Mr Pot, May I Introduce Madame Kettle ?

It’s rarely you’ll read a defence of the BBC on this blog, and you’re not going to read one now.

But James Murdoch’s McTaggart lecture should be read in the sure and certain knowledge that his objection is not so much to a leviathanwith more money than the rest of the sector put together and 50% of the market‘, but that said leviathan is not News Corporation.

Capitalism is a wonderful thing. To paraphrase Adam Smith, it is not from the benevolence of the Murdoch family that we expect our live Premiership action, but from their regard to their own self-interest.

But the ideal world of every individual capitalist is one of monopoly, and where that is impossible a dominant market position. Because then you can charge more, or in Mr Smith’s words ‘the price of monopoly is upon every occasion the highest which can be got‘. To mangle the words of Mr Murdoch, the ‘only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of profit‘ is monopoly or oligopoly. The purchase of a hefty stake in ITV, or the recent London freesheet wars, look more like actions designed to hurt competitors than anything else.

The traditional news media, aka the ‘dead tree press’, are losing money hand over fist as consumers turn to the Internet for their news and comment. Only this week it was announced that the venerable Birmingham Post daily was to move to a weekly format. And it has to be said that the majority of bloggers who comment on news and current affairs are parasitic (as I am) on these free news feeds, provided among others by the BBC and News Corporation.

This is probably not a sustainable long term situation for the traditional news media. While wonderful for consumers of news , it cannot last. But outside of specialist providers like the Financial Times, attempts (like those of the Independent newspaper) to charge for Web access have so far proved ignominious failures.

News Corporation have announced their intention to switch their news websites to a charging model. This is going to be difficult to pull off. Could the Times, Sun, Guardian, Indie, Mail, Telegraph and Mirror execs meet together and decide to simultaneously charge for news, in a great ‘conspiracy against the public’, it might be possible, but there are laws against that sort of thing. The conventional wisdom is that the first to move will simply lose all their online readers to other sites – as happened to the Indie – without any corresponding increase in paper sales. So they have a problem – a real difficulty – to which I am not unsympathetic, and which would become somewhat simpler were there not a great free news leviathan called the BBC.

It is in the light of these issues that this year’s McTaggart lecture – which contains many cogent and accurate criticisms of the BBC, should be read. And you can read it, including “would we welcome a world in which The Times was told by the government how much religious coverage it had to carry? ” on no fewer than 12 pages of the Times website, where the editor has, doubtless exercising his independent editorial judgement, put up the entire lecture.

(As readers will know, B-BBC is an anarcho-syndicalist commune aka a broad church, and some of my fellow contributors – like David, above – are firmly of the opinion that the Corporation should be abolished and ‘the market decide’. I don’t attempt to judge these issues here. But I think some background to this particular story is in order)

Predictable Probe

There are two sides to every story. With infinite nuances and variations, obviously.

For many years the BBC has listened more sympathetically to one side in the interminable Middle East conflict than the other. As the story has evolved and become more complicated, the BBC’s position has become more entrenched and also more incongruous, being that it supports democracy, liberty, gay rights and all things that make radical Islam such a strange bedfellow.

Jeremy Bowen has an agenda. We are told he still resents the killing, by an Israeli, of his Palestinian driver. He sympathises with the Palestinians, and finds most Israelis prickly and brusque. His fixers and enablers are Arabs.

One could well disregard all that, but his most egregious failing is that he has only a partial knowledge of history. He tries to appear fair to both sides, but he doesn’t know or won’t tell us that different but equally valid and credible versions of historical events even exist. He might omit a crucial detail that would throw things into a different light here; add a word there, and imbue his reports with subtly disparaging innuendos everywhere.

The recent BBC Trust’s decision to uphold two complaints against Jeremy Bowen, and to publicly censure him brought forth a petulant outburst from Jonathan Dimbleby. He blamed this outcome on the absence, on the day of the hearing, of Richard Tait, head of the BBC’s Editorial Standards Committee.

Now it seems, the BBC are going to investigate another complaint against Jeremy Bowen – with Mr. Tait as chair.

Richard Tait has already stated his position. He has the utmost faith in Jeremy Bowen. So we await the outcome with bated breath.


Well, I picked up some flak yesterday for my criticism of the NHS but it seems that MANY people feel similarly, based on their direct experience. One correspondent suggests to the BBC that the standard of care delivered in some of our hospitals and nursing homes would shame a third world country. So, in fairness, Today picked up on this issue yet again today, and interviewed three nurses on the subject. However, and this is just a thought, maybe the BBC should have found three patients to interview on the subject? Maybe those at the receiving end of NHS “cruelty and neglect” should have the priority of attention? And just how representative are the three nurses selected by the BBC for this interview? Certainly the last nurse interviewed made points running against the meme that the NHS is the envy of the world but Humphrys then did his best to try and ameliorate her points be suggesting that it is the patients with more chronic conditions that are the root of the problem. To be clear, I am sure that there are many caring and professional people working in the NHS but that does not stop it being a monstrous unfeeling bureaucratic socialist folly that swallows up £££billions – a bit like the BBC.


There really would be a crisis if the BBC got through a week without reporting global warming alarmism as if it were news rather than propaganda. Listen to this by way of example. I am reminded of the old line “I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate”. I suppose those whose academic tenure is predicated on hyping the hype have to do something but why should the State Broadcaster offer all this airtime to just one side of the argument?


Is it just me or did you also find the prattle of a Eurocrat of the efficacy or otherwise of the election process in Afghanistan a tad hypocritical? Mr Semple represents an organisation which consistently ignores the wishes of those European people that vote against EU policy so he is no position to lecture the Afghans on anything. I know that the BBC consider the EU to be a paragon of virtue and goodness, second only to the United Nations in high esteem, but it seems to me that it might do better to have someone from the Afghan government on to explain how the EU might give democracy a chance.

Sing the right tune

House of Dumb quotes Jeremy Vine:

The Patients Association has uncovered “appalling” cases of poor hospital care. But did you want to sing the praises of the NHS after your operation?

As Dumbjon comments,

Now for Stage 2: counting up all those times when the BBC has reported on cases of alleged police brutality by asking people to ‘sing the praises’ of their local police.

This link to Jeremy Vine’s webpage will change soon. But for now, yes, that’s exactly what it says.


Interesting interview here this morning on the issue of the booming British population. Is it me or does Mr Humphyrs entirely miss the central issue – namely that the predominant reason for a booming UK population is due to “foreign born” mothers (Mostly Muslims) having way above replacement level birth rates whist the indigenous population birth-rate falls below replacement level. I found this a curious interview in the fine BBC tradition of ignoring the Islamic elephant in the room. Across the European Nations, the birth-rates of the indigenous people is below population replacement level, with Spain being perhaps the lowest in the world. (Perhaps the real tragedy of Andalusia awaits?)This devastating demographic is sidelined in BBC coverage of this topic and instead Humphyrs witters on about us having 2.5 children as if we were back in the 1960’s. I would like to see the BBC tackle the more substantive aspects to this topic but suggest they would run a mile from doing so lest it offend certain multiculti sensitivities.


Ok then – just back on the site and having a look through some of the lively threads. All good stuff but I do wish that there was less swearing and fewer ad hominem attacks. That is no way to approach civil argument and just as you would not go up to a stranger (I hope!) and start swearing at them then I wish the same civility was extended to all who come in here. I know it is easy to get annoyed but honestly, the foul language just gets us nowhere so do me – and more importantly Biased BBC – a favour and be a bit more careful as to your choice of words. If we want to open up the bias of the BBC to wider scrutiny (agreed?) then we need to lessen the vulgarity quota. Hope you will observe this, if it doesn’t improve I will simply start removing the sweary words and that then defeats my purpose of being here – which is to write, not edit. Please don’t take this the wrong way – I love all your passion, wit and erudition but I think we just need to clean up a little. Thanks.


Well then, it appears the NHS may not be quite the envy of the world that some of it’s propagandists – including the BBC- suggest. This is a tricky one for the BBC. You see the pain and anguish which the NHS causes to so many people cannot be cloaked on this occasion BUT one must be careful not to damage a State funded bureaucracy, after all you never know where that one could lead, right?

Listening to this interview, one cannot help but feel that Christine Beasley gets away with all sorts of amelioration. Yes, he does pull her up on her initial line of excuse namely that is is only a “very small number” involved but then she switches tack and agrees it is a “small but significant number” of useless medical staff and that “complaints procedures” need strengthened. What a crock. The punchline is that the NHS is a corrupted bloated bureaucracy more interested in itself than in patients. Having praised Humphyrs the other day, I suggest he pulled his punches here and Beasley most feel she got off with minimal damage. Unlike the NHS patients concerned.

Talk Talk

The BBC is the main source of the misinformation that makes some people call all supporters of Israel ‘foam-flecked fanatics,’ and which makes us in turn think of those people as gullible fools. These wordbattles continue in the face of the mass of evidence piling up before your very eyes, evidence that some of you go to great lengths to avoid acknowledging.
Fanatical Islamists can hold meetings in Kensington Town Hall, people can write books filled with inaccuracies and propaganda, pockets of the UK can sprog radicals and recruits to Al Qa’eda, primitive cultural practices can be turned a blind eye to, and the majority will still fall for the BBC’s lulling reassurances rather than risk mentioning their concerns, and being labelled a phobic racist.

Compare two approaches to the recent activities of Hamas in Gaza. Not the crackdown by the virtue police enforcing modesty regulations upon ladies’ swimwear and shop mannequins, or the new ruling about ‘school uniform’ for girls, but the conflict between Hamas and another extreme, radical outfit that managed to cast Hamas into the absurd role of ‘more moderate.’

Think of this in the context of the BBC’s continual mantra that talking to Hamas will hasten the peace process. The BBC tells us ‘Gaza Islamist leader dies in raid,’ a strangely passive headline for a shoot-out between Hamas and the leader of Jund Ansar Allah, ‘Soldiers of the Followers of God,’ in which several people were killed and a mosque was damaged. What they wanted was an Islamic emirate, which on the face of it is what Hamas wants too. But they wanted it to be their Islamic emirate, and not Hamas’s, and they were keen to fight to the death; which they did. So everyone got what they wanted for the time being, and Hamas continues to fight against Israel which they will never recognise, no matter how much Britain, America, Mahmoud Abbas, or even the BBC, talks to them.

Ambassador Ron Proser (who spoke to John Humphrys this morning,) says of Hamas:

“sections of the media are determined to whitewash and legitimise it. They are joined by various politicians, commentators and activists, who argue that Israel and the West must talk to Hamas, so implying that it is on the verge of a switch to moderation.”

The BBC’s article, apart from a bizarre reference by Ismail Haniya to “Israeli Zionists.” portrays Hamas as reasonable people who ‘one could do business with”, Compare that with Ron Proser’s piece in the Telegraph. It begins:

“Earlier this month, Hamas launched a devastating bombardment of rocket-propelled grenades and machine-gun fire against a mosque in Rafah. The attack killed at least 22 Palestinians, including an 11-year-old girl. Over 100 more were injured and the mosque, which belonged to a rival Islamist faction, the Jund Ansar Allah, was left riddled with bullets. The adjacent building was destroyed. Yet Hamas’s disregard for the sanctity of a house of worship, and its contempt for the lives of neighbouring civilians, is unlikely to be the subject of any probing reports from Human Rights Watch.”

And criticism of them brands me as a foaming-at-the mouth phobic racist.