Kilroy woz everywhere.

Stephen Pollard in the Evening Standard and Fiona Govan and Chris Hastings in the Telegraph have both written on the Kilroy-Silk affair.

Apologies for repeating myself, but I say again: the BBC’s offence in withdrawing ‘Kilroy’ was not that it exceeded its rights but that it was demonstrably biased and hypocritical given its tolerance of Paulin and many other commentators who have made less murderous but still vituperative blanket condemnations of Israel, the US or Britain.

The average viewer of ‘Kilroy’ doesn’t give a stuff about the issues that engage the average visitor to this blog, but does get annoyed when his or her favourite show is canned at the PC establishment’s say-so. Kilroy will become a hero to many. He’s not quite the hero I would have nominated for popular veneration, but it ain’t me that chooses. That the BBC is biased has been made clear to a previously apolitical segment of its audience.

UPDATE: A couple of Kilroy-related posts from Public Interest round-up this roundup nicely. To start with he lambasts the Guardian for claiming that Paulin’s case is different from Kilroy’s because, like, Paulin is a proper critic but Kilroy is merely a talkshow host.

Making up the rules as they go along, ain’t it? The Guardian’s own Aaro hosted a radio show on Radio 2 last week – called David Aaronovitch, no less – John Humphreys and Libby Purves of the Sunday Times and the Times regularly host shows on Radio 4, and they all opinionate like it’s going out of fashion. Come on Guardian! You can do better than that.

There’s more. You know I said how as the ‘Kilroy’ fans and our own wonderful selves were quite separate groups? Er, actually, not quite.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mark Steyn also comments. That Paulin meme gets around, doesn’t it?

The Kilroy-Silk affair


As you probably know, Robert Kilroy-Silk’s talk show has been taken off the air following outrage against an anti-Arab article he wrote for the Sunday Express.

You can see what I think about his article in this Samizdata post here. You can see more about the case in this BBC article here including a quote from Perry de Havilland, of Samizdata and Libertarian Alliance fame.

The CRE threatening the police to prosecute Mr Kilroy-Silk is an outrageous assault on his free speech rights. However the BBC cancelling his show is not a violation of his free speech. The BBC are not obliged to buy anyone’s show, particularly if they think it will bring them into disrepute.

That said, the BBC are obliged by charter to be even handed. So why, as an anonymous commenter to this blog asked, is Tom Paulin still regularly appearing? Paulin specifically said that Jewish settlers should be shot. If Robert Kilroy-Silk’s comments were incitement to racial hatred, Paulin’s were incitement to murder.

UPDATE: Fiat iustitia, ruat caelum… I have criticised the BBC before now for not including both sides of the story in the external links offered with their reports. I must do so now, painful though it be. The BBC only includes two links to the report linked to above, one to the Sunday Express and one to the Libertarian Alliance (of which I have the honour to be a member)… would it have been so hard to also include one to F.A.I.R. or the Muslim Council of Britain, just for balance?

Reader Mark Adams wrote to the BBC

regarding this piece about Gadaffi and WMD. This is what he said:

“This biased opinion piece is just that – biased opinion. The obvious interpretation that Libya acted in response to the Iraq example

rather than sanctions which have long been in place is ignored.

Do publish biased opinion if you think that’s your role (I don’t) but do not present it as disinterested analysis. Your social and political biases have lost the BBC its reputation which was not rightly yours to throw away. This is copied to the “biased BBC” blog which I trust you read.”

“The day the UN mattered.”

Another “Yer Wot?” moment, this time brought to us in one of those ‘From our own correspondent’ semi-personal pieces by Bridget Kendall. This is the bit that had me Yer Wotting:

The French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, another formidable orator, took the floor.

His speech was equally ardent, arguing that the world did not necessarily have to follow America’s lead.

Then something extraordinary happened.

As he finished there was a ripple of applause. Not something usually allowed in the Security Council chamber.

It felt like a muted gesture of open revolt.

Cor, she makes it sound like Moses laying low the Egyptian overseer or Rosa Parkes refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. Did I miss something or wasn’t upshot of the momentous day she describes that… that’s right, I remember now! The US said ‘thanks but no thanks’ to M Villepin and toddled off and invaded Iraq anyway. OK, there’s a respectable argument that the US, in enforcing compliance with the million and a half UN resolutions violated by Saddam Hussein was actually saving the United Nations from itself, but, even so, “The day the UN didn’t matter” might have been a better heading.

Mr Marr just noticed something.

Norman Geras writes:

…Marr presented Blair as now going for the humanitarian dimension of the Iraq intervention because of how things had turned out with WMD and as though he had just discovered it. This is becoming one of the major components in the anti-war party’s current mythology. But that’s what it is: mythology. Blair stated the humanitarian argument plain as day, albeit as subsidiary.

Incidentally, there is no such thing as trespass in the noble sport of Beeb hunting. On the contrary. Extra spears always welcome.

One is wielded by Brian Micklethwait iin this Samizdata post. Actually, I think the likeliest explanation for this one is that offered by Dr Johnson when asked why he defined ‘pastern’ as the kneee of a horse. “Ignorance, Madam. Pure ignorance.” The writer just didn’t know what “rally” meant. Something to do with Indianopolis, innit?

Don’t the audience know the script?

I got this one from the comments to the post below. Many, including me, were surprised to note that the audience of Radio 4’s tranzi flagship Today apparently contains a goodly proportion of believers in the right to armed home defence. Laban Tall writes about the way the BBC dealt with this distasteful result.

I’ve been away

, visiting family and letting my poor nerves recover from the stress of Beeb-watching. But I did scribble this one down specially for B-BBC. On 31st Dec, the Ceefax news index on page 102 said “122- Israeli troops shoot protestors.” Sounds bad, said I, thinking about the deaths or injuries implied by the word “shoot”, and grimly set the remote to page 122. It turned out that the only things shot were tear gas and rubber bullets. No injuries, let alone deaths, were mentioned. I assume that rubber bullets and (I think) tear gas canisters are usually dispensed by pulling a trigger and hence the use of the verb “to shoot” may be literally correct. But tell me, given the way the English language is used in practice, do you think the headline accurately reflects the contents of the story?

Egyptian Foreign Minister attacked by angry Palestinians at Jerusalem’s Al-Asqua Mosque

and it’s an embarrassment for Israel, says the BBC:

…the BBC’s Jill McGivering, in Jerusalem, says the incident is sure to cause some embarrassment for the Israelis.

Huh? Why Israel? Are the Egyptians likely to berate the Israelis for not having a bunch of non-Muslim security goons crawling over one of Islam’s most holy shrines? Are the Egyptians likely to demand that Israel make its control over Jerusalem more strongly felt?

It’s an embarrassment all right. But not for the Israelis.

Winston Smith, stealth editor.

The BBC states it will not publish comments of an offensive or inflammatory nature on its websites. I am fairly sure that an email calling, let us say, for the execution for treason of George Galloway would never appear, even though plenty of people have opined that he should be strung up. However this post from Black Triangle gives an insight into what does and does not immediately strike the BBC as offensive.

There are also some wise words on stealth editing.

UPDATE: Looks like me and Jackie D were posting simultaneously. Great minds think alike, and all that. I’ll leave this post up as evidence that we abjure stealth editing on this blog. (Except for misplaced apostrophes, spelling mistakes and jokes we only think of later.)

“An astonishing series of non-seqiturs.”

Read Melanie Phillips on an exchange between John Humphrys and Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s top diplomat in Iraq.

Humphrys: ‘Doesn’t that rather weaken the argument for having gone to war in the first place? If he didn’t have support in the Arab world; if he didn’t have (as we must assume in the absence of any evidence that he didn’t have WMD)…’

Eh? What an astonishing series of non sequiturs! Saddam was a threat because he wanted to overthrow his neighbours, not because he was always round there watching a video with them. He had regional ambitions to rule the Arab world. By definition that would imply the Arab world wouldn’t have been too keen on him. And as for the ‘assumption’ that because WMD haven’t been found, they never existed — for heaven’s sake, is there absolutely no-one in the whole of the BBC’s editorial hierarchy who can tell Humphrys that this argument, which he loses no opportunity to make, is simply idiotic? Or do they all share this obsessional delusion?


kept a minute by minute watch on the breaking news of Saddam’s capture. He spotted some interesting editing:

(Obliged to correct myself again – at 3.45 PM.) The BBC video I’ve linked to now no longer shows the beginning of the Bremer press conference, but goes straight to the pictures of Saddam undergoing medical examination. Now, why? It couldn’t be that ‘Ladies and gentlemen – we got him!’, followed by jubilant applause, was somehow not kosher by them? It surely couldn’t.

There’s also mention of the BBC at the bottom of this post about Noam Chomsky.