The Outstanding Melanie Phillips

The Outstanding Melanie Phillips.

I’m only quoting the culminating argument of this piece, so I advise everyone to read the rest (Melanie’s an avid Today Programme listener):
What all this shows is that the BBC has become far more than a redoubt of Guardian and Independent values; far more than a journalistic disgrace; far more than betrayal of the concept of public service broadcasting. It has become nothing short of a national menace, an enemy of this country’s interests and a fifth column in time of war. There is no doubt in my mind that a major reason why otherwise sane and sensible Britons have totally lost touch with reality, believe the US and Israel are the source of all evil while people who play football with the heads of Jews are the victims of injustice, and are on the way to pressurising the British government to pull out of Iraq, denounce America and thus hand victory to religious fascism, is because of the influence of the BBC, our secular church. And because of its immense global prestige and the fact that it is trusted to tell the truth, the BBC is now helping poison the discourse of the world.

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37 Responses to The Outstanding Melanie Phillips

  1. Djinn & Tonic says:

    The funniest “blame America” piece I saw this week was a news bulletin on rising petrol prices. The rise in the price of petrol was blamed entirely on Americans driving SUVs! I couldn’t tell whether I was watching a comedy show or a news programme.


  2. Anonymous says:

    I know this is an emotional response rather than a rational one but, what a load of crap


  3. Thomas says:

    Melanie Phillips is 100% right.


  4. john b says:

    Is it really unreasonable to blame some of the rising cost of oil on rising consumption among its heaviest users?

    Admittedly the war probably hasn’t done much for petrol prices either, but that’s probably not the kind of balance you were looking for 😉

    Returning to the original article, I especially like the way our Mel draws no distinction between killing soldiers and civilians (the ‘bias’ in the Israeli/Palestinian interview), the way she refuses to recognise that on some levels a tyranical state with functioning institutions has some advantages over a non-tyranny without any (Anne Clwyd), and, err, no other points whatsoever to back up her crazed assertions.


  5. ed says:

    I can’t believe anyone who read what she wrote would think she had produced no evidence. What about this? :

    ‘Between Monday and Friday this week, the Today programme broadcast 17 items on the Iraqi prisoner abuse story, four items hostile to Israel, and one item complaining that money for the poor was being diverted to the war on terror. It broadcast no items on the murder of six Israeli soldiers and the subsequent murder of five more in Gaza — events which were mentioned in passing — and broadcast merely two items, on the same day, on the decapitation in Iraq of Nick Berg.’

    This is at least imbalance, and it is expressed statistically so as to be extra clear.


  6. marc says:

    Melanie is spot on. She should have included the New York Times as well.


  7. Chris says:

    An idiot writes:

    >on some levels a tyranical state with functioning institutions has some advantages over a non-tyranny without any

    Say what you like about that Hitler, the trains got to the camps on time, right to the end of the war. Then, of course, it all went pear-shaped.


  8. Susan says:

    One can’t deny that the Beeb is playing the prison scandal for all it’s worth and then some. They are certainly stretching to find every angle possible to keep the story front and center — a few days ago they printed a feature story where they interviewed a photography expert on the “language” of the prison abuse photos, and today they’ve got a puff piece about the Red Cross and how the prison scandal has put them in the world’s eye.

    The Red Cross wasn’t in the world’s eye beforehand? They are one of the most recognizable organization in the entire world.

    Of course, they could have easily asked the photography expert to opine about the “language” of the Nick Berg video, or enquired of the Red Cross what they were doing about terrorist kidnappings – but that wouldn’t have achieved the BBC’s political agenda.

    BBC — the Axis Sally of the War on Terror. Melanie, if you are reading this, feel free to steal that sobriquet any time.


  9. Susan says:

    I forgot to mention, there’ve been at least 8, by my count 8, threads at “(Don’t) Have your Say” AKA “Two Minute Hate”, playing up the prison abuse scandal for all its worth. “Should Bush Apologize?” “Your thoughts on Bush’s apology?” “Your thoughts on Iraqi Prison Abuse? How Will the Prison Abuse Scandal affect the Coalition?” “Should Rumsfeld Resign?” “Will Rumsfeld’s reputation be permanently damaged?”

    Versus ONE thread on the Nick Berg beheading.

    Does any sane person really believe there’s no political agenda behind the Beeb’s coverage of this story?


  10. Eamonn says:

    Humphreys defence is that he always strongly questions people in authority – as with Straw, Hoon etc.

    However, he rarely does with the Palestinian Authority, I note.


  11. Tim says:

    Anonymous wrote:

    ‘I know this is an emotional response rather than a rational one but, what a load of crap’

    I presume, and if I’m wrong I apologise, that you’re the same person who contributes to the comments section of Adam Yoshida’s blog. As you so correctly point out, yours is an emotional response. Nothing wrong with that in itself, of course, but until you provide an intelligent (i.e. non-emotional) refutation of Melanie Phillips’ article, I can’t see how anyone would be especially impressed by your comments. After all, everyone has emotions, but a minority possesses intelligence.

    You are, I assume, not British – the drooling, gibbering hatred of all things Brit which you revealed in your despicable attack on Peter Cuthbertson in the comments section of the aforementioned blog makes me certain of this – and this makes me wonder why you feel so confident in smearing a British journalist’s fisking of a British radio programme. Do you even know who John Humphrys is


  12. Tim says:

    ? Have you ever listened to the Today Programme on the net?

    The only reason I’m bothering to respond to you like this is that I get the feeling you’re an intelligent person, and I’m annoyed when such a person posts something as ’emotional’ as that. What, exactly, do you disagree with in Ms Phillips’s article?


  13. a says:

    Maybe I’m too much of a `liberal lefty do-gooder` for some of you guys but surely the possibility our troops ritually abusing prisoners in a very sensitive war, with disputed justification, is a pretty damn big story.

    Berg’s murder was sickening, but I consider the FACT American soldiers abused prisoners and the FACT British soldiers were suspected of doing similar a much bigger story. Now four have been arrested in relation to it, suggesting that the MOD believe the allegations and that although the pictures that brought the story to our attention were false there is some underlying truth behind the assertions.


  14. a says:

    Unfortunately execution of Western prisoners is not a surprise any more, if our troops were taking liberties then it is one hell of an important story because we justifiably consider our armed forces to be among the elite in the world. Think of it similar to the way this blog looks upon the BBC…

    This follows with my understanding of news values (and now, I don’t work for the Beeb…)


  15. a says:

    P.S. I meant to write no, not `now`.


  16. billg says:

    >>”Is it really unreasonable to blame some of the rising cost of oil on rising consumption among its heaviest users?”

    Of course it is. Increased demand ought to make the price go down.
    but, then, we don’t really have a free oil market, do we?

    Tagging oil price hikes to American SUV’s is an obvious, and rather amateurish, attempt to play to stereotypes and ignorance. SUV’s have been around for years, so how can they be blamed for the price rise?

    Perhaps CNN ought to do a piece blaming it on all this little European cars putzing around on all those little roads. While they’re at it they can depict the average Brit driver as fat-bellied United fan with a can of warm lager in his hand. Makes as much sense.


  17. StinKerr says:

    “…although the pictures that brought the story to our attention were false there is some underlying truth behind the assertions.”

    Okay,a a a, where’s the truth? I know you want it to be true. Maybe you could recreate the truth as you want it to be and get the pictures printed in the Mirror. Oh wait, that’s been done. Nevermind.

    The truth is that the pictures were a lie. The truth is that your hopes for the barbarity of British troops was disappointed. Live with it.

    Your desire to believe the worst of your countrymen is reprehensible. The lack of an email or URL is merely cowardice.


  18. pass the poteen says:

    The BBC and so many others play the “holier than thou” card when they overexpose the abuse on jihadist prisoners and underexpose the murders of western civilians by the Arab Jihadists.

    The hypocrisy is clear

    We anglosaxons are far more shocked by our own excesses than those committed against us by Arabs.
    that is undeniably clear.

    QED We are MORALLY superior to the arabs who do not have to adhere to our own HIGH moral standards.

    Is that the left wing liberalism of the beeb


  19. JohninLondon says:

    Most economic commentators have ascribed the rise in oil prices to the burgeoning Chinese economy – an astonishing increase in demand there.

    But as the BBC is often economically illiterate, it is little wonder that they see it as all America’s fault.

    There are specious arguments above trying to condone how the BBC quickly buried the Nick Berg story – add to that the killing of the Israeli mother with her four young children, and the mad scramble for Israeli body parts by Palestininans. The BBC editorial slant is to magnify the faults of the West and Israel, and to minimise the evil of the terrorists. Indeed they seldom even call them terrorists.

    Where was the John Humphrys week-long campaign of interviews on these cases ? Why wasn’t he grabbing interviews with the various Arab spokesment he normally rushes to contact if there is any criticism to be made of the West ?


  20. Eamonn says:

    Here is a slide show of “good” Israelis/Jews, as defined by the BBC:

    I note the “bad” Israelis/Jews (e.g. settlers)were not rewarded by the BBC with a slide show when they protested against the Gaza pull out.


  21. john b says:

    To Chris, the charming person who called me “an idiot”, go away and read Hobbes. Come back with a short essay on “why many people would prefer a despotic government to no government”. You may add an appendix on Godwin’s law and associated corrolaries.

    To billg, *boggle*!

    1) In which branch of madhouse economics does increased demand for a finite resource make the price go down………?!

    2) Of course SUVs have been around for years, but their proportion of the total US car fleet is still increasing significantly (because they make up a higher % of new car sales than they do of the total pool of existing cars).

    Oh, and to StinKerr – investigations are ongoing into UK troops’ abuses, so it’s a bit early to conclude anything either way.


  22. billg says:

    >>”The hypocrisy is clear…”

    It’s more than that. it’s simple racism.

    This is the deliberate application of different expectations, different obligations, and different rights to people with brown skins.


  23. billg says:

    Regardless, JohnB, of differing economic views, the fact remains that attributing oil price hikes to stereotyped behavior of Americans is as much an exercise in bigoted pandering as attibuting, say, a drop in Spanish productivity to siestas.

    Americans will always consume more gasoline than Brits and other Europeans, even if the cars in both places were identical. The place is bigger. Granny doesn’t live 30 miles away in Lower Wobbly, she lives 1500 miles away on the coast.


  24. John Hensley says:


    Ed, we’ve disagreed before on the BBC’s treatment of Zimbabwe, with you seeing their coverage as more favorable than I did.

    However, as expropriation gears up in neighboring Namibia, this love letter to Pres. Sam Nujoma does not leave any uncertainty about its author’s sympathies.


  25. john b says:

    Billg – if there were clear evidence that

    a) the Spanish were taking more siestas

    b) Spanish productivity was dropping

    …then to draw a connection between the two would not be bigoted pandering.

    Equally, the fact that most Americans choose a transport-heavier lifestyle (moving further away from relatives, living far away from their workplace, etc) than most Europeans doesn’t magically mean that they are using fewer resources when they do so.


  26. john b says:

    John Hensley – note that the “expropriation” article is dated 2 years ago. Nujoma doesn’t appear to put that rhetoric into practice – as the Beeb profile says, he appears to have managed limited land reform without turning into another Mugabe (chiefly because his land reform was about giving land to poor blacks who were likely to continue working on it, rather than rewarding his goons with free stolen goods).

    What’ll happen when he retires is the real worry…


  27. Alan Massey says:

    a a a; “…surely the possibility our troops ritually abusing prisoners in a very sensitive war…is a pretty damn big story.”

    It’s a big story, true enough. But as the US and UK governments are taking it seriously and are taking the appropriate actions (months before the story appeared in the news), it’s not quite as big as the BBC, and others in the media, are making it.

    It the govt was trying to cover it up or sweep it under the carpet, then THAT would justify the level of coverage, but they arn’t. The media should be taking a much more relaxed approach, and letting the military conduct their investigations and court martials.


  28. billg says:

    It’s pandering because the BBC has already demonstrated it is following an agenda and is unable to report on the U.S. in an unbiased and objective manner. They might as well have run a headline reading “Fat Americans Get Their ComeUppance For Driving Huge Cars; Told You So…”

    Europe and the U.S are two very different places. A lot (most) of the U.S. is still empty compared with the UK. When Americans drive 50 miles each way to work, or 75 miles to a restaurant, it just might be because there’s nothing else closer.

    The fact that Europeans leave their little cars at home when they migrate to the States also tells us that gasoline consumption and vehicle choice is more a function of geography and accidents of history than a reflection of personal ethics.


  29. John Hensley says:

    note that the “expropriation” article is dated 2 years ago. Nujoma doesn’t appear to put that rhetoric into practice

    oops, wrong article. I meant to link this one from last week. See, Nujoma’s rhetoric is not as empty as it used to be.


  30. pass the poteen says:

    you are quire right should have taken the boxing gloves off when i posted.
    Makes you wander of the left wing marxists are in control or if the old right wing TE lawrences types of the Foreign office are still in pulling the strings .

    poor old melanie must be feeling isolated and i doubt she will be receiving many “Journalistic awards” since these are obviously now reserved for the likes of Mr Fisk. Ms orla guerrin. janine de ?? and the host of islamic jihad spin doctors in the Uk caliphate.


  31. pass the poteen says:

    The problems of the BBC are no longer one of dhimmitued or appeasement they have transmuted into Jihadist activists..a la Daily Mirror but far far more subtle in its dissemination.
    This is a HuGE problem a la lord HAW HAW
    Stuck in an eternal binkered perception of the Middle East problem whose panacea was the removal of Israel from the tarnished map of Arabia.
    They now have to digest the fact as so many arabians have pointed out over the last fifty years( faisal,khomeini et al) that it is the west and america that they hate even more than the Jews.
    When Bevin was told this IN DIRECT he was reduced to making gibberish responses, so convinced was he that “the Jews” were the problem.
    The hatred of Israel has its roots in the hatred of the west.
    It is perceived as an enclave of western imperialism and god forbid, its destruction would actually lead to MORE not LESS “terrorism” or as i prefer to call it ,islamic Jihadist slaughter, in the west.


  32. Rich says:

    Surely ‘Melanie Phillips’ is a made up character to provide a much needed bit of comedy in the lives of the sane and sensible Britons.

    Some people seem to have missed the joke.


  33. Susan says:

    That’s right, when all else fails, when you don’t have any logical ripostes, go ahead and make fun of the messenger.

    The intellectual bankruptcy of the Western left, on full display.


  34. Alan says:

    “Some people seem to have missed the joke.”

    Aha… ahahaha…..bwahahahahahahhhaaaa… Oh how very witty… Rich humour. Really.


  35. Sandy P. says:

    The vermin used the Israeli heads for footballs?

    Wonder if THAT’S too gruesome for CBS.


  36. Sandy P. says:

    NYT knew a few months ago about Abu G via email – it was rounted to the wrong dept.

    Brit Hume quoted its response today.


  37. burt says:

    What’s all this about Vanunu, again and again and yet again on “news” stories and in a “documentary”?
    Hardly anything though about disgusting atrocities in Darfur (Sudan). Why, you may wonder? Because the BBC can’t find any Jews or Americans there to blame”!