Obviously over the last few days the great and the good at the BBC have become rather unsettled as control over the urban mob violence and looting narrative began slipping through their fingers.
Shocked by the tsunami of contempt that hit them when they tried to frame the discussion in terms of “protestors”, poverty and/or race the Beeboids and their allies in the left wing media/academic cultural elite have been desperately searching for a way of regaining control of the issue by shifting the parameters of the debate.
The initial attempt was laughably unsubtle. Making much of a bevy of leading police officers, spearheaded by ACPOs big cheese Sir Hugh Orde, the aim was to portray the Cameron government as being out of touch. “Leave it to the boys in blue” became the watchword.
Unfortunately the evidence of a lack of leadership and control from the higher echelons at the Met over the first 2/3 days of mob rule in parts of London was so overwhelming that the utterances of Orde and Co. had a very hollow ring.
But, as David at noted yesterday, a new editorial line had been adopted by the BBC suits and programmed into the robotic Sarah Montague as she fed the appropriate cues to the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, over sentences handed out to looters. Naturally he came back with the appropriate response – “a collective loss of proportion” This triggered Sarah’s circuitry and produced the key phrase we shall be hearing over and over again at this weekend’s North London dinner parties.
It’s all out of proportion, you see. There’s no real threat but a lot of opportunists have jumped on this bandwagon to further their own political agenda.
Moral panics allegedly arise when an event is perceived as a threat to society and its values. Those who foment the panic are said to be motivated by a fear of losing control. They therefore attempt to channel potentially disruptive energy by portraying another person or group – “folk devils” – as more of a danger than they actually are. So the Sarah Montague/BBC line appears to be that Cameron is using the riots as an opportunity to demonise the disenfranchised and divert attention from his austerity drive and, strangely enough, that was the angle recently taken by The New York Times…..surprise, surprise….
Heavy stuff, indeed…
But wait a minute – “no real threat but a bandwagon to further an agenda”……”folk devils”…..that seems to ring a bell….
Rupert Murdoch, Anders Breivik, bankers, EDL, AGW deniers, Israelis – now there is a collection of folk devils for you, always presented as the symbols of dark forces ever ready to take us back to some Thatcherite nightmare away from sweetness and light.
Moral panics? At the BBC it’s what we do…..