Saturday 5 March 2022

The BBC and the Russian invasion of Ukraine [and an EXCLUSIVE behind-the-scenes glimpse of an ITBB discussion]

Craig: The BBC is being praised to the skies for its war coverage, and not only by itself and the usual suspects. Not that I've seen any BBC coverage, so I can't say if it's deserved or not, but lots of surprising people are singing its praises. It seems to be having a good war.

Sue: Well, I was half thinking that the BBC is ‘having a good war’, too. But with all its resources and long-standing infrastructure it would be surprising if it wasn’t. 

I haven’t watched it very much though, but sometimes the ad breaks on other channels drive one BBC-wards. I haven’t seen any of the Beeb’s opinion stuff, only the Myrie/Doucet reporting. I must say Lyse is getting more emotional than usual (and Clive is okay. A bit drained obvs.) 

I saw Konstantin Kisin's performance on Question Time (excerpts on YouTube.) It’s weird to see him on the dreaded BBC, especially when he’d only just said he’d stopped appearing on GB News because he felt he was being expected/required to opine on things he didn’t particularly know enough about. 

This unexpected invitation from the QT team must be partly to do with the new ‘impartiality’ pledges. 

Speaking of which I dread to think why they’ve let Jeremy Bowen loose on Ukraine. He will inevitably make comparisons with the M.E., (how he sees it - The bully against the oppressed, the brave Ukrainian-Pally resistance, the almighty Russian-Israeli aggressive warmongering.) 

I think I actually heard him make a reference to the M.E. in an aside on the Today prog, though I couldn’t find it when I searched. Can you imagine how the BBC’s new impartiality regulators let someone like Jez go to Ukraine with all that baggage? 

Craig: I've tracked down that Jeremy Bowen bit:
The Chinese strategist Sun Tzu talked about building your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across. In the Cuban Missile Crisis - the closest the world has come to nuclear disaster in 1961 - the deal there after the Soviets put missiles into Cuba was that the US move missiles out of Turkey. Now, of course, the things are know, you can't directly transfer the idea, but the point is, there needs to be in all these crises, to finish them, a face saving deal. Otherwise, the two sides tend to fight until one side wins or both are exhausted, which is a catastrophe for the countries affected by that, as we've seen in the Middle East extensively.

BBC reporters like Lyse being more emotional than usual was one of the topic on Samira Ahmed's Newswatch this week, asking: How new is it? Does it help or hinder the viewer's understanding? 

The fact that it featured a particularly toe-curling example of heart-tugging purple prose from Fergal Keane [‘On platform 6, a father's farewell to his infant son. What cannot be held must be let go. Until another day’] shows where that kind of thing probably began at the BBC, with the likes of him and Orla Guerin - and Jezza Bowen, with his endlessly-repeated, embittered, personalised memories of a particular moment involving Israel and his unfortunate friend. 

Even John Simpson cried recently - though he told Samira Ahmed that he's not proud of doing so and it won't happen again. 

So, as you can see, I've actually watched a BBC programme now. 

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