Getting the BBC to admit it is wrong is like squeezing blood from a stone

This needs remarking on, even just for the sound byte we’ve all thought but rarely heard spoken by a public figure: “Getting the BBC to admit it is wrong is like squeezing blood from a stone.” – Ben Bradshaw, former Beeb journalist and [current UK Government] Fisheries Minister. I wonder whether the Government will let the BBC off the hook when the Charter renewal discussions begin? Maybe they are just … Continue reading

The poet Benjamin Zephaniah Says NO to OBEs

The poet Benjamin Zephaniah Says NO to OBEs- especially in the light of the Iraq war. Yes, that’s right- but he also took the air-time on Channel Four News last night to praise the BBC World Service because they had changed their name from the BBC Empire Service. So, apparently the leopard can change its spots. It’s all in a name. I would never seek to defend a certain old … Continue reading

The BBC can be incredibly dull (ie stupid)

in some respects, and incredibly nuanced (ie. sophisticated) in others. Yet another example here of where essentially the Beeb are harrying the US over operations in Iraq. They recently reported the fall in attacks on US troops, masked carefully by a headline about increased attacks on Iraqis (see Tues ‘Different Tactics’). Now they report a denial by the US that extra troops are needed for a worsening security situation in … Continue reading

State Mates

. Well, some of them have been coming here, so maybe some of us should go there. I don’t normally say a lot to anyone about the NHS. They were good to my Grandma and bad to my Grandpa, and family members tend to end up dying there. I think though that in BBC coverage of the NHS it’s worth bearing in mind that they are kindred spirits, both formed … Continue reading

Up and at ’em

. Yes, it would seem that Greg Dyke, or ‘Boss Hogg’ as I like to think of him, considered his award in New York a chance to make attack his best form of defence against editorials like this. Update. I can’t deprive anyone of access to Melanie Phillips’ reflections on this. I am also interested in the comments posted subsequently- as often seems to be the case there are interesting … Continue reading

Honest, Greg,

if you would just level with us, folks like Jeff Jarvis would have a lot more respect for you and the Beeb than at present. Greg Dyke, chief chutzpah officer of the BBC, lashes out at U.S. TV news war coverage as he accepts a dubious award in New York: “News organisations should be in the business of balancing their coverage, not banging the drum for one side or the … Continue reading

Different Tactics

? All too often slow to report the changes in tactics on the ground, the BBC has a curious way of headlining a reduction in the number of attacks on US soldiers -attacks often given a headline place over the recent weeks. It’s not that I think the picture should be rosy-tinted- the reality is still ugly. I just wish for a little rationale in their reporting that isn’t weirdly … Continue reading

Words Insufficient

. After this feel-good article by Jonny Dymond comes this cluster of incidents. What to say? In the first place I was very sceptical about Dymond’s report. It was ‘too good to be true’ journalism of the sort the BBC tells us it always tries to avoid. Its intent was just to act as a more palatable variant of the theme that ‘The British in Basra are better at hearts … Continue reading

The BBC does JFK.

The Beeb showed this JFK documentary today on BBC World (satellite TV). For the most part it revisits the events of that day which many of us vividly remember. [For the record: I was in Miss Pruitt’s third grade class in Cooperative Elementary School, Spartanburg, SC, USA when the school PA system broke in with a frantic radio announcer delivering the tragic news.] I found most of this programme informative … Continue reading

An American visitor’s impression

on the lack of substantial British press coverage of President Bush’s visit (especially the BBC!). It was fascinating, and frustrating, to see this story from the other side. What was most striking to me was the utter lack of substance in most coverage of the visit. The focus was almost exclusively on the security precautions attending the trip, which were pretty universally frowned upon, and the demonstrations against President Bush, … Continue reading

Hey Jud[y], don’t make it bad…

The Oil-For-Food scheme is now under Coalition control and if you’re Judy Swallow, that is not such a happy prospect. On tonight’s broadcast of “Newshour” she hectored the poor UN official who is now out of a job (so to speak) about how bad things are going to get now that the UN is not around to look after the Iraqis who’ve been receiving aid. The official makes very clear … Continue reading

Judge and Jury

.Reading Kerry’s post on David Frum I found what I felt to be a ‘money’ quote. Here ’tis: ‘How can you do a program that purports to study why British people are so hostile to President Bush – without taking note of the state broadcaster’s role in creating and magnifying that hostility? ‘ In other words, the Beeb foregrounds the debates we have in society. Now, hear this: ‘Ms. Doucete, … Continue reading


. As a commenter in the below thread also notes, the Beeb’s journalists are logging their responses to the Bushes’ visit. It was (and still might be later on) a delightful selection of half-baked preconceived ideas disappointed, with dashes of wishful thinking thrown in. Until, that is, it was radically stealth-pruned back (these days, stealth editing isn’t enough- stealth-pruning under cover of darkness is the thing). For instance, maybe Jules … Continue reading