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  • Time to stop supporting the BBC


    by Sunny
    18th September, 2007 at 2:38 pm    

    The BBC has lost its cojones. It has forgotten its editorial guidelines and every time the right wing blogs throw up a big fuss over something stupid, it hurriedly changes everything. It’s time, as I point out in my article today on comment is free, to abandon support for the BBC as a liberal-lefty. Instead we should attack it and challenge its right-wing bias every time. That is the only way to ensure it doesn’t move further to the right.


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    Filed in: Media,Party politics






    75 Comments below   |  

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    1. ChrisC — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:02 pm  

      Go on then.
      Start a “biased BBC” blog from the leftist viewpoint.
      Document the bias, as they do, example by example.
      Or would that be too much work?!

    2. Leon — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:02 pm  

      From the article:

      The likes of Iain Dale, Guido Fawkes and Biased BBC are merely following a strategy pioneered by the American loony-right blogs. It’s time the liberal left fought back.

      Well said.

    3. ChrisC — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

      “It’s time the liberal left fought back.”

      How?
      By writing articles on the Guardian website?!
      How else?

    4. Monty — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:08 pm  

      What a joke of an article. Right wing bias at the BBC? I like your attempt at inversion, considering the way the BBC fawn over the leftist agenda. Good luck with your “attack and challenge”. I feel you will have a lot of time on your hands because you will not find any right wing bias coming out of Labour’s broadcast wing.

    5. Sunny — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

      Start a “biased BBC” blog from the leftist viewpoint.

      Keep watching this space ChrisC

    6. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

      http://www.newssniffer.co.uk/

      Its brilliant.

      TFI

    7. Jagdeep — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:37 pm  

      So the BBC gets it from both ends, the loony tune right, and now the Left as well. Poor BBC, they employ so many Asian newsreaders, isn’t that enough to keep us happy?

    8. justforfun — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:41 pm  

      Jagdeep - LOL.

      Apparently not

      Justforfun

    9. Jagdeep — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

      They even have a black man doing the weather on BBC1. Did anyone ever think they would live to see the day when a black guy does the weather? Well?

      So what are you all complaining about?

    10. Leon — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:50 pm  

      So what are you all complaining about?

      Forces of conservatism be warned, we’re coming for you!

      Not till I see a turban wearing, transgender, punk hairstyled, vegetarian person on all BBC shows will I rest in my war to correct its politicalness! No surrender!!!

      Give me liberalism or death: don’t tread on me! >.<

      *lock and loads*

    11. Rumbold — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

      Why not just privatise it? It can be paid for by subscription, so it does not have to have any adverts. Those who choose to subscribe can do so safe in the knowledge that they are funding an anti-Israeli and pro-EU channel, while the rest of us will have a bit more money in our pockets. The subscription rate could be the same amount as the licence fee, so subscribers would still have access to ‘quality’ journalism. A situation that suits everybody.

    12. SKye-Vee — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

      Strange how you still got the little add on the right side of the page proclaiming “I believe in the BBC” when you urging everyone to stop supporting it.

      I believe in the BBC because I watch it. I don’t believe in the tooth fairy as I have seen no evidence for it’s existence. What I believe the BBC to be is another thing. I would say better than SKY, Fox and Star. Oops have I just railed of a whole load of Newscorp channels.

      Instead of withdrawing your support, do your duty and complain to Points of View. That Terry Wogan what a character!!!

      All confused? I am.

    13. Sid — on 18th September, 2007 at 3:54 pm  

      Now let’s see you have a bit of balance with criticism for racist Muslim states too.

      They were chopped off by the Hutton Inquiry and are now preserved in formaldehyde on Rupert Murdoch’s mantlepiece.

    14. Juggy — on 18th September, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

      If you stop support from a even a marginally independant channel, and in this case independant journalism, we are basically left with Murdochs Newscorp news channels.

      I’d rather have a poor independant BBC channel rather than Fox News.

    15. maz — on 18th September, 2007 at 4:04 pm  

      Seems you are just regurgitating what someone else said not so long ago. Not very journalistic of you really.

      http://comment.independent.co.uk/columnists_a_l/johann_hari/article2434962.ece

    16. Sunny — on 18th September, 2007 at 4:18 pm  

      Maz, (or should that be Muzumdar?) the article is linked from my own. Keep up!! It makes a different point. Try reading properly please.

      Juggy: I’d rather have a poor independant BBC channel rather than Fox News

      Yeah, but without criticism it may soon become Fox News Lite.

    17. QuestionThat — on 18th September, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

      How you can fail to understand how that explanation of “Why Did [the 9/11 attackers] Do It” quoted on the blog you linked to in the CiF piece might be objectionable is beyond me.

      Primarily, it is utterly amoral, implying that attacking US targets is a reasonable response to US involvement in conflicts in the Middle East - I assume either (being charitable) because of a misguided striving for complete neutrality) or (less charitably) because of the ingrained moral relativist thinking of those involved in the compilation of this guide.

      Additionally, it is well slanted away from consideration of religion when considering the motivations of the terrorists - no mention of converting the west to Islam, of rewards in paradise for suicide killers, or even of the ‘I’ word or ‘M’ words themselves. Note that it also took campaigning by Biased BBC and others to get “armed people” replaced by “Islamic fanatics” on the “What Happened?” page.

    18. Jai — on 18th September, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

      So what are you all complaining about?

      I insist that the BBC poaches the lovely Priya Kaur-Jones from ITV (previously from 5 News), along with that gorgeous Pakistani girl from the CTS Solicitors commercials (Reham Khan, I think). I will not rest until the ladies on the Beeb are as hot as those on Fox News. No siree. We need to hold a demonstration outside Bush House, with lots of irate and horny Asian dudes waving placards saying “Beeb today, you will pay, Monita Rajpal on her way”.

      I think it’s nice that the Beeb have rescued Sonia Deol from wherever she was hiding and now have her on that religious debate show on Sunday mornings. They even let Sonia bahenji wear her kara. And let’s not forget Hardeep Singh Kohli’s Texas-sized huge pink turban.

    19. Leon — on 18th September, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

      *adds Jai’s suggestions to his Manifesto For BBC Reform*

    20. Sunny — on 18th September, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

      Why not just privatise it? It can be paid for by subscription, so it does not have to have any adverts.

      That is possibly the worst suggestion. It would become like NPR.

    21. QuestionThat — on 18th September, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

      Better than the TV Tax that it is at the moment, Sunny.

      Are you ever going to even try to rebut the points I made in post 17 and in the CiF thread?

    22. septicisle — on 18th September, 2007 at 5:28 pm  

      I’m not really sure where you’re going with this Sunny. It’s one thing to treat the BBC like all the rest of the media and fisk it hard and fast whenever its bias, either from the left or the right becomes self-evident, but withdrawing support from an institution that increasingly needs it more than ever as the attacks on it become ever more over-the-top and hysterical seems to me to be a recipe for disaster.

      For those questioning the license fee, look at it this way: what other service in this country gives you television, radio and internet services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for £135? Answer: none. If it was to disappear, like so many other things I don’t think we’d miss it until it had gone. And we all know full well what would step in to fill the breach, but I think that a lot of those on the right would be perfectly happy with that.

    23. SKye-Vee — on 18th September, 2007 at 5:28 pm  

      Could complain to newswatch too. That’s a good show on News24.

      Point is don’t throw your toys out the pram and say you are not gonna be Aunty Beeb’s friend anymore.
      Use what influence you have to change them rather than get everyone to turn their backs on, and withdraw support for the BBC.

      You can support an organisation and still highlight the mistakes they make. My dad criticises me all the time but he still supports me. Although I am a liability sometimes.

    24. Guy Aitchison — on 18th September, 2007 at 5:44 pm  

      A good example of this approach might be to challenge some of the language used to describe Iraq and the war on terror (which should be prefixed with an “alleged” or a “so called”). Too often the language of the US/UK and Israeli governments is uncritically accepted by the BBC, and I don’t just mean awful phrases like “collateral damage”. Insurgents are labelled “terrorists” or “Al Quaida”, cities and people are said to be destroyed by the “conflict”, implying something natural disaster-like and impersonal like a hurricane, rather than US bombing. And when are we going to hear about the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza? (I remember reading somewhere that most people thought it was the Palestinians doing the occupying).

      These are some examples, but I think the problem is not just one of the right-wing blogs, it is that the Government itself will fiercely come down on any attempt to challenge the unthinking assumptions behind mainstream coverage, especially after their successful moves to chasten the BBC following the Hutton affair.

    25. Sunny — on 18th September, 2007 at 5:49 pm  

      but withdrawing support from an institution that increasingly needs it more than ever as the attacks on it become ever more over-the-top and hysterical seems to me to be a recipe for disaster.

      What has our support gotten us??? It has made the BBC accept that the left isn’t going to complain about its right-wing bias and thus its more intent on appeasing the right than simply good, fearless journalism.

    26. soru — on 18th September, 2007 at 6:07 pm  

      And when are we going to hear about the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza?

      http://search.bbc.co.uk/cgi-bin/search/results.pl?tab=all&go=homepage&scope=all&q=israeli+occupation&Search.x=57&Search.y=18

      Results from All of the BBC
      Page 1 of 26 pages for israeli && occupation

      Just saying.

    27. septicisle — on 18th September, 2007 at 6:10 pm  

      Thing is, I think the BBC is the best we can ever possibly hope to have. As angry as some of its reporting makes those of us both on the left and right, its impartiality is still there, and hopefully isn’t going to disappear any time soon. You know as well as I do it bends over backwards to try and be as unbiased as possible, and the recent changes it’s made have made it far, far more accountable than almost any national media outlet apart from maybe the Grauniad. The vast majority of the public still support it exactly because of this, despite the recent travails, even if some may well blanch if the licence fee keeps going up inexorably. If we stop defending it from unwarranted attacks both from the far-far left and right, it’s only going to get the plug pulled even sooner.

    28. Arif — on 18th September, 2007 at 6:29 pm  

      I’m afraid I almost agree with Sunny on this one. The BBC seems to me to be trying to justify its editorial lines in terms of acceptability. The boundaries of the acceptable are probably defined by a combination of the subculture of its journalists, the political instincts of senior managers and the shrieking of fanatics. And that’s where the “left”, by being comparatively silent, has abandoned leverage on the first two groups.

      But I think the BBC could itself be more open and proactive in how it defines its editorial lines - for example by setting up principles and definitions for emotive terms deployed in response to all of us shrieking fanatics, and just using the terms consistently, with a rationale.

      It will get things wrong and keep changing the rules perhaps, but being conscious of its rationales should improve both its ability to defend itself from unfair criticism and the standards of its reporting.

    29. Guy Aitchison — on 18th September, 2007 at 6:35 pm  

      soru, you should have read those examples you linked to first. Most of them are quoting other people who refer to the “Israeli occupation”. This is not the same as the BBC regularly using the word in a news report. And most of the examples only refer to Israeli occupations of southern lebanon anyway, and not to gaza and the west bank. So, you can see my point that a distorting impression is given.

      And since I mention Lebanon it’s not just the language I’m talking about. Remember the conflict last summer in which the Israeli chronology was unthinkingly accepted so that it looked like Hezbollah provoked the entire thing?

      There are of course many more examples. But, anyway, I think this whole thing is a good idea. Have you thought about providing some orgnanization to it Sunny? Is there already a site that does something like this akin to BiasedBBC?

    30. Rumbold — on 18th September, 2007 at 8:16 pm  

      Jai:

      If you want attractive newsreading-Asian babes, then surely Asha Tanna (Five News updates) is top of the list.

    31. Rumbold — on 18th September, 2007 at 8:31 pm  

      Sunny:

      “That is possibly the worst suggestion. It would become like NPR.”

      Why is it a bad suggestion? If enough people want BBC then they will subscribe. If nobody wants that sort of BBC, then how can one justify the TV tax?

      What is NPR?

    32. Rumbold — on 18th September, 2007 at 8:47 pm  

      Sunny:

      Also, going back to the discussion about the differences between a liberal and a left-winger, I think this demonstrates that you are closer to the latter. A liberal would say that as there are a plethora of channels people should choose which one to financially back. A left-winger would say that the right-wing media is too strong (even though it only exists because people choose to fund it), so there should be a taxpayer-funded channel to ensure that ‘differing’ views are put across.

    33. Tim Ireland — on 18th September, 2007 at 10:34 pm  

      Rumbold: You make the mistake of assuming that the right-wing aspect of the media earns this level of support based on the merit(s) of strong arguments, honestly put. (As opposed to, say, staggering levels of fear-mongering and deception and outright bullying when they are called on it.)

      A liberal can object to an undue level of influence if this is achieved by foul play*, as this kind of behaviour undermines equality of opportunity.

      (*Foul play includes the deliberate projection involved in claiming overpowering left-wing bias on the basis of invented, overblown and cherry-picked evidence.)

    34. Boyo — on 18th September, 2007 at 10:52 pm  

      Surely the fact that the left and right (and everyone in-between) think the BBC is biased is a good thing?

    35. Tim Ireland — on 18th September, 2007 at 11:17 pm  

      Boyo’s nailed it. The Biased BBC weblog cherry-picks a small amount of data from a massive and eclectic pool. Just one of the reasons why I think a leftish version of their site would be an error:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_Men_and_an_Elephant

      But Sunny does have a point about the BBC caving to pressure too readily these days. And they say Blair doesn’t have a legacy to stand on…

      What the BBC needs is a robust and fact-based defence from the public when they are under attack and in no position to defend themselves.

      (Take, for example, Rupert Murdoch. He is free to attack the BBC on a regular basis because his readers are unlikely to consider his agenda, care about it or even know who he is. If the BBC responded in kind, Murdoch could and would get away with having his flunkies scream ‘hidden agenda’ and/or ‘personal attack’.)

    36. sonia — on 19th September, 2007 at 11:54 am  

      heh good one jagdeep (7)

      anyway, surely “attacking” the BBC would mean not supporting the licence fee. so if you think its not doing its public good bit, the detractors will be no doubt very happy - who needs public service broadcasting they’ll say?

    37. Rumbold — on 19th September, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

      Tim Ireland:

      ” You make the mistake of assuming that the right-wing aspect of the media earns this level of support based on the merit(s) of strong arguments, honestly put. (As opposed to, say, staggering levels of fear-mongering and deception and outright bullying when they are called on it.)”

      The right-wing media survives because people choose to pay for it. The BBC survives because people are forced to pay for it. If one keeps refusing to pay for the BBC, one can eventually be sent to jail; so for refusing to fund an anti-Israeli and pro-EU channel one is treated the same as murderers and rapists.

      All BBC defenders:

      If the BBC was made a voluntary subscription service, would you subscribe?

      If you answered yes, then why do you have a problem with a subscription service?

      If you answered no, then why are you defending the BBC?

    38. Tim Ireland — on 19th September, 2007 at 12:57 pm  

      Get over yourself, Rumbold. You’ve done nothing to address my point about the conditions under which people choose to pay for ‘the right-wing media’.

    39. Rumbold — on 19th September, 2007 at 1:06 pm  

      Tim Ireland:

      “You’ve done nothing to address my point about the conditions under which people choose to pay for ‘the right-wing media’.”

      All media organisation distort the situation to a certain extent to make their point. In that, the left is as culpable as the right.

      “Take, for example, Rupert Murdoch. He is free to attack the BBC on a regular basis because his readers are unlikely to consider his agenda, care about it or even know who he is.”

      Presumably because anybody who reads a Murdoch paper must be a complete moron. Murdoch is free to attack the BBC if he wants, and if his readers object to that then they can switch papers.

      “Get over yourself, Rumbold.”

      What does that even mean? Care to answer my question about a subscription service.

    40. QuestionThat — on 19th September, 2007 at 1:37 pm  

      People choose to pay for the right wing media because they’re stupid and wrong and I’m right and the BBC are right even though Rumbold’s post #37 is 100% true and if I thumb my nose too much more it’ll fall off.

      Is that right Tim?

    41. Derius — on 19th September, 2007 at 1:50 pm  

      Personally, I don’t want to see any bias coming from the BBC News, even if is agreeable with my viewpoints. They should be reporting the news factually, and that’s it, unless it’s specifically labelled under an “Opinion” column.

      Therefore, I am prepared to support any blog that is dedicated to show any bias in the BBC, as long as they can actually back up their arguments comprehensively with evidence.

      Ultimately, as we in effect have no choice but to pay the licence fee, the BBC should not be pushing ANY political agenda.

      I look forward to what you come up with Sunny. I am a little sceptical of the bias you refer to, but if you do manage to come up with anything tangible, then I will be happy to complain to the BBC about it.

    42. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 2:07 pm  

      Tim Ireland appears to be a rather sad (if rude) individual whose own blog (comments:0) seems strangely obsessed with Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes.

      Rumbold and others are right.
      The arrogance of the left is extraordinary.
      The “right wing” press does not brainwash people into reading it. It appeals to people’s pre-existing prejudices.
      Same for the “left wing” press - except there are fewer people who share those particular prejudices.
      It is certainly not the BBC’s job to “balance” the Sun.

      The BBC’s funding regime is untenable - even if it wasn’t a ludicrous £3billion. (Where on earth does it all go?)

      Anyway - I look forward to the left-wing “Biased BBC” blog. Will that ever happen?!

    43. Sunny — on 19th September, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

      A liberal would say that as there are a plethora of channels people should choose which one to financially back.

      Not necessarily. Again, you’re interpreting liberalism as straightforward market capitalism. A liberal can argue (as I do) two points:

      1) An independently financed media organisation such as the BBC is a Public Good (which liberals are not against)

      2) That an independent media is needed for a vibrant democracy where everyone, not just the powerful with vested interests, gets a hearing. That is also part of equality of opportunity.

      But yes, I’m also on the left. So I said liberal-left.

      so for refusing to fund an anti-Israeli and pro-EU channel one is treated the same as murderers and rapists

      Using ludicrous analogies only weakens your argument.

    44. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 2:25 pm  

      “An independently financed media organisation such as the BBC is a Public Good (which liberals are not against)”

      I’m not sure that state-financed is the same as “independently” financed, is it?!!

      I agree that a “public service broadcaster” would be a public good.
      Unfortunately the BBC ceased to be that (or mostly that) a very long time ago.
      If it were to shrink substantially - by at least 75% - and concentrate on providing what commercial providers do not (Radios 3 and 4, old style BBC 2 type documentaries and drama) - then it might have a chance of my support.

    45. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 2:35 pm  

      Put another way - even if I agreed (which I don’t) that the BBC should be there to “balance” other news output - we don’t need them to “balance” other kinds of output, do we?

    46. Sunny — on 19th September, 2007 at 2:48 pm  

      I’m not sure that state-financed is the same as “independently” financed, is it?!!

      A public good has to be financed by the state otherwise you have what is known as the ‘free rider problem’.

      It’s a bit like trying to develop a scheme so that only people who use a particular road pay for it. Or only people who drive cars pay for a road.

      If it were to shrink substantially - by at least 75% - and concentrate on providing what commercial providers do not (Radios 3 and 4, old style BBC 2 type documentaries and drama) - then it might have a chance of my support.

      News is the most important part of being an independent broadcaster/media org that can help a vibrant democracy.

    47. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 2:53 pm  

      Sorry - I meant to include news.
      Though I’m sure that can all be done with 25% of the BBC’s current budget.

    48. Kismet Hardy — on 19th September, 2007 at 2:54 pm  

      If the BBC went kaput, could I stop paying my TV licence?

    49. Kismet Hardy — on 19th September, 2007 at 2:56 pm  

      If BBC don’t have adverts as not to interrupt programmes, that’s been lallsed up ages ago. I fucking hate the ending of a show ruined by a big banner or voiceover announcing the next piece of shit that’s coming on

      Points of View hasn’t been the same since Eldorado killed Wogan

    50. The Common Humanist — on 19th September, 2007 at 3:03 pm  

      Yes ChrisC, much better the agenda be set by ‘the market’ or as it really is several unaccountable to the public media conglomerates…..rather then the public BBC……

      Can’t see a problem with moving to a star chamber of middle aged white guys deciding what hits the screens…

      The reason commercial broadcasters hate the beeb is that it almost always does things better. Proof of this - the stampede to buy BBC Output abroad compared to the privates. Only Ch4 can share the same universe as the beeb in those terms. Oh….and that has a public good orientated remit.

    51. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

      I’m not quite sure why you put “the market” in inverted commas? In what sense is the BBC “accountable”? I have to pay whether I want it or not. No-one forces me to pay for HBO.

      “The reason commercial broadcasters hate the beeb is that it almost always does things better.”
      I know what you mean - all those dreadful private sector shows we’re forced to watch like Sopranos, Simpsons, Seinfeld, Lost, 24, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City - thank goodness for Holby Blue, eh?

      I think you’ll find that most of the BBC shows sold abroad are co-productions with the dreaded privates.

    52. Tim Ireland — on 19th September, 2007 at 3:19 pm  

      Rumsfold: I did not call Murdoch readers etc. morons; you took us to yet another false extreme to prop up your case. However, I will go on the record as saying that I think that Rebekah Wade treats Sun readers like morons. As for your carefully framed question, I choose to ignore it, as it’s set on a simplistic and false premise.

      ChrisC almost tripped over the point when he finished playing the man:

      “The “right wing” press does not brainwash people into reading it. It appeals to people’s pre-existing prejudices.”

      Not all of those prejudices are healthy, and some are more easily exploited than others; some favourites of the right such as xenophobia and homophobia are key examples.

    53. Tim Ireland — on 19th September, 2007 at 3:46 pm  

      Additionally, for ChrisC: recently many right-wing bloggers have been revealed to be users of that pathetic defence/attack technique known as sock-puppeting. This being the case, it is not advisable to make comments like your #42 opener anonymously and/or with a simple nickname and no online ID to back you up, as the suspicion will always be that such comments have actually been posted by Dale or Staines.

      (The icing on the cake here, BTW, is where you use the number of comments a blogger receives as an indication of their worth.)

    54. Rumbold — on 19th September, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

      ChrisC:

      “The “right wing” press does not brainwash people into reading it. It appeals to people’s pre-existing prejudices.
      Same for the “left wing” press - except there are fewer people who share those particular prejudices.
      It is certainly not the BBC’s job to “balance” the Sun.

      The BBC’s funding regime is untenable - even if it wasn’t a ludicrous £3billion. (Where on earth does it all go?)”

      Excellent points.

      Sunny:

      “1) An independently financed media organisation such as the BBC is a Public Good (which liberals are not against)

      2) That an independent media is needed for a vibrant democracy where everyone, not just the powerful with vested interests, gets a hearing. That is also part of equality of opportunity.”

      What does ‘independent’ mean? The Daily Telegraph is independent, so is the Daily Mail, so is the Guardian. Would you support a state-funded newspaper?

      If the BBC was made a voluntary subscription service, would you subscribe? This seems a fair question to me, but all pro-BBC commentators refuse to answer it- please can you explain why.

      “Using ludicrous analogies only weakens your argument.”

      Okay, that was a bit hyperbolic on my part.

      Tim Ireland:

      “I did not call Murdoch readers etc. morons; you took us to yet another false extreme to prop up your case. However, I will go on the record as saying that I think that Rebekah Wade treats Sun readers like morons. As for your carefully framed question, I choose to ignore it, as it’s set on a simplistic and false premise.”

      You said that they would have no understanding of what Murdoch was about. It sounded like you were calling them morons to me, but if you were not, then I apologise for misquoting you.

      Why is my question about subscription based on a false premise? All I am saying is that if one wants the BBC one should be willing to pay for it.

    55. Tim Ireland — on 19th September, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

      I said; “his readers are unlikely to consider his agenda, care about it or even know who he is”

      That makes them potentially careless or misinformed, but not moronic.

      To understand why your question is based on a false premise, consider how many careless and misinformed people there are in the world… and how likely they are to be led by their prejudices.

    56. Rumbold — on 19th September, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

      Tim Ireland:

      “To understand why your question is based on a false premise, consider how many careless and misinformed people there are in the world… and how likely they are to be led by their prejudices.”

      Sorry, I still do not understand why that means people should not be allowed to choose to pay for the BBC- or are you saying that people do not know what is good for them, so the intellegensia have to step in?

    57. Sunny — on 19th September, 2007 at 4:18 pm  

      Same for the “left wing” press - except there are fewer people who share those particular prejudices.

      You’ll find most people in this country are socially liberal. It’s a fallacy to think most people buy particular newspapers based on its political/social agenda. Apart from the Telegraph. But then we know what the average age of its readers is.

      What does ‘independent’ mean? The Daily Telegraph is independent, so is the Daily Mail, so is the Guardian. Would you support a state-funded newspaper?

      Yes I’d support an independently state funded newspaper as long as it had strict editorial guidelines like the BBC and openly admitted its faults when caught out. The BBC does this way more than the press. I could point to tons of examples of terrible reporting by the press which was never admitted. Forest Gate raid anyone?

      On the other hand, after the Forest Gate fiasco and the Molly Campbell fiasco I was invited on Five Live (and Today I think) to talk about where the BBC had gone wrong in its reporting.

      Do you ever see that level of introspection at the right-wing press? I think you know the answer. The BBC is bastly more accountable than the press, including the Guardian.

      What does ‘independent’ mean?

      Not run by commercial interests or the editorial whims of the editor. We seem to accept that its ok for Paul Dacre, the Barclays Brothers and Rupert Murdoch to dictate who their papers should support, based on their own relationships with our political leaders, without asking what a corrosive impact this has on politics.

    58. Rumbold — on 19th September, 2007 at 4:27 pm  

      Sunny:

      “Apart from the Telegraph. But then we know what the average age of its readers is.”

      We are all young and hip now, downloading Simon Heffer and suchlike.

      “Yes I’d support an independently state funded newspaper as long as it had strict editorial guidelines like the BBC and openly admitted its faults when caught out.”

      But you already have the Guardian and Independent. I am not a fan of either of these newspapers but I do not have to fund them.

      “Not run by commercial interests or the editorial whims of the editor. We seem to accept that its ok for Paul Dacre, the Barclays Brothers and Rupert Murdoch to dictate who their papers should support, based on their own relationships with our political leaders, without asking what a corrosive impact this has on politics.”

      But if you do not like their agenda you can take your business elsewhere.

      “Do you ever see that level of introspection at the right-wing press? I think you know the answer. The BBC is bastly more accountable than the press, including the Guardian.”

      I agree with you on that point, as newspapers often go over the top but then never admit that they were wrong later.

    59. Tim Ireland — on 19th September, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

      Rumbold: “or are you saying that people do not know what is good for them, so the intellegensia have to step in?”

      Tut. You were waiting for me to say something akin to that and simply ran out of patience, didn’t you?

      :o )

      The closest you’re going to get, though, is that sometimes people don’t know what they’ve got.

      Tell me, in the subscription model that you’ve clearly put some considerable thought into, how would people decide what specific services (if any) they were willing to pay for?

    60. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

      “You’ll find most people in this country are socially liberal.”

      I agree.
      So now are most newspapers.
      The Mail and Sun are no longer homophobic as they might have been 20 years ago.

      “It’s a fallacy to think most people buy particular newspapers based on its political/social agenda. Apart from the Telegraph. But then we know what the average age of its readers is.”

      Isn’t that called “ageism”? ;-)
      Actually I don’t know the average age of its readers. Is it older than the Mail?

      I’m not sure I agree.
      While of course it’s not a perfect correlation, to turn the argument around, I don’t see left-wingers readily buying the Mail or right-wingers the Guardian, do you?

    61. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

      “how would people decide what specific services (if any) they were willing to pay for?”

      In they same way they decide what other specific goods and services they are willing to pay for, I assume.

    62. Rumbold — on 19th September, 2007 at 4:41 pm  

      Tim Ireland:

      “Tut. You were waiting for me to say something akin to that and simply ran out of patience, didn’t you?”

      Heh. Yes I was. The BBC and the EU seem to bring out this view in some left-wingers, as ordinary people cannot be expected to make an informed choice on these sort of matters; they need the help of people who have studied sociology at university.

      “Tell me, in the subscription model that you’ve clearly put some considerable thought into, how would people decide what specific services (if any) they were willing to pay for?”

      It could be broken into packages, like Sky does. You could have current affairs, ‘entertainment’ and so on. It would never be perfect, but it would allow people who think that BBC news is great to carry on funding it. I might even consider buying the current affairs package, as I like Question Time. But I would like to have the option of having the option.

    63. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 4:42 pm  

      “(The icing on the cake here, BTW, is where you use the number of comments a blogger receives as an indication of their worth.)”

      Not of their “worth” - who is do judge that?! - but possibly the level of others’ interest?
      Unless perhaps your thousands of readers are simply too overawed to comment?

    64. Sunny — on 19th September, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

      The Mail and Sun are no longer homophobic as they might have been 20 years ago.

      Their prejudice is more hidden than it was 20 years ago, that’s the only difference. There was a good article, can’t remember where, in which the author talks about how Americans start using codewords for their prejudice than being open about it.

      Is the Sun still not homophobic? Don’t bet on it.
      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1257

      And the Express’ less coded and more open racism
      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1183

      The idea that the country is mostly to the right of the BCB is a fallacy. It’s actually to the left. The only problem is that the right-wing papers sell propaganda on the back of tabloidy tittle tattle (which is the real product). It says nothing about the values most people subscribe to.

    65. Tim Ireland — on 19th September, 2007 at 4:56 pm  

      ChrisC: Me don’t know. Who is do judge that? Me know having watch many Tory blogger that many Tory blogger *fake* level of interest. Me ignore your other comment, as you clearly have point miss.

      Rumbold: Heh. Thought so.

      :o )

      In my view, your proposed model is more than a few steps away from perfect. The BBC is more than the sum of its parts and a lot of people are simply unaware of the positive impact some of those parts and the collective body have on their lives.

    66. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 5:01 pm  

      “The idea that the country is mostly to the right of the BCB is a fallacy. It’s actually to the left.”

      LOL

      Now you’re getting silly!

      On what issues is the country mostly to the left of the BBC??

    67. Rumbold — on 19th September, 2007 at 5:07 pm  

      Most people vote for left-wing parties, but read right-wing newspapers. This suggests that either the right-wing papers are just better, or else people do not agree with everything that they read.

      Tim Ireland:

      “The BBC is more than the sum of its parts and a lot of people are simply unaware of the positive impact some of those parts and the collective body have on their lives.”

      Such as (on the caveat that I think that the news output is biased)?

    68. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 5:09 pm  

      Strange then if most of the country is to the left of the BBC, and you would acknowledge that the BBC is to the left of every newspaper except (perhaps - and that’s a big perhaps) the Indy and the Guardian (where they do all their advertising).
      Yet the Indy and Guardian have a combined market share of what, 5%?
      Is the sensibly left-inclined population of the UK so easily swayed by “tabloidy tittle tattle” that they are prepared to overlook the “coded bigotry”?

      Not convincing!

    69. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 5:11 pm  

      “Most people vote for left-wing parties”

      No.

      Most (well, almost half anyway) people don’t vote at all!

    70. soru — on 19th September, 2007 at 5:14 pm  

      I am not a fan of either of these newspapers but I do not have to fund them.

      There are many MPs I am not a fan of. I still have to pay their salaries.

      Why should it be legal for someone to own a newspapaer or TV station? Why should a journalist who could be proven to have taken money from a Murdoch not face disgrace and jail, in the same way an MP or policeman would?

      I would sooner replace the army and police force with Blackwater mercenaries than let the country become a quasi-democracy like the US, where key components of what would otherwise be a democratic system are openly owned by rich and strange individuals.

    71. Tim Ireland — on 19th September, 2007 at 5:24 pm  

      Just one, hopefully neutral and illustrative:

      I paid for the development of the League of Gentlemen without knowing it, without enjoying it; I didn’t catch a single edition of their early radio shows:
      http://www.leagueofgentlemen.co.uk/spent.shtml

      Many people who enjoyed the show still have no idea that there was a radio show that preceded it. Using this as an example, can you see that someone willing to pay for TV comedy but not radio comedy *might* be missing out on more than a few audio funnies?

    72. ChrisC — on 19th September, 2007 at 5:29 pm  

      I take that example.

      But I don’t believe that a pared-down BBC could not do the same thing, devoid of the constant lunatic drive to compete on every media front, on 25% or less of its current income.

    73. Sid — on 19th September, 2007 at 6:24 pm  

      We are all young and hip now, downloading Simon Heffer and suchlike.

      In that case, I’d rather be old and tired.

    74. Jai — on 19th September, 2007 at 7:36 pm  

      Rumbold,

      If you want attractive newsreading-Asian babes, then surely Asha Tanna (Five News updates) is top of the list.

      Cute enough. I’m assuming you haven’t seen Reham Khan from the Claim-Today Solicitors commercials though, unless you subscribe to some of the Asian satellite/cable channels. She’s quite jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

      We could always kidnap Monita Rajpal from CNN and stick her next to Riz Latif on BBC’s London news. I’m sure she has better things to do with her time than earn a filthy amount of money and travel the world living the fab-life on that “Art of Life” show she anchors.

      (With apologies to everyone else for the lowbrow threadjack. Carry on).

    75. Rumbold — on 19th September, 2007 at 8:32 pm  

      Jai:

      I have not seen Reham Khan (I think). I do watch Star Plus the odd time, but most of the adverts are either for ‘Southall Travel’ or “the largest carpet wearhouse in West London”. Monita Rajpal is nice looking, but I still prefer Asha Tanna.

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