Is the BBC left-wing?

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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 22 Sep 2012, 07:00

This could really go in any thread, but I wanted to say that there is one - only one, as far as I know - big alternative to the BBC, and that is of course Fox News. The lefties have tried to make us embarrassed to even mention it, but when you actually watch it the opinions expressed and truths stated are often highly refreshing. One would never hear such fearless honesty on the BBC.

I have just installed a great media centre called Plex and this is a good way of watching Fox and many other channels (e.g. NASA, National Geographic). Here are links to a couple of recent videos on there:


The second video features a man who is, strangely, a Muslim in favour of free speech - maybe he needs to get his Koran out again and have a read. But the whole angle of the report is good - namely that Obama's appeasement is neither right nor likely to impress Muslims.

There's an interesting video by Bill O'Reilly too in which he discusses the way that ignorance sways voters. I read a little more about Mr O'Reilly and noted that Whoopi Goldberg walked off his programme when he said that Muslims bombed America on Sept 11th. Maybe she walked straight into a BBC studio instead where such statements of truth are prohibited from being spoken.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Caleb » 24 Sep 2012, 00:38

I'm sorry, but I can't take Fox News seriously as an alternative to the BBC. It's more of the same shrill, partisan nonsense, just from the other side. Fox News can hardly be called an improvement in journalistic standards.

As for Bill O'Reilly, the man is a loud mouth and a bully. Often, he won't let his guests get a word in. Many of the other people on the Network are complete dullards (e.g. Sean Hannity). About the only one I ever had time for (if he's still even on) was Neil Cavuto. I don't know how he got a job on that network though because he was far too calm and reasonable.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Elliott » 28 Sep 2012, 23:43

Here is a rather amusing little report on the BBC.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 13 Oct 2012, 17:17

I'm not going to take easy shots at the BBC here. I just wanted to say that I'm not in the least bit surprised that "Sir" Jimmy Savile has turned out to be an alleged child molester. I remember thinking he was pretty weird even as a child and am glad I never went on his programme.

But with the news that many in the organisation may also have covered up similar behaviour by their hallowed presenter John Peel, one does wonder just how toxic the place really is.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Elliott » 13 Oct 2012, 17:23

Ian Hislop and Paul Merton have a rebuttal to this:

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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Elliott » 14 Oct 2012, 07:50

Here's a fascinating example of the BBC being left-wing as far back as the 1930s:

There is no written evidence that Churchill asked the BBC for the opportunity to speak out against appeasement. However, he did complain to a young BBC producer who visited him on the day after Chamberlain returned home from Munich. A memo records their meeting. They spent hours discussing the Nazi threat and “Churchill complained that he had been very badly treated… and that he was always muzzled by the BBC”. The producer was called Guy Burgess. The man who would become his country’s most famous traitor tried to reassure the man who would become its saviour that the BBC was not biased.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 14 Oct 2012, 08:12

That's interesting. What a great man Churchill was! I got married at his family home actually, Blenheim Palace.

By the way, I have been watching the excellent documentary The World at War, which was not made by the BBC and was narrated by Laurence Olivier. This is widely reckoned to be the gold standard for documentary making.

In early episodes it is striking how similar the world seems to have been in the early 1930s to how it is now. When you hear about how the Nazis were, it's really no wonder they had such admiration for Islam, and Churchill had such antipathy towards it. We're seeing just the same kind of appeasement now as happened then, even demonisation of those who wish to stand up against an intolerant, expansionist ideology with a very poor record on human rights. That the left cannot see the irony of their position is frankly flabbergasting - perhaps evil too.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Caleb » 15 Oct 2012, 06:52

I have mixed feelings about Churchill. He did a lot of good, but he was also responsible for Gallipoli, as well as gassing the Kurds. In WW2, he sanctioned the bombing of Dresden, and he was also an appeaser of Stalin.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Tom » 15 Oct 2012, 23:23

It is difficult today for us to fully recognise the situation of the allies in world war two. It was a battle for survival with no certainty of victory. Everything possible had to be done to win. The bombing of Dresden was a terrible thing, but at the time, it was thought to be the best use of scarce resources. I understand that there's a strong argument that those resources could have been better used to hamper the German submarine programme, but that is a question of operational analysis, and not of morals.
We didn't have the luxury of fighting cleanly. The consequences of failure would have been too terrible. The guilt for the loss of life in Dresden lies with the Nazis.
Stalin was perhaps as monstrous as Hitler, but we didn't have a free-hand in the way we dealt with him. Russia was suffering terrible casualties and they were principally responsible for Hitler's defeat, while on the Western front we were stalled. We had to give Russia whatever support we could, and think ourselves lucky that we weren't in their place.
Churchill was not perfect when viewed through modern eyes, but no one from that long ago could be. He was a very great man, and we were very lucky to have him.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Caleb » 16 Oct 2012, 00:37

I disagree entirely. If Chamberlain was bad for giving Hitler Czechoslovakia, what can we say of the men (including Roosevelt) who gave Stalin all of Eastern Europe? WW2 was supposedly fought to free Poland. Yet there were two sides to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Britain (and France, and later the U.S.) should have either been prepared to go all the way to Moscow, or they shouldn't have been involved at all (in the case of Churchill, because the war had already begun, he should have negotiated an exit from WW2).

Nazi Germany, I believe, would have eventually got rid of Hitler once he had served the purpose of returning them to their position of pre-eminence in Europe, because the German populace was essentially middle class and cultured. Hitler would eventually have been ousted from within. The same cannot be said of Stalin and the Soviet Union, which continued to terrorise Europe (and the world, especially the third world) for decades during the not-so Cold War.

Even if Nazi Germany hadn't been reformed from within, Hitler's ambitions were always eastward. Western Europe could have actually played a game of goading him into attacking the Soviet Union and making him think they were offering at least tacit support, if not something more substantial. Meanwhile, they could have bought themselves time to actually prepare for conflict (both Britain and France were woefully underprepared for WW2). Then, after Germany and the Soviet Union had torn each other apart, Western Europe could have rolled in from the West and not stopped at Berlin. It would have cost Western Europe far less materially, but more importantly, it would have also stopped, and probably reversed, the cultural decline that had begun decades earlier.

WW2 absolutely devastated Western Europe physically, economically, and most importantly, culturally. It led to the creation of the E.U., the absurd situation during the Cold War where Europe couldn't even be bothered defending itself (because it abdicated that responsibility to the U.S.) and Europe's seeming complete loss of vitality.

In Britain's case, they lost an empire (actually, not just an empire, but the largest in world history) and became so heavily indebted that eleven years later, they had the Suez Crisis, and even since that, they have never really recovered economically. WW2 was an unmitigated disaster for Britain, and probably represents the largest, fastest downsizing in world history, especially for a nation that wasn't actually conquered and supposedly won a war. Despite Britain supposedly winning the war and Germany losing, who has the more important economic and political position in Europe?

It's a complete meme that Britain won WW2 and Churchill was a great man. Gallipoli should have been a sign of things to come. There's a massive cultural hangover with British today that they had an empire...they had Churchill...rar, rar. Yet they're a middling power on the fringe of Europe (who won't even stand up to Europe's meddling), at best America's lap dog. You call that a victory?

If Churchill is such a great icon of conservatism, what exactly is it that he conserved?
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 16 Oct 2012, 07:09

Tom, I agree.

Caleb, yes, terrible side effects from the Second World War. But surely you know that Hitler was intent on world domination? His armies invaded numerous countries including Britain (an air invasion, of course).

The Nazis tended not to treat people very well when they invaded. Churchill (along with the other Allies) conserved freedom in Europe and in the world.

As for Stalin, I think they made the best call they could at the time. It wasn't perfect but the Allies were exhausted by 1945 and perhaps simply not in a position to start a campaign (which the Germans had already lost) against the Soviet Union as well. Since nuclear weapons were now in the picture there was instead a Cold War.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Caleb » 17 Oct 2012, 02:00

To what extent did Hitler have plans for world domination? My understanding is that he had designs on Eastern Europe for his so-called living room and that in some senses, he admired other Western European nations.

Furthermore, if Britain and France had refrained from entering WW2 prematurely, they would almost certainly have been able to build up their military capabilities (rather than being outmatched in 1939, hence part of the fall of France in 1941). This would probably have led to a Cold War between Britain and France (and perhaps the U.S.) and Germany, and most likely a hot war between Germany and the Soviet Union. Entering WW2 in 1939 (and then still not freeing Poland or Czechoslovakia!) was a massive strategic and diplomatic blunder. As I have also noted, it also cost Britain and France their empires, heavily indebted them, and contributed to the present cultural malaise we see today. Britain's influence abroad, and its own confidence, plummeted after WW2.

Churchill did not conserve freedom in Europe and the world. Please look at the actual facts. The situation in 1939 was that Czechoslovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were not free in Europe. Five nations. In 1945, those five, plus additionally Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and part of Germany (and you could throw Albania in there also if you like), with many other nations having to tread a very careful path with the Soviet Union (e.g. Finland and Yugoslavia, not to mention the attempts by the Soviet Union to back communist parties that had a real chance of gaining power in countries such as Italy and France). If Europe were free after WW2 because of Churchill, how do you explain 1956 in Hungary or 1968 in Czechoslovakia? Did those years represent more freedom in Europe? How does an increase in the number of countries under the direct influence of an insane dictator and oppressive regime(s) represent (more) freedom in Europe?

If the world were freer after WW2 because of Churchill, how do you explain the many communist insurgencies, backed by the Soviet Union (or Communist China) around the world? In other words, the not so cold Cold War? America had its hands full for decades dealing with the consequences of not finishing the job with the Soviet Union (and also the PRC) when they had the chance. Likewise, the Suez Crisis represents just what a complete Pyrrhic victory WW2 was for Britain. It also shows just how badly WW2 had cost Britain economically. Do you know that Britain only finally repaid its war debt to the United States under Gordon Brown?

Again, what's the point in simply replacing Hitler with Stalin? Were they really that naive to think that Stalin wouldn't want his pound of flesh, and that he would be a nice guy? If they weren't prepared to finish the job, they shouldn't have started it. It's as simple as that. Again, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact had two parties to it. Surely that alone should have rung big warning bells. Stalin was already a monster, to be sure, but the other Allies fed that monster.

Incidentally, the Soviet Union did not have nuclear weapons during WW2. They did not make their first nuclear test until 1949.

Many of that generation of British politicians, perhaps embodied by Churchill, was reckless polticially, diplomatically, militarily, and especially economically. They were the very antithesis of conservative. Britain, Europe, and the world paid a very steep price, and is still paying a very steep price. Again, Gallipoli should have served as fair warning.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Gavin » 17 Oct 2012, 07:51

Caleb wrote:To what extent did Hitler have plans for world domination? My understanding is that he had designs on Eastern Europe for his so-called living room and that in some senses, he admired other Western European nations.


Yes, he had some respect for them but that didn't mean he didn't ultimately want to take them over! It wasn't only about "lebensraum" - luckily people didn't really believe that at the time. I don't know if you have read Ian Kershaw's Hitler - it's a big book and which I've been reading for some months at the same time as others.

Ian Kershaw wrote:In earlier years, Hitler had invariably spoken of his own ‘mission’ as the mere beginning of Germany’s passage to world domination. The whole process would take generations to complete. But, flushed with scarcely imaginable triumphs since 1933 and falling ever more victim to the myth of his own greatness, he became increasingly impatient to see his ‘mission’ fulfilled in his lifetime.


Hitler was not the personality type to expand the living space a little and then say "Okay, we'll leave it at that".

I'm quite surprised by your harsh view of Churchill and, like Tom, am inclined to think the Allies did the best they could in extremely difficult circumstances at the time. I'm just a layman and not a military historian so I may be wrong, but that remains my impression.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Jonathan » 17 Oct 2012, 09:26

If Chamberlain was bad for giving Hitler Czechoslovakia, what can we say of the men (including Roosevelt) who gave Stalin all of Eastern Europe? WW2 was supposedly fought to free Poland.


Neither Roosevelt nor Churchill can be said in any sense to have 'given' Stalin all Eastern Europe. Stalin took Eastern Europe by force of arms, and it would have taken another world war to wrest them from him.

Chamberlain connived at delivering a free and independent state into German hands - a state which had its own army, and with some international backing would have been willing and able to stand against Hitler.

The two cases are not at all similar.


Nazi Germany, I believe, would have eventually got rid of Hitler once he had served the purpose of returning them to their position of pre-eminence in Europe, because the German populace was essentially middle class and cultured.


I think it is a mistake to treat Hitler as if he were a tool used by middle-class Germans to achieve modest strategic aims. From 1933 to the end, Hitler worked to gain Totalitarian control of his party and his country. The Reichstag fire, the Night of Long Knives, the army purges, the secret police, the concentration camps (even before they became death camps) all tightened his grip on Germany. Even before 1939, Germany had lost any semblance of control over Hitler.

If Churchill is such a great icon of conservatism, what exactly is it that he conserved?


Churchill's decision to continue the war - supported by Halifax and Chamberlain, btw - led to the preservation of the independence of Britain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and establishment of democratic regimes in Italy and Germany. It's true that Eastern Europe went from the frying pan into the fire, but that doesn't mean it wasn't worth saving Western Europe. Half a loaf is better than no bread.

You cannot fault Churchill in 1939 for not anticipating that the USSR would turn out to be more militarily powerful than Germany, and dominate the East after an allied victory.

To what extent did Hitler have plans for world domination? My understanding is that he had designs on Eastern Europe for his so-called living room and that in some senses, he admired other Western European nations.


My understanding is that every bloodless victory increased Hitler's appetite. He swallowed up the Rhineland, Austria, the Czech sudetenlands, all of Czechoslovakia, the rest of Slovakia, parts of Pomerania, and Poland one at a time. Most of these were not limited to Eastern Europe. At each stage he concocted a dubious rationale, and assured the rest of the nations that this was his final demand.

There was no basis for supposing that if only Poland were sacrificed, all of Hitler's further aggression would be limited to Russia. The Munich Pact was based on the supposition that this was the last of Hitler's territorial claims, and even Chamberlain eventually understood that he'd been fooled. It was Chamberlain who declared war on Germany in September 1939, after all, not Churchill in May 1940.
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Re: Is the BBC left-wing?

Postby Caleb » 18 Oct 2012, 01:46

My point is not that I would have given Eastern Europe to anyone. As I pointed out originally, I would have tried to buy more time. Britain (and France) was woefully unprepared for WW2. As those inflight safety demonstrations always exhort, please put your own oxygen mask on before attempting to help others. Given better preparation, the war need not have been so devastating to Britain and Western Europe, both at the time and afterwards. Always fight a battle/war when and where you choose. Even better, as I have also mentioned, would have been to goad Hitler into attacking Stalin, and then clean them both up after they'd torn each other apart. Britain and France could have accomplished that if they'd bought themselves more time, and (importantly) ramped up their own military capabilities. They had the economic power to do so at the time. They just completely jumped the gun, literally.

People can say that peace/territorial integrity in Europe was conserved, but it wasn't. The net situation before WW2 was that Western Europe was already free. It was occupied because of its entry into WW2 (or in the case of some countries, because Germany went through them to get to France, or occupied them for strategic/resource reasons against the Allies). If Britain and France had not declared war on Germany, it is unlikely that Western Europe would have been involved until it had chosen to become involved. Thus, my points above.

However, the explicit reason for going to war, to liberate Poland, was not realised. I'm not sure how many times I have to write this, but Poland was invaded by two countries -- Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. At the end of the war, and for almost half a century afterwards, it was still occupied. Other nations were also occupied. Until 1989, there was a net decline in European freedom, and the country really carrying the torch in Europe was the United States through NATO, precisely because Britain and France had been so weakened by WW2 that they were incapable of standing against the Soviet Union. The argument here seems to be that it's great that I'm not beating you with a stick anymore (Hitler, Nazi occupation), despite the fact that I'm now beating you with a rock (Stalin, the Soviet Union). Of course Stalin had designs on Eastern Europe because he had already been granted Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and parts of Finland and Romania in 1939 under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and he later acted upon that pact.

I know Churchill didn't declare war on Germany, but he continued to prosecute a war that failed in its original aims, heavily indebted Britain, and lost it an empire. In the span of one generation, Britain's world power (and actually, Western Europe's world power generally) fell off a cliff, precisely because no one played the long game. You'd think people would have got wise after WW1, but apparently, it took World War Fool Me Twice. Why am I critical of Churchill? Because he and many of his generation were vastly inferior to their equivalents in the previous century. It wasn't the first time Europe or Britain had faced existential crisis (e.g. Napoleon), yet in all but on paper, it was a complete disaster for Britain and Europe. As I also keep pointing out, the warning bells regarding Churchill should have been evident based upon Gallipoli.

Chamberlain and Churchill were both wrong for opposite reasons. Chamberlain wanted peace, but forgot the old maxim of "if you want peace, prepare for war", i.e. he forgot to ramp up Britain's military capabilities until it was capable of fighting. Churchill was too gung-ho. What if Japan hadn't bombed Pearl Harbor and Germany hadn't declared war on America? What if Hitler hadn't invaded the Soviet Union? Churchill and Britain wouldn't have been able to liberate anyone anyway, as evidenced by them running with their tail between their legs both at Dunkirk and in the Asia-Pacific region (most notably in the case of Singapore). Britain was on the winning side of WW2, as was France, but neither was actually a winner. After Dunkirk, Britain was a spent force in WW2 and was completely carried by the U.S. and U.S.S.R.

This is not an anti-British, anti-conservative rant. Quite the opposite. It's a lamentation for what shouldn't have been because what did come to be was the result of an absolutely colossal strategic blunder that was anything but conservative.
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