As Craig and Cassandra have been pointing out in the comments, the Beeb have been subtly downplaying the cash for influence scandal of senior Labour figures. First there’s the fact that the headline to their article says “Ministers attack ‘MPs for hire'”. Ah, so senior Government figures are on the side of the angels then? The Gvt is acting decisively? What exactly is “for hire?” Is that anything like soliciting bribes? Then it’s noticeable that only one of the miscreants, Stephen Byers, is even identified directly as a Labour MP in the article. Moreover, they are described as “ex” ministers- for whose actions it would surely be churlish to blame the Gummint; be rather like a husband being blamed for his ex-wife’s behaviour, wouldn’t it? How about “senior Labour figures caught in bribery scandal”? How about “three senior Labour former ministers have been caught in a sting operation soliciting payments for influence. These are Stephen Byers, Labour MP for… who was minister of…, Patricia Hewitt, Labour MP for… who was minister of… and Geoff Hoon, Labour MP for… who was minister of…”
I’ve only talked here about the framing sentences of the BBC article. The rest is rather detailed detail. By the time they get to it readers will have given up the will, and just be glad that “due process” is being followed and isn’t it wonderful our media is able to bang to rights those grubby “not Gordon’s Labour but ex- Labour” types.
Incidentally, it’s no surprise that washed up pols peddle influence for cash- but then it wasn’t back in ’97 either ands that’s when the BBC was washing down “things can only get better” with flutes of champagne.
Yesterday I was rather sickened to see close-up the visage of our Prime Minister(discredited to all but Labour loyalists and those who know nothing about him ie. gullible foreigners) splayed across the BBC frontpage. Not another interminable G20 pose-fest, I thought. Not another opportunity for G. Brown to mince across our screens flaunting his moral compass. Yet it was: Gordon had yet another populist wheeze- a tax of financial transactions- to “save the world” with.
The BBC was kindly obliging him, as they have always done. They seemed to sense a chance to hype Gordon as the world’s saviour again- which bombast is the only way to cover the reality that he is the world’s biggest bust as an economic manager and political leader.
Well now the latest pose-fest seems to have squibbed, the BBC having to play backstop for the Prime Mentalist. Despite another grotesque miscalculation on the part of HMG, the BBC report covering the event now simply leads with the glossy affirmation that “G20 vows to spur fragile growth”. Gordon’s latest serial embarrassment is slipped surreptitiously in lower down as having “received a lukewarm response from other G20 countries”. This is just prior to Geitner’s statement of a “very broad consensus that growth remains the dominant policy imperative across our economies”.
Watching the C4News clip here, I almost laughed when Geitner prefaced his rebuttal of Gordon’s scheme by saying that he wanted “to show the appropriate deference to our hosts” (Gordon/UK). Interestingly, Gordon’s gesture did seem to meet a little gleeful approval from the French. And of course from the BBC, until the wind changed.
The BBC and the Government are constantly on the look out for good news about the economy, while bad news is given the heave ho. For the BBC, this is big news, this, not so much. Then you have fatuous features like this one.
My point is that it doesn’t do any good to demean journalism for political purposes. Gordon Brown doesn’t do himself any good pretending that his actions aren’t dictated by his need to avoid responsibility for past mistakes. He’ll be far better off when he follows Susan to the Priory. The BBC does no good pretending that the crash isn’t a crash but merely a hiccup in domestic demand which is being overcome pronto. It’ll be far better off when it’s being looked after by someone who understands the media in society, like Simon Cowell. Denial is the way to turn a crisis into a greek drama.
I do recommend the BBC’s reporting on Gordon Brown’s statement of angst. It’s a merciful sight shorter than the Guardian’s version.
Quite why we need to be subjected to Gordon’s musings on his public persona I don’t understand. There seems to be some suggestion that Gordon deserves a right of reply against his critics. It’s as if the BBC thinks that all the British public has been viewing is the coverage of one Guido Fawkes Esq. It’s really a terrible situation. The BBC and Guardian seem to think Gordon’s had a hard press. In fact, he’s had a risibly easy one. The BBC and Guardian seem to think that the scrutiny of his personality has been too intense. In fact, Gordon has been waging personality politics and character assassination cabinet throughout his unelected tenure- unimpeded until the aforementioned Fawkes exploded a bomblet under Damian McBride.
Even the article which they are now using to promote Gordon’s version of events only draws upon Labour sympathisers as sources. Tony Wright (Labour) MP is given the final word, saying that “any PM” who had to preside over Britain through the economic crisis would be unpopular. I strongly disagree- there are many examples of crisis hit countries with popular PMs- but where is the dissenting voice against the Brownian emotional appeal? I think Gordon is extraordinarily lucky that no major media outlet is linking up the dots between the 40% of the world’s o.t.c derivatives trade that Gordon boasted was in British hands in 2006, and the economic crisis which the collapse in credit and demand has caused world-wide (helpful article here). I think the public can join up the dots, but our media has too many interests entwined with presenting the economic crisis as originating elsewhere (the USA if pressed to be specific). This applies in spades to the BBC, whose commitment to the NewLabour project has been unimpeachable since Broadcasting House was littered with empty champagne bottles in 1997.
BBC Today site opens with the banner headline ” Brown seen as a towering figure”. The day after the most disastrous of election results. Amazing. The bias is so deep they cannot even see it.