Defending the BBC


by Sunny
20th July, 2007 at 3:45 am    

Every time The Sun publishes an editorial attacking the BBC’s apparent ‘loony left’ views, the blood pressure starts rising and I instinctively become defensive of the Corporation and temporarily forget its sometime downright dodgy journalism. Today Simon Jenkins has written an excellent piece in the Guardian defending the Beeb, while yesterday blogger septicisle exposed The Scum’s hypocrisy.

It annoys me more that the Corporation does not retaliate by pointing this out or keeps inviting windbags like Melanie Phillips back on. Maybe they could ask Rupert Murdoch what he discussed with Blair in three meetings over nine days just before the invasion of Iraq.


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  1. Max — on 20th July, 2007 at 10:15 am  

    The Sun, proprieter Rupert Murdoch
    Sky TV, proprieter Rupert Murdoch
    The BBC, proprieter not Rupert Murdoch

    It’s not about the “loony left”. It’s about the lack of pay-per-view, the market share, and the goddamn high quality output on Radio 4!

  2. Rumbold — on 20th July, 2007 at 10:18 am  

    Sunny:

    Yes, the BBC should shut down all dissenting voices on its programmes. Then it can broadcast the party line. If one do not like the Sun, one does not have to buy it (though you seem to frequently). However, one still has to pay for the BBC even if one does not watch it, or agree with its distortions.

    The BBC committed numerous acts of fraud, and has now been taken to task over it. Why are you defending it? Do you think that the BBC was right to fix these phone-ins and insult Her Majesty?

  3. Leon — on 20th July, 2007 at 11:09 am  

    Again, well said Max.

  4. sonia — on 20th July, 2007 at 12:28 pm  

    yep, there’s more to media ownership than some people realize ( though they ought to)

  5. sonia — on 20th July, 2007 at 12:29 pm  

    i must admit i’m suprised that an intelligent forum like PP is so constantly obsessed with the left/right dichotomy – just because everyone else is – that we can’t have any analysis that doesn’t involve that dichotomy.

    is that the ultimate framework of thought we’re all going to be stuck with?

    Not much Progress is it?

  6. Rumbold — on 20th July, 2007 at 12:44 pm  

    But the left/right axis does apply in this case Sonia. Normally we do not bring it up much, but the BBC is still seen by some as a bastion of institutionalism leftism, and its critics a bunch of rabid right-wingers.

  7. soru — on 20th July, 2007 at 1:14 pm  

    Sonia: as max implies, the big political split these days is not so much left/right, as owned by Murdoch/not owned by Murdoch.

    The most radical act possible by any UK government would be to allow the BBC to publish a weekly news magazine, even a daily newspaper. It’s the equivalent of the nuclear option, or those Russian tax police who wear balaclavas and carry machine guns.

  8. Jagdeep — on 20th July, 2007 at 1:39 pm  

    Soru, you’re my favourite poster on PP.

    Anyway, can anyone seriously see the licence fee being dismantled in our lifetime? Do you think there is a serious argument to be made that the BBC has become too bloated?

  9. Billy — on 20th July, 2007 at 1:46 pm  

    “The most radical act possible by any UK government would be to allow the BBC to publish a weekly news magazine, even a daily newspaper.”

    I like that idea, although I’d prefer it if it wasn’t the actual BBC, but an organisation set up in the same style.

  10. sonia — on 20th July, 2007 at 1:46 pm  

    i’m not saying its doesn’t apply Rumbold – of course it will apply as long as we carry on constructing our social understanding along that axis – that precisely is my point. i’m just pointing to the limitation and that any sensible critiques ought to point to that as well.

  11. sonia — on 20th July, 2007 at 1:49 pm  

    so im not saying we should ‘ignore’ it – because – imho – that left/right axis is very much tied to the us/them thinking = which as we all know – is very problematic- and realisation of this problematique is central any political reform project.

    (otherwise we’re just stuck in the labour or tory labour or tory same old same old constantly, flipping around, never really thinking about the underlying problems of having such a ‘competitive’ conceptualisaion of political systems )

    that was well i meant – sorry i’m not very eloquent!

  12. Sunny — on 20th July, 2007 at 2:00 pm  

    Sonia it’s hard to ignore the left/right paradigm in cases where the only real argument the critics of the BBC have is that its “institutionally biased” against them. Even though the Beeb never even used those words.

    Rumbold, frankly I’m not fussed that much about the phone lines. All the money went to charity anyway right?

    Chickyog summed this up brilliantly.
    http://www.chickyog.net/2007/07/18/omerta/

  13. Sunny — on 20th July, 2007 at 2:02 pm  

    No I don’t want the BBC to invite people who agree with the ‘party line’ (which would be impossible anyway since in any discussion they always invite opposing points) but stop inviting complete windbags who would like to see the corporation dismantled. I frequently criticise its journalism on air but that’s because I want it to improve, not because I want to dismantled.

  14. Rumbold — on 20th July, 2007 at 2:07 pm  

    I am sorry Sunny but taking money under false pretences is still fundamentally dishonest. It does not matter if the money went to charity, it is how they got it which is the issue. Or to put it another way, would it be okay if I drained your bank account, as long as I gave the money to charity?

    The main argument against the BBC is that in this era of mass media, we should not be forced to pay for the BBC if we do not want to. I fail to see why that is not a valid argument. Why not make it a subscription service? Then those who want to can pay for it.

  15. Random Guy — on 20th July, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

    My worry is if this is happening after an internal review (!) of all things, how many other scams are being pulled off in front of our faces?

  16. Jagdeep — on 20th July, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

    Modern technology could be the death of the BBC as we now know it. In the old days, you had to have a licence fee because the analogue signal meant you received all channels. So you couldnt just say, oh I only watch ITV.

    Now, didgital technology means you can only have access to channels you want to watch and pay for. If I don’t want Setanta I don’t subscribe to it. If I dont want Discovery I don’t subscribe to it. If I want to watch Sky Sports I can phone them, give my credit card details and it’ll be switched on almost immediately.

    In this kind of environment the case for what is effectively a compulsory tax becomes less morally defensible. The BBC would still be one of the biggest broadcasting corporations in the world. People would still subscribe to its channels. But what it has now is something approaching monopoly power.

    A few cases of single mothers sent to jail or the bailiffs coming in because they didnt pay their licence fee is very poor indeed.

    But I’m just putting the opposite argument. I’m not a fan of Rupert Murdoch either, and think the BBC is worth keeping just to poke that wrinkled old twunt in the eye.

  17. Sunny — on 20th July, 2007 at 2:48 pm  

    The main argument against the BBC is that in this era of mass media, we should not be forced to pay for the BBC if we do not want to.

    Because it leads us into a world of more crap journalism and de-facto more media power to people such a Murdoch.

    That’s like saying in this age people should pay for their own healthcare when the technology is there and people are no longer as poor as they used to be. Look where that took America.

  18. Rumbold — on 20th July, 2007 at 2:55 pm  

    If we did not have a state broadcaster, we could get quality reporting elsewhere (in mine and many others’ opinion). I am happy buying the Daily Telegraph. Would you like to subsidize that for me Sunny? If not, why should I pay for your main news source?

    Healthcare is totally different, because the BBC is a news outlet, and there are plenty others. Healthcare lacks those substitute goods for the non-rich, while anyone can watch’read a different news source from the BBC.

  19. Anas — on 20th July, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

    The BBC is obviously biased in favour of the government’s viewpoint. It’s absurd to claim it’s run by lefties or that it gives a leftwing view point given its toothless reporting on various world events post(and generally pre-)-Hutton.

  20. Jagdeep — on 20th July, 2007 at 3:18 pm  

    The BBC is doomed — Anas is attacking it now! Doesnt stand a chance!

    When something is attacked simultaneously by such a wide range of loonies, you know it’s doing something good and right.

  21. Sunny — on 20th July, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

    I am happy buying the Daily Telegraph.

    A newspaper is a different proposition to a broadcaster.

    Healthcare is totally different, because the BBC is a news outlet, and there are plenty others.

    The same can be said of healthcare insurance providers?

  22. Rumbold — on 20th July, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

    “A newspaper is a different proposition to a broadcaster.”

    How so? They both collect information then transmit it, and tend to be roughly located somewhere on the political spectrum.

  23. sid — on 20th July, 2007 at 3:55 pm  

    Call me a sentimental old paki, but the BBC is probably the only British institution I would fight a war to defend.

  24. Katy — on 20th July, 2007 at 4:29 pm  

    Someone explain to me exactly how the poor journalistic standards of the Sun excuse the poor journalistic standards of the BBC?

    I can think of plenty of other situations in which the Left is the first to point out that the bad behaviour of others doesn’t excuse the bad behaviour of the one who happens to be under the spotlight…

  25. soru — on 20th July, 2007 at 4:59 pm  

    A newspaper is a different proposition to a broadcaster.

    That used to be true, and is still not completely wrong, but as Jagdeep points out, technology is gradually falsifying that argument.

    If you have to justify the BBC as some kind of special exemption from the natural free market order, that’s a case that will get increasingly harder to make in the future.

    A better point is that it is illegal for Murdoch to own, or even rent, a politician or a policeman. Such a situation is called bribery, people involved might well go to jail. Somehow, ‘free market’ rules are acepted not to apply, ‘moral’ rules are used instead. You are not supposed to be able to buy and sell policemen any more than you can babies or kidneys.

    In the case of a journalist, the equivalent payments are called ‘wages’, and noone questions them (if they did, they wouldn’t get the next pay packet…).

    It’s about power. Journalists are no less essential to running a civil democracy than politicians or policemen, they may have more routine influence and veto authority than either. So why is it accepted that they can be openly bought and sold by the likes of Murdoch?

    In the future, when the technology barriers go away, the print media, (if it still exists), should be more like current UK TV, not the other way round. A diverse mixture of democratically-funded and privately-owned. A National News Service with private competitors that stop it from becoming lazy, just as the existence of an alternative prevents them from pandering too much to the whims of their owners at the expense of their customers.

    See also: lawyers.

  26. septicisle — on 20th July, 2007 at 6:49 pm  

    Katy, err, it doesn’t. But as I set out, if you compare the mistakes the BBC has made (and freely admitted it made and apologised for as soon as they came to light) and those that the Sun has made, where it only ever apologises if the person defamed complains to the PCC, then there’s a world of difference. Nearly all the BBC’s mistakes, serious as they are, have been out of a belief that the show must either go on through mistakes made by those who delivered the programmes for the BBC. They need to be sorted out, but they’re in a whole different league to the excesses of not just the Sun, but all the tabloids.

    Murdoch simply has always had it out for the corporation, as it stands in the way of his total domination of the UK media market. Compare its constant, continuous cheerleading for the Iraq war, still going on today, with the way the BBC dared to be even slightly critical once it had uncovered the disgraceful behaviour of Campbell and co. Gilligan, Dyke and Davies lost their jobs as a result, while the bastards just as morally responsible at the Sun continue to deliver their warped propaganda.

  27. Rumbold — on 20th July, 2007 at 9:46 pm  

    If you dislike Murdoch, you do not have to give him any money. If you dislike the BBC, you get prosecuted if you do not give them any money. That is the difference.

  28. Katy — on 20th July, 2007 at 9:51 pm  

    There’s an important difference between the BBC and other news outlets whether tabloid or not, and it’s this: you can choose whether or not to buy the Sun, because it’s a privately owned and privately funded paper. The BBC, on the other hand, is a publicly funded station which has the benefit of what is effectively yet another tax. You can either fund the BBC or go without a television. Now we’ve discovered that the BBC has been defrauding the people who already pay for it because they don’t have a choice through its premium phone lines.

    I actually think that it is justified to expect a higher standard of journalism from the BBC than from other news outlets. It’s paid by the state to be impartial and ethical and it has certainly failed in the latter. Whether it’s failed in the former rather depends which side of the fence you’re on.

  29. Katy — on 20th July, 2007 at 10:03 pm  

    Septic Isle – my comment was a response to Sunny’s post, not yours, which I hadn’t read. The Sun is a crap paper and I don’t read it. I promise you that when the Sun pretends it’s handing out prizes that it doesn’t actually intend to hand out at all I’ll have nothing good to say about that either.

  30. Sunny — on 20th July, 2007 at 10:14 pm  

    I actually think that it is justified to expect a higher standard of journalism from the BBC than from other news outlets. It’s paid by the state to be impartial and ethical and it has certainly failed in the latter.

    Katy, of course it should be held to a higher standard – that is what we all want. But humans are fallible and sometimes mistakes are made. As long as they are admitted and resolved right? The BBC does more to review its own coverage and journalism than all the other British media combined.

    You say it has failed to be sufficiently ethical. I agree, in this regard. But then it’s not perfect. And the ones throwing mud at the BBC are vastly more unethical than the BBC is, whatever side of the fence you sit.

    I’m not defnding the BBC because I’m a liberal and I think it’s liberal. I think it’s actually quite right-wing. I’m defending it because the alternative, privatisation, is a much worse idea.

    Someone explain to me exactly how the poor journalistic standards of the Sun excuse the poor journalistic standards of the BBC?

    It doesn’t. So we criticise the BBC too. But everytime the Scum does it, I have to find a sick bag. People in glass houses…

  31. El Cid — on 20th July, 2007 at 10:54 pm  

    Come on; we expect better standards from the BBC.
    The Sun is an irrelevance.
    If we get annoyed by the slip in standards its BECAUSE its the BBC.
    Forget The Sun and it’s hypocrisy. It’s not relevent.
    They are supposed to be broadsheet standard without the political leanings, like Reuters.
    Don’t forget how they are funded and their legacy.
    They’ve let themselves go man in pursuit of ratings.
    Still, better out than in.
    Hopefully, they can draw a line under it now.
    P.S. If there was something I would go to war for it is the Salman Rushdie issue, since you’re asking. Ok, you weren’t asking.

  32. soru — on 20th July, 2007 at 11:15 pm  

    If you dislike Murdoch, you do not have to give him any money.

    Money is one thing, where do I tick the box to not give him any power?

  33. Katy — on 20th July, 2007 at 11:27 pm  

    Katy, of course it should be held to a higher standard – that is what we all want. But humans are fallible and sometimes mistakes are made. As long as they are admitted and resolved right?

    What, telling people that if they ring a premium phone number they’ll win a prize that doesn’t exist?

    Are we going to adopt the “admit and resolve” policy for other fraudsters too? :-D

  34. Sunny — on 20th July, 2007 at 11:51 pm  

    Are we going to adopt the “admit and resolve” policy for other fraudsters too? :-D

    Sure, be great if the Murdoch press said sorry for cheerleading us and taking us into the war in Iraq based on lies.

  35. Katy — on 21st July, 2007 at 12:22 am  

    I wonder about you sometimes. For a start, it was the government who took us into war in Iraq. Not the Sun. The Sun supported the war on Iraq. So did a lot of other papers. Now, what’s your point?

    It shouldn’t be allowed to report the fact that the BBC conned its viewers?

    The BBC shouldn’t be criticised for conning its viewers?

    Seriously. What point do you think you just made there, exactly? Talk me through your reasoning.

  36. leon — on 21st July, 2007 at 1:39 am  

    I wonder about you sometimes.

    That statement could be said about every single one of us on here (writers and commenters).

  37. douglas clark — on 21st July, 2007 at 1:58 am  

    How, exactly has this money grubbing got anything to do, pro or con with journalistic standards? What it is is about a bunch of barrow boys, or Harrow boys, you choose, taking over institutions. And milking us as idiots.

    I genuinely do not know. Did all the premium rate voting money on ‘Big Brother’ go to charity, or what?

    The sooner we can seperate journalism from fluff, the better.

  38. Sunny — on 21st July, 2007 at 2:16 am  

    Ok, let me start again.

    The BBC should sbsolutely be criticised for conning viewers.

    We should also absolutely report this fact, if one is so inclined (frankly I see the death of people in other countries as more important but everyone has their own news values).

    BUT. What I object to is the sanctimonious tone adopted by newspapers as if the BBC is run by a bunch of crazed ‘loony lefties’ and that it is “institutionally biased” (when it never admitted anything of that sort).

    If you look at the attacks made on the BBC in light of this incident, they don’t just concentrate on the phone-scams, but keep going on about the corporation’s bias and its journalistic standards.

    Now, you said above:
    The Sun supported the war on Iraq. So did a lot of other papers. Now, what’s your point?

    I said I was happy to forgive the BBC when it admits to making mistakes. And it does so better than the newspapers, especially the Daily Mail and the Sun.

    I assume you said after that: would I be willing to fogive other media publications?

    I said, yes, so as long as they admit they got it wrong. The Sun didn’t lead us into the war, it was a relentless cheerleader and declared anyone who raised objections as supporting the enemy. If it is to have credibility, then it should admit it got it wrong on almost all of what it said about the war in Iraq. That was my point. Until then I refuse to listen to crap from that rag. That was my original point too.

  39. The Dude — on 21st July, 2007 at 12:37 pm  

    Sunny, I’ve got news for you. The BBC is STILL up to it’s dirty tricks pulling fast ones on the very same Joe Public who pay them their wages of sin. The following is but another example of the corporations lack of moral fibre.

    “Terms and conditions
    If you submit an image, you do so in accordance with the BBC’s Terms and Conditions.

    In contributing to BBC News you agree to grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to publish and otherwise use the material in any way that we want, and in any media worldwide. This may include the transmission of the material by our overseas partners; these are all reputable foreign news broadcasters who are prohibited from altering the material in any way or making it available to other UK broadcasters or to the print media. (See the Terms and Conditions for the full terms of our rights.)

    It’s important to note, however, that you still own the copyright to everything you contribute to BBC News and that if your image and/or video is accepted, we will endeavour to publish your name alongside it on the BBC News website. Please note that due to operational reasons this accreditation will probably not be possible with video. The BBC cannot guarantee that all pictures and/or video will be used and we reserve the right to edit your comments.

    At no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.”

    I’m sure that everyone on this forum would agree that this is a straight-forward copyright grab by a publically funded body of the very public that body was suppose to serve. As a working freelance photo-journalist this angers me no end but it doesn’t suprise me and whatever you think of Rupert Murdoch, he doesn’t owe the public diddly squat. Lest we forget, it wasn’t only the Sun that lead this country joyfully into war, it was also the BBC.

    What really gets my goat is that there are people who work for the BBC and a corporate culture that exist therein that simply cannot tell or act on the difference between what is wrong and what is right. The reasons for this are many and varied but Sunny, it can’t be ignored.

  40. Katy — on 21st July, 2007 at 1:19 pm  

    That statement could be said about every single one of us on here (writers and commenters).

    Um. And?

    I am just highly amused at the double standards that are flying around here. I don’t care whether the BBC is institutionally biased or not. I don’t care what the Sun did or did not do in the run-up to the war. I don’t understand what anyone thinks either of those two things have to do with the fact that the BBC tricked people into spending money on premium phone lines knowing full well that the prize they were offered didn’t exist.

  41. Katy — on 21st July, 2007 at 1:20 pm  

    Incidentally, that Simon Jenkins piece did not read to me like a wholehearted defence of the BBC. I thought he was pretty scathing about their journalistic standards, actually.

  42. Katy — on 21st July, 2007 at 1:39 pm  

    We should also absolutely report this fact, if one is so inclined (frankly I see the death of people in other countries as more important but everyone has their own news values).

    Oh for God’s sake Sunny. It is perfectly possible to report on the deaths of people in other countries AND point out the fact that the money the government forces you to pay to the BBC has been used to con people out of their money and well you know it.

    The fact is that if it was the Sun who’d been caught out in this way we wouldn’t hear the end of it from you. You’d be dancing a victory jig and gloating from sundown to sun-up. It’s a bit different when it’s your pet news agency, though, isn’t it? These “Oh look a bird with wings!” attempts at distraction are pretty pathetic, if you don’t mind me saying so. Your beloved Beeb has been shown to be just as capable of conning its readers as any other news agency, and if you genuinely cared about journalistic standards you would hold it up to the same criticism as any other paper – including the Sun.

  43. Sunny — on 21st July, 2007 at 2:39 pm  

    and if you genuinely cared about journalistic standards you would hold it up to the same criticism as any other paper – including the Sun.

    The fact that the BBC’s own internal investigations, and the willingness of the senior management to bring this all out (through amnesties and investigations) revealed the extent of the con already puts it on a higher ground than the Sun. The Sun, which never even apologised for the Hillsborough disaster despite it being so obvious, can never really be on the same level of criticism.

    And as I said earlier, my issue here is not with this long-running con. I doubt the entire corporation conspired to make it happen. My issue is the way the Sun editorials are worded.

    Of course, people on the left and liberals like myself are critical of the BBC’s sometimes lame journalism. Is that reason enough to privatise it? No is that reason enough to demand that heads roll on a huge scale? No. That’s all I’m saying.

  44. Katy — on 21st July, 2007 at 3:45 pm  

    I don’t hold any brief for the Sun, which I despise for a number of reasons including shoddy journalism. But since you keep bringing this back to a comparison of the Sun and the Beeb, the Sun did apologise for the Hillsborough front page, both at the time and again in 2005. Kelvin McKenzie, the editor, said later that he was forced to apologise by Murdoch and that he in fact stood by the article, but that reflects on him, not the Sun as an entity. Now, you yourself have said, in relation to the BBC, that you think it is individuals within the BBC rather than the corporation itself that are responsible for the fraud. That argument actually applies to the Hillborough situation as well, but when it’s the Sun you blame the Sun and not the individual players, and when it’s the Beeb you blame individuals and not the BBC.

    See? Double standards.

  45. The Dude — on 21st July, 2007 at 4:36 pm  

    KATY

    You’re wrong! Murdoch forced Mckenzie to apologis to the people of Liverpool because the people of Liverpool gave both the owner of News International and the then editor of The Sun, no other choice. To this day there are many newsagent in Liverpool who are still enforcing the boycott and sales of The Sun have yet to recover to pre-Hillsbourgh levels.

    Now if the member of the public who were ripped off by the BBC were to do the same thing (ie: stop paying the TV license fee) they would be breaking the law. Worse still I doubt if anyone (of importance) at the BBC will loose their jobs over this debacle and any financial penalty levied on the BBC will eventually be picked up by guess who….The license payer.

    See? That’s what I call a double standard.

  46. Katy — on 21st July, 2007 at 4:42 pm  

    Um, no I’m not wrong. Sunny said that the Sun never apologised. That is not in fact true. I pointed out that the Sun did in fact apologise and you’ve just told me that I’m wrong… and then gone on to say that the Sun apologised. It may well have been an apology born out of business expediency rather than genuine contrition and it may have convinced no one, but nonetheless the apology was tendered.

    And I agree about the situation re the licence fee. I’ve said so at least once above.

    So as far as I can see we actually agree on both of those points. But do go ahead and call me the dumbest female on the planet if it makes you feel better.

  47. Katy — on 21st July, 2007 at 4:45 pm  

    Just in case you’re having troubled spotting the bits that we agreed on, Dude, here is what I said about the apology:

    “Kelvin McKenzie, the editor, said later that he was forced to apologise by Murdoch and that he in fact stood by the article”

    and here is what you said:

    Murdoch forced Mckenzie to apologis to the people of Liverpool

    I hope that helps.

  48. The Dude — on 21st July, 2007 at 5:11 pm  

    You ain’t NEVER going to let me forget the folly of me calling you “dumb”.
    Chicken soup not withstanding, I’m sorry. Sorry I tell you.

  49. Katy — on 21st July, 2007 at 5:30 pm  

    Be sorry! Be very sorry!

    That’s okay. Bygones :-D

  50. leon — on 21st July, 2007 at 5:39 pm  

    Um. And?

    Exactly what I thought when I read that line.;)

  51. Sunny — on 21st July, 2007 at 6:39 pm  

    But since you keep bringing this back to a comparison of the Sun and the Beeb

    Because this original blog was all about how the attack dogs of the Sun keep trying to make this into an ideological battle.

    the Sun did apologise for the Hillsborough front page, both at the time and again in 2005.

    Doh! You got me. I just remembered that too.

    Ok, bad example, but the point still stands.

    Did you read Septicisle’s blog post?
    http://www.septicisle.info/2007/07/chutzpah-defined.html

    I think it quite clearly lays out the Sun’s hypocrisy on several issues, including its accusation in this very editorial that: “It admits it is “institutionally biased”, sneering at those whose views fail to coincide with its liberal consensus“, which of course is rubbish.

    You look like you’re trying to corner me into admitting that I hate criticising the Beeb. This is patently untrue.

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/sunny_hundal/2006/07/channel_4s_limp_discussions.html
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/sunny_hundal/2006/09/the_death_of_debate.html

    and more.

    I’m just sick of the hypocrisy of critical voices like the Sun and Daily Mail.

  52. j0nz — on 21st July, 2007 at 7:24 pm  

    The BBC is biased by it’s own admission.

    The Daily Mail and the Sun may be a bit loony right wing but ITS NOT FUNDED BY THE TAXPAYER!! People choose to pay and read.

    They need to sort it out. I don’t want to see the back of the BBC – it’s a world wide institution. But for the love of god they need to re-address the BBC staff to be more representative of the United Kingdom. Representative of the people who pay for the thing.

  53. j0nz — on 21st July, 2007 at 7:26 pm  

    Andrew Marr said the BBC is not impartial or neutral.

    It’s a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people..a liberal bias, not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.

  54. The Dude — on 21st July, 2007 at 7:31 pm  

    Sunny

    I know where you are coming from. Trust me, I do but neither The Sun or The Daily Mail operate under a public service remit. The BBC does and that my friend is the difference. Call it hypocrisy, double standards, call it an unfair world but Sunny shit happens and as a direct consequence of the BBC’s charter, the BBC is going to be judged by different standards to that of the Red Tops and the Neo-Con press. That’s life! That’s a fact. The BBC has failed in it’s duty of care to me, you and everyone who is obliged to pay the license fee in this country. The fact that The Sun and The Mail are nothing more than scum on a stick changes nothing as to the present situation at the BBC. Neither does the fact that Katy is a very sore loser. Maybe she should take a leaf out of Boris Johnson’s book and visit Liverpool.

  55. j0nz — on 21st July, 2007 at 7:31 pm  

    Here’s an example of bias, and why it’s a such a bad thing.

  56. The Dude — on 21st July, 2007 at 7:36 pm  

    Katy

    I was stupid in calling you stupid but I was provoked. What you taught me was I was stupid to be provoked. It is a lesson that I will not forget, lightly.

  57. Katy — on 21st July, 2007 at 7:38 pm  

    Neither does the fact that Katy is a very sore loser

    *scratches head* Whatever. But I agree with the Dude’s point about the BBC and the licence fee.

  58. Katy — on 21st July, 2007 at 7:40 pm  

    Maybe she should take a leaf out of Boris Johnson’s book and visit Liverpool.

    *scratches head again*

    Why, have I offended Liverpool?

  59. The Dude — on 21st July, 2007 at 8:14 pm  

    Katy

    Your original point (about The Sun’s apology on Hillsbourgh, post 44) all but ignored the role played by the Liverpool boycott and the effect it had on both Murdoch and his editor Kelvin McKenzie. This was people power at it’s most ruthless and the 1st time that McKenzie was to suffer a bloody nose at the hands of his readership. It was the beginning of end of his editorship of The Sun. Within Liverpool itself the boycott was total and absolute. It was much the same situation in the surrounding areas, as well as Sheffield. I just thought that the good people of Liverpool deserved a mention, that’s all.

  60. The Dude — on 21st July, 2007 at 8:34 pm  

    Apart from the above…..do you fancy a drink?

  61. leon — on 21st July, 2007 at 9:11 pm  

    Haha, brilliant thread derail!

  62. Rumbold — on 21st July, 2007 at 11:36 pm  

    Sunny:

    Criticising the Sun and Daily Mail is all very well; it is not difficult to do and most on this site (including myself) are broadly supportive of this criticism. What you have failed to address is why I, and others, should pay for the BBC when we believe that there are perfectly good sources of news out there.

  63. Chris Stiles — on 21st July, 2007 at 11:41 pm  

    What you have failed to address is why I, and others, should pay for the BBC when we believe that there are perfectly good sources of news out there.

    You don’t have to pay for the Beeb if you don’t want to.

  64. Rumbold — on 21st July, 2007 at 11:47 pm  

    I want to watch TV. I do not really want to watch the BBC. Yet I have to pay to fund the BBC. Or, taking the example of newspapers, it is like a public subsidy for the Sun even if you only buy the Guardian.

  65. soru — on 22nd July, 2007 at 1:39 am  

    What you have failed to address is why I, and others, should pay for the BBC when we believe that there are perfectly good sources of news out there

    Why should you pay for the army if you believe there are perfectly good mercenary companies out there?

    Some people (group #1) believe that essential components of a parliamentary democracy should be paid for by democratic agreement.

    Some people (group #2) believe that those with money have the right to own anything they want to pay for.

    People in the latter camp are going to use their influence on what they do own to attack those things they can’t. When they do so, judge not the fact of the attack, for that is inevitable. Judge what they are able to attack on, as that will what the weak points of the other side are.

    If the best case group #2 can possibly make is that the BBC once fixed the result of a children’s TV phone in, that really should be marked up in the column named ‘losing the argument’.

    It’s not that the children’s TV phone-in issue shouldn’t be dealt with, it’s that when you look at the actual situation on both sides, look at the BBC versus the Sun, judge who’s lying more, and with less scruples.

    Then, use that evidence of the real world to filter back to decide whether you are a person in group #1 or group #2.

    Look at the evidence, then decide what theory you find to be true.

    Not vice versa.

  66. The Dude — on 22nd July, 2007 at 1:54 am  

    Soru

    Pardon my french but what the hell are you talking about?

  67. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2007 at 2:35 am  

    The Dude,

    What, I think, Soru is saying is that the BBC is an institution, much like Hansard, or something.

    And what the great and the good, the Murdoch clan, the opponents of an independent voice will do, is create a storm in a teacup.

    They have their agenda….

    If you are ever bored, watch the quiz channels. I’d assume they are built on premium rate phone calls. They are obviously exploitative, the BBC less so. Though any exploitation ought to be exposed, why are we so narrow minded about targets?

  68. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2007 at 2:39 am  

    Here’s a suggestion for Brown or Cameron. Kill the premium rate jobsworths, deny them the right to exploit us!

  69. Rumbold — on 22nd July, 2007 at 11:16 am  

    I always love the use of ‘independent’ to describe the BBC, as if it was this tiny media organization struggling against the behemoths of the day. In fact, the BBC is far more beholden to the government (any government) then any other news organization, and has massive resources.

    If the BBC is so popular, why not make it a subscription service? Then all those who think that it is the greatest thing since sliced bread can pay for it. Every household with a TV already pays well over hundred pounds per year to the BBC, so there would not be much change, apart from for those of use who chose not to subscribe. What is it about this suggestion that you find objectionable?

  70. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2007 at 12:13 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Having been a recent victim, wrongly as it happens, of their enforcement folk, I have some sympathy with you. Shower of overbearing idiots. My solution would be to make BBC TV free. I am sick, fed up, with government arguing it can’t do stuff, because of expense, yet find Trident Mark 2, emminently affordable……

    Tuition fees

    Free dental treatment.

    Significant money into green technology.

    The list goes on…

  71. Chris Stiles — on 22nd July, 2007 at 1:18 pm  

    Having been a recent victim, wrongly as it happens, of their enforcement folk, I have some sympathy with you

    The task of enforcement is one of those outsourced functions. I believe the TVLA is another arm of the company that also owns Group 4 Security (of prisoner escape fame).

  72. The Dude — on 22nd July, 2007 at 3:58 pm  

    This is how I see it. The BBC is a public service broadcaster and yet most of the people who now work for it have absolutely no idea or concept of their responsibility toward either the institution (of the BBC) or the public who ultimately pays their wages. In short “Joe Public” is being taken for a ride by a bunch of Oxbridge trained monkey’s too drunk on their own self-importance to notice much else care about the ordinary man (or woman) in the street. That’s the problem NOT the license fee. That’s why I loved Greg Dyke. He was one of us NOT one of them.

  73. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2007 at 5:09 pm  

    The Dude,

    Excellent post, IMHO.

    Though whether they are barrow boys or Oxbridge types is moot. However, whoever they are, they are petty little money grubbers.

    Sack the lot of them!

    We deserve better than this.

  74. douglas clark — on 22nd July, 2007 at 5:30 pm  

    Chris,

    You are right in what you say. Having been on the receiving end of their threats, you do realize that outsourcing law to private companies is a recipe for stupidity. Or treating the law as an ass, as someone once said.

  75. Sunny — on 22nd July, 2007 at 8:37 pm  

    If the BBC is so popular, why not make it a subscription service?

    Because I see it as a public good. Both of the news services I like and watch, Channel 4 News and BBC NEws, are funded by the tax payer. And they have to be, subscription services will drive it to be even more populist and brain-dead.

    I think Soru’s point above was right on target.

    Here’s an example of bias, and why it’s a such a bad thing.

    J0nz – I’ve never said the BBC is free of bias. The corporation is the sum of thousands of producers, some left wing and some right wing. If you look at their editorial guidelines, they don’t have any innate bias contained within them.. except perhaps their closeness to the Westminster clique. Just showing me one or two examples of left-wing bias, when I could show you examples of right-wiong bias, does not make an argument alone.

  76. j0nz — on 22nd July, 2007 at 11:43 pm  

    Sunny there are literally thousands and thousands of examples of left wing bias at the BBC. There are several websites dedicated to pointing this out!

    Many very prominent people who have worked for the BBC as an organisation admit this. The BBC I would love to see examples of right-wing or conservative party bias for the bbc. Could you show me such bias? I would be very grateful.

    Greg Dyke director general of the BBC for four years,openly supports the Liberal democrats, which as you know, is to the left of the left-wing Labour party!

  77. Sunny — on 23rd July, 2007 at 2:41 am  

    j0nz – see this blog entry:
    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1206

  78. The Dude — on 23rd July, 2007 at 8:54 am  

    jOnz

    I couldn’t agree more with your second paragraph. Isn’t it funny how ex-employee’s of the BBC cry “left wing bias” the moment they step out of the door and start working for the likes of The Mail and News International. This kind of proves my original point. These people treat the institution of the BBC as nothing more than a stepping stone. Their commitment to the principles and ideals of Public Service broadcasting is paper thin. They are nothing more than modern day media carpet baggers and not one of “THEM” are good enough to lick Greg Dyke’s boots.

  79. Rumbold — on 23rd July, 2007 at 9:08 am  

    “Because I see it as a public good. Both of the news services I like and watch, Channel 4 News and BBC NEws, are funded by the tax payer.”

    Finally, we come to the crux of the matter; people who want the BBC to be taxpayer-funded do so because the corporation reinforces their world-view. I do not see the BBC as a public good- would you be happy being taxed to pay for Sky, if sufficient people saw it as a public good?

  80. ZinZin — on 23rd July, 2007 at 11:39 am  

    Finally, we come to the crux of the matter; people who want the BBC to be taxpayer-funded do so because the corporation reinforces their world-view.

    No Rumbold, Hundals point is that as channel four and the BBC are free from market pressures they produce better programmes espescially in the sphere of journalism. If the BBC/C4 were privatised would we get the likes of panorama/dispatches/unreported world/30 minutes?

    Look at ITV which has replaced world in action with tonight with Trevor Mcdonald which is nothing more than infotainment dressed up as news. ITV has to wheel out John Pilger to get any decent news/journalism to cover its public remit.

    Sky is a subscription service as you well know, so whats the point in comparing the BBC/C4 with Sky? They are very different beasts.

  81. Rumbold — on 23rd July, 2007 at 11:56 am  

    “as channel four and the BBC are free from market pressures they produce better programmes.”

    Eastenders.
    Jonathan Ross.
    Graham Norton.
    Programmes about selling stuff.
    Programmes about buying property.
    Reality TV shows.
    Hidden camera shows.
    Programmes with celebrities talking about uninteresting things.

  82. Rumbold — on 23rd July, 2007 at 11:58 am  

    “as channel four and the BBC are free from market pressures they produce better programmes.”

    Big Brother
    Gillian McKeith
    Programmes about selling stuff.
    Programmes about buying property.
    Reality TV shows.
    Hidden camera shows.
    Programmes with celebrities talking about uninteresting things.

  83. Leon — on 23rd July, 2007 at 12:23 pm  

    Eastenders.
    Jonathan Ross.
    Graham Norton.
    Programmes about selling stuff.
    Programmes about buying property.
    Reality TV shows.
    Hidden camera shows.
    Programmes with celebrities talking about uninteresting things.

    Little Britain
    Horizion
    Newsnight
    Question Time
    The State Within
    Anything about wildlife/the planet
    How We Built Britain
    Dr Who
    Regional News
    The BBC website
    BBC radio
    One Man and His Dog
    The Sky at Night

    Just a few random progs to show that the BBC output isn’t quite as you’d have us believe Rummy.;)

  84. Rumbold — on 23rd July, 2007 at 2:10 pm  

    Thanks Leon; I forgot to add Little Britain to my list.

    The BBC does screen some good programs. So does Sky and channels such as Discovery Civilization. Should there be a public subsidy for them too?

  85. ZinZin — on 23rd July, 2007 at 2:32 pm  

    Rumbold you fail to mention ITV and its good programmes. As for Sky those bastards took Lost away from Channel four. Have Sky produced any decent progs

    And I like Jonathon Woss.

    Commercial television always goes for the lowest common denominator a public funded service like the BBC that is free from commercial pressures can put out a wide and varied output for all tastes. If Sky was HBO your case would be stronger Rumbold.

  86. Rumbold — on 23rd July, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

    Sky show a number of good programmes, and if you subscribe to cable you can have access to high-brow channels like Discovery Civilization or CNN. What then, is the BBC for?

    How many programmes on BBC do you actually watch? If you watch a fair few, then you are clearly happy to watch rubbish TV, so should have no problem with commercial television.

    A subscription service would be best. This would allow the BBC to retain its structure and everything else that attracts its defenders. The rest of us would not have to pay for it, and so the BBC could get on with programming and not worry about having to defend its leftist agenda, as those who subscribed would be happy to pay for it.

  87. Leon — on 23rd July, 2007 at 4:54 pm  

    Sky show a number of good programmes

    How many of them did they create?

  88. ZinZin — on 23rd July, 2007 at 4:58 pm  

    How many programmes on BBC do you actually watch?

    Rumbold are you really that interested in y viewing habits?

    If so I watched Dodgeball on Filmfour on saturday night.

    Your turn.

  89. soru — on 23rd July, 2007 at 7:15 pm  

    ‘A subscription service would be best. ‘

    If you really think that is the best way to organise society, wouldn’t it be a good idea to try that subscription model out on something relatively unimportant like the military, fire brigade or health service, before you start messing with something as utterly essential to modern civilastion as the media?

  90. Rumbold — on 23rd July, 2007 at 8:43 pm  

    Leon:

    “How many of them did they [Sky] create?”

    I am not sure that really matters. The BBC are increasingly using independent producers. I think what is being shown is the key point.

    ZinZin:

    “Rumbold are you really that interested in y viewing habits?”

    Not really; I was trying to argue that the BBC produces a large number of poor shows, and that means if you watch the BBC regularly then you should be happy enough with commercial TV. On the other hand, if you hardly ever watch the BBC, then why are you defending it (the question was not posed specifically at you Zinzin- I should have been clearer).

    Soru:

    “If you really think that is the best way to organise society, wouldn’t it be a good idea to try that subscription model out on something relatively unimportant like the military.”

    The difference with the military is that it is rather hard to separate those who pay and those who do not if there is an attack. Would the RAF have to allow one house on a street to be bombed, and so on? If there was a way to do this, I would support it, but there is not. TV is much easier to ration, as you simply stop the household from getting the BBC signal.

  91. ZinZin — on 23rd July, 2007 at 11:52 pm  

    Rumbold 95% of TV is pure shit regardless of the channel. The BBC and Channel four are the only channels that commission the good stuff.

    On another matter they are cheaper than a sky subscription. The BBC offers value for money that they produce shit programmes for a mass audience is irrelevant along with Channel four they produce the programmes that I watch. Sky is football and the Simpsons and Lost which they took off Channel four (bastards).

  92. Sunny — on 24th July, 2007 at 12:56 am  

    The price you pay for Sky is actually much higher than the BBC, including services such as Radio and its website.

    Secondly,

    would you be happy being taxed to pay for Sky, if sufficient people saw it as a public good?

    If it was bound to the same rules as the BBC, yes.

  93. Avi Cohen — on 24th July, 2007 at 1:39 am  

    Sky is a cut down version of Fox. Slightly less influenced by Murdoch. Bit like the Times and the Sun. The Sun reflects what Murdoch thinks.

    The BBC is good but it gives too much airtime to Moanie Phillips. Also people like Paxman are too soft on Moanie Phillips.

    The Blair years have eroded the quality invesgative journalism the BBC was famed for. Now it goes running to the likes of Areil Sharon when he says he is unhappy.

    The right have mercilessly attacked the BBC.

  94. Rumbold — on 24th July, 2007 at 8:33 am  

    “The price you pay for Sky is actually much higher than the BBC, including services such as Radio and its website.”

    But one can choose to pay for Sky; the BBC does not give one that choice. Nobody has yet come up with a compelling reason why the BBC should be taxpayer-funded on pain of imprisonment. The main arguments seem to be:

    - It screens a few good programmes
    - It advocates a leftist agenda, which would not happen if it were privatized (presumably because people do not like that sort of thing).

    However, people seem to forget that Left-wing parties hold a clear majority in Parliament, so there would still be some call for the BBC’s world-view if it became a subscription service.

  95. ZinZin — on 24th July, 2007 at 9:03 am  

    However, people seem to forget that Left-wing parties hold a clear majority in Parliament, so there would still be some call for the BBC’s world-view if it became a subscription service.

    Oh dear, Rumbold thinks New Labour is left-wing and the BBc has a left-wing bias. Please give examples of this left-wing bias.

  96. Rumbold — on 24th July, 2007 at 9:11 am  

    ZinZin:

    New Labour calls itself left-wing, so people who are voting for it are voting for a self-defined left-wing party. It clearly is a leftist party, because of its obsession with comtrolling everybody’s lives (smoking, drinking at home, raising one’s children, CTV, etc.).

    If I provide evidence of left-wing bias, Sunny and others will just pop up and say look at this evidence of right-wing bias from 1737 (a critical report about Robert Walpole). The Independent is a left-wing newspaper, but as I do not have to pay for it, it can print whatever it likes.

  97. ChrisC — on 24th July, 2007 at 9:47 am  

    It’s not that what the BBC does is all bad.
    It’s that it does *too much*.

    And it does have a *self-admitted* liberal/left bias.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6763205.stm

  98. Katherine — on 24th July, 2007 at 1:05 pm  

    I really think that people who want the BBC shut down and/or privatised should take a good hard look at the quality of news media (in particular) of countries without a good public service broadcaster. No the BBC isn’t perfect. Never has been. It is in fact impossible to be perfect.

    But just the existence of a perfect standard has the effect of pulling services up to it. Do you really really want news media in the UK to be like those in the US, where party political broadcasting masquerades as news? Because that is surely where we would end up.

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