials first emerge from their twenty-mile-long mothership to make contact with humanity for the first time BBC types will be there at the front of the press pack asking about the Sue Gray report. 

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