In the Guardian Zoe Williams justifies a great social evil

In the Guardian Zoe Williams justifies a great social evil:

“We cling on to the licence fee out of some civic humanist ideal, the value of a medium that is above commerce, above the ignoble scramble for popularity and cash”.

Well if that’s the best defence then there really is no alternative. Privatise it, now.

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87 Responses to In the Guardian Zoe Williams justifies a great social evil

  1. Gil says:

    Barry Galagher,

    ‘A news network answerable to citizens’?

    Indeed, only those citizens who support its biased world view.


  2. lee says:


    I agree that there should be a left wing tv channel in the UK, but it should be a funded by its subcribers. The BBC is given 2.5 billion which makes it an elephant in the jungle. Debate should be two way and differebt opinions given voice. CNN is pretty left wing but does not seem to need public funding…Personally, I want a level playing field.


  3. lee says:

    When a BBC employee is racially abused, you might expect the BBC to cover this, especially if it can be pinned on George W Bush. However, it seems to have been airbrushed from the story.

    As reported by Sky:,,30000-13431086,00.html

    “Mike Brocken, of Chester, said he feared his wife Christine and 18-year-old daughter Stephanie would be raped when they went into the Louisiana Superdome.
    The family were also racially abused by other refugees in the stadium.
    Mr Brocken, a BBC Radio Merseyside presenter and music lecturer, told the station: “We were going to go inside the Superdome.
    “I approached two members of the National Guard and they said to stay outside because they knew it was hell in there.
    “One female office basically said under no circumstances take the women in there, because she knew what it was like.””

    As reported by the BBC

    “We were going to go inside the Superdome. I approached two members of the National Guard and they said to stay outside because they knew it was hell in there.”
    The BBC does not seem to be worried about reporting racial tensions in other stories…
    “Black members of Congress have also criticised the pace of relief efforts.
    Some say the response was slow because those most affected are poor. “I’m ashamed of America. I’m ashamed of our government,” Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick said
    “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” rapper Kanye West told viewers of an NBC benefit concert for hurricane victims.
    Other commentators object to the media’s handling of the crisis.
    “Television is creating a sympathetic image of white people fleeing, and black people caught up in a shoplifting orgy,” Lawrence Aaron wrote in New Jersey’s Record.
    But some hope that the aftermath of the hurricane will force people to confront the issue of inequality.”

    It seems in the self • loathing world of the BBC only whites are capable of bad things, is that racist?


  4. Lurker in a Burqua says:

    Paul Reynolds piece linked to Drudge Report


  5. Gil says:

    Paxman: ‘In an attempt to shield himself, Bush will investigate what went wrong…’

    That’s right Paxo, keep sneering and keep spinning.


  6. Gil says:

    UNBELIEVABLE!! Newsnight in an ‘analysis’ about what happened puts all the blame on Bush.

    Paxo has basically made Bush out to be an incompetent at best and a criminal at worst.

    Not a word about the buses that Nagin did not use,; not a word about the Governor’s utter incompetence.

    Thank god that one of the guests is sticking up for the President. But she’s up against…Sidney Blumenthal.


  7. Pete_London says:

    Hang on, ‘Katrina: let’s screw Bush’ had George Alagiah reporting from Canal Street, lamenting the water under which Canal Street suffered. Well, following a link from Perry at Samizdata we get to a photograph, with the description:

    The second photo shows 146 NORTA (New Orleans Regional Transit Authority) buses at their Canal Street facility less than a mile from the Superdome.

    Well George Alagiah didn’t tell us THAT!


  8. Gil says:


    Not Alagiah, not Turnbull, not Paxman. None of them. They have thrown any semblance of objectivity to the wind. They are foaming at the mouth at Bush and want to impose their agenda any which way.


  9. Simon says:

    Hank Scorpio, I’m not surprised there are plenty of adverts for expensive stuff in the Guardian.

    See this article in today’s Times.,,171-1764761,00.html

    Sadly, ther is also this story.,,171-1764976,00.html


  10. Jack says:

    “That it is now ITV and Sky to whom one turns for unbiased coverage is thanks to John Humphrys and his BBC ilk.”,,3284-1768341,00.html


  11. Jack says:

    Another good paragraph from the link above^
    “Were Humphrys employed by any other media outlet he would have every right to behave like this. If we objected to his modus operandi, we could simply turn him off. But as licence payers, we are forced to pay £126.50 a year to fund it. There is no BBC “off” switch.”


  12. Pete_London says:


    If we objected to his modus operandi, we could simply turn him off. But as licence payers, we are forced to pay £126.50 a year to fund it. There is no BBC “off” switch.

    There is in my home, I just don’t pay.


  13. Susan says:

    The American Expat catches Al-Beeb in a flat-out lie:

    Read the whole thing.


  14. JohninLondon says:

    Paul Reynolds

    In spite of your reltively balanced article, (which soon got swept ouut of the main BBC online page listings) many at the BBC are still rabidly trying to blame Bush and FEMA for all the problems.

    Maybe you could circulate this detailed legal and logistical summary of where much of the real blame lay from Day 1.

    Otherwise the BBC will end up looking real stupid – the truth will out, and the BBC will be shown to have badly misreported Katrina.

    By the way, at the last count I have seen there were 400 buses never used, not even to evacuate hospital and nursing home patients.


  15. dan says:

    JiL “Otherwise the BBC will end up looking real stupid

    Wrong! The enquiry wil be a whitewash.


  16. mark says:

    The guest that was “sticking up for the president” on Newsnight was talking bollocks.

    She said, or implied, that the reason for the delay in getting supplies, etc, to the people was that the Governor of Louisiana refused to declare a state of emergency, saying that “the President begged the Governor of Louisiana to declare a federal emergency. She declined. They declared a state emergency instead.”

    The last sentence is true. Louisiana declared a state level state of emergency on Friday August 26th. But what she neglected to say was that she also sent a letter on Saturday August 27th to Bush, via FEMA (according to the law) asking for a federal state of emergency for the state of Louisiana to be declared, which Bush declared on the same day.

    That was her only argument in defence of Bush, and it’s simply lies and spin.


  17. mark says:

    Aug 26 – Blanco declares a state level state of emergency.
    Aug 27 – Blanco asks the president to declare a federal state of emergency for the state of Louisiana.
    Aug 27 – Bush declares a federal state of emergency for Louisiana.

    And JiL – “the BBC will end up looking real stupid” if it doesn’t follow FreeRepublic’s rabid world view? We may as well just call on Democratic Underground for a bit of “balance”…


  18. Susan says:

    Hello mark,

    Declaration of the state of emergency at federal level doesn’t allow the federal government to take control of state agencies such as the National Guard. Here’s a good discussion of the legal issues involved:

    If you care to wade through it.

    PS — Americans really hate it when foreigners (which I assume you are) comment on our political system as if they know it backwards and forwards, when all they are doing is repeating lefty talking points cribbed from lefty American blogs without understanding the context from which it springs.

    Blank-o and Nagin screwed up on a number of levels. That doesn’t excuse any ineffciencies associated with FEMA or other federal agencies, but it doesn’t mean that the federal government is the sole defendant either.

    Most Americans would look to their local and state governments for the first line of defense in any disaster. That is the way it is supposed to work. The feds are the court of last resort.

    And now there’s a story going around that Nagin has resigned, BTW.

    If true, I wonder if Blank-o will fall on her sword as well? Perhaps the flooded school bus photo was just too much for the man. Even the BBC published it.

    I feel bad for the man; he made a genuine stab at cleaning up the corruption in NO but his leadership skills weren’t up to the catastrophic disaster that struck his city.


  19. Susan says:

    An interesting graph on the corruption in Louisiana and it’s correlation to the state’s poverty:

    Businesses don’t want to invest in a state where corruption and bribery amongst public officials are rampant.

    What a shock.

    Yet another high-ranking Louisiana Democrat being investigated for corruption, this time a US Congressman:


  20. Rob says:

    Nine days after that, on July 28, the United States, which had appeared to give some ground at Gleneagles, announced a pact with Australia, China and India to undermine the Kyoto protocol on climate change.

    Those pesky Yanks! Why can’t they just cripple their economy like the rest of us? How dare they enlist two developing nations, not-bound by Kyoto, into their evil planet killing club?

    Who on earth pays for this shite? How I hate the Grauniad.


  21. Rob says:

    The left-leaning Guardian and Independent prefer Mr Clarke, as the candidate closest to their own point of view, as does the BBC

    Everybody else can see the BBC bias. Why can’t the BBC just admit it?


  22. More deception from al-BBC on radio 4 this morning. It was announced that Asians are outperforming native Brits in the economy (not actually true – a false extrapolation of London data to the rest of the UK). However, they then clarified that the ‘Asians’ referred to were in fact Indians – a very big distinction. The majority of Indians in the UK (immigrants and their offspring) are Hindu or Sikh i.e. not muslim. It was then stated that Bangladeshis are the poorest performing group from the Indian sub-continent. Now Bangladeshis are RACIALLY identical to the Hindus and Sikhs from India, but these poorly-performing Bangladeshis are neither Hindu nor Sikh. They are, of course, muslim. This is a clear-cut and simple explanation of the differing performance of these religious (same race, remember) groups and one which the BBC will never air. Indians, free of the yoke of islam, are amongst top performers in the fields of science and economics wherever they are in the world, but only non-muslims. Does the BBC dispute this assertion?


  23. Mike says:

    I was watching last night on the BBC News, Justin Webb’s bit about Katrina. At one point he commented that “critics are condemning the response of X to the hurricane”. Which agency X is is not important.

    They then proceeded to show a cut screen, with an American journalist on the left of the screen and someone from X on the right. The journalist says something like, “What do you say to the accusation that X’s lack of response has caused the majority of the problems with Katrina?”

    I thought, this should be interesting. Then, the journalist disappeared from my screen and was replaced with another. The other journalist then said “So, will you or anyone else from X be resigning as a result of this?”

    Then, that cut away back to Mr Webb. Now, I don’t particularly care where this chap was from. I don’t think that matters. This was on the BBC News. Quite how you can call it news and more to the point, unbiased, when you show an aggressive question being posed and then cut away before the answer is given, is beyond me.

    Surely it doesn’t really matter whether it’s left wing or right wing bias being shown. That is blatantly obviously showing one side and not the other, or my definition of biased.


  24. Lurker in a Burqua says:

    [email protected]

    my partner is a Bangladeshi Muslim (not at all devout) and is also very sucessfull. your analysis is exactly correct but the BBC will never air this type of information. How are we to begin to address problems if we are unable to name them?
    The BBC is doing a huge disservice to minorities in this country.


  25. JohninLondon says:

    People should have a look at what Scott Callaghan has posted about the BBC’s instant-history programme on Katrina :

    As he says, yellow journalism.


  26. Simon says:

    Rob, not everyone can see BBC bias. They see Eastenders, Flog It, Casualty and the Lottery show. The news staff fund their ego-boosting careers on the back the public’s appetite for that rubbish. It’s a bit like running a brothel and using the proceeds to preach about morality.


  27. JohninLondon says:

    dispels some of the myths about Katrina.

    The ignorant and biased BBC coverage has been spewing all the myths.


  28. JohninLondon says:

    Mr Reynolds

    Bush is holding an enquiry because he wants to find out quickly what went wrong and what needs fixing in case there was another civil emergencey soon. He has an urgent responsibility to run his own investigation.

    But there is also going to be a Senate investigation by the Homeland Security Committee. And it will be played out live and complete, on CSpan – not filtered by the US liberal media.

    Will the BBC be monitoring this ? Please remember that anyone with a broadband connection can watch any of the CSpan channels, quite apart from cable and satellite access.

    Because the evidence that will be given at the Senate hearings will blow the BBC’s rabidly biased coverage of Katrina out of the water. It will expose the BBC’s coverage as mendacious, shallow and overtly one-sided.

    The BBC will be shown to have lied repeatedly, to have grossly misinformed its viewers. The viewers who are forced to pay for anti-Bush BBC propaganda.

    Coming soon on a CSpan channel near you…..


  29. JohninLondon says:

    Mr Reynolds

    Even ABC are running the key point that your article missed – that the PRIMARY responsibility lay with the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana to run their own LOCAL emergency plans. Especially as the hurricane approached and in the first few days.

    Your article is the only item from the entire BBC coverage that came anywhere near to explaining that there are different tiers of responsibility.

    But IMHO you completely ducked out of stating where the primary responsibility lay. You KNEW the relevant facts, the constitutional who-does-whats. But as far as I can see you omitted them. You also throw FEMA’s name into issues that should not have directly involved FEMA. And I cannot see any mention of the serious failures at state level to deploy the National Guard, nor any mention of the disintegration of the NO police force.

    I think you owe us a second article. Why not try doing a timeline approach ? A day-by-day account of what happened and what didn’t happen. Who did what and when, and who delayed or omitted crucial actions.

    Or would that throw into too stark relief the general misreporting by the BBC as a whole ?


  30. JohninLondon says:

    Mr Reynolds

    Or to put it nother way – your article IMHO gets 7/10 or 8/10 for effort, but only 5/10 for clarity and clear sequence. And about 5/10 or 6/10 for completeness.

    We are thankful for such belated mercies, of course, as the BBC has been scoring about 2/10 on these counts so far. But I assume you see the Katrina story is big enough to have another chew. After all, Webb and Frei and others are still mostly repeating the myths and bias, and someone at the BBC ought to rise above their level.


  31. Lurker, As I may infer from your response, I should have put “generally non-muslim” because, as you correctly imply, muslims can be successful too. It’s just that they are not successful to the same scale as non-muslims from the Indian sub-continent. The BBC would never air this distinction.


  32. Seymour Veer says:

    Hank scorpio – “So if they’re `living off the taxes` of others, as you say, they all must be pulling the benefit scams of the century to qualify in the marketers eyes for all this capitalist guff.”

    Don’t forget all those the public purse in Local Government & other public sector jobs – I know, I work there


  33. Anonymous says:

    I will start regarding Mr Reynolds’ coverage of Katrina more fully balanced when he come up with more of this type of picture :

    Because that will be the overall conclusion. The BBC will be shown to hve been totally out of step with reality and full of polemic spleen against Bush, much of it false.

    And right now, I believe even Mr Reynolds is a good way off base.


  34. Lurker in a Burqua says:

    [email protected]
    no clarification needed. I agree 100% with your analysis.


  35. Rob says:

    Zoe Williams – barmy even by Guardian standards. She once wrote the quintessential Guardian article – excusing homophobia and violence towards women in popular black culture by blaming whites who lived 200 years ago. Apparently they buggered some of the slaves on the ships, and this trauma somehow genetically moved down the generations to affect those poor, oppressed rappers.

    Totally bonkers.


  36. the_camp_commandant says:


    It is axiomatic to the left that blacks can inherit grievance and a sense of justified entitlement through their genes, but not IQ.