Monday, October 23, 2006

Auntie's White Guilt

Via Melanie Phillips:
A leaked account of an 'impartiality summit' called by BBC chairman Michael Grade, is certain to lead to a new row about the BBC and its reporting on key issues, especially concerning Muslims and the war on terror.
[...]
At the secret meeting in London last month, which was hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians.

One veteran BBC executive said: 'There was widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness.' Unfortunately, much of it is so deeply embedded in the BBC's culture, that it is very hard to change it.'

In one of a series of discussions, executives were asked to rule on how they would react if the controversial comedian Sacha Baron Cohen known for his offensive characters Ali G and Borat - was a guest on the programme Room 101. On the show, celebrities are invited to throw their pet hates into a dustbin and it was imagined that Baron Cohen chose some kosher food, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a Bible and the Koran. Nearly everyone at the summit, including the show's actual producer and the BBC's head of drama, Alan Yentob, agreed they could all be thrown into the bin, except the Koran for fear of offending Muslims.

In a debate on whether the BBC should interview Osama Bin Laden if he approached them, it was decided the Al Qaeda leader would be given a platform to explain his views.
[...]
And the BBC's 'diversity tsar', Mary Fitzpatrick, said women newsreaders should be able to wear whatever they wanted while on TV, including veils. Ms Fitzpatrick spoke out after criticism was raised at the summit of TV newsreader Fiona Bruce, who recently wore on air a necklace with a cross.

The full account of the meeting shows how senior BBC figures queued up to lambast their employer. Political pundit Andrew Marr said: 'The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.'

Washington correspondent Justin Webb said that the BBC is so biased against America that deputy director general Mark Byford had secretly agreed to help him to 'correct', it in his reports. Webb added that the BBC treated America with scorn and derision and gave it 'no moral weight'.

Former BBC business editor Jeff Randall said he complained to a 'very senior news executive', about the BBC's pro-multicultural stance but was given the reply: 'The BBC is not neutral in multiculturalism: it believes in it and it promotes it.' Randall also told how he once wore Union Jack cufflinks to work but was rebuked with: 'You can't do that, that's like the National Front!' Quoting a George Orwell observation, Randall said that the BBC was full of intellectuals who 'would rather steal from a poor box than stand to attention during God Save The King'.

There was another heated debate when the summit discussed whether the BBC was too sensitive about criticising black families for failing to take responsibility for their children. Head of news Helen Boaden disclosed that a Radio 4 programme which blamed black youths at a young offenders', institution for bullying white inmates faced the axe until she stepped in. But Ms Fitzpatrick, who has said that the BBC should not use white reporters in non-white countries, argued it had a duty to 'contextualise' why black youngsters behaved in such a way.

Andrew Marr told The Mail on Sunday last night: 'The BBC must always try to reflect Britain, which is mostly a provincial, middle-of-the-road country. Britain is not a mirror image of the BBC or the people who work for it.' Daily Mail
So, the question for the day: what do you call people who are forced to pay - via licenses on every tv set - for a media outfit that promotes worldwide hatred of these very same people who are footing the bill? Melanie calls it cultural Stalinism. But I doubt we yet have words adequately to describe this evil and wide-ranging resentment of a given reality.

UPDATE, in the comments, an anonymous person challenges me to post this link, a response by the BBC's Helen Boaden to the Daily Mail article quoted above. My response to Helen Boaden's nonsensical response can be found in the comments to this CZ post.

5 comments:

dag said...

If people like me have some familiarity with people like Thomas Sowell, the world changes for us. Until recently I'd never heard of Sowell, nor had I any real idea that there are sensible people in the world of the intelligentsia at large. It was my mistaken understanding that only marginal folk like myself were outraged by the likes of the BBC. I've never taken much interest in the philosophical field of conservative thought, not realizing there was such a thing after the 18th century. I thought I was the only sensible guy on Earth. Travelling as I have in dysfunctional countries for most of my life I encountered those who created the dysfunction and called it the road to the future. Living here in Canada and meeting friends who are far better informed than most on these issues of reason and responsible living I've come to see that there is a deep and interesting world of sensible people I simply hadn't encountered before. What a pleasuer it is to listen to those who understand the nature of things as I do and who are far better able to articulate it than I. It is maddening to live in a world of BBC dhimmis and not realize there are people who feel about them as I do. Now, finding that I am part of the "silent majority," a group laughed at by the gnostic fascists I hate so much, I feel very pleased with the prospects of our future.

Thomas Sowell. We're going to meet at the library on Thursday evening at 7:00 pm in the atrium by Blenz cafe to talk about him and his writings. I like this guy so much. I had no idea he wrote and on issues I care about and that most people care about. I see now that it's the dhimmi gnostics of the BBC and such who monopolize the public discourse to the point that many of us don't even know there's another side to the story. Well, now the word is out, and it's time to spread the word.

See you at VPL thursday at 7:00.

truepeers said...

Dag, do you have any good Sowell links?

Charles Henry said...

Here's Sowell's weekly column for this week:

Townhall.com carries his syndicated column, and lets you comment on them.

Anonymous said...

Seeing as you're so concerned with fairness, balance and accuracy, I'm sure you'll be posting this link soon

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2006/10/bias_at_the_bbc.html#commentsanchor

truepeers said...

Anonymous, out of respect to you (however it would be good for our respect if you would take on a blogging name so we know if you are the same anonymous as the last one) I will post your link as an update.

However, with respect to "fairness, balance and accuracy", yes I'd say we should aspire to keep up intellectual standards and discipline; but this is a frankly political blog. We owe a certain respect and fairness to all human beings, but certainly not to all ideas or political positions or criminal nonsense.

To take your link as an example. Helen Boaden may be right that the meeting was not secret - I am told that British journalists have generally lower ethical standards than those in Canada and sometimes make up facts to spice up their stories. But nothing else Boaden says impresses me; in fact she only increases my revulsion towards the BBC.

Despite the fact I think they are the enemy, I take them seriously and watch BBC World from time to time and also listen occasionally to BBC radio programs over the internet. To pretend, as does Boaden, that the BBC is "impartial" and only has occasional instances of political correctness influencing what is said is sheer nonsense. You can only say this kind of thing if you are dishonest or firmly veiled in your own ideology of (an impossible) "impartiality" and don't see yourself as do outsiders (like me) to your way of thinking.

Where does the notion that impartiality is a good thing come from? Well, for starters, it is a very imperious and snobbish idea - we, the elect, are above the fray of the world and so can set ourselves up as arbiters of "impartiality". It is just this imperious buncombe that I hate in the BBC. In reporting on conflicts, they clearly show their sympathies. I just don't understand, for example, how anyone can look at their recent reporting on the Middle East and say that there is not a clear bias against Israel displayed. Of course, if you believe that Israel is to blame for much of the conflict, that Hamas and Hezbollah are noble savage victims of the nasty Jews, then it might look to you as if the BBC is indeed "impartial". But if you are sane enough not to hold such presumptions about Israel and her enemies, the BBC looks like the epitome of an imperious victimary snobbery: the aristocrat playing to the "noble" savage because of his deep-seated hatred of the middling Jew.

To sum up by quoting and responding to Helen Boaden:

HB: "occasional examples of political correctness he found among some BBC colleagues."

Truepeers: the BBC looks politically correct, almost right across the board. No serious conservatives or lager louts there.

HB: "Andrew Marr made some comments about BBC culture being more liberal than the rest of the country – points he makes in his book on journalism.

"The main thing is, however, they were both giving their personal opinions. That is entirely their right and what they had been asked to do in the interests of discussion. I disagree with them. I found their claim of liberal bias unconvincing – based on anecdote and attitude rather than evidence. "

Truepeers: Helen Boaden is disconnected from reality if she doesn't think ordinary people are more conservative than the BBC (they have to be, to survive), lost in the myths of her own hyper-liberal class; or perhaps she is dishonest and won't admit to anything contrary without "evidence" whatever that could mean in matters of human opinion.

HB: "When I first joined the BBC I asked a very experienced and subtle journalist what was meant by BBC impartiality. “It means we don’t take sides,” he said. “We don’t take sides either explicitly or implicitly. We test all opinion toughly but fairly and we let the audience make up their own minds.”

Truepeers: Anyone who thinks you call tell a narrative about a conflict, without at least implicitly favoring one perception or another is either a fool or a deeply dishonest person. Only a tremendously imperious snobbery can blind someone to this fact. Instead of "impartiality" I'd say we must pursue truth, and have a moral debate with ourselves/our God about what is true and good, even taking that debate beyond our own worldly self interest (which is why I am "wasting" my time with your link). Trying to pursue "impartiality" is a non-starter if we want to know what is true and good and what is not true and good. It is a cop out to a pragmatic worldly ethic that seeks to dominate from some asserted, but non-existent, moral high ground.

HB: "It’s a simple but absolutely correct definition which audiences see, hear and read in our output everyday. In the end, the personal views of our staff are not the point. The issue is that their views and opinions never stray on air."

Truepeers: I'm starting to laugh really hard. How can a reporter's views and opinions not stray on air? Perhaps the BBC only hires robots, dressed up as humans? But then who programs them? More depressingly, I now can only see Boaden as a propagandist, someone who thinks that if she tells an obvious lie enough times people will start to believe it.

If she is right, quoting but one poll (and who cannot manipulate a poll if they want to) that Brits find the BBC more trustworthy than the alternatives, that can only mean the alternatives are worse than bad, or that the BBC propagandists are indeed fooling people. I assume Boaden speaks nonsense because she either knows they are winning the propaganda war or because she is completely lost in it herself.

Impartiality is not a noble ideal. Partiality to the good and a discipline to pursue it in face of worldly distractions and temptations is what we aspire to at Covenant Zone. Please judge us accordingly.