Friday, October 27, 2006

The sum of all liberal fears

Tom Leonard at the Telegraph discusses the first intimations within the BBC that it may be out of step with broad public attitudes.


The bandwagon is gathering momentum. Yesterday it emerged that a BBC executive, Ann Davies, has questioned whether the corporation should "help break the constraints of the PC police" after audience research found it was out of step with much of mainstream public opinion. Another BBC boss, Richard Klein, commissioning editor for documentaries, told staff it was "pathetic" for the BBC to pride itself on being "of the people".

Leonard is not convinced a transformation will happen any time soon. The organizational culture of this huge organization, with a budget larger than many nations, is probably so ingrained it will require a sandblaster, chisel and jackhammer to simply make an impression. Changing attitudes at the BBC would be like changing the religion of Saudi Arabia to Buddhism. One of Leonard's most telling anecdotes concerns the episode themes of Spooks, a series about MI-5 agents. None of the terrorists featured would be ones you've heard of.

I wouldn't know where to start in tackling the political correctness of BBC drama, but I think the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves would go to Spooks, BBC1's flagship series about impossibly right-on MI5 agents. The series was originally praised (by the BBC) for its accuracy about the real work of the Security Service. So what did it kick off with on the first episode? A pro-life extremist bomber out to cause mayhem. Come on, you must know about them! No? Well, what about episode two, which tackled the equally pressing issue of racist extremists in league with Right-wing politicians plotting mass murder of immigrants? I lost interest in Spooks, but tuned in again a few weeks ago for the start of the fifth series. It was about homegrown al-Qa'eda terrorists taking over the Saudi embassy and murdering innocent people. Except that they weren't British Muslims at all, but undercover Israeli agents. Once again, the villains are a million miles away from the ones you might expect, and top-heavy with the forces of reaction.

Commentary

I don't think an institution like the BBC, which BTW was used by George Orwell as his model for the Ministry of Truth in 1984, will ever change its spots. They are baked in. Nor does it have to, for so long as it stops charging a license fee to support itself. There is nothing wrong with holding a point of view, however Marxist. But there is something crazy about taxing people to impose views the taxpayers don't hold.

Recently there were prosposals in Britain to keep "religion" out of the public space. But what sense does it make to proscribe crucifixes, displays of the Ten Commandments, Nativity scenes and the like only to have a taxpayer-funded Church of Marxism running what amounts to religious programming every night? A level playing field for all. At least some people would be willing to watch the BBC and they can support it by providing it with an audience. As for the rest, they should be allowed to tune out, and keep their money. Of course there is the idea that the BBC is a public service, like the police, the fire department or the paramedics. But anyone who believes that then is demonstrably more credulous than a person who believes in any mainstream religion.

18 Comments:

Blogger 2164th said...

I noticed that The Telegraph is worried about the youts at the BBC while the BBC is worried about the youts in Paris, who are not particularly worried about much. Very worrying indeed.

10/27/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

We don't have to worry until The Sun removes the "Page 3 Girl" feature to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities. It's all downhill from there.

10/27/2006 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Asher Abrams said...

2164th -

Meanwhile, our collective biological clock is Ticking. Like. This.

10/27/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

Just Dropped In

I woke up this mornin
with the sundown shinin in
I found my mind
in a brown paper bag within
I tripped on a cloud
and fell-a eight miles high
I tore my mind on a jagged sky
I just dropped in to see
what condition my condition was in

(yeah, yeah, oh-yeah,
what condition my condition was in)

I pushed my soul
in a deep dark hole
and then I followed it in
I watched myself crawlin out
as I was a-crawlin in
I got up so tight
I couldnt unwind
I saw so much
I broke my mind
I just dropped in to see
what condition my condition was in

(yeah, yeah, oh-yeah,
what condition my condition was in)

Someone painted
April Fool
in big black letters
on a Dead End sign
I had my foot on the gas
as I left the road
and blew out my mind
Eight miles outta memphis
and I got no spare
Eight miles straight up
downtown somewhere
I just dropped in to see
what condition my condition was in

I said I just dropped in to see
what condition my condition was in
Yeah yeah oh-yeah

10/27/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

audience research found it was out of step with much of mainstream public opinion

How many billions of the proles' money did the BBC spend over the years to achieve so little influence over the people? That's got to be a worse record than Air America's failed propaganda project. They were grossly "out of step", too, but only took money from fatcat liberals and a needy children's charity to fund its righteous sneering.

10/27/2006 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Rob Spear said...

Who can say what the opinion of the public would be if they didn't have Auntie Beeb's babble around all the time? The UK's broadcast media all follows in their footsteps as far as I can see.

10/27/2006 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

If the desirability of reform of the BBC is so obvious to Americans then why do I have to contribute, via public funding, towards the substantially similar stream of garbage put out by NPR every day?

Every large public bureaucracy (except the ones where you might actually have to fight to defend the country) is eventually taken over by leftist parasites, looking for a place where they can shelter securely behind the civil service restrictions against firing them.

10/27/2006 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Being a UK public funded broadcaster, it should be expected that the BBC would serve British national interests. Of course since that is manifestly not the case when the BBC embeds correspondents with the Taleban, the government should privatize it, so the BBC can sink or swim competing for the leftist dollar on the open market. Or shut it down entirely.

Of course, being a bloated monstrosity entirely out of touch with rality, thats the same thing really :)

10/28/2006 01:50:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Incidentally, according to wikipedia the budget of the BBC is around 4 billion pounds a year, 3 billion of which is extracted from British tax payers.

Thats a fairly small cabal of people without serious responsibility who are committed to pumping cultural marxism into media around the world.

For comparison there are around 100 or so national governments with budgets that size or smaller.

10/28/2006 02:05:00 AM  
Blogger Don Cox said...

Although the BBC tends to have politics to the left of mine, there are roughly those of most members of the Labour Party, which won the last election by a big majority. The BBC is _not_ an arm of the government (except for the Overseas Service). It has always, in my memory, been at odds with the government politically, whichever party is in power.____And it does indeed provide a public service. Only a small part of its output has any political content. For me, the license fee is worth it for Radio 3 alone, and the web site is a good source of news. You just have to take anything they say about Iraq with a grain of salt.

10/28/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Don Cox said...

"Being a UK public funded broadcaster, it should be expected that the BBC would serve British national interests."___No, because it is not funded out of taxes or controlled by the state. It has the advantage of a special law to force people to pay for its services, but then the supermarkets have a law that people must pay for the food they collect off the shelves. Car Insurance is compulsory, like the TV license, but that doesn't make the insurance companies "state funded". You can still end up in court if you don't pay them.___Those who do not own or use a TV tuner do not have to pay the BBC license. Likewise those who do not own a car don't have to pay the insurance company.

10/28/2006 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger putnam said...

Living in Switzerland and working with numerous brits, wnat amazes me more than anything else is not that they all buy the BBC line, but how they can't even start to accept that the BBC is so biased.

But after working with an IT contracting Brit working here that says he is a communist, but owns an appartment in Spain that he claims he has made thousands on, and who recently bought a ski appartment in bulgaria sight unseen and hopes to make thousands on it, while all the while talking about how imperialistic and capitalistic the Americans are, and how Thatcher ruined the UK, I have lost all faith in the Brits.

In short I have yet to meet a Brit that is not a marxist at heart, at least as long as other side is american. As far as I can tell he British are the worst hypoctites on the planet, until you compare them to the rest of Europe, Russia, China, South America, the middle east, oh well...

10/28/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Don Cox,

"For me, the license fee is worth it for Radio 3 alone, and the web site is a good source of news."

And you are perfectly entitled to keep paying for Radio 3. The BBC has many good broadcasts which are without political content which people are glad to be charged for. But suppose a person didn't want, for whatever reason, to listen to Radio 3. Why should that person be charged a license fee to listen to something he didn't use?

I use the Internet a lot but I prefer plans which let me use the services that fit my profiles. Now a lot of plans include offers to preview games, sports, etc. And all of that is good for somebody. Certainly there's no argument to be made in principle against playing games and watching sports. But I would oppose any move to charge a license fee to provide these internet services in a mandatory or inescapable way. An Internet connection is arguably more necessary than TV or Radio these days, or at least on par with it. Who of us would want to see our Internet services provided by an organization like the BBC? That's not to say the BBC couldn't offer services like them, but offer them on par with everyone else.

Few would argue that ambulances, fire departments and police are needed by everyone. We'll need them all at one point or the other in our lives. But I'd wager that some people at least can get along just fine without the BBC. It's a "nice to have" for some, but that's different for a "must have" for everyone. Just my two cents.

10/28/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Sonspot said...

"...but then the supermarkets have a law that people must pay for the food they collect off the shelves. Car Insurance is compulsory, like the TV license, but that doesn't make the insurance companies "state funded"."

Of course not all supermarkets are the same. I bet many would be upset at having to pay Walmart fees regardless if they shopped there or not.

Car insurance laws aren't a cleverly contrived con by the auto insurance industry. The laws were put in place to protect insured drivers from uninsured and often wreckless ones.

Now if the BBC wanted to pony up some money to me everytime they got the weather wrong or I felt thier unbiased masked slipped, well then, I may reconsider, but then I doubt 4 billion a year would be enough to keep the doors open.

10/28/2006 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Psychotic Reaction

I feel depressed, I feel so bad
'Cause you're the best girl that I've ever had
I can't get your love, I can't get a fraction
Oh, little girl, psychotic reaction
And it feels like this!

I feel so lonely night and day
I can't get your love, I must stay away
Well, I need you, girl, by my side
Oh, little girl, would you like to take a ride now?
I can't get your love, I can't get satisfaction
Oh, little girl, psychotic reaction....

10/28/2006 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger Habu1 said...

Woo, fool that is money

Sorry, if you want it, here it is
Come and get it
But you'd better hurry 'cause it's going fast
You'd better hurry 'cause it's going fast
You'd better hurry 'cause it's going fast

10/28/2006 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

Wretchard, thanks for your two cents.

10/28/2006 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Don Cox :No, because it is not funded out of taxes or controlled by the state.
I wrote with care "public", because it is the UK public who are forced by law to pay for this monstrosity, and it is a UK state agency that enforces this licensing law (is that bizzare TV licence police with the TV detector vans funded by the BBC budget or does that comes from tax revenue?)

or controlled by the state.
Also not controlled in any way by the public who are extorted to pay for it.

It has the advantage of a special law to force people to pay for its services, but then the supermarkets have a law that people must pay for the food they collect off the shelves.
Applying the BBC model would demand that people pay a cover charge to enter the supermarket and subsidise foods that they don't eat. (or in the BBC case, foods that nobody eats, or perhaps the BBC would choose the food that you eat).

Car Insurance is compulsory, ..
As is most places, but in most places we get to choose our insurer. The ones that suck go out of business.

10/29/2006 09:01:00 AM  

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