This is perhaps a classic example of why the BBC should not be a ‘campaigning’ organisation, one that takes sides or a particular narrow view of any concern….the inevitable unintended results that follow a lot of ‘do-goodery’ are often more harmful than those that would have resulted from taking a wider, more nuanced, perspective and not resulting a one size fits all solution.
In 1984 the BBC broadcast reports from Ethiopia asking what is the attitude of the rest of the world to the situation…in 2009 they still seemed pretty pleased with the results:
‘Twenty-five years ago Michael Buerk’s harrowing and moving reports for BBC News on the famine in Ethiopia sparked an international reaction which led to millions of pounds being raised for aid to be sent to the region.’
Africans however have a different take on things saying that their continent has been stereotyped as lawless and violent…a hopeless basket case.
They say: ‘That’s not me, that’s not my Africa’
They have made a video to highlight their concerns about the image of Africa being portrayed on our screens by the likes of the BBC:
Africa For Norway charity single
The BBC has, without any recognition of its part in this stereotyping reported on the video and the thinking behind it:
BBC take on the video.
Even the Charities have admitted the previous approach was wrong, concentrating too much on the negative in a relentless manner that made people switch off as they believed Africa was a ‘hopeless case’…ironically again reported by the BBC….
Africa image harming aid effort, says charity Oxfam
A negative image of Africa in the UK is harming efforts to raise food aid in the continent, charity Oxfam has said.
It found that three out of four people had become desensitised to images showing hunger, drought and disease.
Respondents to the survey said over-exposure to negative media and advertising portrayals of Africa and developing countries in other parts of the world was “depressing, manipulative and hopeless”.
“If we want people to help fight hunger we have to give them grounds for hope by showing the potential of countries across Africa – it’s a natural instinct to turn away from suffering when you feel you can do nothing to alleviate it.”
And when speaking to the BBC, Dame Stocking said a negative image of Africa was “not the truth” about that continent.
Such events have to be reported and the results of famine dealt with but if a wider view of circumstances was taken perhaps a much more longer lasting and effective solution could be found.
Michael Buerk reported that nature may have started the famine but that it was man, in the shape of armed militias, that was compounding it.
Perhaps a better use of aid money might be to deal with the militias and provide protection for the population allowing them to farm and produce a living, drought permitting….that different view could have been taken if more had been made of the militia’s dangerous heightening of the impact of famine on some of the people of Ethiopia.
How does such focussed reporting impact now?
A good example would be climate change where the BBC has taken sides…promoting one view of the causes, subsequent effects and desired solutions to the exclusion of all others….solutions that may be costing lives.
This means we don’t get the full picture, we are not ‘allowed’ to dissent from the consensus and the result is that government is able to plough ahead introducing disastrous and enormouosly expensive, and it turns out deadly, policies without any effective opposition.
There were excited claims in 2003 that climate change was killing thousands of people and in 2001 the BBC was reporting that the ‘experts’ say:
‘Climate changes could cause thousands of deaths every year – but reduce the number of cold-weather deaths….warmer conditions could cut the number of elderly people who die during the winter months by around 20,000 each year.’
The BBC does report that ‘the UK could see health benefits from climate change‘ but doesn’t expand on that, but does give room for an environmental pressure group to make dire predictions:
‘Frances MacGuire, climate policy officer at the pressure group Friends of the Earth, said: “This report shows thousands of British people will die early from skin cancer, in heatwaves and during extreme weather events caused by man-made climate change.’
How times change as winters get more severe not less and the government green taxes, introduced to tackle the ‘warm winters’, push up fuel bills to unaffordable levels and costs the NHS over £1 billion:
‘Illnesses related to living in a cold home cost the NHS £1.36bn every year, a report by Age UK suggests. Age UK says thousands of older people are dying prematurely due to the health effects of living in the cold.
Each year in England and Wales there are about 27,000 extra deaths each winter, mostly among older people.
Age UK is urging the government and local authorities to help improve energy-saving measures in homes in a bid to reduce winter deaths.
The majority of the elderly who die in winter die from strokes, heart diseases and lung problems, worsened by the cold.’
‘More than 4000 people in the Midlands died last winter because of the cold weather, and more than a million families in the region were living in fuel poverty….That’s according to the charity National Energy Action.
The BBC has persistently taken one group of ‘experts’ side on climate and the results have been catastrophic.
Can the BBC be partly to blame for the ‘vulnerable’ dying in their homes as they turn off the ever more expensive heating?
A good question. Had the climate change sceptics been allowed a voice, had the BBC not decided that the science was settled, had the solutions not then been directed at what might not be the real problem….. perhaps government green policy may have been more targeted at the real problems and outcomes …and direct resources to dealing with those rather than waste enormous sums by ’tilting at wind turbines’ enriching already rich land owners and energy companies at the expense of the poorest who now choose…as the BBC tells us when it suits them (ie when attacking government cuts in welfare)…whether to use their meagre resources on ‘heating or eating’.
Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph gives an excellent perspective on climate and the cold and the fatal results of a misguided interpretation of science and the resulting policies.