There was a superb moment on US network MSNBC’s news/entertainment programme, The Rachel Maddow Show, this week, where Maddow delivered a polemic disabusing the conspiratorial position of Republicans and Republican commentators. It went like this:
The point she captures is so simple, and so obvious upon hearing – that so long as one half of political representation is obsessed with conspiracies, lies and misdirection, it entirely fails to serve the reality of the country it purports to represent. And this notion reflects directly onto how so many scandals are covered in the UK press, and by the government.
The BBC is not in crisis. That Newsnight failed to broadcast an investigation into Jimmy Savile is very problematic. Revealing the systematic failure to protect the vulnerable in hospitals, care homes, and indeed BBC premises, seems an important story that merits coverage. While Savile is dead, and thus his exposure was not going to protect anyone else from him, the systems he was able to exploit remain in place until highlighted. That there are now multiple enquiries taking place into how such abuse was possible is, I think, proof enough that the report at the very least merited further investigation, and not being spiked. And if there were internal cover-ups at the BBC, then it’s important this be exposed and dealt with.
That Newsnight then broadcast an interview with an individual claiming a senior Conservative politician had sexually abused him, without identifying the former politician, is not the BBC in crisis either. It’s a mistake. In light of the Savile story, Newsnight was in an odd position. They’re being loudly castigated for failing to report the actions of a dead child abuser, and now have testimonial about a live one. They had to be considering the reaction had they not reported this one as well. However, it’s pretty bewildering that with the situation being what it was, the reporter didn’t think to load a picture of the former MP in question on their phone and show it to the interviewee. I hope, as a result of all this, Newsnight will ensure reporters do some pretty basic checks in future. But the BBC is not in crisis. Newsnight’s in a mess, and some of it may be to do with any number of the layers of management on which the bloated corporation spends far too much of its money. But the BBC remains the most extraordinary broadcaster in the world.
And I was nearly on my way to bed before 1am before I saw this link. Yesterday, the BBC reporter Ben Brown took on his toughest target yet, the man with cerebral palsy dragged from his wheelchair by police during the student protests last Thursday. And although that sounds like sarcasm, it turns out to be true. While it doesn’t take a great deal of effort to make a man like Brown look like an idiot, Jody McIntyre does it with grace and intelligence completely undeserved by the moronic anchor.
Here’s the full interview, which unfortunately contains quite a few skips:
So in the footage we see a man sitting in his wheelchair, barely moving, being attacked by four police officers. Two in full riot gear, because you can never be too careful with those CP types. One drags him across the road by his arms, dropping him on the tarmac. This is the second time that evening that McIntyre has been dragged from his wheelchair, the first time also hit with a truncheon. But this was the time it was filmed.
Perhaps I’m mad from keyboard fumes, but this strikes me as a story about police brutality. But that’s not how crack journalist Ben Brown saw it. This was his chance to get a confession out of one of the most dangerous rioters of them all.
BBC News is on fire today!
First of all, a story about pi being calculated to 2.7 trillion digits is accompanied by this caption:
“Pi is an irrational number, meaning its digits go on forever.”
Um, not quite. I think you’ll find an irrational number is one that starts crying because the wallpaper’s the wrong colour, or something.
And then follow the headline, “Archbishop urges population cap” and you get this story about a group of MPs arguing for, I guess, culling, that at no point mentions the Archbishop. It’s a bold headline choice, suggesting the Archbishop wants to shut down our borders to all those Johnny foreigners. He might want to ask them about that, since it’s now their 7th most read story.
Presumably they’re getting a bit confused with a story from last October when the former moron Archbishop George Carey declared his delightful views on immigration. He explained that the reason the BNP were gaining popularity was because of our “open door policy” to immigrants. Never mind that the BNP’s popularity has waned in the last few years (I mean, why let that trouble your ghastly views?), but to suggest that the BNP might be becoming more popular because there’s too many foreigners coming into the country… Um, maybe someone can see the irony here? “If the mainstream parties begin listening to the voters,” he said, “the BNP can be consigned again to the fringes.” That’s right George. If the mainstream parties adopt the policies of the BNP, then we’ll not need the BNP at all!
UPDATE: They’ve now updated the linking headline to read, “Carey in immigrant ‘values’ call”. But haven’t thought to update the article to mention Carey at all. Is everyone at the BBC drunk today?
Question Time this evening will be receiving a slight boost in ratings. With the appearance of the leader of the openly racist British National Party, Nick Griffin, it’s clearly going to be the largest audience the political debate programme will have seen in a long time. What’s not known at this point is what the consequences will be.
Many are arguing that giving the BNP a voice on a respected BBC programme legitimises them, and will increase their popularity. Others counter this by saying his views will be exposed and people will become more aware of the party’s racist and fascist nature. Each likes to accuse the other of patronising the population. But the point where everyone gets caught up is in the figure of 900,000 people who democratically voted for them.
One side likes to argue that these 900,000 people are confused about who the BNP really are, and would not vote for them if they really knew their bigoted values and opinions. Another side likes to argue these 900,000 people want a party who’s willing to stand up for Britain against Europe, or bring in real change, and they’re resorting to the BNP in desperation. What almost no one seems to suggest is the possibility that there are 900,000 hateful racist bigots who voted for a hateful racist party.