Is the BBC left-wing?

Discussing art and media trends and organisations generally

Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Elliott » 29 Mar 2012, 15:11

Gavin, it wasn't so much the word "refugee" I was amazed by, as the fact that people could casually say that the Brits don't want loads of foreigners coming over. Nowadays you would be forced to "justify" that statement, whereas in this episode from 1994 it is simply accepted.

Roger Scruton would be wonderful for a religious conservative. As it is, his religious views somewhat get in the way for me, even though I instinctively agree with him that a religion-less culture is barren. (I don't think he's actually said that; I'm paraphrasing.)

He definitely comes from another age. He is very (and proudly) old-fashioned. He talks about "obedience" and conformity as prime virtues - I think I'm too modern to subscribe to that.

But a lot of what he says does still hold even if you're not religious. I'll plug it again: his book The Uses of Pessimism is a great read. He spends the first seven chapters discussing logical fallacies, then delights you with a chapter that illustrates why we are prone to these fallacies by giving us a snapshot of life in tribal times. He tells it like a story and you recognise all these little things he's mentioned hitherto. It's a clever trick and it works wonderfully.

Then I heard a debate a couple of years ago in which he was arguing against Dawkins and Grayling, defending religion. Then it seemed to me he was in the wrong (because I was mainly concerned with religions' often absurd claims, their retardation of scientific progress and so on) but now, especially after reading TD, I'm not so sure it's all that simple.


It never is. Depending on who you ask, Christianity held us back or it was the engine of our civilisation. It suppressed science or it promoted science. You can never get a definitive answer on Christianity's "track record".

Some would say "Well, you can have all the good bits of religion without religion". I suppose now I wonder whether that definitely can be the case, en masse.


Religion provides a reassuring sense of magic and wonder.

Telling people to feel fine after you've denied them religion is like... well, it's like telling a child Santa Claus isn't real then saying "but you can still enjoy Christmas!" Yes, the child can still enjoy Christmas, but never in the same way, and he will always be trying to recapture the joy he once felt about it.

Dawkins et al seem to say "well, you're suggesting that we should all remain children, believing in superstitious nonsense". The trouble is, men like him can manage it. I think most people can't. What they end up doing is distracting themselves with momentary "happiness" - sex, consumer products, hobbies, experimenting with "identity" etc. But the god-shaped hole remains.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Caleb » 29 Mar 2012, 23:59

Elliott: I don't believe the presence or absence of religion really leads people to or away from vice or bad behaviour. If anything, the most violent places, the places with the highest levels of crime of all sorts, the places with the worst issues with alcohol, financial mismanagement (personal or governmental), promiscuous sex, etc. are quite often also very religious. I don't think such places are in any way full of magic and wonder. They're brutal, horrible places.

Ask yourself this: would you rather live in the Philippines or Denmark? Would you rather live in Norway or Bolivia? Possibly the one country in the Western world that is truly religious is the United States. Yet again, there is a very interesting distinction between New Hampshire and Alabama, or Connecticut and Arkansas.

I live in a country where people drive like idiots. One insight into this is that a lot of people go to the temple to burn ghost money so they will be lucky, often including not having an accident. Any jaunt through the third world will quickly dispel anyone's illusions about religiosity.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 30 Mar 2012, 09:41

I won't move posts now but if someone would like to pick up on this thread you might like to do so here, with reference to this thread, so that we can keep this for the leftism of the BBC.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 14 Jun 2012, 17:40

Ed West has written an excellent article (as usual) citing plenty of examples of the institutional leftism of the BBC.

jeffersonian wrote:Excellent article Ed.

The bias in the Beeb's news coverage goes deeper though than being laudatory towards Labour and the liberal left and not towards the Tories (let alone UKIP). It has infected how the corporation frames the questions up for debate.

Take the riots last year for example. The question wasn't 'why do feral youth run rampage across London and behave like savages', but instead variations on the theme 'what have we/schools/society done wrong, to make/compel or force youth to behave in such an unfortunate way' - implicitly, and from the outset exonerating the savages of any personal responsibility.

Similar examples abound regarding debates around climate change, the EU, Israel and the Arabs and other topics.

By framing the debate itself in way skewed toward leftist viewpoints they effectively exclude opposing viewpoints from the outset - which is even more pernicious.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 21 Jun 2012, 15:42

I never listen to the Today Programme these days. Actually I almost never listen to BBC Radio 4, because within seconds of turning it on one notices the obvious left wing bias, and it has just become sickening now.

I did turn it on in the car briefly earlier. It was a programme called Open Book, with Mariella Frostrup. Several lefties were around a table discussing literary London. (I realised with some horror that I had actually met three of them in real life!) I heard the miserable tones of left wing grotesque fiction writer Will Self. Then author Ben Aaronovich, whom The Telegraph reports is "son of the late Marxist intellectual Sam Aaronovitch, and Rona Munro" and who "later became a scriptwriter for Ken Loach, the left-wing film director". I then heard a female black writer speak and she had a lot to say about the vibrancy of London. I noticed her poor diction and thought it a shame until she said she was currently speaking in her formal voice since she was on the radio. She is the author of this book and I suspect she wasn't a conservative.

There was only one other speaker at this leftfest and she seemed to be a little less left wing than the others, but I suppose she was a leftie or she wouldn't have got on.

Anyway, the luvvies sat around the table speaking about the books they had read about about London. Not a single word was said that remotely echoed the hundreds upon hundreds of comments at The Telegraph and the London they describe. Perhaps this is because the commenters don't all live in Islington.

Anyway, this really was the only time I have turned the BBC on for weeks and I heard this instantly, so I think that answers the question of this thread! It's just transparent with the BBC now - they don't even try to hide their leftism. They really need taking in hand. But how, with the Lib Dems weighing down the conservatives (if such they can even be called)? They can only be brought under control control once there is a conservative government, I think.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Elliott » 21 Jun 2012, 16:29

I doubt very much that Rona Munro is Ben Aaronovitch's mother. She's a Scottish lesbian. Funnily enough they worked together on Doctor Who in the late 80s.

Aaronovitch's story featured an underground organisation who were, you guessed it, fascists - and not only that, they were in league with the daleks! The very next story was a parody of Thatcherite Britain, with Sheila Hancock playing a parody of Thatcher herself.

Rona Munro's story, FWIW, was a tale of urban decay and poverty, with a lesbian subtext.

And to think I was absolutely in love with that show...
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 21 Jun 2012, 17:18

I only made quick checks on Mr Aaaronovich but I assume he is of a left wing persuasion? Not sure about his brother, who seems to feature more widely in the media. The BBC is just so predictable though, don't you think?

Maybe there are not many conservative novelists - I assume it would be quite hard to be published or promoted. TD is certainly not very well known yet I think "So Little Done" was a brilliant novella.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Simon » 22 Jun 2012, 11:10

It’s usually fairly subtle, but the left/liberal bias is there all right. Once you’ve developed your ‘personal filters’, especially with their news/comments/discussion programming, you’re onto what they’re up to in a moment. With other areas of their content it’s more based on a relentless drip, drip, drip approach. I was particularly struck by a reader’s reply to the DT on this very subject with regard to the Corporation’s drama/entertainment output. It got me thinking. I think he’s onto something. Here’s an extract of what he wrote…
‘BBC Drama is where the irritation lies for me as I feel like I’m being lectured by the right -on every time I give something a go, every single format from Balamory to Doctor Who to the latest cop/spy show gets co-opted into telling "progressive" parables - probably because the BBC only uses about 5 writers who keep unloading their issues on us all...
Waking the Dead/Spooks - our worthy investigators uncover right wing conspiracies and shady white middle class businessmen at every turn. And Israeli agents provocateurs. No Islamic terror exists in the world, although there is plenty of scary made up Christian head chopping
Garrows Law - an ahead of his time 18th century lawyer pursues a bewildering rights based agenda defending minority groups and the rights of women in the 1750s
Doctor Who - the dumbed down and fashionably inarticulate baby talking hero rights galactic wrongs with his feisty female and pansexual chums and defends us against scary future monks and Cat nuns
Survivors - the world is wiped out and the only religious character left in Britain is a Muslim. The survivors have to defend their society against nasty gun owning white men and other undesirables who might not fit into an Islingtonian future...’
Spot on ‘pertweesghost’ whoever you are!
As regards myself, the BBC’s relentless approach only makes me want to run in the opposite direction. I think it was PJ O’Rourke who wrote a piece about attending some religious convention in the USA and said that he went prepared to scoff, but came away converted-to Satanism!
I wonder if the BBC has considered that it might soon be the victim of its own success in that they’re now having the opposite effect of what they so clearly intend?
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Elliott » 22 Jun 2012, 14:41

Welcome to the forum, Simon.

There's a thread specifically about BBC drama here. I won't duplicate here the points I made in that thread, except to say that I agree with you (and pertweesghost) that BBC drama has a definite left-wing/liberal slant to it. It's more by omission that inclusion; it's not that they trumpet left-wing ideas, but that they constantly denounce right-wing ideas. There are never nice conservative characters in a BBC drama; they're always the villains (though the same could be said of Channel 4 and even ITV productions).

However, as much as the BBC leads public opinion, it is also bound to the mores of the age. If it broadcast a sympathetic drama about neo-nazi skinheads, one cannot imagine the backlash (especially from other parts of the media).
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 22 Jun 2012, 16:36

Yes, welcome, Simon.

I wonder if sometimes what the BBC (and all the other lefties) are trying to do is actually lecture all the Muslims and third world people in the UK. This is the most charitable interpretation possible, I suppose. They're trying to teach them that they are actually the "good guys" and shouldn't go bombing people and so on. Trying to give them a good example, Islam is peaceful and... I don't think I can sustain this!

It's just lying really. I'm not sure presenting an alternative reality where every criminal is middle class and white (or at least white) and Muslims all love peace is actually helpful at all. It's better to tell it how it is, otherwise this causes extreme resentment in your own native population, increased dislike and division.

The BBC obviously doesn't care about the native population, on the whole. I just lost count of the amount of times I would turn on the radio and hear something about India or Africa and I would think "Well, this is moderately interesting" but I did not want it ad nauseum! You do after a while just develop Islamonausea with the BBC (Pat Condell's great term). I'm just sick of them. They're supposed to represent Britain and British culture, not the Middle East or Africa.

The thing is their every dealing with Islam would be a whitewash too, never anything critical. Just so predictable. It's so immoral, their desertion of traditional British cultural values - and this is indeed where we should expose them repeatedly - on the emotional level. They are conspiring to undermine western civilisation with their extreme bias. And all the time their executives take home enormous salaries to their North London homes for their dinner parties with the rest of the liberal elite. The apparatchiks of the BBC are no different to those of the EU really.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 04 Jul 2012, 16:15

There's a pretty good article here collecting together many examples of the BBC's clear left wing bias.

On this, the 4th of July, it's interesting to note the BBC's constant anti-Amercian bias (so bad that their USA correspondent Justin Webb had to complain about it). There are many other examples of their political correctness and bias in the article, and of course at Biased BBC.

Let us also not forget news anchor Peter Sissons' dramatic outing of the organisation. One would think this kind of thing would have been a game changer, but nothing happened.

The new Director General is apparently the man who organised the shamefully dumbed down coverage of the recent jubilee, so let's not hold our breath on that one either. The BBC obviously isn't balanced, so if it cannot be reformed it needs to be abolished, I think. I would rather see it reformed, actually - forced to present the other side of the story - and a strong government could bring this about.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Elliott » 05 Jul 2012, 00:18

Yes, the new DG doesn't seem to give much reason for optimism. Peter Oborne has written a good article about his appointment.

I actually haven't seen much of the Jubilee coverage, though I can't find a good word about it anywhere. It seems to have been a complete disaster. I can't believe they thought it would be a good idea to frame it as a trivial extended One Show report, instead of a historic occasion, relating to a tradition and identity which many British people are now quietly desperate to retain (but which, in all likelihood, the BBC care very little for).
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 15 Jul 2012, 11:04

I did it again! I did not tune into Radio 4, because I knew twee and obvious drama The Archers was on - it is indeed always a race to change the channel before its irritating theme tune begins. But instead I made the mistake of tuning into the BBC World Service.

A left wing film maker from Tottenham (where the riots started) was being interviewed. He said "Well this is what I wanted to show in my film. It doesn't matter if you're the Prime Minister or a kid in Tottenham - everybody's view is equally valid". The interviewer was very approving of this attitude and they went on agree that the Olympics will bind London together in a new spirit of solidarity. It will be a new multicultural utopia because of the Olympics, everyone will love them, thank goodness they are coming to London!

Actually, in my view, they are of no importance at all, and will simply be a massive nuisance in the city. There are already countless examples of the nuisance they have become, and the British are just not capable of organising something like this properly any more, as has been clearly demonstrated. They will however serve as a terrorist target in an already targeted city. Thankfully the courts summarily dismissed the case of residents who actually tried to take issue with the MOD installing rocket launchers on their tower block. Who do people think they are these days?

David Starkey was allowed onto the BBC as a token right winger the other day. You can hear him give his views on the Olympics here!
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Michael » 15 Jul 2012, 19:15

The interviewer was very approving of this attitude and they went on agree that the Olympics will bind London together in a new spirit of solidarity. It will be a new multicultural utopia because of the Olympics, everyone will love them, thank goodness they are coming to London


It would be interesting to conduct a survey of previous Olympic host cities and see whether any social indicators (unemployment, homelessness, drug abuse, assaults, theft, vandalism) improved after the Olympics or not. I think the result would probably be unimpressive.

A better indicator, perhaps, would be the World Cup, that other pointless arena for nationalistic boasting and competition, with a singularly more lamentable (and vastly larger) fan base. Was Cape Town any better off, more multicultural and integrated, for hosting the World Cup? Did that event bring Cape Town and the world anything more worthwhile than the wretched vuvuzela?
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Caleb » 17 Jul 2012, 09:03

Michael: I don't know how well or badly the best host cities (e.g. Sydney) have fared, but I believe some time back (so I'm not sure if this still holds) that some cities, such as Montreal (1976), were still paying off the bill.

There was actually an interesting short documentary on the Olympic Games recently. I would have liked more depth, but it was still nice, none the less. Will Self was a precious pain in the posterior, although some of his points might have actually had some merit if he'd reframed them.

I basically tune the Olympics out whenever they're on. I don't even remember the last one I really watched more than about a minute of (perhaps it was Atlanta or Barcelona). I think they're a massive waste of time, money and effort. I'm in Australia on vacation at the moment, so everyone here is getting pretty geared up for them, as is to be predicted. Fortunately, Taiwan never really gets a showing or even seems to care about such things, and by the time the Olympics start, I'll be back there. So, I'll pretty much sidestep the complete nonsense entirely.
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