General BBC-related comment thread:

Please use this thread for comments about the BBC’s current programming and activities. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog – scroll down for new topic-specific posts. N.B. this is not an invitation for general off-topic comments, rants or chit-chat. Thoughtful comments are encouraged. Comments may be moderated.

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109 Responses to General BBC-related comment thread:

  1. Lurker in a Burqua says:

    Controversial BBC season includes film of girl, 11, who found ‘refuge of calm and safety’ among Muslims


  2. David Preiser says:

    I have just discovered an earlier example of the exact thing I was complaining about in my post on the last open thread regarding Katty Kay’s “interview” with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

    This is from a June appearance by the former Arkansas Governor (same origin as Bubba) at the Pew Forum, an non-partisan, but conservative think tank. A quick look at their website tells you they don’t exactly hate Christianity as much as the BBC. They are more non-partisan than the BBC, as E.J. Dionne Jr., a known leftoid, chaired the event, and the bulk of the panelists are not conservative Christian types. You would not be likely to see this kind of balance on a BBC panel. Katty’s questions can be found about three quarters of the way down the page (can’t seem to anchor link), directly opposite the only photo of her on the page.

    Here’s her first question. Spot the BBC attempts to get the message across to us ugly Americans. Extra points if you count the shibboleths.

    “Do you understand, Governor, that when you say that your politics are driven by a Christian conservative faith • and it’s really picking up on what you were saying about the world’s opinion of America • that it might be a scary thought for many people around the world? And slightly related, there are some times, I think • a perception in many other countries that the social conservative • Christian conservative • movement in America is homogenous. Are there issues, though, on which you’re seeing fracturing? One issue I was thinking of as having movement was climate change.”

    Nasty Christians, all apparently in lockstep in their wickedness (When did Christians stop beating their wives, Gov. Huckabee?). And a new twist, nasty Christians hating the planet and not caring about climate change.

    Here’s her second question:

    “But it’s the Christian language of this presidency that has perpetuated some of the anti-American feelings around the world.

    That’s right. It’s the Christian language that frightens people. Which Christian language was that again, Katty? The one and only time Bush used the word “crusade”, with a small “c”? Or is it because sometimes nasty Americans say nasty things that associate terrorism with Islam? Does the BBC, deep down, deny the connection between today’s problem with terrorism and extremist Islam? Couldn’t it possibly be the Islamist language of the terrorists that is the real worry? At long last, BBC, have you no shame?

    Here’s a link to the entire thing. Notice a difference in hysterical verbiage between the questioners.

    So basically it’s the exact same questions to Huckabee, over five months apart. No agenda to see here, move along. Your license fee pays her salary, and others like her.


  3. neil says:

    Good old Auntie swept the board at the International Emmy Awards in New York winning 6 out of the 8 categories.

    Picking up his award for The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive which won best Documentary. Stephen Fry said:
    “It’s a lucky evening for us.
    We’re lucky to have this institution, the BBC, that’s helped generations of people (in television).”

    Full story over in The Times. I’m sure you’re very proud of the Beeb 😉


  4. Robin says:

    I don’t for a second condone racism, by the late Ian Smith or anyone else,
    but the BBC online treatment of Smith’s death

    makes much of his belief about white supremacy – and the alleged misery it caused after UDI – but says nothing whatsoever of the massive abuses now being perpetrated in Zimbabwe by Mugabe’s monstrous regime. The country’s current problems, the story claims, are linked to ‘unemployment and inflation’. Not a sniff of a mention of racism against minority tribes and whites (the land seizures), or of the general stink of dictatorship and unjust oppression.

    There is a link from the story to a ‘fact file’ on Zimbabwe. This, too, is disgracefully ‘even-handed’ with a few facts about Mugabe’s regime but nothing that describes the horror that is now unfolding in the country.

    Smith was a hang-over from Victorian attitudes towards race, but what he was clinging on to wasn’t just that; he was one of the few leaders in Africa who saw the paramount need for structural discipline. The education system he developed, for example, was among the best in Africa – for blacks and whites – but it has now been wrecked. The economy was robust. Hardly anything of this is mentioned, only the vague assertion that his supporters thought he was a visionary.


  5. MattLondon says:

    More re Ian Smith.

    The report of his death on the BBC News website, relatively unobjectionable, has a link to an HYS thread on Smith – and the example quote in the box is “His legacy was one of imposing Mugabe on the world”.

    I don’t doubt that this is there in HYS somewhere – but scanning down the “Most recommended” entries none of the top ones support a critical view of Smith. The overwhelming popular view seems to be that Smith generated prosperity for all Rhodesians, black and white, and that Mugabe was Harold Wilson’s fault, not Smith’s.


  6. Abandon Ship! says:

    As sure as day follows night………..

    Remember I mentioned the “representative” DHYS comment about Ian Smith that the BBC highlighted in the sidebar yesterday?

    “His legacy was one of imposing Mugabe on the world”
    Maggie Jones, Cheltenham.

    Well just now (8.55am) on the Today programme Fergal Keane is wheeled on to confirm, more or less, that this is the case. What a surprise.

    The BBC law: skin colour trumps brutal and tyrannical behaviour.


  7. Robin says:

    My point about the online report of Smith’s death is that it is arguably ‘objectionable’ – bias by omission (in this case, failure to mention the true horrors of Mugabe’s regime) is often worse than overtly ‘balanced’ reporting, even when the presentation is skewed.


  8. NotaSheep says:

    Fergal Keen on the Toady programme just laid the blame for Mugabe on Ian Smith. Just remind me which UK television organisation backed Mugabe rather than Nkomo in the late 1970s and early 1980s.


  9. Abandon Ship! says:

    As sure as day follows night………..2

    I was wondering how long it would be before the BBC would start to find “BBC worldview ” reasons to explain the Revenue and Custaoms debacle.

    The one I heard them peddling this morning on Today in at least two pieces is that it was due to job losses (i.e. funding cuts) when IR and CE merged. Darling denied this.

    However through long experience I can see the way the BBC is thinking: more taxpayer’s money ploughed into this Govt Department clearly would have prevented this. No doubt Beeboids think that a higher licence fee would have allowed Rhys Jones to reach the top of Ben Nevis also.


  10. Ali P says:

    Midweek, Radio 4, just now:

    Libby Purves introduces her first guest who organises embroidery in prisons; then introducing her next guest, a 20 yr old New Zealand soprano, in her humorous voice: “I gather you once stole a napkin from the White House? Perhaps you could have embroidered the word ‘Sorry’ on it!”

    Guest: “Oh come on!” (nervous laughter).

    Libby Purves: the personification of the BBC.


  11. John Reith says:

    Ali P | 21.11.07 – 9:28 am

    Libby Purves: the personification of the BBC

    Quite so. We believe it’s wrong to steal.


  12. Ali P says:

    JR: you’re good. (doffs cap)


  13. Martin says:

    Radio 5

    It’s the fault of the Tories!!!!!!! Cry the BBC callers. Yes, you guessed it, the BBC are actually giving airtime to people who really think the missing CD’s are the fault of the Tory party? How you might ask? WEll those evil Tories made poor Gordon Brown cost cut the civil service to the point that their brains were also cut.

    The vile Niki Campbell allowed Alistair Darling to also say the tory party was at fault for this as well this morning (as they agreed to merging departments)

    The BBC really is a joke.

    Funniest comment was from an email that told Victoria Derbyshire to stop shrieking in support of the Government as Gordon is not going to offer her Fiona Philips job in the Government!!! That one really did make me laugh.


  14. Martin says:

    Oh and hear we go (Radio 5 at it again). Arranged marriages are good. Oh really. I’ll send an email in saying what a bad idea tihs is and see if it gets read out. Somehow I doubt it.


  15. Ali P says:

    Quick admin note – and
    are showing different content – no updates on the former since last Friday. Is that normal?


  16. Andrew says:

    Ali P, hold down ‘shift’ and click on reload/refresh – what you are seeing is the out of date content of your browser cache (or possibly that of your ISP) associated with one URL but not the other (they both come from the same place, so can’t be different any other way).


  17. Martin says:

    Classic Victoria Derbyshire at 10:14 am.

    Woman caller who was not happy with Labour and the mess over the missing disks.

    However, Super woman Derbyshire comes leaping to the defence of poor Gordon and Alistair. She tells the woman caller that the Tories would have made the same mess (no evidence for this of course and Labour have been in power for 10 years)

    Then smelling blood, Derbyshire decides to ask this woman who she voted for at the last election (quite what this had to do with the debate on missing disks I don’t know)

    When the woman refused to tell her, Derbyshire clearly sniffed a hated Tory voter being online. When the woman caller said she didn’t vote Tory, Derbyshire like the nasty little Nu Labour attack dog she is then suspected an even nastier political party. The woman caller kept her dignity and basically told the Dog (in a polite way) to mind her own business.

    Funnily enough she NEVER asked one caller who stuck up for the Government (and there were quite a few this morning) if they were Labour voters.

    Funny that.


  18. George R says:

    Re-Lurker in a Burqua reference (2.03am)

    The BBC, true to its ‘multiculturalist’ mission, is planning to put out a film of an English white girl, aged 11, ” who found ‘refuge of calm and safety’ among Muslims.”

    This sort of cultural output is typical of not only the BBC, but is also to be found in the similar ideological presumption of the broader liberal/left. The National Theatre artistic director, Nicholas Hytner, said recently:

    ” I would like to see a play about the white working class communities that were completely displaced by waves of immigration. These are the offensive plays that we are not doing.”

    Peter Whittle, (who interviewed Nicholas Hytner) comments:

    “…proves quite how thorough-going the liberal/left world view is entrenched in the bubble of our arts establishment.”

    ‘How to be really offensive’


  19. Dr R says:

    Actually JR, some of us regard the license fee as a form of officially sanctioned theft.


  20. Bryan says:

    MattLondon | 21.11.07 – 8:04 am,

    We see this time and time again on the BBC. No doubt the website editors see themselves as “rebalancing” the HYS in this way in order, as usual, to tell people how and what they are required to think. This attempt at indoctrination is typical behaviour of the propagandists at the BBC.


  21. John Reith says:

    Dr R | 21.11.07 – 10:42 am

    Actually JR, some of us regard the license fee as a form of officially sanctioned theft.

    I feel rather the same way about taxes on savings that have already been taxed as income.

    But I accept the authority of Parliament and pay up.

    Perhaps you should take the same stoical approach to the taxes you don’t like.


  22. Chuffer says:

    Nice to read JR agreeing that the ‘licence fee’ is just a tax!


  23. John Reith says:

    Robin | 21.11.07 – 7:13 am

    ..the BBC online treatment of Smith’s death makes much of his belief about white supremacy – and the alleged misery it caused after UDI – but says nothing whatsoever of the massive abuses now being perpetrated in Zimbabwe by Mugabe’s monstrous regime.

    Perhaps these will more properly belong in Mugabe’s obituary than Smith’s? Appalling though conditions in Zimbabwe nowadays are, we should remember that Smith died in Cape Town, where he has lived for some time.

    There is a link from the story to a fact file on Zimbabwe. This, too, is disgracefully even-handed…

    Only on Biased-BBC!

    Mugabe doesn’t share your view that the BBC is soft on Zanu-PF.

    In fact, the BBC has been banned from Zimbabwe for many years and can only operate there in a clandestine fashion.

    When it does so, its journalists risk imprisonment, or worse.

    How very different from the life of the armchair pundit, eh?


  24. Sarah-Jane says:

    “disgracefully even-handed”



  25. Essex Boy says:

    Didn’t James Naughtie just rip into Darling on the Toady prog.?

    Poor Darling was shredded, jumped on, kicked and pushed under the table by the withering sarcasm, pithy observances and sheer brilliance of Naughties questioning.

    Or did I just imagine it?


  26. Allan@Oslo says:

    Essex Boy, I ‘m in Norway so I didn’t hear it. What did happen, or are you being sarcastic?


  27. Essex Boy says:

    “or are you being sarcastic?”

    Sarcastic Moi?


  28. NotaSheep says:

    Did anyone catch the piece on the Today programme about the Indonesian child talent show, along the lines of who can give the best Islamic sermon. Surreal.


  29. NotaSheep says:

    Did Gordon Brown almost resort to “I will take no lessons from”? It was very close to that panic fallback phrase.


  30. Hugh says:

    BTW, why does the link for the data loss story from the BBC front page read “UK under fire for lost bank details”. It doesn’t remotely reflect the story (nor the headline anymore). It’s not the country that’s being criticised; it’s the government. Since the website assumes readers know who “Bush”, “Putin” and “Sarkozy” are, wouldn’t “Brown under fire” work?


  31. will says:

    As noted above the BBC have given full voice to claims that the Data fiasco is due to stsff cuts, it was used repeatedly on Newsnight.

    Joy then that this doesn’t wash with Nick Robinson

    In reality, there is clearly a culture of casualness toward it which allows one man, apparently, to copy 25 million names and details onto two discs and chuck them in the post.

    Forgive me if I’m misunderstanding something – I’m sure you’ll respond if I am – but I fail to see the relevance of job cuts or unopened post or low morale at HMRC to this. Employees should know that data protection is sacred and if they don’t there should be systems in place that ensure they alone cannot make serious errors.


  32. Lurker in a Burqua says:

    After releasing new figures showing that the global AIDS epidemic is smaller than it previously reported, the United Nations’ AIDS-fighting agency denied yesterday that it had inflated estimates for years in an alarmist effort to raise funds.

    …………..and now with the hysteria around Climate Change we have an exact replay of this scenario.

    All pushed hard by you know who!


  33. NotaSheep says:

    L-in-a-B : Saw this in the Washington Post as well and have blogged this morning already. This point is an important to keep banging on about.


  34. Dr R says:


    Yes john, I do realise the BBC tax is legally sanctioned and that is why I pay it. But I disagree with it, as do increasing numbers of people, and yes, I will draw my MPs attention to it in the hope that he will vote for its demise when the issue comes up in years to come. But thanks for stating the obvious anyway.


  35. Rob Clark says:

    MattLondon | 21.11.07 – 8:04 am,

    We see this time and time again on the BBC. No doubt the website editors see themselves as “rebalancing” the HYS in this way in order, as usual, to tell people how and what they are required to think. This attempt at indoctrination is typical behaviour of the propagandists at the BBC.
    Bryan | 21.11.07 – 10:46 am |


    Bryan and Matt, this is also true of the HYS thread on the loss of personal records:

    ‘What a complete shambles…. and I fear things will only get worse once the loathsome ID cards are introduced’
    Anthony H, London

    OK it is critical (how could it be anything else), but it certainly isn’t representative of the tone or sentiment behind most posts on the subject, which are considerably more vitriolic…


  36. pounce says:

    The BBC, rioting in India and another story.

    Army deployed after Calcutta riot
    Troops have been deployed in the Indian city of Calcutta after protests over a controversial writer turned into riots. Police using tear gas and baton charges were unable to control crowds calling for Bangladeshi feminist writer Taslima Nasreen to leave India.
    Crowds were also protesting at recent attacks on Muslims in the Nandigram area in the east of West Bengal state.

    So the BBC the multi billion pound news agency reports that people are rioting on the streets of Kolkata (Hey BBC if you can refer to Molly Campbell as Mishba Rahna, you may as well refer to Calcutta as Kolkata) because they are upset at a certain feminist writer.
    Utter Tosh.
    The people in Kolkata are rioting because the of the so called ‘Nandigram massacre’ which resulted in 14 people getting killed on the 14th of March this year
    and of allegations of women getting raped this month in the same region.

    Here is the news from India which substantiates my post.

    Taslima Nasreen is a side issue which it appears has been added on in which to inflame the situation even more. The real protest is because of 14 murders. As reported by Reuters

    The BBC, rioting in India and another story.


  37. Maureen says:

    Controversial BBC season includes film of girl, 11, who found ‘refuge of calm and safety’ among Muslims

    Politicians and race campaigners have expressed concerns about the series, with claims that the BBC should not be singling out ethnic groups.


  38. Oscar says:

    Or did I just imagine it?
    Essex Boy | 21.11.07 – 11:57 am | #

    If only it were true EB. But it was of course yet another sweetheart interview for the Brownites on the Toady prog conducted purely to defuse the situation. Compare and contrast with Paxman skewering Michael Howard over the prison breakouts (which seem as nothing compared to the incompetence of the present lot). But of course BBC indignation is a very partial thing.


  39. Oscar says:

    The BBC trying to wreck David Cameron’s best soundbite at PMQs. What DC actually said about GB was:

    “He tries to control everything, but can’t run anything”.

    But the BBC has reported it this way:
    People would think Mr Brown had “lost touch with reality” and was “trying to run everything but could not run anything”.
    Conscious or unconscious mistake it’s quite clear whose side auntie is on.


  40. David H says:

    Hughs point is well made, why isn’t the headline “Brown under fire for lost UK details” or even Darling?

    That is pure total bias towards protecting the Labour party.


  41. Martin says:

    of course the BBC is sticking up for pinky and perky in Nu Labour. You only have to listen to harridens like Victoria Derbyshire and Nikki Campbell every day to see that.

    Victoria Derbyshire almost had ME feeling sorry for that prat Brown today.


  42. Oscar says:

    Evan Davis joins the Today team.

    The editor of the Today programme, Ceri Thomas, said: “Evan is simply one of the outstanding BBC journalists of his generation.

    “He’s knowledgeable, surprising, and brilliantly clear-sighted when it comes to working out what really matters on the big stories. There’s nobody better qualified to present Today”.
    You have to hand it to auntie – they know how to praise themselves.

    BTW (maybe a beeboid could answer this) – with regard to the Today programme having 6 million listeners a week – does that mean 1 million people listen every day? If so, isn’t it most likely that the core audience is in fact 1 million regular listeners? I’d be interested to know the average daily audience figure.


  43. Ali P says:

    Oscar – see here:
    for Today listener figures and some analysis.

    Looks like 4 – 5 million ‘reach’ per day, typically.


  44. Rowland Pantling says:

    John Humphreys grilling a Minister for fishing – not one critical question about the EU`s disastrous handling of our fishing grounds. Goes with the territory because it is illegal to criticise the EU in any form. Regaining control of our fishing grounds is the best way forward through withdrawal from the EU but, of course, this was never suggested.


  45. Chuffer says:

    Here’s an odd one – bus ‘welded to road’! Curious definition of welding.


  46. Jill says:

    The BBC are currently running an advert for Oz and May’s Wine tour of America.

    The clip shows both of them taking a sip of wine and pulling horrid faces while James May’s voiceover says ‘that is the taste of America’.

    I watched the episode last night, what really happened is they tasted some garlic wine and they pulled faces. About 20 minutes later they taste a better wine to which James May says, ‘that is the taste of America’.

    More anti-US editing by the BBC.


  47. Oscar says:

    Ali P | 21.11.07 – 4:20 pm | #

    Cheers Ali – interesting stuff.


  48. The Fat Contractor says:

    To some extent the BBC is correct that Tory policy in the 80’s and 90’s have contributed to the HMRC fiasco. If the IDS had not been privatised out of existance then there would be no need for mail to be sent by post. AFAICR inter-departmental post always went by IDS. The data would have been far more secure, even if it had just been dropped into a grid, with the IDS than with the Royal Fail.

    Secondly the out-sourcing of IT to the likes of Crapita and EDS has been nothing short of a disaster for departmental IT systems and has cause fiasco after fiasco.

    The Labour government, however, have had 10 years to put these stupid policies right but instead have accelerated the out-sourcing and privatised as much as they can get away with. The BBC rightly has a go at them for this. Not that they do it because it has a detrimental effect on the running of the state apparatus but because they are ideolically opposed to such ‘right-wing’ policies.

    So, just for JR, the BBC is right but for the wrong reasons :>


  49. The Fat Contractor says:

    oops that’s Royal Mail and not the Freudian ‘Royal Fail’.

    Then again … 🙂


  50. meggoman says:

    John Reith:
    Dr R | 21.11.07 – 10:42 am

    Actually JR, some of us regard the license fee as a form of officially sanctioned theft.

    I feel rather the same way about taxes on savings that have already been taxed as income.

    But I accept the authority of Parliament and pay up.

    Perhaps you should take the same stoical approach to the taxes you don’t like.
    John Reith | 21.11.07 – 10:58 am | #

    Actually JR your savings are not taxed. The interest that those savings earn is. So your comment is completely off the mark