No faults allowed

Following the recent criticism of the BBC’s coverage of the US election, it’s worth mentioning this piece from yesterday’s Independent. It’s an interview with Peter Horrocks, head of news, and it’s classic Beebish. For anyone discomforted by the recent humility the Beeb’s been forced into over the Sach’s affair, Horrocks it the perfect tonic: he simply admits no criticism.

So, the cringe inducing interview with Gore Vidal: a highlight of the evening, says Horrocks. Political editor looking tipsy on screen? A very human moment. Dimleby past his prime? A very respected and experienced person, he says (somewhat dodging the question). Appalling graphics? Not at all.

So the Beeb’s perfect? Well, not quite: The BBC news executive admits that he was concerned by the lack of black faces in the BBC’s coverage on such a moment in history.

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47 Responses to No faults allowed

  1. John Bosworth says:

    They really think we’re stupid, don’t they?

    “Horrocks, 49, admits that the BBC had to be wary of offending the American right. “It is important to remember that [the victory] is only by a few percentage points in terms of the popular vote. It doesn’t mean the whole of America is suddenly transformed into a Democratic country, not by any means. You have to be sensitive to the fact that there are some Americans who are always suspicious of non-American, European liberal voices as they see them. We must be impartial.”

    Wary of offending the American Right? What about brown-nosing the American left?


  2. Kill the Beeb says:

    Horrocks is an archbishop to the religion that is the BBC. Questioning his faith would be tantamount to atheism. Expect nothing more from someone so religiously indoctrinated as he.


  3. Ralph says:

    The BBC’s coverage of the campaigns, and the actual election was biased but worst of all it was simply dire. Justin Webb’s reporting was inane and often factually incorrect, they concentrated on the two coasts and ignored most of what’s inbetween, Question Time only watchable to see how camp Schama could get, and Dimblebore was just boring on the night.


  4. dick says:

    It was drivel. Sky kicked ass.


  5. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Gore Vidal was drunk off his ass.

    Note to Peter Horrocks: at least we elect our leaders here in the US, and don’t just hand the reins over any time our leaders see fit, or call elections if the time seems right. And what on earth does he mean by a “Democratic country”, anyway? That we’re still ignorant and racist or something? We’re a Constitutional Republic, idiot.

    The reason some fool United Statesians like me are always suspicious of non-American, European liberal (ding!) voices is that you’re prejudiced and ignorant, and don’t know what the hell you’re talking about when it comes to my country. Yet you presume to tell me how to behave, and how to understand my own neighbors and countrymen.

    Also, all defenders of the indefensible should take note that the BBC Head of News referred to his own news division as “liberal”. One for the sidebar, I think.


  6. Cassandra says:

    David P,

    I can assure you that the anti American assault by the leftists and their MSM allies never ever represented the true feelings of the silent majority of the Britih people.
    The anti US hatred was perpetrated by leftists/socialists in thrall to the USSR from the thirties onward, the media/political classes were a prime target of the NKVD/KGB and no expense was spared by the soviets in their quest to subvert the media/inteligentsia/chattering classes/useful idiots and they were incredibly successful in their efforts, jelousy, pride, ignorance, stupidity, hatred, bribery, blackmail were all used to blind the elites of europe to the soviets desire to split the atlantic alliance that eventually destroyed the leftists ‘other Eden’.
    The Leftists hate the USA because it showed the world the utter moral bankruptcy of socialism and its world view.
    The Leftists spread their vile anti US poison because they lost the moral argument!


  7. Ross says:

    Last night I had a set-to with a very good friend of mine; a die-hard Grauniad reader, Obama disciple etc etc. I hadn’t caught up with him since before the US election.

    “I can now move to America,” he said, “now George Bush has gone”

    “But you lived in America from 2003-06” I said. “You never stop talking about how much you love it.”

    Nevermind – the point is that the world is “free again” (apparently) and he can feel “safe” when jetting off to California later this year to settle.

    I wonder whether this is a pattern. Will the poor Americans have to put up with plenty more fair-weather immigrants from the UK who previously spewed nothing but bile about America and Americans? And will they all move back WHEN a Republican enters office once again?

    So much hot air. That defines the left for me.


  8. Ross says:

    I’d like to echo Cassandra’s excellent (as ever) and pithy points.

    Every day listening to Radio 4 (it’s my pennance for a previous life) it’s hard not to get the impression that America is just one big monster hell-bent on destroying just about everyone and everything.

    But, David, believe me when I say that (I believe that) a vast majority of Brits still hold America dear. We all know that every country in the world isn’t perfect and America is the same. But the point is context. The US, by its very nature, a superpower will always get bashed by the sort of feeble-minded unenquiring minds that the left attracts at university freshers’ weeks.

    I say: up the USA. Thank Christ the US is the ‘world’s policeman’


  9. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Ross and Cassandra,

    I appreciate the reassuring thoughts. However, I remember very clearly all the anti-US warmonger protests when nuclear missiles were being installed at Greenham Common, and all the rest of it. That was “Boo USA”, while the Soviet Union was still nominally intact, and nobody was talking about a triumph over socialism. This was all about nasty US Republican warmongers (the ones about whom Gore Vidal was spewing), who were forcing the Soviet Union to rattle their own nuclear sabers.

    Anti-US sentiment was not so different in those days. We were considered parochial, gun-toting, Bible-banging cretins who talk loudly in restaurants. The current crop of BBC leadership mostly reached majority during those years (notice I don’t say “grew up”), and we now know that many of them were among those protesters. It’s no wonder they have a particular view of my country even now.

    Too many people still either take their lead from the BBC or are at least influenced by the drip, drip, drip. For the Head of BBC News to come out and say such a thing is simply unacceptable, and proves everything I’ve been saying since Matt Frei launched his low-budget propaganda show with the exact same attitude.


  10. JohnA says:

    1 Radio 4 keeps trailing a prog on “Should we bring the troops home from Afghanistan”. Thanks for the support, guys.

    2 World Service last night interviewed just one parent of a young Australian murdered at Bali. He opposed the death penalty – of course. Why else would the BBC seek him out ?


  11. Ross says:

    David, I’m sure you’ve read this piece by Sir Anthony Jay. He used to be middle management on BBC Newsnight in the 1960s. It well worth a read if you haven’t already done so.

    It speaks for itself. Oddly enough the BBC never saw fit to report this even though it’s clearly in the public interest.

    “Too many people still either take their lead from the BBC or are at least influenced by the drip, drip, drip.”

    Only last night on PM, Hazel Blears, a cabinet minister was complaining of this very same effect on her government from blogs. I shouted so loud my radio fell off its perch. The BBC talking of a “drip drip drip” – but, naturally in a completely benign context; nothing whatsoever to do with the effect of BBC bias.


  12. GCooper says:

    Ross – the reason why Hazel Blears (possibly the vilest woman in Parliament – and that’s saying something!) is on a crusade against blogs is because they are the only media outlet not run by arts graduates who have been through the Leftist brainwashing machine.

    ZaNuLabour has finally woken up to the danger posed by a truly free medium of expression, which is why Burnham, Blears and other fascists in the EU are proposing to stifle the Internet.


  13. David Preiser (USA) says:


    I have seen that, yes. They ignored Robin Aitken’s book as well. And all the quotes on the sidebar of this blog, and everything else.

    Just like they’ll pretend Horrocks’ comment didn’t mean anything.


  14. ae1 says:

    one quick point

    Ross – ‘Thank Christ the US is the ‘world’s policeman’ – I have to disagree with this one – I do not agree with America (ok big business) forcing it’s idea of ‘freedom’ at the end of a gun. You cannot go into a country and say ‘You are now free to do as we want’. The washed up and failed UN should be doing that job. Not Halliburton.


  15. knacker says:

    Mr Preiser…heaven knows, I understand your anger. The durable point, I think, is that rage is pointless here: the ‘special relationship’ long since ceased to be anything of the kind, and it’s way past time for the US to move on.

    Will Obama do it? Probably not, but that adds up to delay, no more. The quaint Brit notion that the relationship can somehow be revived unilaterally and at will, by media triangulation by the BBC backed by goofy platitudes from the Foreign Office and the Maximum Leader, is …well, it’s crap. The bargaining positions are unequal; Britain is headed, in some ways is already in, the third world, and can’t put anything beefy down on the table. Bluntly, Britain doesn’t make or sell anything that we Americans want or need or can’t get elsewhere, unencumbered by all the ludicrous affectation and puerile horseshit.

    Even Obama will tell Gordon where to file his fantasies about a new world order. Hell, make your trains run on time first, PM.


  16. David Preiser (USA) says:


    The “special relationship” has nothing to do with the BBC coming to the US, and creating a news broadcast targeted directly at us from a perspective of ignorance, condescension, and dishonesty.


  17. cassis says:


    You remind me of one of my children who, at the time of the tsunami in Indonesia etc, scoffed “And what does that moron George Bush do? Send an aircraft carrier – ha ha ha”.

    What my stupid kid didn’t understand was that the aircraft carrier saved many, many lives by providing fresh water from its own desalinisation plant and helicopters getting water and food to stranded people.

    That aircraft carrier and its crew did more good at a very critical time than all those useless UN people staying in 4star hotels having meetings.

    I would just like to add, I used to live in a country where – you would argue the US – was “forcing it’s idea of ‘freedom’ at the end of a gun”.

    No one in that country wanted Herr Hitler back, I can assure you. And the Germans are perfectly free to do as they want.


  18. cassis says:


    One more thing. I used to live in France too. In Alsace – you know the region overrun by the Germans every now and again.

    A friend there told me of the time when she was a young teenager during the German occupation in WW2 when she was arrested and thrown in prison for – well guess what?

    Speaking French to a friend. She was overheard and that was that.

    Can you point me to a US ‘occupied country’ where people are thrown in prison for speaking their native language?


  19. Peter says:

    The BBC likes statistics, especially global ones.

    It might be interesting for them to discover how many still independent countries have cemeteries dedicated to those who lost their lives defending freedoms of the past and current local populations. And what the numbers and nationalities of the fallen might be.

    I would be hard pressed to think of many where BBC-favoured regimes and their populations have matched the altruism of the US, UK and Commonwealth countries.


  20. Alison says:

    knacker: “..unencumbered by all the ludicrous affectation and puerile horseshit.”

    After the recent election, that’s a bit rich!


  21. ae1 says:


    I think you should read my piece again. I am against ANY country forcing it’s values on another. Would you find it acceptable for Saudi Arabia to force it’s f**cked up values on you? Of course not, it happens the other way too.

    The UN was developed to have a global impact, and they have failed. However, in Iraq especially, both the USA and the UK entered and effectively ignored UN mandates. Now the fact that Iraq has billions of barrels of oil has nothing to do with it?

    As for people being thrown in prison for speaking their native language – tell me why, in London, people now effectively have to apply in order to protest. Is that freedom of speech?

    Our rights are slowly being eroded.


  22. Derek W. Buxton says:

    Our “Rights” have long been stolen from us by the scumbag politicos and the lefty biased BBC. The USA is still a Nation and can elect it’s own President. All we get is a puppet elected on about 20% of the vote because he is powerless, except of course that he has the time to harras the People of this Country.


  23. glj says:

    I think that this is the interview that irritated John Boulton so much. (In the Ian Dale link)


  24. mailman says:


    I think you will find it was actually UN Mandates that allowed the US to attack Iraq.

    And if this was all about Oil, why isnt it being syphoned off by America faster than a 2 bit whore going down on a democrat president?

    If this was all about oil, why waste billions on rebuilding Iraq and just take the oil?

    If it was all about oil, why intervene in Somalia and Kosovo?



  25. cassis says:


    In my world the US is a force for good. They have generally brought about a positive change to some very evil countries.

    In your world you would be at the mercy of evil people, like Hitler, Saddam and various Islamic clerics.

    In your world, the US should just have bought their oil from Saddam and left the Iraqis to stew under the dictator and his sons for decades to come. The US tried and has succeeded so far in bringing a totally different outlook for the Iraqis. Just as the US freed the European countries from dictatorship.

    I agree with you that your rights are slowly being eroded in the UK. I hope you understand where your best hope for freedom lies.

    Don’t believe what you read in the MSM. Read independent bloggers like Michael Yon and Michael Totten, not to mention Iraqi bloggers. Iraq the Model has a very moving piece in light of the US elections which can be found on the Pajamas Media site.


  26. whitewineliberal says:

    Michael Toten has long been a voice of reason on Iraq


  27. ae1 says:


    ‘In my world’ – I get the impression you think I am some left leaning tree hugger – far from it. I just object to being part of the 51st state.

    Do you honestly think for one minute that this so called ‘special relationship’ means a damned thing! Tell me why they always have to be forced into joining with us in both world wars?


  28. Boba Fett says:

    What would you have had them do about the interview with Gore Vidal?

    It was a highlight for me, one of those live interviews that doesn’t go to plan, but that wasn’t Dimbleby’s fault. Clearly Vidal was just being a grumpy old fart.


  29. Hugh says:

    Boba Fett:I would have the head of news admit that it didn’t go well rather than suggest it was a highlight of the evening, which rather suggests they’d try and organise a repeat if possible.


  30. cassis says:


    How on earth did ‘we’ FORCE the US into joining us in both world wars?

    Perhaps the BBC was wailing and bleating and bringing up the ‘special relationship’ every five minutes.


  31. Dr R says:

    Anyone catch that idiot Clarkson ridiculing America last week in the time-honoured, patronising Beeboid way?

    The usual infantile propagandist BBC shit, costing us a fortune and saying absolutely nothing funny or valuable (except, naturally, America = dumb and evil).


  32. Concerned Citizen says:

    The fact that Gore Vidal was included in the BBC’s election coverage at all is quite revealing. It’s hard for me to believe there wasn’t enough actual news for them to cover that night without dragging in that washed-up old cabaret act to serve as their canned entertainment.

    I’m delighted to hear that Dimbleby got what he deserved for using an interview segment as an excuse to start a food fight and score some cheap points with the hate-America crowd. Next time maybe they’ll think twice before trying a stunt like that live.


  33. Tom says:

    I think Dimbleby got what he deserved.

    Vidal said something in a subtle, oblique, hinting kind of way and Dimbleby insisted on restating it in a heavy, crude kind of way and then demanding Vidal endorse his clumsy paraphrase.

    Vidal rightly told him to go hang.

    Vidal is a wordsmith by trade. He doesn’t need what he says re-phrased for him.

    Beeboids are always asking this arrogant form of question that starts:

    So what you’re trying to say Mr X, is that…….

    I’m surprised more people don’t slap ’em down more often.


  34. David Preiser (USA) says:

    Tom | 12.11.08 – 5:46 pm |

    Vidal said something in a subtle, oblique, hinting kind of way and Dimbleby insisted on restating it in a heavy, crude kind of way and then demanding Vidal endorse his clumsy paraphrase.

    Subtle, oblique, and hinting? That’s not true at all. Vidal was quite open and direct in his drunken sputtering. He said too much, got caught out, and angrily attacked Dimbleby for standing up to him.


  35. Ross says:


    With all due respect you’re regurgitating an awful lot of myth-based cliches – ALL of which have been responded to by other posters above [oil, UN, Iraq]

    I think perhaps you’re just rather antipathetic towards America and no amount of pursuasion could change your mind. That’s your prerogative!

    And I repeat thank Christ the US is the world’s policeman. I shudder to think what you might have overlooked as an alternative in repudiating this.



  36. AndrewSouthLondon says:

    Whilst at London Gatwick airport I was looking for something to read and spied a section in WH Smiths under the innocent heading “Current Affairs”. I couldn’t believe what I found – three shelves of anti-American bile. Much of it written by leftist Americans, full of self-loathing, all the crap of Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, thing like “Why the World Hates us”, 101 one Things America done wrong, Inside Guantanamo, Its all about Oil. Inside Halliburton, Corporate Greed, blah blah blah. I looked for any balance – anything a little “right” – you know PJ O’Rourke? – anything, but not a sausage. People buy this stuff, its what sells.

    Its like there is only one view, that America is BAD. Its in the water and the air, the kids grow up breathing it, no one questions it, its the normal thing everybody thinks so you think it too. Madonna and Sean Penn ridicule Bush. The kids here are so immersed in and poisoned by this tidal wave of US-self-loathing they come up with the sort of stuff our little poster ae1 has.

    We have a generation that has lost its critical faculties, believes all the standard leftist mantra.

    I say God Bless America. Sure it has faults, who doesn’t, but on the whole it’s one of the best brightest and most generous of Nations on the Earth. The industry of writers on those bookshelves should feel nothing but shame. And those bookshelves in Smiths should fall over as they all lean too far to the left.


  37. Ross says:

    “I couldn’t believe what I found – three shelves of anti-American bile.”

    Well put.

    It does occur to me that the sort of virulent anti-Americanism USED to be the preserve of a relatively small clique of self-regarding left-wing academics.

    But I don’t think the main mass of anti-Americans take a step back and look at the anti-American movement from afar; it’s become utterly mainstream: predictable, hackneyed and, most important of all, protagonised by what seems to be the least cerebrally endowed. It’s the ultimate bandwagon for the 21st century.

    For this I blame, justifiably, the drip-drip of BBC styled anti-Americanism which eventually seeps into unsuspecting minds, materialising at opportune moments when someone feels they need to be loved.


  38. jgm says:

    glj: Thanks so much for posting the link to the interview that set Bolton off. There was some interest here in Colorado, as you might imagine, but I’d given up hope that it would turn up. I posted about it heah


  39. Cockney says:

    “it’s become utterly mainstream: predictable, hackneyed”

    Well put. What I find bizarre is that kneejerk anti-Americans seem to think that they’re being in some way “daring”, “controversial”, “edgy”, whereas in actual fact they’re about as dangerous and leftfield as Celebrity Come Dancing and significantly less intellectually stimulating.

    The Grauniad recently did an article interviewing various trendy artists, playrights, directors etc on the impact of the Bush admistration on the arts. None of them were complimentary and I can well believe that Dubbya didn’t put a lot of effort into initiatives to foster avant garde culture, but none of the contributors felt the need to restrict their views to the arts and, guess what, they all had exactly the same general political views and each of them had an unbearably self satisfied smugness about their “radicalism”. And these are “intelligent free thinkers”?? Your average Premier League footballer has probably thought harder about their politics.


  40. knacker says:

    Mr Preiser
    The “special relationship” has nothing to do with the BBC coming to the US, and creating…etc
    …Not directly, but causation’s more complex than that, as you well know — and so are the opportunities for response. If today’s BBC and British gov’t are treated as what they are, namely enemies of the American people, then life gets much simpler… And everyone gets to confront reality with clarity. Nothing wrong there. Sentimental pieties are just that and no more. Hell, you never know, you might even sound less preachy and constipated than usual.


  41. David Preiser (USA) says:

    knacker | 13.11.08 – 10:53 am |

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand your banter. What on earth are you talking about?


  42. Ross says:

    that’s not “banter” DP

    i just read knackered’s post five times just to make sure it doesn’t mean anything. it’s definitely trying to say something…something about constipation…

    oh something about DP being constipated…gosh haha.

    Actually I rather enjoy david’s posts; they’re an example of how debate SHOULD be imo.

    I notice ae1 has not returned to answer the many politely couched questions. Who’s shocked?


  43. Kill the Beeb says:

    Well I read knackers posting 10 times and I still can’t make head nor tail of it.

    “sentimental piety” what the hell is that all about. Sounds like a BBC journalist to me.


  44. mnotaro says:

    I saw almost no journalist during this election stay objective…it was like their opinions were pouring out of them with their smiles and their tones and their tears of joy when Obama won…PU LEEEZ!! And why is it that the MSM are all a bunch of liberal illuminati? Why can’t they all be a bunch a right wing conservatives?


  45. Peter says:

    Sarah Palin deserves a media apology

    Now, why do I suspect this not insignificant story about the MSM’s ‘collection’ and ‘reporting’ of facts will not reach headline level in many places.

    As a matter of interest, did the BBC run with this, even if just quoting other sources they’d like to believe?

    If so, maybe they’d like to comment?


  46. knacker says:

    Mr Preiser: Sorry for that, a mix of jet lag and failing to pour a quart into a pint pot.

    The main point: if it’s right to view today’s BBC and British gov’t as enemies of the American people — IMO, it is — then treat them as such. Britain is on the brink of major social unrest and vulnerable to a degree not seen in modern times.

    From a US perspective, in our own national interest, it’s time to use blunt instruments to hasten events — lotsa choices. Chatting interminably about the BBC hasn’t accomplished anything and never will.

    Ross/Kill the Beeb: Oh dear.


  47. David Preiser (USA) says:


    So then what are you doing here?