Friday, January 12, 2007

BBC Censorship

Some of you may know that the BBC run a basic message board system on their website.

They claim this allows users to discuss the issues of the day or subjects relevant to the particular section of the site.

On Sunday, Andrew Marr interviewed Gordon Brown. This was generally accepted to be little more that a party political broadcast for Brown.


"Starts off in Brown's old school, with a posed shot of Brown entering striding across the grounds. We learn he was top boy and in the rugby team. Brown loves being pictured with school children, none are available so the headmistress is drafted in instead.

Marr's interview is in the school library and starts off tamely on education. Brown's smile becomes genuine only when Marr asks him "do you expect to become PM?" Brown swerves direct answer and waffles on about "new politics". Marr asks how his government will be different. Brown proceeds to make a party political on broadcast on behalf of Gordon Brown.

Iain Dale:

"I didn't have a very good nioght's sleep last night, but I needn;t have worried. All I had to do is tune in to Andrew Marr's programme and listen to the interview with Gordon Brown to be induced into a prolonged zzzzz.

I cannot think of an occasion when I have actually heard Gordon Brown say anything interesting in an interview. He uses a kind of language which normal people just do not indulge in. He manages to go for 15 minutes without saying anything at all. Quite a feat, I suppose.

I now understand why the BBC made so much on its news bulletins about Brown's remarks on Saddam's execution. Brown echoed Prescott's remarks, criticising the grisly spectacle. In itself this is not exactly newsworthy, but because Blair hasn't said anything about the hanging the BBC led its news bulletins with Brown's remarks proof of a further split with Blair. Laura Kuensberg was positively breathless in her comments live int he studio.

The simple fact of the matter is that with any political interview nowadays there has to be a"top line" to emerge from it otherwise the interviewer will be seen to have failed. For Brown's remarks on Saddal to be a 'top line' demonstrates what a mind-numbingly boring interview it was".

More (Google blog search).

On balance I think most people found the interview to be dull at best, shameful at worst.

At the time, there was a discussion on the BBC's "Points of View" message board about the quality of reporting on the BBC.

The Original post stated -

I’m I alone in being fed up with the poor journalism on the BBC news?

They seem to be short of news as all they talk about is Sadam execution (deserved) I might add.

What Gordon Brown thinks (who the hell is he, the man who has robbed us all blind, and put more people in poverty)

England at cricket (so what we have a rubbish team that are over paid to be rubbish)

Can we have news when it happens and not a repeat for days on end, is there so little going on that we have to repeat every 15 minuets the same thing for days on end. Or just a thought maybe the readers have to repeat over and over to learn the script?

One other thing I’m sick of hearing about our over paid sports people like they are important.
And another couple I’m fed up with are climate change and what we should do about it (as if we can make a difference we a are a little country with very little manufacturing) (just another way to increase tax)
and I’m sick of hearing about dangerous dogs when they are illegal (if our lazy police did the job they are paid for this would not be news)

Having just seen the interview, I felt compelled to respond as follows -

"I couldn't agree more.

Unfortunately its a vicious circle in our debased society.

People dumb down, the media feed this, people dumb down more and so on.

Cricket - Minority interest except for when every man and his dog jumped on the "ooh 'WE' won" bandwagon.

Brown - Odious little twerp who is given an easy time by the BBC. If they can't ask serious questions and push for real answers there is no point giving him airtime.

Climate change is important and is happening but until the world acts as one on this, what our country does is entirely irrelevant. Its about time the BBC and other media outlets kept pushing this.

Dangerous dogs.. another bandwagon for them to jump on. Its not the dogs that are dangerous, its the cretins who can't look after their pets.

The big one for me, the biggest annoyance in media parlance is the acceptance that *THE* most important thing in the world is economic growth. It isn't. What matters more than anything is quality of life. You can be the richest individual and nation on earth and have a terrible quality of life, conversely, your GDP can be almost non existent but your quality of life can be many times better than ours.

Can you remember ever hearing this discussed on the news?

Ok, so they have to report events but it seems they report their spin on it and nothing else.

Within a matter of minutes, the post had been removed from the boards.

The following day I was sent an email explaining that my post had breached the rules of the site. Being somewhat bemused, I asked for an explanation of specifically what had been said to break the rules and which rule had been broken.

The response was -

Your post was complained about by another board member, who found this
phrase unnecessarily offensive.

">Brown - Odious little twerp who is given an easy time by the BBC. If
> >they can't ask serious questions and push for real answers there is no
> >point giving him airtime.

The board moderators agreed with the complainant, so failed your

Is it just me or is that justification insane?

I decided I would double check the meaning of "odious" and "twerp" to ensure they meant what I thought -

Odious: "Arousing or meriting strong dislike, aversion, or intense displeasure".

Twerp: "A person regarded as insignificant and contemptible".

So I'm still none the wiser. Hardly the strongest choice of words, not particularly offensive, simply representing a view of many people.

Removed. Why?

Do you consider those remarks "unnecessarily offensive"?

Are they so scared to criticise this government (post Hutton) that they will even censor members of the public?

Answers on a postcard please!

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