A View From Outside The Echo Chamber

Defenders of the indefensible love to belittle this blog by claiming that it’s nothing more than a microscopic minority of cranks and haters caught up in an echo chamber, not representative of any popular opinions, not a single word to be taken seriously. The views expressed here about BBC bias do not, we’re told, represent anything other than an extremist, miniscule minority.

With this in mind, I’d like to direct your attention to this piece by  US writer from Minnesota, James Lileks. He’s of the Right, but socially pretty liberal and has plenty of mainstream opinions and tastes, although maybe an unhealthy obsession with advertising and magazine art from the 1950s. In other words, he’s not the kind of extremist defenders of the indefensible claim we are. So when he independently catches the BBC in exactly the kind of bias we point out here, it’s worth taking note.

Read the following, part of a larger point about “offensive” art and intentions, and notice how it could have been written by any number of people here:

While listening to the BBC today I heard an interview with a California church singled out by the Southern Poverty Law Center – “an organization that monitors hate groups,” and thus utterly neutral and trustworthy, of course; the very act of dedicating yourself to the task proves you’re on the side of the angels. The interviewer, having been informed that the church endorsed the “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube video, badgered the pastor about supporting hate,  sounding as though he had a film of sour jam around his teeth as he spoke. The pastor asked the interviewer to explain how the film was inaccurate. There wasn’t any response to that, but the earnestness of the pastor and all that JEEESUS talk was supposed to say it all.

Then the  Southern Poverty Law Center spokesperson said that the church wasn’t violent, but such extremism, combined with easy access to firearms, made for a worrisome situation.

The impetus for the story, just to recap, was a video that supposedly made people on the other side of the world rise up in murderous rage, which had nothing to do with the church in the profile, except that they endorsed its sentiments. They do not believe that Mohammed was a prophet. I suspect the interviewer didn’t, either, but of course he said “The prophet Mohammed” whenever the subject arose.

It’s just easier all around that way. You get less mail.

It’s stuff like this that makes me laugh when defenders of the indefensible do their “you’re an obscure tiny minority and nobody agrees with you anywhere outside the echo chamber” routine. This is also yet another example of the institutional bias at the BBC. Same perspective on this story, same angle of attack, same “Prophet Mohammed”, but on another programme on another channel. Lileks doesn’t say, but this is most likely the World Service, editorially independent and far away from Barbara Plett on Radio 4 and some Beeboid on the News Channel and the rest of the spectrum of BBC broadcasting. They don’t need to pass memos around or send editorial directives from on high or hold secret meetings to deliberately plan this kind of biased reporting: it’s reflexive. It comes naturally to them because that’s the kind of people the BBC hires and that’s the atmosphere in house.


A perceptive reader picks up on this;

Nicky Campbell this morning gave a lot of airtime to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association who are running an advertising campaign to lessen ‘Islamophobia’.This is of course hugely ironic because the Ahmadis are considered heretics by other Muslims and not Muslim…..only recently 100 of them were slaughterd in Pakistan by ‘real’ Muslims.

So we have to ask where lies the real violence and conflict?And then also ask why is it that Jewish schools need bomb proof windows, security fencing and security guards?None of these questions were raised by Campbell….but he did suggest that people’s perceptions of Islam were wrong…what they believed were acts of violence or bigotry carried out in Islam’s name were in fact the result of cultural traditions and practises.

This seems to be a recent theme on the BBC….Is it an editorial guideline to presenters to suggest this line in order to make people believe Islam is not to blame for many social ills?A recent report from Saudi Arabia on women’s oppression did not mention Islam at all.

In an interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali Emily Maitlis does not ask if culture is the cause of women’s oppression but states that it is…Homophobia, women’s lack of rights, violence to other religions are caused not by religion of Islam but by deep cultural conservatism…Islam is a mass of different Islams she claims (Islamically impossible…there can be only one Islam). But the culture is Islam…taken from Arab culture and turned into the word of God replies Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Maitlis uncritically defends Islam and claims Hirsi Ali is fuelling anti-Islamic bigotry and the Far Right.

The BBC is playing a dangerous game promoting this religion and doing all it can to impede any criticism and indepth questioning of the religion, its origins, its real meaning and where it will lead us to should it take hold in this country.