A Good Liberal Education

can be enhanced by reading the opinions of those you strongly disagree with. That’s why I looked into the Today Programme website to see what I could glean from their extended feature about Jenny Tonge (the LibDem former front-bencher who lost her job after demonstrating her ’empathy’ for suicide bombers, and then visited Israelis and Palestinians at the invitation of the Today Programme- producing an article on the main BBC website). Despite appearing to listen carefully, Tonge had a serious case of mental lock-jaw when it came to appreciating clear explanations of the position of ordinary Israeli citizens. I found the text of her diary for the Today Programme and discovered that the World Website ‘Viewpoint’ looked to have altered a number of things that she said, perhaps to make them more acceptable to the range of viewers that would come to read it. This is one of the worst examples:

‘Some of the rantings have truth in them, but it is all so negative’– Tonge about Israeli citizens’ opinions, in the ‘diary’ on the Today Website.

‘Some of the Israeli arguments had truth in them, but it was all so negative.’ – Tonge on the BBC Website.

So the BBC, and possibly Tonge herself, feel it is equivalent to exchange ‘rantings’ with ‘arguments’? The next time I read or hear on the BBC of President Bush, say, being ‘forced’ to ‘defend’ the ‘argument’ for war in Iraq, I will have to bear it in mind that that they could mean, say, ‘desperately’ ‘resorts’ to ‘ranting’.

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