The clash of political correctness(es)

What do you do when you have a female racial minority employee with a great employment record at the BBC? You sack her, because she sounds ‘posh’.

This highlights the folly of the left’s ardent desire to groupthink (whatever happened to ‘I have a dream‘?). Black people are OK so long as they are left wing, but if they are somehow not proles (or lefties) then the left hates them.

This is racism (what would happen if a black person was sacked for sounding too ‘black’?).

I hope Ms Ahmed sues (not under silly discrimination legislation which would not apply here, presumably because it is OK to discriminate against posh people, but for the breach of an implied term of fair treatment) and makes a packet.

There was a case last year or the year before where the BBC was found liable for discrimination when its Scottish division refused to hire an English person solely on grounds of that person’s Englishness.

The BBC should be abolished.

No Questions for ANSWER?

Where are those highly-skilled investigative Beebots when there is news? Sleeping it seems. First, this postwar anti-war demo was a mere sliver of pre-war and mid-war moonbat confabs. That should be reported, not spun.

The march was thought to be smaller than the mass demonstrations before and during the war. But the BBC’s Jon Leyne, who was at the Washington rally, said it was probably more in tune with the mood of Americans, who are increasingly concerned at the president’s policy in Iraq. (Emphasis added)

Secondly, the sponsoring organisation, International ANSWER, is Stalinofascist to the core. The Beeb cannot resist the urge to describe a counter demonstration as having been sponsored by “the conservative Washington chapter of Free Republic.” Why is there NO curiosity about International ANSWER? Why no simple description of its left-leaning (nearly horizontal) position? I can only conclude that the BBC will put no questions to ANSWER. How else, then, could it remain in the most favourable light?

The BBC is obstructing the inquiry

The BBC is obstructing the inquiry (sound familiar?) into the exorbitant cost of the new Scottish Parliament building, which has increased from an estimated 40 million to 400million (est) since its inception. Alan Cochrane gets angry and Iain Murray reflects that the BBC is becoming a law to itself (scroll down) in a post entitled ‘Contempt for Democracy’.

The Beeb meanwhile, or at least in collusion with Kirsty Wark whose ‘private’ company is involved, says that it must protect its contacts because that’s what wins it public respect. Sounds a funny defence to me, because the public knows little (by the Beeb’s own definition) about the BBC’s ‘contacts’, and would probably be disillusioned if it did. Besides, we all know how Gilligan, who still works for the Beeb, cared for Mr Kelly, or we ought to if Mr Hutton gets to tell us. Iain Murray considers the legal position.

Headlining Tragedy

In one of the threads below PJF comments that CNN is a left of centre broadcaster. That may be true, but it’s never worried me too much because I’ve always felt, having ‘watched’ Kosovo on CNN, that there is some sanity there and a sense of perspective. Subjective I know, but there it is. Today I read of the terrible news of deaths in Baghdad- after a week of relative (yes, relative) peace. The difference between the headline sequence on CNN and BBC is stark.

Here is the BBC approach at 8.40 UK time:

‘Bombs rock central Baghdad’

‘At least 18 people are reported killed as the Red Cross headquarters and other buildings come under attack.’

Here is the CNN at the same time:

‘Explosions rock Baghdad’

‘At least 10 people have been killed and several injured following three explosions in the space of an hour in the Iraqi capital.

The first blast, believed caused by a suicide car bomb, struck early in the morning outside the Red Cross headquarters in the city leaving several vehicles ablaze and huge plumes of smoke rising into the air.’

Can anyone apart from me see hysteria in the one and sanity in the other, even if, as I suspect, the BBC usually gets casualty figures right? Meantime, the BBC runs two articles by two of my ‘favourite’ (yeah, right) journalists, Martin Asser and Jon Leyne. One talks of civil war in Iraq (that is how it is advertised in the link), the other pursues the nuclear no-show situation via Leyne’s Washington Post angle. I think the terrorists would be satisfied with their weekend’s work merely by seeing these twin approaches taken by the BBC, allied to the ‘crisis’ style headlines.

The Radio 4 Friday 18:30 ‘Comedy’ Slot

The BBC have a ‘Comedy’ slot on a Friday. I would contend it is for left-wing metropolitan ‘comics’ only.

The October 24th edition of ‘The Now Show’ contained its usual blend of both hard and soft left polemics. The show started with a soapbox style rant about the police from armchair SWP member Mitch Benn. This was so unfunny that the audience (composed of BBC staffers and like-minded people) simply did not laugh – this is not surprising though, the script was not meant to be funny, just political.

Could you imagine a speaker from the right of politics being given so much air time on the BBC – I for one cannot.

Mitch Benn then gives way to Punt and Dennis – a pair of what I can only describe as the smuggest Cambridge Lefties you will ever come across outside a sixth-form debating chamber. Week by week, they prod Blair from the left because the government is not left-wing enough for them. Yesterday, they had a long and tedious item about the conservatives.

Fair comment you might say, except that it got me thinking about other shows on this slot.

‘The Now Show’ alternates with ‘The News Quiz’. Two of the regulars on this show are also armchair SWP members – Jeremy Hardy and Linda Smith. Even I admit Linda Smith can be very funny when she leaves politics alone, but the same cannot be said of Jeremy Hardy. Like Mitch Benn, he uses the show to launch furious left-wing rants which strangely never seem to be edited out. No speaker from the right would be allowed as much latitude as Hardy, who is like a bore at an office party who has trapped you between the water cooler and a filing cabinet. A facade of ‘balance’ is achieved by the presence of the Francis Wheen, who I would call an ‘apologetic Tory’.

‘The News Quiz’ also sometimes alternates with ‘The Mark Steel Lecture’, which is a soapbox programme for…an overtly left wing comic. Mark Steel is a darling of the BBC producers, so expect to see him back soon. During one of his last lectures (about a year after the attack on the WTC and Pentagon) he likened Osama Bin Laden to Hanibal, the great Carthaginian general and scourge of Rome, wishing that the Americans could be as respectful to Osama as Rome was to Hanibal. Except, of course, that Hanibal challenged Rome openly on the field of battle, not as a terrorist, in a time when military power was regarded differently. Like all BBC types, Steel parades his contempt of America openly and with pride.

The only exception in the Friday 18:30 left-wing slot is the marvellous Deadringers, which has short and all too infrequent runs.

The BBC response to criticism like this is ‘well, do you want right-wing comics?’ – but I think this misses the point totally. The 18:30 left-wing slot shows how BBC bias operates – giving airtime to views with which it has some sympathy over and over again. An answer would be to be careful not to choose such smug, overtly political performers and to find other voices.

A clear attempt by the Republicans to shift blame from the White House and on to the intelligence community

As a Congress committee allegedly prepares to criticise the CIA over WMDs in Iraq,

‘BBC state department correspondent Jon Leyne says the committee report is a clear attempt by the Republicans to shift blame from the White House and on to the intelligence community. ‘

The BBC rolls out a correspondent and shows a certainty that I’ve rarely come across in one of its reports. Where were they when Mahathir was mouthing off?


From BBConline:


Bush signs $15bn anti-aids plan

Coincidental headlines/ subheadlines to put up the same morning?

Interesting contrast? If you read the articles, one casts doubt on the other

[Maybe I should clarify. What’s interesting is the way Bob Geldolf’s contrast between Clinton and Bush is undermined. Now, Geldof is anti-Euro, pro- Neo-Conservative, according to his recorded comments, which is rather unlike the BBC. This morning’s juxtaposition of articles makes the influential Geldof look a lot less cool. Also, I’m suspicious of how much Clinton has actually done, as opposed to claimed the credit for.]

Good Morning Scotland

is BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship morning news programme.

The Friday 24th October edition carried an article about how Network Rail is to assume control of routine maintenance contracts from private contractors. During the article, which was a conversation between the news ‘anchor’ Alex Bell and the BBC Transport Correspondent Tom Simons, the BBC got a chance to show it’s economic illiteracy.

BELL: “I suppose that costs will be reduced because they [Network Rail] will no longer have to pay the profit margin?”

SIMONS: “Yes, but the savings from that may not be that great…the contracts were being negotiated down anyway”

I enjoyed this exchange because it shows the marvellous ignorance from commerce which is key to success as a BBC journalist. That a private company might be capable of operating more efficiently, or with some degree of innovation even in an area like rail maintenance, simply does not come into it. On this basis you have a good argument for the nationalisation of the whole economy, so that you would not need to pay the ‘profit margin’ to companies like Easyjet, Tesco, BP and so on.

Equally strange to me was the fact that any sane person could use the terms ‘cost reductions’ and ‘Network Rail’ in the same sentence not as an obvious oxymoron. Network Rail has overseen truly breathtaking rises in costs (costs guaranteed by the taxpayer), and only a few days ago was censured by the regulator Tom Winsor for it’s wasteful performance – but that’s OK this time as we won’t be paying a profit margin. As you would expect, this point was not made during the article.

Israel denies targeting Gaza civilians

Thanks to Dan’s vigorous comments on a recent thread, I’ve focussed on this report by James Reynolds on Israel’s recent air strike on a car in the Nusseirat refugee camp.

‘Israel denies targeting Gaza civilians’

This misrepresents the case: whether Israel struck regardless of a crowd of civilians. Few, including witness accounts, doubt that Israel attacked a car (containing terrorists, the Israelis say) rather than a crowd. Note though that “a group of terrorists” is ‘scare-quoted’.

Reynolds distorts the charge when he says that Israel ‘has come under great criticism for its attack on the Nusseirat camp’ (italics added). He recycles the allegation as though it were fact, without informing us who the “critics” are.

Israel ‘released footage of what it says is its air strike on Monday night into a refugee camp in the Gaza strip’ (italics added). Surely a correspondent’s reporting could confirm it by analysing the site (or explain why he couldn’t)? To suggest casually that Israel fabricated the film is somewhat absurd.

‘At this stage from Israel’s fuzzy pictures no bystanders are immediately visible…the road looks empty’ (italics added)- why cast such doubt (reiterating the ‘poor pictures’ jibe) when cars and buildings are clearly visible? BTW, if they are ‘bystanders’ how can they be ‘targets’?

Reynolds leaves us with the Palestinians’ challenge– why so many casualties if civilians weren’t the targets? Note that Reynolds uses no inverted commas for ‘witnesses’, who are presumed genuine unlike the footage or Israeli intentions.

Some ideas from a distance. In areas of low car ownership, passenger numbers are high. This might explain many deaths and many injuries, especially to children. Were people hit when the car veered off the road? What damage was caused by the blast force and could flying glass etc have caused casualties? Were all the claimed casualties clearly from that incident, or could there be some inflation by the Palestinians? Do people usually run instantly in the direction of a blast? James Reynolds doesn’t begin to ask those questions. That is where journalism should begin, not end.