"so laughably inaccurate that I thought I must be hearing things"

Now, to be fair, it may be that Jeremy Paxman’s researchers are totally ignorant of British history – in other words, have been educated by leftist teachers. Because, after all, the tale of the Sudan spun by him last night sounds like the Guardian version of history. But as that CP Scott was always saying, facts are sacred.

Apparently his series “Empire” is a flagship programme. Pity the flagship is the Belgrano.

“Paxman’s version of the story of General Gordon in Khartoum was so laughably inaccurate that I thought I must be hearing things. I had to watch again on BBC iPlayer to check that my ears hadn’t been playing tricks. In a few minutes of television, Paxman managed to misunderstand every stage of the tale.”

Let David Blair at the Telegraph tell the whole sorry tale.

Paxo went IIRC to Malvern – where history obviously wasn’t taught that well. He should have gone to a decent state grammar like Bromsgrove County High School – Miss Scatchard would have put him right.

I can’t resist appending this family memory of General Gordon, taken from Hilary Hook’s memoir Home From The Hill. This chap, sitting under a tree in the 1950s, knew that the Turks ruled Sudan in 1885 – which is more than the makers of ‘Empire’ do.

“The chief brought us native beer in dirty calabashes, we gave him a mug of rum and sat under a council tree outside the village. The talk ranged through the usual topics, rain, cattle, raids, crops and recruits for the buluk…

‘You must be a great age,’ said Denis jokingly and then added, ‘perhaps you knew Gordon Pasha?‘ The chief considered this for a moment and then said gravely. ‘No, but my father often spoke of him, he worked under “Gordoon” Pasha when he was Governor here in the south. “Gordoon” Pasha was a God, he destroyed the slave traders. My father said that “Gordoon” Pasha’s eyes were like spears – no man dared tell him a lie. He was here many years, then he left us and the slavers came again but worse than before. They slew the great “Gordoon” Pasha in Khartoum and the Turks were driven from the Sudan.

Then terrible years came – we lived in fear. One day from over those hills …”

This Just In From The BBC

In a series of incidents last night, a drawing room was severely damaged.

Our reporter at the scene :

“Well, I can tell you this morning that this drawing room has been almost totally destroyed. The china cabinet has been destroyed and its contents smashed, all the furniture looks as if it’s been sat on by something heavy – even the doors are smashed off their hinges. Witnesses have spoken of scenes of mindless violence. It almost looks as if some large animal had been in here wrecking everything …” (noises of trumpeting and cries of ‘it’s coming!’) … “I’m afraid I have to go now because the situation looks dangerous.”


It seems to be the word here at the moment, but it most certainly applies to this “profile” of the new Head of M16 Sir John Sawyers. So boring, from the Pierce Brosnan comparison through the description of him as “astute”, “effective”, “effusive”- sorry that last one describes the tenor of the article rather than the man- it is simply nothing more than p.r. Embarrassing stuff from Laura Trevelyan.

On a related note, the BBC’s chief Sir Michael Lyons is fighting against the proposal to share BBC funding. I think this proposal at this stage is just a ruse to put off the evil day when the BBC has to manage with less or none of the Licence money. The Labour party and the BBC are never really off the same song sheet. This story is reported by the Times, which has its own agenda against BBC exceptionalism, but hypocritically also against the free internet, as is shown by its vicious campaign against the blogger NightJack, among other things.

Campaign journalism

When the BBC claim impartiality, it follows that they claim to be a timeless, apolitical entity reflective of truth. I couldn’t help thinking about that when I looked at the BBC website this morning and saw the lead stories on the World and UK webpages. On the former, France and Italy were being taken to task for falling off the Bono Africa charity bandwagon. On the latter, a young woman accused of child indecency was being paraded before the public eye.

It seems to me this is activist journalism and trial by media. I don’t know why a person simply accused of a crime is pictured, named, aged and specified in this way by our national broadcaster. I do not think it would have happened in the past. As for Bono’s media bonanza, the BBC loves to talk about aid but it is less keen to scrutinize trade, especially of agricultural produce. Protectionism is rife in Europe, and not absent in the US. “Naming and shaming” “guilty” aid reneging countries is in my view just a circus of smug sentiment. How about scrutinising the manifest inefficiencies and incapabilities of our bureaucratic EU in spreading and growing wealth?

The Global Sexism Scam

Aunty Big brother is concerned that you should be concerned about global sexual equality in this time of World Economic Crisis which the dear leader Brown is not responsible for and grappling with . The fact that the concept would barely be understood by half the world is unimportant (they haven’t even noticed the WEC poor dears!). You and your emotional condition are the targets. Let’s only talk “global female unemployment”. Yes, that would be meaningful. To make the report especially meaningful, let’s leave this little detail to the end:

“The ILO is predicting a global rise in unemployment this year of up to 51 million people – 22 million, it believes, will be women.”

You may think this undercuts the report- oh no, you’d be wrong. It’s all about “raising awareness”, after all.

BBC Climate Blog

The extent of the BBC’s faith in the global warming mantra was in evidence today as they worked up an articleto claim that- contrary to all the actual trendlines of temperatures in existence- we are facing a greater threat from climate change than so far believed.

It really feels like a flame-war between blogs- the more the BBC find their tendentious theory challenged by reality and by the people who inconvenientlly notice it, the more they ramp-up the rhetoric.

Well, this is perhaps not totally fair to them- but earlier this week there was a report released by the Met Office and covered by the Guardianwhich criticised global warming exaggeration. I didn’t hear anything about it on the BBC, and couldn’t find reference to it on the BBC website- showing perhaps that the BBC are not afraid to diverge from their climate mentors when a sacred cow is threatened. Yet when one scientist squeals that global warming is underestimated, it adorns the Sunday morning frontpage of the BBC website.

As the excellent Wattsupwiththat? website says, the BBC misreported the issue raised and misrepresented the qualifications of the scientist featured. Ignorance and bias going hand in hand, unsurprisingly.

Campaign or Sham Pain

We get plenty of campaigning on the BBC. As opposed to journalism, as Bryan has pointed out. Interviewers on BBC World service sometimes employ questioning techniques that stray far from ‘drawing out’ the interviewee, and seamlessly slide into clumsy hectoring.

On Wednesday’s Outlook, we heard from the notoriousLynndie England of Abu Ghraib fame. The interview was marred by Lucy Ash’s attitude which openly oozed with contempt.

We may have views on the Lynndie England affair, and are capable of listening to her answers for ourselves. We don’t need to hear Lucy Ash’s personal view, or to hear accusations that Lynndie England did not even feel sorry for the prisoners. This crude method of questioning is counterproductive anyway. When Ms. England refused to answer the question, all I thought was ‘Good for you!’ – not quite what Lucy Ash wanted me to think, I imagine.

Another similarly unprofessional display of open hostility was shown by the host of WHYS, Rebecca Kesby whose handling of the hour long phone-in with guest ex terrorist apostate Waleed Shoebat appeared to favour the callers defending Islam. She displayed her obvious disapproval of Mr. Shoebat, who I thought spoke throughout with the voice of reason.

A couple of callers with impenetrable accents phoned in, speaking unintelligibly at length. Far too PC to admit she couldn’t make head or tail of what they were saying, she pretended the line was bad. Funny, though.

Approaching Mark Regev with questions such as “Aren’t you sorry?”…… “ Do you ever stop to think, just for one moment?……” “Are you proud of yourself?” “Don’t you feel sorry?” as both Gavin Esler and Sarah Montague did recently, is unprofessional and a complete departure from good journalism.

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