Catching up on my reading, I see that Mr. Not A Sheep

has had a much needed one-two (two links) at Abd al-Bari Atwan, Editor in Chief (no less!) of Al Quds Al-Arabi (it’s all Greek to me, but it means ‘Arab Jerusalem’, nice and subtle) – “Barry” Atwan to his friends at BBC News (and Sky News too).

It seems those dastardly truth telling jews at Memri have had the cheek to translate some of “Barry’s” Arabic pronouncements into English – pronouncements just a tad different from the emollient and moderate “Barry” that the BBC so oft shows us:

“If Iranian missiles hit Israel, I will dance in Trafalgar Square”,

Abd al-Bari Atwan, ANB TV, June 27th, 2007.

Presumably our “Bazza” hasn’t considered the possibility of Maddog Ahmonajihad spoiling his little jig with a missile strike on Trafalgar Square.

Now you see it, now you don’t

– covering Malaysia’s 50th anniversary BBC Views Online style. Good old News Sniffer!

Updates: There are now four versions – see the list on the left at News Sniffer.

Martin comments that it’s worth reading the related Have Your Say thread, sorted by reader recommendations, to get a real (rather than a Beeboid) insight into the reality of life in Malaysia.

Laban has written about this at greater length on his blog.

Thank you to Mike_s for the tip.

Peter Horrocks, Head of TV News at the BBC

, following his recent outspokenness against the BBC’s work on a planned day of Planet Relief propagandagrammes (see below), writes on the BBC Editors Blog that the BBC has No line on climate change:

BBC News certainly does not have a line on climate change, however the weight of our coverage reflects the fact that there is an increasingly strong (although not overwhelming) weight of scientific opinion in favour of the proposition that climate change is happening and is being largely caused by man.

Well Peter, that’s a big ‘and’ that you’ve slipped in at the end there, and is, I’d venture, one of the central points of contention in the climate change debate – i.e. the extent to which climate change is caused by man vs. other influences on the earth’s atmosphere – an area that, so far, the BBC doesn’t seem terribly keen to explore thoroughly.

Further to this, supposing that we accept that climate change is largely caused by human activity, the other significant area of debate that the BBC as a whole doesn’t explore adequately is the question of what to do about it.

The BBC ‘line’, if you’ll indulge me with such a notion, seems to be all about reducing carbon output (unilaterally) in the UK and the developed world, primarily through curtailing flying and private car use, whilst ignoring what’s happening elsewhere on the planet (for example, the 500 new fossil fuel power stations planned and under construction in China).

Moreover, the BBC ‘line’ seems, at best, to ignore reliable carbon-free nuclear power generation (though expensive, unsightly, unreliable windmills and suchlike get a big BBC thumbs up) and other technological solutions, such as hydrogen powered vehicles and carbon-sequestration techniques.

BBC news programmes and our website of course reflect alternative views but we do not balance these views mathematically as that is not our judgement about where the argument has now reached.

It is highly debatable just how well BBC news programmes and BBC Views Online do reflect alternative views. Alternative views, to use your term, get the occasional passing reference on minority interest programmes such as Newsnight or a brief mention on News 24 from occasional guests such as Nigel Calder, but in the main, these views might as well not exist at the BBC for the minimal airtime they receive.

BBC Views Online in particular rushes to report man-made climate change news prominently, whilst slowly, ever so minimally, if at all, reporting news to the contrary, hence we have people such as Dr. David Whitehouse, a former BBC science correspondent (and believer in man-made climate change), warning: “look on the BBC and Al Gore with scepticism. A scientist’s first allegiance should not be to computer models or political spin but to the data: that shows the science is not settled”.

For many years the BBC has treated EU-sceptics (euro-sceptics as you term them) as if they were deranged flat-earthers braying at the moon (rather than a large portion of the UK population). Those with alternative views on the twin issues of 1) the causes of climate change; and 2) what to do about climate change, seem to be even less well regarded at the BBC.

That is definitely not the same as us propagating a view ourselves about climate change.

Uh-huh. I think we could argue about that too.

It’s not our job to do that.

Indeed. And that’s why this site is here, free-of-charge, unlike the BBC.

In the Edinburgh session the possibility of the BBC doing a “consciousness-raising” event about the subject, possibly called Planet Relief, was raised.

There has been no decision yet about whether there might be such an event, nor what its editorial purpose might be. However it is clear that all BBC programming about climate change – whether about the science itself or the potential policy response by governments – needs to meet the BBC’s standards of impartiality.

Sounds like a spot of back-pedalling Peter. According to The Grauniad there’s been eighteen months worth of development work already. Have they got you on the rack now that they’ve you back from the freedom of Edinburgh?

I was pleased that you and Peter Barron both spoke out against this latest nonsense that the BBC has been quietly planning to inflict on our unwitting nation, but I cannot help but feel that your concern has more to do with protecting the BBC from itself than from genuinely seeking to return the BBC to a state of impartiality on the causes of climate change and the steps we should take in response.

In closing, let’s have the last word on the BBC ‘line’ on man-made climate change straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak:

“People who know a lot more than I do may be right when they claim that [global warming] is the consequence of our own behaviour. I assume that this is why the BBC’s coverage of the issue abandoned the pretence of impartiality long ago”,

Jeremy Paxman, Media Guardian, Jan 31st, 2007.

Update, 6pm: Come on Peter, I submitted my own very reasonable comment on your BBC blog post around 12.15pm (you know, the one with the Paxman quote and a link back to the discussion here), and yet it seems to have been skipped over for some reason in favour of apparently later comments. What gives? Have I caused offense? Please feel free to comment here on my blog post if you prefer. Thank you.

Update, midnight: I’ve just checked again and, as if by magic, my comment has appeared in the right place, bumping the previous no. 57 up to no. 58. Thank you Peter. Much obliged.

“Just How Bad They Are …”

Who says the BBC is full of moral relativists ?

Outrageous Wasters sees a crack team of eco experts on a mission to transform Britain’s most wasteful households … Joanna, Dan and Andy descend on a household of wasters to assess just how bad they are based on what they see in the house, by ‘interrogating’ them and from the evidence of a waste diary that the family has compiled. The family then spends up to five days living at ‘the house of correction’ – a purpose built eco-camp of large traditional Mongolian yurts (tents) – where they live without creature comforts and have Joanna and Dan teaching how them to waste as little as possible and how to live off the land. Meanwhile, Andy oversees an eco-makeover at the family’s home – designed to challenge their behaviour and inspire them to change their ways …”

“Just how bad they are”, “house of correction”, “to what extent our outrageous wasters have reformed their lives” – that kind of evangelical, Victorian moral certainty has pretty much disappeared from BBC Religious Affairs, but no matter. We have a radical new priesthood, too – represented here by “anti-waste enforcer Dan Carraro“.

(via Tim Blair)

Daily Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn has joined in

the widespread criticism of Wednesday’s Snooznight Special interview of David Cameron (see posts below), asserting that If BBC reporter Stephanie Flanders speaks for Britain, I’m a gnu – flaying Stephanie Flanders for her patronising response to the idea of a marriage tax-break. Here are a couple of excerpts:

“Have you ever met anybody who gets married for £20 a week?” she sneered. “If I decided to go home and get married, you’d give me £20 a week just for getting married.

“I’m not sure I’d need it. Why is that a good use of scarce public resources?”

(Have you noticed how “public resources” are always “scarce” on the BBC?)

Her petulant outburst tells you an awful lot about the “liberal” mindset.

It’s not about you, pet. I don’t suppose she does need an extra £20 a week (though her cleaning lady probably wouldn’t turn her nose up at it). Not on a six-figure salary from the BBC and a partner who presumably pulls in a few bob, too. But she chose deliberately to miss the point.

And, for good measure:

I can only assume that while she was studying at Harvard, she didn’t stumble across the work of the eminent economist Arthur Laffer, who asserts that people will always be poor if you pay them to be poor.

Miss Flanders is symptomatic of the whole BBC/Guardianista/New Labour mindset – patronising, statist, nanny knows best.

She exemplifies the way the self-appointed “liberal” elite have imposed their own values and prejudices on society – and to hell with the consequences.

And still they don’t get it. What’s good for Stephanie Flanders is not necessarily good for Vicky Pollard or for society as a whole.

Do read the rest!

Open thread – for comments of general Biased BBC interest:

Please use this thread for BBC-related comments and analysis. Please keep comments on other threads to the topic at hand. N.B. this is not (and never has been) an invitation for general off-topic comments, rants or use as a chat forum. This post will remain at or near the top of the blog. Please scroll down to find new topic-specific posts.

In my earlier post about last night’s Snooznight Special

I noted that BBC Views Online’s instant reaction to Cameron’s 45 minute Newsnight interview was to big up on the Immigration ‘too high’ – Cameron line (a truly shocking notion to the Guardianistas at White City).

Now, courtesy of Iain Dale, we have a first-hand account of BBC Radio 4′s Toady programme shopping around their Conservative (sorry Beeboids, Tory, facking Tories!) contacts list looking for someone to agree with their already chosen line, that by agreeing that immigration is “too high”, Cameron was Indicating to the Right? Return to a Core Vote Strategy? Er, No….

Manipulating the agenda to fit our view of the news: The BBC – it’s what we do.

Last night’s Newsnight Special with David Cameron

being interviewed four-to-one by Gavin Esler, Michael Crick, Stephanie Flanders and, who was the fourth one? Oh yes, Mark Urban, was an underwhelming experience all round.

Gavin Esler was typically tedious as he repeatedly tried to put the word ‘swamping’ into Cameron’s mouth when discussing the record high levels of immigration, legal and illegal, into the UK over the last ten years.

Stephanie Flanders was as seductively haughty and posh as usual, but Stephanie we’re really not interested in your domestic arrangements (or the contents of your drawers) – you might be an unmarried mother, but, leaving aside the rest of your domestic arrangements, which you omitted to mention, I doubt that on your tellytax-funded wedge you’d qualify as a typical family, the sort of family that would benefit noticeably from a) marriage; b) a £20-a-week tax break. Give us a break.

As for Michael Crick, sorry Michael, but you really ought to have stuck at doing the mocking coverage of by-elections and other political gaiety of the nation stories that you were pretty good at. You don’t seem to have found your feet as Political Editor (at least not yet, and it’s been a while now, hasn’t it?).

Who was the fourth guy again?

It’d be better to run these sorts of leader interviews, perhaps annually, using the Question Time format – real questions from real people (at least if they didn’t rig the audience that is), complete with questions being put to an empty chair if Gordon Brown refuses to grant the public an audience (as seems to be his wont).

I wonder if we’re yet to be treated to a ‘me too’ style Newsnight Cocoa with Ming Special, even if it is a bit late for the old boy to be up? That’ll be even more of a Snooznight Special than this one, especially since we no longer have Martha Kearney, who at least had the measure of the LibDims.

A couple of final thoughts: Since this was a Newsnight Special, why was it broadcast yesterday afternoon on News Twenty Bore in advance of Newsnight? And weren’t the cubs at BBC Views Online a hoot with their coverage of the Cameron interview headlined with Immigration ‘too high’ – Cameron! What a shocking notion!

You can watch the programme here or read more on the BBC’s Talk about Snooznight page.

Update: For an alternative (and somewhat harsher and possibly not-so-safe-for-work) review of the Snooznight Special you should see what Mr. Devil’s cooked up in Devil’s Kitchen. Messrs. Dale and Fawkes also have views on this too (is that how you spell messers? :-)

These men should be dead

writes Richard over at EU Referendum (complete with shiny new redesign) in his ongoing and very valuable work to ensure our boys and girls are properly kitted out on the frontline, in spite of government and MoD incompetence and widespread media ignorance. Richard writes:

Anyone listening to the intolerably smug Eddie Mair on the [BBC Radio 4] PM programme yesterday, when he interviewed the forces minister Bob Ainsworth, may have recognised a common BBC technique.

Ostensibly, the interview was about the unfortunate Ben Parkinson. He had suffered terrible injuries when the WIMIK Land Rover in which he had been riding had been hit by a mine, and had since been awarded what was described as “paltry damages”.

But, from the way Mair conducted his line of questioning of the minister, it was easy to discern that he wanted one thing – a personal admission from the minister that he thought the level of compensation awarded was “inadequate” – the game here to capture a damaging sound bite that could then be used on subsequent news bulletins, and perhaps be picked up by the print media.

So obsessed with his little game was Mair that he failed to pick up an outrageous assertion made by Ainsworth. The minister had it that the reason soldiers like Ben Parkinson were surviving was “better armoured vehicles”, which allowed them to survive when, previously, they would have been killed.

Yet, as even the Daily Mail story made clear, Parkinson was riding in an “unprotected Land Rover”. Ainsworth’s point, which has some general validity, was wholly untrue in this incident. Had the soldier been riding in a properly protected vehicle, he would have been uninjured, and would still be serving in the Army.

Which is typical of the sort of uninformed or wilful fabrications that Ministers get away with time and again when faced with an ignorant journalist too busy trying to make his or her own particular point rather than trying to uncover the truth or properly inform his or her audience.

Richard goes on to say that he tried to post a comment on the PM programme’s own blog page for comments on this item, Ben Parkinson, his parents and the minister:

we already had good evidence of the life-saving role of these vehicles. Thus armed, I placed a post on the PM blog. It says everything about the BBC that, with now 47 comments posted on the blog, the comment that went against the narrative and pointed out that Mair had failed to task the minister with an obvious untruth, did not get published. Thou shalt not criticise the BBC.

Therein lies the true dereliction of the BBC. Mair had an opportunity to point out that life-saving technology was available and was not used, but squandered it in his attempt to score a cheap point against the minister. Then his dire organisation covers up for him and hides criticism from the public gaze.

Another typical BBC technique – one that we at Biased BBC are happy to help expose, since the BBC seems happy to censor mention of Eddie Mair’s evident ignorance of the facts from their own blog. There’s a lot more in Richard’s post that is worth reading too.

Anger over ‘blasphemous’ balls

bleated BBC Views Online a couple of days ago:

A demonstration has been held in south-east Afghanistan accusing US troops of insulting Islam after they distributed footballs bearing the name of Allah.

The balls showed the Saudi Arabian flag which features the Koranic declaration of faith.

The US military said the idea had been to give something for Afghan children to enjoy and they did not realise it would cause offence.

The footballs were dropped from a helicopter in Khost province.

Except that reading further afield than BBC Views Online (e.g. here or here), we find that it may have been as little as one ball out of an unspecified number, and that the well meaning Americans had apparently bought the balls, made in China, from a market in Kabul, where presumably people hadn’t been quite so ready to take offense at seeing a trader selling the balls that the Americans bought… all of which seems to have escaped the BBC’s inquisitive gaze.

Anna Ford attacks ‘ageist BBC’

reports the Daily Telegraph:

Miss Ford echoed Jeremy Paxman’s withering attack on the fall in standards on British television, saying it was vital that the BBC differentiates itself from other channels by making “extremely high-class programmes”.

“I do think that complaints about dumbing down are justified,” she said. “I must sound very old-fashioned when I use the word vulgarity, but we are constantly seeing people on screen who are of low intelligence and low education and whose views on everything seem to be made important.”

She also took a swipe at the BBC’s cost-cutting initiatives, which she said were having a disastrous impact on the quality of news programmes.

Credit to Jon Sopel on BBC News Twenty Four just now

(2.30pm) for his persistence in an interview with Steve Gough, National Vice Chair of the Prison Officers Association trade union.

At lunchtime the government sought (oh the irony!) and was granted an injunction agsint the POA, compelling the the union to call off today’s lightning strike or be in contempt of court. A little after 2pm, live on TV, a POA official in Liverpool, Steve Baines, told his members that he’d just spoken with Steve Gough:

“And he expressed his view to us, ‘Tell them to shove it up their a***, we’re staying out’”

- which, if true, places Gough and the POA clearly in contempt of the High Court – not something that anyone sensible would undertake lightly. Sopel tied Gough up in knots as he wriggled and jiggled to avoid either confirming the above quote or admitting that the union, whatever the legitimacy of their case, must order its member to return to work under the terms of the injunction.

It was a pleasant change from the normal uninformed lightweight question and answer sessions that pass for TV interviews these days. I hope that the government’s failure to avoid even being interviewed about these issues (and larger issues with the Prison Service) is highlighted just as robustly, and I hope, for the sake of the members of the POA, that their case is being handled by people more gifted than Mr. Gough.

“We’ve received a number of calls and messages …”

“We’ve received a number of calls and messages …”

… complaining about the liberal, Guardian nature of this debate”.

Radio Four’s You and Yours discusses inequalities of wealth – with Polly Toynbee, Camila Batmanghelidjh and I think some chap from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The consensus ? More government spending.

Several newspapers reported yesterday on the BBC’s work

on a day long series of programmes under the working title of Planet Relief, a ghastly sounding load of right-on eco-fascist claptrap propaganda, presented by well known and respected scientific investigators Ricky Gervais and Jonathan ‘a bargain at £18 million’ Woss (“is ‘e ‘avin a laff?”, as Gervais might ask). The Guardian’s piece sums it up best:

Two of the BBC’s most senior news and current affairs executives attacked the corporation’s plans yesterday for a Comic Relief-style day of programming on environmental issues, saying it was not the broadcaster’s job to preach to viewers.

The event, understood to have been 18 months in development, would see stars such as Ricky Gervais and Jonathan Ross take part in a “consciousness raising” event, provisionally titled Planet Relief, early next year.

But, speaking at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival yesterday, Newsnight’s editor, Peter Barron, and the BBC’s head of television news, Peter Horrocks, attacked the plan, which also seems to contradict the corporation’s guidelines. Asked whether the BBC should campaign on issues such as climate change, Mr Horrocks said: “I absolutely don’t think we should do that because it’s not impartial. It’s not our job to lead people and proselytise about it.” Mr Barron said: “It is absolutely not the BBC’s job to save the planet. I think there are a lot of people who think that, but it must be stopped.”

The rest of the Guardian’s piece is worth reading too. The interesting things about this from a Biased BBC point of view are:

a) that they have been working (and presumably spending tellytax cash) on this for 18 months – even though it sounds like such a partial mad-cap non-starter (or are they really so arrogant as to think they could get away with it?);

b) that the likes of Peter Horrocks and Peter Barron feel the need to speak out in public about it to, presumably, stop the BBC from inflicting yet another huge own goal in terms of their claims to be impartial and unbiased.

P.S. Apologies for my lack of posts since Saturday. I’ve been laid low by a nasty little viral infection, but am beginning to feel a bit better.