“In happier times Americans’ exposure to the BBC

was limited to gems such as Fawlty Towers and Are You being Served?”–so Gerard Baker concludes. As a Yank, I must agree.

To much fanfare, and a fair amount of predictable gushing from its liberal admirers in the US, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the state-owned bureaucracy that bestrides the UK cultural and political landscape like a colossus, launched a 24 hour news channel in America last week.

Billboards in Manhattan bellowed the BBC’s message to passers- by, promising that the corporation would be bringing “news beyond your borders” into Americans’ parochial little lives….

Emboldened, its mangers now clearly think the time is now ripe to enter the US TV news market and offer a distinctive product. A few years ago the former boss of the BBC attacked American television news for too slavishly following the government line. Instead the BBC now says in its publicity, it will offer “both sides of the story”.

Roughly translated this means the BBC thinks that, while the vast majority of Americans are morons who are perfectly content to swallow right-wing rubbish from their political and media masters, there is an educated and sophisticated elite on the coasts that feels somehow its worldview is underrepresented by the current giants of the mainstream media in the US.

This is no surprise to B-BBC visitors. I find it interesting to have a former BBC employee underline the elitist snobbery of the institution. (Yes, lurkers, he’s got to be a right-wing nutcase.)

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