Tom Leonard has followed up his article in the Telegraph yesterday (see post below) with an excellent article today, BBC language that Labour loves to hear, where he writes that:
Within hours of the explosions, a memo was sent to senior editors on the main BBC news programmes from Helen Boaden, head of news. While she was aware “we are dancing on the head of a pin”, the BBC was very worried about offending its World Service audience, she said.
BBC output was not to describe the killers of more than 50 in London as “terrorists” although – nonsensically – they could refer to the bombings as “terror attacks”. And while the guidelines generously concede that non-BBC should be allowed to use the “t” word, BBC online was not even content with that and excised it from its report of Tony Blair’s statement to the Commons.
Ah yes, we mustn’t offend the non-tellytaxpaying World Service audience, must we! I wonder which parts of the World Service audience might be offended by calling a terrorist a terrorist? And why should the BBC pander so desperately to the sensibilities of people who might be thus offended anyway? Surely the BBC’s job is to tell it like it is, as understood by the highest standards of British common-sense and decency, whether or not it offends those who are so backward or primitive that they regard the random murder of civilians (in London or anywhere else) as anything less than terrorism.
Whether funded through the telly-tax or the taxpayers money given to the World Service, the BBC is supposed to be the British Broadcasting Corporation – it is high time for the BBC’s voluminous news output to reflect and represent the views, values and standards of those who are forced to pay for it – the great British public – particularly since the BBC’s enormous tax-funded dominance stifles all but the most hardy of alternative news providers, thus perpetuating the BBC’s distorted White City Goldfish Bowl view of the world throughout Britain’s broadcast media (for instance, almost every broadcast journalist in the UK (with a few well-established exceptions*), whoever they work for, has to stay relatively close to the BBC line, unless they want to severely curtail their future career options). For the good of our democracy and our society it is time to break-up the BBC’s enormous monopoly of broadcast and online news in the UK.
All is not lost though – there are still some sensible, decent people speaking out within the BBC – as Tom Leonard continues:
A row has now broken out with a handful of the corporation’s most senior journalists and news executives, fighting what one described yesterday as a “disgusting and appalling” edict. He was particularly angry, he added, because most World Service listeners don’t even pay a penny for the BBC.
The same senior BBC journalist who expressed contempt for the “terrorist” ban was withering about the corporation’s current Africa season. The BBC’s interminable series of programmes highlighting poverty in Africa has been a “disgrace”, he said. “We’ve simply been advancing Gordon Brown’s agenda and in an entirely unsophisticated way.”
Do read it all for the full story. Stephen Pollard has also been asking So whose side is the BBC on? Writing in the Daily Mail, he says:
But terrorism is not a value judgement. It is recognised as a crime against humanity under international law. Professor Norman Geras defines it as “the deliberate targeting of civilians with a view to killing and maiming them and if possible in large numbers”. To describe Thursday’s bombers as terrorists is merely to observe the reality of human rights law.
This is, of course, about far more than labels. The refusal to use the word terrorist goes to the heart of the BBC’s world view, in which such murders are simply a response to the West’s provocation.
It is all our fault, according to the BBC’s ‘experts’. On Friday night, a Newsnight correspondent, Peter Marshall, informed us that “What the war on terror was supposed to prevent, it has brought about.”
Turning to the BBC’s Frank Gardner, Pollard writes:
Speaking on Radio 4 on Monday, Mr Gardner declared that Western policies in Muslim countries, and ‘harassment’ of suspected Islamists in Britain and Europe, was ‘offensive’ to Wahabis. But what Wahabis find offensive is the very existence of the West, which they are committed to destroying.
He then remarked that that it was extraordinary that they planted a bomb in Edgware Road, since this was a Muslim area. Yet not only did they not plant a bomb there (it went off in a moving train), they have as long a track record of murdering Muslims as they do of killing apostates.
Mr Gardner concluded that it was “doubly tough for Britain’s Muslims…it’s more of a blow for them than for everyone else”. Really? The relatives and friends of the victims might disagree with that.
Interestingly, it seems that Peter Marshall is unimpressed with Pollard’s analysis – as demonstrated in his thoughtful response, recounted by Stephen Pollard today:
When I pointed out that I did not distort a word of what he said, he responded thus: “You fat fuck. You fucker” and terminated the conversation.
I wonder what the BBC’s PC Thought Police would make of such ‘fattist’ language? Aren’t those who are undertall entitled to the same respect that the BBC extends to the sensitivities of those who think that suicide bomb terrorists are mere ‘militants’, ‘extremists’ or ‘insurgents’?
* e.g. Andrew Neil, Adam Boulton, Nick Robinson – but they are very much the exception among the vast army of broadcast journalists reporting for the UK.