Words Insufficient

. After this feel-good article by Jonny Dymond comes this cluster of incidents. What to say?

In the first place I was very sceptical about Dymond’s report. It was ‘too good to be true’ journalism of the sort the BBC tells us it always tries to avoid. Its intent was just to act as a more palatable variant of the theme that ‘The British in Basra are better at hearts and minds blah blah’. When the Beeb responds to the inevitable complaints at their output of gloomy, opinionated ‘realism’, their journalism, then scarcely honourable, is sickly-sweet and insincere. Then Dymond plays fall-guy for us as his analysis is seen to be terribly shallow- a victim trapped under the rubble of editorial policy.

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7 Responses to Words Insufficient

  1. john b says:

    “Damned do if don’t you you” – rearrange these words into a relevant sentence.

    It seems more than a little churlish to condemn the BBC for writing a pro-occupation, pro-American article with analysis that, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, wasn’t quite right – especially since at the time of writing, everyone (US Army included) believed Mosul was more peaceful than Baghdad.

    Maybe it’d be fairer to stick to condemning the BBC for, well, bias?


  2. ed thomas says:

    Thanks for your customary dismissal john b. It never fails to amaze me how you contrive to miss the point. The point here is that if the BBC weren’t so biased in general reports on the Iraq situation, they wouldn’t need token good news stories to claim that they are balanced. In that case, they would not make such mistakes.

    The phrase you asked me to rearrange was on the tip of my tongue the whole time- I wrote with it in mind. I know, and admitted in the post itself (reading, I suggest, is the antidote to your obvious ‘issues’), they were trying to be seen to be balanced- THAT’S THE POINT. They were trying too hard because of their initial bias- hence the error. Better just to sack a few idealogues on their staff and prove their commitment in journalistic blood.

    My secondary point is that there is more going on at any time in a place like Mosul than was entering the imagination of our BBC journalists- and that’s bad coverage, which, as a license fee payer…

    My point to you John B. is not to defend something you shouldn’t. I know how I come to attack the Beeb- long years of casual annoyance followed by serious lapses on their part with serious consequences. I don’t know why you annoint yourself their defender and hang around like some drunken heckler at a political meeting.


  3. john b says:

    I defend the BBC when what it has done is defensible, because I appreciate what it does, believe it’s under threat, and would like it to continue to exist in something resembling its present form. Not sure why this is something I shouldn’t be doing, or why it makes me a drunken heckler…

    The second paragraph of your post was somewhat hard to follow (although highly poetic); apologies if I misread it and partly missed your main point.


  4. ed thomas says:

    It is not defensible to have an editorial policy that demands occasional ‘feel good’ articles- with a slant- to counter accusations that arise out of incomplete and one sided accounts of developments.

    As for the ‘drunken heckler’ (colourful I will admit) I actually think it sums up pretty well your attitude. It’s difficult to get through to you. You deliberately draw attention to yourself. You don’t engage with what’s said but insult it, to take just one example, as ‘more than a little churlish’. You appear to look down, not just on us, but on anyone else who comments favourably on posts here. Apparently being at, as your website explains, the ‘edge of reason’ means effectively ‘beyond reason’.

    ‘A churl’, as my history tells me, was uneducated and simplistic- requiring patronisation rather than debate. I’d call that flinging an insult myself. In the absence of a rationale and facing a blind acceptance on your part of the BBC in apparently all its facets, I find


  5. ed thomas says:

    myself searching for an epithet that encompasses the condition you seem to project. I’m sorry if it’s difficult to hear the epithets returned.

    Thank you for your compliment though. Writing should have a poetic dimension otherwise the reader isn’t challenged to appreciate nuance. I wouldn’t accept the misreading of a poem either though- especially when it leads to a hasty judgement that negates all potential meaning in the words.

    Ed Thomas:

    ‘all comments welcome, especially the civil, constructive type, but not discounting the nasty ones’.


  6. john b says:

    Apologies for misusing the phrase “churlish” – I’d always understood it to mean “not being graceful when someone you don’t like does something good”. That was the sense in which I intended it below.

    I know you might view it as petty when I pick up on poor phrasing and minor factual errors that are fairly tangential to the point you’re making; this doesn’t mean I don’t respect the person making them. Poor phrasing and factual errors diminish the force of one’s argument, whatever one’s argument is; correcting these can be helpful.

    In this particular post, your point wasn’t clear from the original text. You clarified it in the comment, and then it was. While I may have annoyed you in the attempt, the overall result was that you made your argument more convincingly than would otherwise have been the case.

    Finally, the “edge of reason” category is literally accurate – I think B-BBC often makes some very good points, and often doesn’t. In the “good” cases, I’m rel


  7. john b says:

    Damn Haloscan comment-eating!

    I’m reluctant to say “m3 t00!”, since this isn’t adding much and there are plenty of people to do that already.

    Anyway, keep on keeping on.