Wednesday, 22 September 2021

September Continuing Open Thread

 

''By putting a concern for neurodiversity at the heart of its design, the BBC’s headquarters in Wales has taken a radical approach''

Welcome to the September Open Thread and thank you for your comments.

Nothing new under the sun

 


This won't be my finest post perhaps, and if it weren't for this blog I would never watch Newsnight again...

Newsnight isn't a patch on what it used to be, and I only ever dip into it now, on extremely rare occasions, to test BBC bias - when time and the mood strikes me.

And I tested it last night to see how the three-way first interview between climate change activist Sarah Colenbrander, pro-Brexit ex-MEP Dan Hannan and serving Democrat Congressman Brendan Boyle would go in the wake of the Biden UN speech and the muffled Boris-Joe press conference. 

I guessed that pro-Brexit Dan would get all the interruptions and the powerful US Democrat congressman get none. 

I guessed right. Dan Hannan got three challenging interruptions and a fourth abrupt cut-off interruption, while neither of the others - including Democrat Boyle - got any interruptions whatsoever.

It was wholly inevitable, given how biased the programme is.

#InterruptionsMatter

And, except for a half-hearted 'devils advocate' question from Emily Maitlis to Bren Boyle, it was all about 'getting Dan Hannan' over the UK's position after Brexit.

Very, very BBC. And very, very predictable. 

I'm no interviewer, but I think I even I could have given the obnoxious Irish lobby, Biden-supporting, shiny-faced Democrat congressman a much harder, more incisive ride than Our Emily. 

And as a pro-UK viewer I feel he deserved a lot harder push-back from Our Emily given how obnoxious and dishonest I found him. 

But, as a BBC bias watcher, I just knew what Emily and Newsnight would do what they did because it's what Newsnight always does now - with relish, and without shame. Especially as they get away with it.

They might as well have kept James O'Biased on the presenting roster.

I'll support anything now to make it stop that the public has to pay for such biased BBC broadcasting.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Tim in the kittens' den

  

I've just caught up on the whole of Tim Davie and Richard Sharp's appearance at the Commons Culture Select Committee today.

If you missed it and want to give over 1h 20m of your life to watching it, please click here.

Various things struck me:

Firstly, just how far the BBC's tentacles reach. Four out of the very small committee of MPs attending - I counted six or seven at most [as one may have been a clerk] - declared their BBC affiliations at the start. All four had been BBC journalists in a past life, and one even publicly declared his continuing financial benefits from the BBC. [What about the others?].

Secondly, how plausible Tim Davie is. He still talks a good talk. BBC chairman Richard Sharp was less assured. And the third musketeer, Leigh Tavaziva - the BBC's chief operating officer - came across as little but a babbler of corporate-speak. 

Thirdly, how soft the committee were on the BBC - including all but one of the Tories. 

Most of the Tories were kind to the BBC. And the Clacton Conservatory MP Giles Watling, who initially declared his continuing BBC financial rewards, turned out to be especially kind to them. He cocked his head and knitted his brow in sympathy for their financial flight and 'loss of talent'. It was like eavesdropping via video on a conversation between Tim Davie and Giles from the Samaritans. 

The SNP's John Nicolson [ex-BBC] quoted two contrasting emails from members of the public, one attacking the BBC from the left and one attacking the BBC from the right, and played the 'complaints from both sides' card, like he was some defensive BBC editor on Samira's Newsnight - which is intriguing. Are the SNP feeling much warmer towards the BBC now? 

Talking of which, Billy Bragg's chum Labour MP Kevin Brennan helped John Nicolson prove his point by going after Sir Robbie Gibb and The Tories Atop the BBC over JessBrammargate. Wonder what BBC returnee Jess Brammar made of Labour's Kevin Brennan being on her side? At least she's not retweeted him yet.

Fourthly, only Julian Knight, the committee chairman, really sunk his teeth into the BBC - though oddly, despite what he said the other day about the Mail on Sunday's latest piece, he didn't go after the corporation over Martin Bashir.

Fifthly, Damian Green - the Europhile former Conservative high-up under Mrs May - kept quiet. He was one of the four former BBC people.

All in all, it was a very easy ride for Tim and Richard. So many questions that could have been asked weren't asked. They were in a den of kittens and politicians.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

''BBC Hit By New Bashir Shame''



“The BBC has a really grim bit of reading in The Mail on Sunday. This is another Martin Bashir-related story. Goes on for pages and pages and it is tough stuff for BBC people to read”, said Andrew Marr this morning

He didn't elaborate, or mention the story again. 

This morning's BBC News Channel paper review also merely mentioned it, with Victoria Derbyshire laying heavy emphasis on her own words, “it claims”.

The Mail on Sunday's remarkable investigation into how Martin Bashir took the Babes In The Wood victim's bloodied clothes from her mother, and then lost them, focuses on how that was followed by “derisory” efforts to find them by the BBC. 

The loss, the Mail reports, was only found out when the mother asked for them back to help police review the evidence and help convict the chief suspect.

As with the Princess Diana scandal, it's the allegations of a cover-up by the BBC that are particularly telling:
At the time, a BBC spokesman announced 'extensive inquiries' had been made to find them. 
But we can reveal today that the Corporation failed to even carry out the most basic checks, including speaking directly to Bashir. 
Key journalists who worked alongside him on the Babes In The Wood documentary also said they were never contacted. 
Nor were the families of Karen and fellow victim Nicola Fellows, nor a forensic scientist named by the programme's editor as an expert who could analyse scene-of-crime material. 
The acting director-general of the BBC at the time, Mark Byford, has also admitted no 'formal investigation' was held into the missing clothes.

Well might Julian Knight MP say in reaction, “These allegations, if proven, would amount to one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the BBC. This could be the BBC's Milly Dowler phone hacking moment.” 

His Commons Culture select committee will be interviewing Tim Davie on Tuesday. 

---------------

Update - The story was discussed during this morning's Broadcasting House paper review. Only one guest commented on it, namely  former Conservative MP for North Devon Peter Heaton-Jones, who also previously worked for...guess who?...yes, the BBC:

Paddy O'Connell: What is the front page of the Mail on Sunday, Peter?

Peter Heaton-Jones: Well, yes I thought I should dip into the world of journalism from my previous life Paddy, and so...the Mail on Sunday is obsessed with the BBC, has been for some time, shows no signs of waning. So you can read about the BBC and the Mail's view of it on pages 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 and 26, should you be so disposed. I love the BBC. I worked here for 20 years and I think that the licence fee is the right way to fund the BBC. Let me get that out of the way first. But the Mail says one thing in its editorial which I think has some substance to it, and it's this: They...quote, “The BBC's closed and haughty elite with its insistence on being judge and jury in any case where it comes under criticism, ploughs on regardless”. And I just think if there's one lesson for the BBC to learn, it's you can get it wrong sometimes, don't always defend yourself to the hilt if someone accuses you of getting something wrong. 

Paddy O'Connell: And this front page is another scandal involving the disgraced journalist Martin Bashir.

Peter Heaton-Jones: Yes, BBC hit by new Bashir shame”, they say on page 1 - and about 18 other pages. It's not a good story, which I don't think I want to go into detail about Paddy, but it's another example of how I think the Mail and certain other newspapers will try to find any chink in the BBC's armour. They are there, but they find them very actively.

---------------- 

Further update [Sunday evening] -  The BBC has radically undermined BBC apologist Peter Heaton-Jones tonight. 

He said it wasn't a good story, but the BBC obviously disagrees. They've taken onboard the Mail on Sunday's investigation.

As a result, the BBC has now issued an apology, saying they're “extremely sorry over the loss of the murdered schoolgirl's clothes

This is important, and needs exploring further, though the BBC website report - true to form - spins the 'cover-up' claim as wrong, to the BBC's advantage.

Maybe time will tell, or maybe it won't.

Whatever, well done to the Mail on Sunday, however many pages they took over it.

The Bishop of Radio 4's 'Sunday'

  

It's surely time now for David Walker, the go-ahead Bishop of Manchester, to be officially installed as Bishop of Radio 4's Sunday

He's on the programme so often, usually receiving the BBC's blessing for one of his campaigns.

This week Sunday helped publicise his campaign against the Government's latest immigration bill. 

If you didn't hear it yourself, here's a flavour of how it was framed today:
William Crawley: Good morning. On this week's Sunday, is the medieval idea of sanctuary coming back in a world of asylum seekers and refugees? 
William Crawley: Still to come on Sunday, why being a Good Samaritan may soon be a criminal offence, according to the Church of England. 
William Crawley: The Nationality and Borders Bill currently going through Parliament has angered some Church of England bishops. 12 bishops have signed a public letter this week accusing the government of effectively criminalising Good Samaritans. They say the bill would criminalise not only attempts to cross the border irregularly, nor even simply people-smuggling, but even those who take part in the rescue of boats in distress at sea. This week churches have also been welcoming Afghans who fled their homeland last month after the Taliban took control. The BBC's Carolyn Atkinson was at St Paul's church in Marylebone as volunteers welcome some of those refugees.

Naturally for Sunday, no one who thought differently on the issue was heard from, so here's a flavour of the response on Twitter instead:

  • The Bishop of Manchester once again managed to walk past the issue that the people he is discussing are effectively fleeing France & by extension the EU & are in no way "compelled" to risk "perilous" crossing over Channel from which everybody arrives safely in Kent, so parallels [with the Good Samaritan story] seem weak.
  • Suggest these bishops look at a world map. We are a tiny island. Across the world millions face war & prejudice but, realistically, it’s just not possible to accommodate, integrate, house, educate & offer free healthcare to them all in the UK. 
  • The clueless bishop who doesn't think before opening his mouth. Encouraging people to risk their lives illegally crossing one of the busiest shipping lanes in an inflatable. Placing themselves & others at risk. And what of the poor, whose jobs they would take, he doesn't care.

And the Bishop of Manchester wasn't the only bishop given a bit of free advertising for his campaign this week. The programme began with Mark Strange, the go-ahead Bishop of Moray, Ross & Caithness campaigning about climate change, and here's how that was framed by Sunday:

William Crawley: Ahead of Cop26, the UN climate Change Conference in Glasgow taking place next month, faith leaders across the UK have united in a declaration, which they hope will raise up a new generation of advocates for climate justice. The Glasgow Multi-Faith Declaration calls on faith communities to make transformational changes in their lives for the sake of the planet and to speak truth to the politically powerful about their responsibilities. But what does transformational change look like in practical terms, electric cars, avoiding air travel, moving away from meat based diets, reusing clothing. I asked Bishop Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Anglican communion's delegate to COP26 and one of the architects of this new multi-faith declaration.
William Crawley: Well, on this third commitment of speaking truth to power, when the UK Government, when Boris Johnson's government effectively, says the Government's most international priority is dealing with with the climate crisis and at the same time the Government is supporting a new coal mine or cutting taxes on flights in response to what we've been through with Covid, some have used the term 'hypocrisy' of this Government in describing what they say and what they are doing. Would you use that term? 
Bishop Strange: I think I probably have used that term.

Again, no alternative voice was heard from.

Very Sunday.

🤣


It also wouldn't be Radio 4's Sunday without what I used to call "the usual airing of Muslim grievances". This week's programme plugged a book by two Muslim sisters. William Crawley described it as "very funny". The funny thing for me was that the passage they read out was "the usual airing of Muslim grievances":
Tariq: Sufya, there's enough bad press about Muslims without us joining in as well.
Me: I wasn't singling out Muslims.
Tariq: Look, it was OK when we were young, right. We could pretend it didn't matter then. We were just harmless Asians. But things have changed. I go into those meetings with the Home Secretary and all those excellent liberals that advise the big man. To them we are book burners, wife abusers, terrorists. That's how they see us. Most of them don't count me on their team, even though I'm sitting right in the middle of them.
Me: But I can't be on a team with all the fundis.
Tariq: They won't have you in the Islamophobes.

Did you🤣?

The Farhud


BBC Radio 4's Sunday marked the 80th anniversary of the Farhud - the murderous expulsion of Jews from Baghdad by pro-Nazi Arabs. I agree with these tweets about the feature:
 
  • Almost interesting, but not enough on background politics.
  • Yes, interesting report on something little known about. In fact, the programme makers were careful to refer to this "holocaust" without actually describing what happened, I suppose so as not to offend Arab or Iraqi sensibilities.

It's a remarkable thing that there are now just 3 Jews left in Iraq. 

KaBULL


Jim Al-Khalili: I know that of all the things wrong in the world, such trivialities shouldn't bug me, but who's told all TV journalists to start mispronouncing Kābul (long a) as KaBULL? Gah!
John Simpson: What about Northern Island (a favourite of weather forecasters)? Or RE-search? Just about everyone pronounces the ‘j’ in ‘Beijing’ like the ‘s’ in ‘pleasure’. It ought to be like the ‘j’ in ‘just’. Good luck persuading anyone of that, though.

Jim's not wrong, and if you tune into Today or watch BBC reporters you'll hear many manglings of words like 'Taliban', and even 'Pakistan'.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Back on my hobby-horse

 

The BBC's flagship international affairs programme Dateline London [the one hardly anyone in the UK watches] reminds us why the BBC is the BBC and not, say, GB News.

This week's guests - two of the mainstays of the programme, the third the BBC's Asia/Pacific editor - said many interesting things.

I was particularly intrigued by mainstay Ashis Ray saying that Pakistan played a major part in getting North Korea's nuclear programme going. 

But it's long been typical of the programme that the majority of the people who the BBC invites to appear on the programme end up saying pretty much the same thing on most subjects, and there's too much agreement.

It's an extension of BBC groupthink.

One example...

What with all that's been going on with Joe Biden's hapless, dubiously honest administration at the moment, quite why this week's trio of guests kept taking potshots at Donald Trump seemed odd - especially as it's been eight months since Mr Trump was last in office. 

And, even odder, they barely even mentioned Joe Biden and gave him a free pass.

The reason is pretty obvious though, surely. 

These invited BBC guests have a particular outlook on the world - one shared by the biased BBC - and when they all get together they naturally bond by doing familiar mutual-grooming things...

...and also by very much not talking about certain other, uncongenial things - like how 'Crap hat. No rabbit' Magic Joe has been.

So what's more natural, when appearing on the BBC's Dateline, than to have a dig at the previous US president? 

Mutually-reinforcing digs at The Donald have been as regular on Dateline as even numbers in a list of numbers for well over five years now, and they've scratched themselves to happiness so many times that today's outbursts were merely par for the course. 

In presenting a weekly snapshot of world opinion, Dateline remains very selective. If there's just one Indian regular guest for well over a decade, for example, let him be strongly anti-Modi and not for one second think of inviting a new, pro-Modi voice in all that time. 

Very BBC.

A second example....

On the question of the UK government and Covid, all sang from the same medical sick note. 

The two non-BBC mainstays said that the UK government is being reckless by being so soft. They both want face masks made mandatory in the UK. And the BBC Asia/Pacific editor [Celia Hatton] wants the UK to do its international duty and cough up money and vaccines to vaccinate the world's poor. 

And BBC presenter and blog favourite Martine Croxall added to the unanimity by posing her questions from the 'Is the UK government being reckless in taking a light touch approach to Covid given how bad things are already getting and how much worse it could get this winter?' angle,

Here are all her comments and questions on the matter:

  • Hello, and welcome to Dateline London. I'm Martine Croxall. This week we ask, has the UK Government announced enough measures to protect people from Covid, flu and a National Health Service crisis over the winter?
  • Boris Johnson has revealed a light touch plan A and a tougher plan B to tackle Covid in England this winter. And many suspect that the UK is bracing itself for another grim few months. But is his plan enough? Hospitalisations are up. Diagnosed cases of Covid are still high. Parts of the National Health Service already say that they are under strain. It is worth repeating that the different nations of the United Kingdom run their own Covid policies because health is part of their devolved powers. Henry, looking into what Boris Johnson is trying to do to get Britain through relatively unscathed this coming winter, how well does it look like he is doing?
  • Ashis, we have also seen several countries have been told that they are going to come off Britain's so-called red travel list, which will be music to their ears. A clear signal from the UK Government that they really do want to be open for business again but how wise is it, given the rates in some parts of the world? 
  • Celia, here in the United Kingdom, there has been a massive push for people to be vaccinated. Adults first, then older teenagers and now young teenagers, 12-15. We are seeing massive differences though around the world, particularly the parts of the world that you cover in how much vaccine is available. 

Such uniformity of thinking is very BBC, and the mirror image of the uniformity of thinking that sometimes afflicts GB News and this end of the social media spectrum - though, of course, neither of the latter are licence-fee funded so their biases are far less consequential.

I prefer Dateline London when the people invited to appear on it don't agree about everything. [Bring back Alex Deane!]. But editions where that happens have been the exception rather than the rule for well over a decade now. It's why the BBC is as bad as it is, and why urgent action is needed and why alternatives are vital.

Choosing the best guest


As I now get my news from many places, the remarkable tale of General Mark Milley apparently going behind President Trump's back to directly reassure the Chinese communist regime both before and after the 2020 US election is a story I've kept my eye on. 

It's not one that's interested the BBC News Channel much though. I can find only one discussion about it, when Christian Fraser interviewed an American security expert about it on 15 September at 9.30pm.

The American security expert fully backed General Milley's actions and repeatedly went on the attack about Donald Trump, so I smelt a rat and looked him up on Wikipedia. And Wikipedia - unlike the BBC - was very informative about his background:
Miles Taylor is an American former government official in the George W. Bush and Trump administrations, best known for his previously anonymous criticisms of Donald Trump.
In 2018, after being appointed DHS deputy chief of staff, Taylor wrote The New York Times op-ed "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration" under the pen-name "Anonymous", which drew widespread attention for its criticism of Trump. In 2019, he published the book A Warning, later revealing himself to be "Anonymous" in October 2020 while campaigning against Donald Trump's reelection. 
In August 2020, while on leave of absence from his work at Google, he produced an ad for Republican Voters Against Trump, denouncing Trump and endorsing Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Taylor was the first former Trump administration officials who endorsed Joe Biden.

Hm, the BBC certainly know how to select their guests.

It's a shame they can't give us a little context though about where that guest is 'coming from', especially if it's relevant - as it surely was here.

Different president, different reporting

  

Even since the Biden administration's bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan climaxed in the deaths of 13 US marines and some 200 others at Kabul airport at the hands of Islamic State's Afghan offshoot and the US quickly retaliated, claiming to have successfully struck two ISIS-K targets, doubts have been expressed about those targets. Were they really terrorists? 

We'll probably never know if those killed in the first, surprisingly swift strike were really senior IS commanders, as was claimed at the time, or were merely low-level IS members, or just unlucky locals killed by mistake, because the US has refused to provide any details. It happened out in the Afghan countryside, far from journalists' eyes.

The doubts about the second ''righteous strike'' [Mark Milley, US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] surfaced straightaway. I saw photos of the children killed in the attack within hours and some media organisations were on the case straightaway too saying that an innocent family had been hit, not IS-KP terrorists. From the first hours it looked to me as if the US had struck the wrong people. But the bullish Biden administration/Pentagon officials stuck to their line that it was IS terrorists on their way to attack the airport again who had been vaporised. Finally, the US has now admitted that they did indeed strike the wrong target. They actually hit an aid worker and a translator and another ally, and seven children. What the US military thought were weapons were actually water bottles.

Watching BBC News at Ten's brief coverage of the US admission last night and reading the BBC News website's report on the story, featuring 'analysis' from Barbara Plett-Usher, I was struck by how little they were tying the Biden administration to the story. It's as if they were downplaying the Biden administration's responsibility. No mention of Mark Milley. Just a passing somewhat positive reference in the online piece to Joe Biden.  [''The last US soldier left Afghanistan on 31 August - the deadline President Joe Biden had set for the US withdrawal.'']. And quotes from the US Defence Secretary being added to the online piece 9 hours later.

I think blog favourite Adrian Hilton sums it up well:
Adrian Hilton: If this appalling tragedy had occurred under Donald Trump, I'm sure UK media (esp. BBC News and Channel 4 News) would have apportioned blame directly at his feet, and given it hours of negative coverage. But under Joe Biden it's excusable; not newsworthy...'collateral damage'.
To put it another way: Just imagine what would have happened if Donald Trump had carried out the strikes, and seven children had been killed in a botched response to a terror attack which killed 13 Americans as a result of bottlenecking caused by the chaotic withdrawal from Kabul airport, accompanied by images of people falling from the wheel wells of aeroplanes. 

It speaks of biased reporting. 

And scanning the BBC's TV channels today for 'Biden', he's only being mentioned in connection with a pro-Trump/pro-Capitol protesters rally coming up this weekend and the French withdrawing their ambassadors to the US and Australia over Aukus.


UpdateNomia Iqbal's report on the BBC News Channel this morning ended by focusing on ''the US military'', not the Biden administration:
This awful mistake further dents the US military's reputation, that has already been damaged by its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Sloppiness

 
Luxmy Gopal, not the first female newsreader

This week's Newswatch with Samira Ahmed began with viewers complaining about BBC journalistic ''sloppiness'' after the BBC News Channel's 4pm headlines on Wednesday said this:
The Prime Minister is re- shuffling his top team of government ministers. In the past few minutes, the former Trade Secretary Liz Truss has been appointed Foreign Secretary, the first woman to hold the role.
I checked that out at the time and found that the BBC corrected it within 7 minutes, noting that Labour's Margaret Beckett had got there first [in 2006]. 

It was a bit 'sloppy' but I didn't think it was worth pointing out here given the speed of the correction and the fact that such things can happen during 'breaking news'. 

I didn't realise till Newswatch though that this wasn't an isolated example. The mistake was repeated on the following morning's Today programme...
More ministerial appointments are expected to be announced today after Boris Johnson carried out an extensive cabinet reshuffle yesterday. Liz Truss became the first female Foreign Secretary after Dominic Raab was demoted to Justice Secretary.
...''and elsewhere'', as Samira put it.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Aukus


The BBC's angle on Aukus this morning...
 


  • Funny that the story mentions only China and France but the headline suggests it is entire world. No wonder MSM is losing credibility.
  • 2 countries being upset is not "global." They are both on this globe, but that does not make this global. They are on two different continents and timezones, but again, it's not global.
  • BBC, which side are you on? There is no GLOBAL BACKLASH?? Do you side with CHINA?
  • There is NO backlash global. 

Update -  The political editor of The Sun isn't impressed:
Harry Cole: Some of the BBC headlines in the last 24 hours have made you double check which state broadcaster you are reading/watching. New pact endlessly reported through the prism of China’s hypothetical reaction rather than why it is needed.

Nor is Col. Richard Kemp: 

Richard KempIn so much U.K. and US media any positive move by our countries in defence of our national interests is slanted against us by default.

Out with Brexit, in with Climate


There's been an intriguing change to the BBC News website.

At the start of this year the BBC added "Brexit" to the category banner on its homepage:

  
The BBC has now removed it and replaced it with "Climate":


Leo Hickman, director/editor of Carbon Brief, is pleased
Significant development...BBC News has just added "climate" to the category banner on its homepage - and second only to coronavirus. The move came after it published the first article in its new "Life at 50C" series. A reminder that BBC News is one of the most read/watched – and, crucially, most respected and trusted – news organisation in the *world*, not just the UK. That's why this is so significant.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

3-against-1



When watching the TV or listening to the radio, I especially don't enjoy it when broadcasters set up 2-against-1 discussions/debates on a controversial subject.

It doesn't feel fair to me. 

Even worse is when the host of the programme takes the invited majority side and makes it 3-against-1. 

And my hackles really rise if that host then sends the bias sky-rocketing by either mainly or exclusively interrupting the one and only, single and unique dissenting voice, making it 3-against-1 with an added power imbalance against the 1.

And I find that grossly rude.

So let me confess: 

In first getting acquainted with GB News a while back, I was heavily disappointed to find GB News host Dan Wootton doing that very thing on a matter of controversy.

It was 2-against-1 guests, made 3-against-1 by Dan himself sharing the same view of the 2 against the 1, then Dan going after the lone dissenting 1 with contradictions and questions...

...and I thought to myself, ''I don't think I want to escape the BBC just to end up with a mirror image of the BBC - even if it's slightly better because its biased host isn't pretending to be impartial'' [or words to that effect].

And I wasn't thinking that because I agreed with the harassed dissenter. 

Far from it. In the discussion, I agreed with the 3 against the 1 and didn't particularly like the 1, who I felt wasn't right.

It just felt wrong though. 

----------------------

And I've held that view for about a month now regarding parts of GB News's output, but now I'm starting to think again...

My new thought is: Given how the BBC is, is that reasonable? Maybe a mirror image of it it necessary after all, especially as the BBC is publicly-funded and getting away with murder?

----------------------

And what provoked that re-think was last night's publicly-funded Newsnight on BBC Two.

This was the first discussion about Boris's reshuffle, hosted by Emily Maitlis

It was a classic biased BBC discussion.

It featured two Boris critics - Peter Kyle, Labour's Shadow Schools Minister, and someone Emily introduced as ''former Cabinet minister, now outspoken critic of this PM'' Anna Soubry - pitted against just one Boris supporter, Charles Walker, briefly former leader of the 1922 Committee.

That's Stage One. 

The obvious question already is: Why not just feature one guest from each side? Why not, say, just have either Mr Kyle or Ms Soubry face off against Mr Walker? Why stack it against Mr Walker with a 2-against-1 situation?

Then came Stage Two, as the biased host entered stage left, and intervened most aggressively against the single, dissenting voice - here Charles Walker. 

It was 3-against-1 time again,

Yes, it was pure Dan Wootton on GB News again, but from the opposite direction while - far worse - pretending to be impartial.

----------------------

Ironies abounded.

It began with Labour's Mr Kyle being given a long, free run to attack the Government. He got 1m 4s of uninterrupted ranting.

Then pro-Boris Charles Walker was brought in and Emily asked him about there being ''very little diversity of opinion'' in the new cabinet - which, in the first irony, is particularly rich coming from the present Newsnight team of left-liberal thinkalikes who think nothing of repeatedly labelling Nadine Dorries - the new culture secretary - a ''social conservative'' [as they did at least twice last night].

Hilariously, Mr Walker then 'did a June Sarpong' and replied listing all the racially diverse members of the present cabinet, and Emily - repeatedly interrupting him - told him, as if it was wrong, that he was ''talking about race'' rather than diversity of opinion [O irony upon irony!] - something Emily didn't want to do here but which Newsnight would undoubtedly have done if given even the remotest chance...

...except that they are famously one of the whitest, most right-on broadcasting teams at the BBC and that the Government puts them to shame as far as the identity politics 'putting diverse people in the top jobs' front goes.

Charles Walker barely got a sentence out before being quickly and repeatedly interrupted and contradicted by Emily, who seemed to be gunning for him. Her first interruption came 9 seconds into his first answer. [Note the contrast with Mr Kyle].

Anna Soubry was then brought in and soon fell out with Mr Walker. Ms Soubry said, ''Could you let me finish? You've spoken an awful lot, Charles'' - even though he hadn't been allowed to speak much at all.

I've counted it up and he got the same amount of time, prior to Anna entering, than Labour's Mr Kyle [around 1m 10s each] - though Peter Kyle got his free run while Charles Walker had to bat off Emily Maitlis's targetted-to-him questions and interruptions. And Anna went on to get plenty too.

Mr Walker, his hackles rising, asked why she was even on, given that she's no longer a member of Parliament. It's a good question, though we can easily guess the answer. Emily replied that she ''actually'' has ''been in cabinet''. Mr Walker replied that Ms Soubry ''wasn't in cabinet''.

''Let her finish her sentence, please,'' said Emily to Charles around this time - which was ironic given that Emily had repeatedly interrupted his sentences earlier. 

Anna Soubry, of course, unlike Charles, wasn't interrupted by Emily after 9s. She was also given free rein, only stopped by Charles Walker interrupting her. 

Anna then continued again, at length, ranting against Nadine Dorries. Emily let her finish her sentences. And on Anna Soubry was allowed to go, for an entire minute, raging against the new culture secretary. 

Charles Walker then defended Nadine Dorries and slammed Anna Soubry for not being ''nice'' - a section ending in all three guests speaking at the same time.

Emily then went on the attack against Charles Walker, gunning for him again. 

And Emily then did the BBC thing of playing devil's advocate for the one and only time, asking the Labour man a  half-hearted question about about how Boris is ''getting stuff done'' and doesn't looked ''scared of your party''.  Mr Kyle then delivered another long rant with the shortest interruption midway from Emily. And then Anna was given another long go. And then Mr Kyle returned again to add to his rant.

And finally Charles Walker was asked a long, complicated, heavily loaded by Emily - one with half a dozen questions embedded in it. He answered briefly. Then Mr Kyle leaped in and slagged off Michael Gove, uninterrupted.

And that was that.  

-----------------------

And after that, frankly, please give me openly biased Dan Wootton over 'claims to be impartial' Emily Mailis any day. 

It's the pretence of impartiality whilst being any but that really, deeply sticks in the throat.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Echoes


As mentioned a couple of posts ago, I'm so grateful to you all for pointing out the BBC lowlights this week on the open thread. It's keeping the ITBB archive going. 

And the BBC have had quite a week of lowlights.

I


In my teenage years back in the 1980s, Paul Gambaccini was one of my heroes. His Radio One Saturday afternoon US chart show was something I never missed. 

Or hardly ever. And as I was in my early teens at the time and charts-obsessed, and would always be listening to it with my cassette recorder at the ready to catch every new entry on the UK and US charts, I could get quite ratty if Mum and Dad ever made me miss it. I remember going into a particularly huge 14-year old sulk on being taken off to see my gran in Kendal [Cumbrian home of the famous mint cake] one Saturday afternoon and missing the latest US Top 30 countdown from Mr G.

So I've always had a big soft spot for him. And he's always been the broadcasting pro's broadcasting pro. And I'm so glad he's come through all the horrors of hideous false allegations, and that he's now come out fighting, and is seeking redress. I wish him well.

It is intriguing though that he says he'll be coming for the BBC too one day for aiding and abetting such injustices because he does still work for the BBC. I only hope the BBC remember they still have a 'duty of care' towards him, consider their role in reporting [or mis-reporting] these stories, stick by him and avoid the pettiness that the BBC can often sink to when they feel threatened.


II

I'm not one for late nights, but even I stayed up to watch wonderful Emma Raducanu triumph in the tennis. 

She's so much more likeable a UK champion than Andy Murray, and everyone seems to be celebrating her today.

It's probably just a Twitter thing that the usual suspects have been scoring political points though. It's like an obsessive compulsion. 

I've at least left it a few hours before doing something similar and pointing out that Gary Lineker has been busy on Twitter scoring political points over Emma's victory, racialising her achievements and pushing pro-immigration, anti-government comments, and reinforcing crude ad hom attacks on Nigel Farage [with apologies for quoting the attack on Nigel that Gary joined in with, ''the nasty little turd'']. 

I've lost track of Gary's tweeting over recent months [not that I've ever paid much attention to him on Twitter], but to see him in full flow today has reminded me why he's so controversial as far as BBC impartiality goes. He remains very opinionated and politically-focused, and shouldn't have joined in that nasty attack on Nigel Farage. 

Anyhow, it was a triumph for Channel 4 too, ''humiliating'' the BBC by getting the rights to broadcast Emma's match. I hope everyone was watching that rather than Match of the Day. It's something sporting that will be remembered for a very long time. 

Update. And, being the BBC, here we go with the signalling retweets:


Why doesn't Sopes get back to reporting the lying, incompetent Biden administration? He should be rushed off his feet at the moment.

III

As Charlie noted, the BBC's first LBGT Correspondent Ben Hunte's short career at the BBC is ending. 

John Humphrys, on leaving the BBC, specifically named and shamed him for being a new breed of activist compromising BBC journalism. 

And Ben soon landed the BBC in trouble, with an impartiality-busting piece on transgender matters that saw complaints galore, and correction after correction, and BBC clarifications, and ECU rulings against it over endless months. 

He then seemed to have been sent off to Africa for months to do special reports. 


IV


I've read the thread and it looks like a particularly bad case of the BBC spreading disinformation by failing to check the facts. Please see what you think. 

V

The whole BBC 'allyship' thing may make your jaw drop for not being satire. But it's another bizarre sign of where we are. I'll quote Charlie's accurate summary:
Reported in The Telegraph tonight. You couldn’t make it up! BBC staff have been offered an “allyship” test which identifies whether they are more privileged than their colleagues, as part of diversity training. The manual also sets out seven types of allies that staff can become in the workplace. One of them, the “upstander”, is someone who “shuts down, reports and pushes back on offensive jokes and inappropriate comments, even if no one’s hurt by them”. This type of ally should “check in privately with anyone who’s been offended” by the joke and “don’t just be a bystander”. Another ally type is a “champion”, who “voluntarily defers to colleagues from underrepresented groups in meetings, events and conferences”. Voluntarily deferring to underrepresented groups - the BBC do this already anyway.

In tackling this kind of nonsense, the BBC is a big part of the problem. They aren't just buying the Emperor's new clothes, they're selling them on too.

Backlashes, peace, submission and the BBC


Radio 4's Sunday had a very Sunday take today.

I saw a tweet which summed it up very well:
David Robertson: The weekend of 9/11, the thought crossed my mind that the BBC’s right-on religious affairs programme would use it to talk about Islamaphobia. But no, surely they wouldn’t be so crass? It was worse. No mention of victims. No commemoration. Just Islamaphobia in Bradford.
That said, there was even more, as there was also a piece on how Sikhs got mixed up in the original 'backlash against innocent Muslims' after  9/11. 

The 'backlash' angle has been a classic BBC kneejerk take on such events for twenty years now. It seems to be their default angle.

The piece David mentions was a massive, uncritical plug - an advert, pure and simple - for Peaceophobia, a Bradford-based theatrical self-declared ''unapologetic response to rising Islamophobia around the world''. 

[So much for the BBC not featuring third-party advertising].

The piece featured someone explaining the title. She said that, as 'Islam' means 'peace', if you're 'phobic' about Islam you're also 'phobic' about peace.

Though doesn't 'Islam' actually mean 'submission'? 

'Submission' is something people might rightly be 'phobic' about, surely?

Poison blades in shoes and BBC gossip

 

Thank you for your comments on the Open Thread. You've covered - and nailed - so much of the ground I would have covered, including the departure of BBC lifer Fran Unsworth.

Today's Sunday Times - featuring that photo of Ms Unsworth which always draws Rosa Klebb comparisons in comments fields - includes lots of BBC insider gossip, including claims that Tim Davie is glad to see her go because she's “stuck in her ways” and part of the “malaise” at the corporation.

Friends of Tim also give us some juicy quotes, including saying that he's engaged in “constant fire-fighting” and that “he feels he opens Pandora’s box every day, and only the bad stuff ever comes out”. 

As far as the general exodus of BBC lifers go, any BBC source quips “More people are leaving the BBC than Afghanistan.”

And who's going to replace Francesca as Director of News and Current Affairs at SPECTRE the BBC? 

The piece names four people: present Deputy director of news Jonathan Munro, Senior controller of news output and commissioning Jamie Angus, Digital director of BBC News Naja Nielsen, and Commissioning editor for factual and arts at Channel 4 Shaminder Nahal. 

Mr Munro has 'issues' involving the debacles over Cliff Richard and Martin Bashir while Mr Angus is considered “lightweight”. Cue two more insider gossip quotes:
On Jamie Angus: “He’s a dilettante. When he was at the World Service, and your job is to know this stuff, I remember him saying he hadn’t heard of Waziristan, which was where bin Laden was hiding at the time.”

On Jamie Angus and Jonathan Munro: “Angus is a man who has risen without trace and Munro is a man who should have sunk without trace”.
Ms Nielsen is a recent arrival from Danish broadcasting, and “relatively unknown.” while Ms Nahal has all the baggage of being associated with left-wing Channel 4 and was jointly responsible for Black to Front, the channel's recent racist day when only black people appeared on the channel. “We were tired of taking small steps, say Vivienne Molokwu and Shaminder Nahal”, Broadcast reported her saying two days ago.

Especially as she previously worked for Newsnight, I'd place my money on Ms Nahal.

In which Nick Robinson avoids answering the question


The Telegraph features a letter from Nick Robinson replying to criticism from Lord Howard
SIR – I’m sorry that Michael Howard is turning off his radio. He will have missed some illuminating and civilised conversations this week on Today – with the head of MI5 and Tony Blair examining the fallout from 9/11; the Archbishop of Canterbury on climate change and the Health Secretary on the crises in the NHS and social care.

The joy of live radio is that it can move us – bringing joy when we hear of Emma Raducanu’s success; tears when we hear the memories of those haunted by 9/11 and, yes, sometimes anger when we shout at the radio at a politician who is being evasive or an interviewer who interrupts too much.

We presenters don’t always get it right but we do our best to balance allowing those we interview to get their message across and holding them to account. 
I hope Lord Howard will be back listening soon and, perhaps, back in the studio too, where he has always robustly answered, rather than ignored, challenging questions.
I had to chuckle at Nick's closing paragraph because he, Nick Robinson, didn't ''robustly answer'' the nub of Lord Howard's criticism of him. Or to put it another way, he, Nick Robinson ''ignored'' the ''challenging'' point at the heart of Michael Howard's piece:
The final straw, for me, was Nick Robinson’s interview with Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccine minister, on Tuesday of this week. Tuesday was, of course, the day when the Government announced its proposals for the reform of social care.
But as Mr Robinson well knew, the details had to be announced to Parliament before they could be broadcast. Indeed, had this convention been broken and caused a reprimand from the Speaker, the BBC’s journalists would have been the first, gleefully, to point to the Government’s discomfort.

Yet when Mr Zahawi attempted to explain this and said that he had come on to the programme to discuss the £5.4 billion which had just been announced for the NHS, Mr Robinson said that this was a complete waste of time and threatened to end the interview there and then.

You and I may think that listeners would have been very interested in how this money was going to be spent but not a single question was addressed to that topic. Instead Mr Robinson spent the whole interview berating the minister for not doing what Mr Robinson knew full well he couldn’t do.

So why did Nick Robinson avoid answering that? Was it a little too close to the bone?

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Deobandis in the UK


This feels like a traditional Sunday of years gone by here at ITBB, with me getting hung up on Radio 4's Sunday and posting piece after piece about it and having little time left for anything else. So on I go...

To do it credit, this morning's programme also featured a fascinating survey of opinion by the BBC itself of British Muslim opinion regarding the Taliban victory in Afghanistan.

They talked to imams and worshippers at Deobandi mosques - for understandable reasons, as Deobandis are the main group of Muslims living here in the UK, and the Taliban are also Deobandis. So it's important to know what such a large swathe of British Muslim opinion thinks.

The message couldn't have been clearer from every voice featured. The UK's Deobandis are feeling positive about/hopeful for the incoming Taliban government in Afghanistan. They are hoping for the best. And they are glad that The West [i.e. us] have been kicked out.

Curiously, every one of the British Deobandis they spoke to was a man - which might have pleased any passing Taliban Radio 4 listeners tuning in for The Archers.

This section of the programme did feature one woman though. The programme also interviewed the UK's small Shia community in the form of a female human rights campaigner. She, in contrast to the abounding Deobandis, was fearful.

My main thought here though is that the BBC will surely take note of the main mood among the UK's Muslims, as found here by Radio 4's Sunday

As the UK's mass of Deobandis are apparently intensely relaxed and happy about the Taliban's triumph, the BBC might very well adjust its reporting to reflect that sentiment on 'social cohesion' grounds.


And that makes me feel deeply queasy, because I fear we've brought foreign wars and foreign warriors ready to fight those wars to our shores and, alas, as a result, we'll inevitably pay a very heavy price for that in the long run.

And the BBC should be doing everything in its power as a Charter-bound protector of British democracy to prevent that. 

And the last thing it should be doing is to pander to the apparently huge pool of extremist Muslim opinion now dwelling in our midst, as per the BBC's Sunday

Is the BBC biased against Jehovah’s Witnesses?

 


Talking of this morning's Sunday on Radio 4, it also covered the latest Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Report, which moved beyond the IICSA'S previous inquiry into abuse in the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches to embrace pretty much every other major Christian sect and all the  major world religions.


To repeat myself from yesterday:

I did a count of the mentions made of each religion/sect during the reports about this on each of the 10pm TV bulletins last night -

Sky News
Christian churches - 2
Judaism - 2
Islam - 2
Jehovah's Witnesses - 2

ITV News
Roman Catholicism - 1
Anglicanism - 1
Methodism - 1
Baptists - 1
Islam - 3
Judaism - 2
Sikhism - 1
Jehovah's Witnesses - 3

BBC News
Jehovah's Witnesses - 3
Roman Catholicism - 3
Anglicanism - 3
Judaism - 1

Only the BBC didn't mention Islam there.


But a peculiar feature of the broadcast media's coverage of this report was shared by all three of those UK broadcasters: They all mainly focused on the Jehovah’s Witnesses, despite the JWs not being singled out in any way as The Worst in the report

I thought at the time that this was probably just the broadcasters being cowardly and going for the safest option. 

After all, what are the JWs going to do? NOT ring the doorbell at Broadcasting House in protest? Send BBC home affairs reporter Tom Symonds of the BBC a few copies of The Watchtower [for it was he, rather than the reclusive Mark Easton, who did that BBC's report]? Boycott the BBC's Christmas Day Call the Midwife special?

And then came this morning's Sunday on BBC Radio 4, and it also focused on the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The report is publicly available. I spent an hour reading quite a bit of it, and it's very much not mainly about the Jehovah’s Witnesses, despite what you may have seen on the BBC, Sky and ITV. It features four horrific case studies involving [a] Orthodox Jews, [b] Muslims, [c] Methodists and [d] Jehovah’s Witnesses. 

It focused on pretty much every religion and major sect.

To repeat myself repeating myself, what have the JWs done to deserve being singled out by the UK's main broadcasters, other than being safe targets / the easiest option? And if that's why, what does that say about our broadcasters? Are they nothing more than cowards?

This where I'm supposed to note that I'm not in any way affiliated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But that's not strictly true. I used to walk to primary school every day with a JW girl who lived on my street and I knew not to send her a Christmas present. And in my militant, Richard Dawkins-inspired, atheist mid-20s I once kept a very pleasant JW man - a teacher - on the doorstep for nearly two hours debating Biblical inerrancy and pointing out every contradiction between Biblical accounts I knew. In the end he said I had an answer for everything and said he had to go. And - having repented of my ways, at least as far as discombobulating kindly believers goes - I chuckled during lockdown on hearing that JWs weren't going to be ringing my doorbell. 

Gordon's alive!!!

 


This blog started with a series a posts detailing patterns of bias on BBC Radio 4's weekly 'politically left-of-centre and socially liberal' religion-focused Sunday programme.

And here's a new one: They like giving Gordon Brown a platform to promote his causes.

Despite it being a weekly programme featuring very few politicians, the son of the manse has been granted the Sunday bully pulpit no less than three times over the past year, pushing his agenda with the BBC's help.

Last October he was on demanding that the government 'must act to prevent the loss of a million young people to the job market'.

This May he was on advocating for G7 leaders to 'prioritise vaccines for developing countries ahead of the G7 summit'.

And today he was back saying that world leaders need to act now to end the 'moral outrage' that 'rich countries are amassing huge stockpiles of Covid vaccines they don't need'.

It's all very Sunday. In the years that I've covered them, they've always had their favourites and put them centre-stage

And that Crash Gordon is now their living saint among UK politicians brings me full circle as a blogger, as I began writing about and counting, counting, counting BBC bias during the Gordon Brown era. 

How lovely.

Don't be beastly to the Pakistanis!


There was a fascinating interview overnight on the BBC featuring Professor C. Christine Fair. Unfortunately it also got a bit feisty when the BBC began to panic over Professor Fair's analysis and Philippa Thomas rallied to Pakistan's defence. Professor Fair was soon being talked over and eventually faded out and cut off. Here, unredacted, is the full interview, preserved for posterity: 

Philippa Thomas: Right, let's speak now to Christine Fair, Professor of Security Studies at Georgetown University in Washington. Professor Fair, thank you very much for being with us. What you make of Faiz Hameed's visit to Kabul?
Christine Fair: First of all, thank you for having me. So I don't really make anything special out of this. I think for those of us that have been watching these affairs and Afghanistan evolve, not in the last 10 or 20 years, but actually the last, I mean, going back to 1973, this has been Pakistan's project. Without Pakistan the Taliban would be a nuisance, it wouldn't be the competent and capable terrorist organisation that is. So this is, in some ways for Pakistan, sealing the deal. You know, there are a lot of fissions across the different shuras of the Taliban, but the most important shura is the shura in Rawalpindi.
Philippa Thomas: Pakistan, of course, denies that it has created the Taliban or it supports it militarily behind the scenes in anyway. 
Christine Fair: Yeah, well, Pakistan gets away with lying largely because most people don't confront them. You know, various foreign ministers, various Pakistan army chiefs, presidents, prime ministers have come and gone before various shows like your own and they make these outrageous statements and most people are just too polite to question them. And then this just becomes part of their ossified fiction. But I've written an entire book on the Pakistan army using primary sources. And, you know, the Pakistanis first began the jihad in 1973. It didn't happen after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, as is popularly believed. It actually began under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. And even though the Pakistanis will make those claims, there's also those who very forthrightly admit it. MALIA LODI [spelling?], who has long been the amanuensis of the ISI with lipstick, you know, she'll very forthrightly say that the Taliban have long been supported by the Pakistanis...
Philippa Thomas: [interrupting] So...what...
Christine Fair: The Pakistanis...
Philippa Thomas[interrupting] What...what then do you think is the interest of the Pakistan government, and the intelligence agencies, when it comes to IS fighters, when it comes to al-Qaeda? Do they have a joint interest maybe with the Taliban in suppressing these other groups? 
Christine Fair: So, first of all, I think one just has to understand what Pakistan's interest in Afghanistan is writ large, and Pakistan inherited this notion of strategic depth from the British. The Pakistan army is a product of the British army in India, and so from the earliest months of the Pakistani state it has had a continuation of interests in Afghanistan. And the Afghans themselves did not help their own position by denouncing the Durand  Line, by interfering in Pakistan's restive Baluchistan province, so we cannot see this is something new. It is really important that we understand that this is part of...it's in Pakistan's strategic culture. So...
Philippa Thomas[interrupting] So I just want to...
Christine Fair: So the question that you have, the question that you have posed about Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. Right? 
Philippa Thomas: Yeah.
Christine Fair: So this is a complicated question because part of those organisations also advance Pakistan's interest. I think there's a lot of misunderstanding about the Islamic State - Khorasan Province that somehow it's joined tightly at the hips of the organisation that al-Baghdadi built, and that really isn't true. There were some early communications between them, but the differences...
Philippa Thomas[interrupting] OK, sorry, I want in the time that we have I also want to say, so you have a great deal of historic knowledge of what has happened, and Pakistan and Afghanistan. Given where we are now presumably it's in Pakistan's interest that there is stability, that there is not continued fighting in Afghanistan, or do you see that differently?
Christine Fair: No, no, this is also another myth. What Pakistan has objected to over the last 20 years is the emergence of a stable Afghanistan that is opposed to Pakistan...
Philippa Thomas[interrupting] But an unstable Afghanistan...
Christine Fair: ...and is friendly to India.
Philippa Thomas[interrupting]...surely means more refugees trying to get across the border to Pakistan. How is that in Pakistan's interests? 
Christine Fair: Yeah, right, so this is also a myth that I think Pakistan is very good at peddling. What Pakistan wants more than anything is an instability that it can manage, and also Pakistan will use the refugee story as a part of its usual rent-seeking strategy. You see, Pakistan likes to be thought of as the fire brigade when Pakistan is in fact the arsonist.
Philippa Thomas[interrupting] And Pakistan...
Christine Fair: Pakistan will monetise this. 
Philippa Thomas[interrupting]...of course would absolutely deny that, 
Christine Fair: How do you...how do you...
Philippa Thomas: And I want to come back to your phrase...let me come back to your phrase...
Christine Fair: Yes.
Philippa Thomas: ...''an instability that it can manage''.
Christine Fair: Correct.
Philippa Thomas: Even if, even if...if that is the case that is an immensely risky strategy?
Christine Fair: Pakistan has always been risk-acceptant. There has never been a risk-averse Pakistan, whether you're looking at incredibly outrageous terror attacks in India or whether you are looking at the support for the Taliban in the 1990s and all that that brought about. Look, even the fact that Pakistan harbours virtual petting zoos of terrorists in its own country, with the hope that they will only...
Philippa Thomas[interrupting] Christine, Christine Fair...
Christine Fair: ...only kill their neighbours is a risky strategy.
Philippa Thomas: As we cannot, as we cannot...We don't have a Pakistani diplomat or official to speak with us now, I'm going to say again...
Christine Fair[interrupting] Well, thank goodness you don't...
Philippa Thomas: No, I'm going to say again....
Christine Fair[interrupting] ...because he would pedal this fiction.
Philippa Thomas: ...that I know they firmly, they firmly deny that they have created the Taliban, and that they are the prime mover behind the Taliban...
Christine Fair[interrupting] To be fair, to be fair...
Philippa Thomas: ...and we have given you space to put your point of view, and we are going to leave it now, but thank you for being with us and for putting your point of view...
Christine Fair[interrupting] You are doing their propaganda...[faded out and cut off by the BBC]
Philippa Thomas: And there you go, and there is much more on what is happening in Afghanistan and the region and everything around that, on the BBC website of course.