Wednesday, March 08, 2006

BBC Bias? (another keeper)

<"It is not possible that the media can have shaped the British psyche so much".

Why not?
Quoted message from Grant

Actually, I take it back, but almost all of the influence comes not from the news but from Soap Operas. Most English people cannot be influenced by the media because they simply do not consume the media. Only 18% read newspapers. Only 10% keep watching a station when the news is on, unless it's Channel 5 news (nothing to do with the BBC) because it lasts less than three minutes and comes on just after a commercial break in the middle of a film).

Certainly there have been great changes in British culture and thought over the past 100 years. What has brought that about?
Quoted message from Grant

Not 100, longer than that but let's look at the last 100 years.

In 1906 there was a Liberal Government. The two major parties were Conservative and Liberal. There was no media organisation then that was supposed to be "neutral" but if there HAD been, it would be even handed between the views of those two parties. It would regard the Labour Party as far left.

Now, any media required by law (as is the BBC) to be "neutral" between the two major parties. Has to be even handed between Labour and Conservatives. That, by legal definition, is where the centre lies for the BBC. Anywhere to the left or right of that line breaks its charter.

(It is allowed to make programmes expressing views to one side or the other but if it makes a programme like "Lefties" a current BBC series that shows the failures of the British left in the seventies and eighties, it has to be balanced by a programme about Far Right rock bands. It is overall that the balance has to exist - so there's no point in quoting examples because to prove bias by an example, we'd have to prove that the opposite programme didn't exist).

Why, for example, is there so much antiAmericanism in Britain? Is the United States really the worst country in the world?
Quoted message from Grant

I don't believe anti-Americanism is that common but I live in London. Londoners and New Yorkers tend to consider each other twin cities and not really think of the rest of either country. Obviously, I'm not going to come across it. Besides, a very high proportion of Londoners have BEEN to the USA (at least to New York City and many have been elsewhere as well). It's hard to sustain a mindless prejudice when you've seen it.

Of course, if you meant a British American RIVALRY, there's nothing new in that. In that sense, Britain has always been "anti-American". In the Second world war, there were constant jokes about Americans, "arriving half way through". That's not anti-Americanism, it's banter.

While I'm at it, I'll let you into a secret. We're not anti-Scottish, anti-Irish, anti-Australian or anti-French either. All of those are healthy rivalries (even though there may be the occasional loony who means it... but at the end of the day, we're all united by a dislike of the Germans).

Added to that, I live in Tottenham, which has a higher West Indian population than most of London. Most Caribbean people I know, including my wife, have relatives in America.

So the question is? Which survey found a majority of British people are anti-american, what questions did it actually ask? I don't know the details of the survey but from my experience it's wrong.

Why is there so much anti Israeli feeling in Britain, to the point where a majority of Brits feel that Israel remains the greatest threat to world peace?
Quoted message from Grant

Again, I live in Tottenham. The local football team, Tottenham Hotspur has fans who call themselves the Yid Army. If there was anti-Israeli feeling it wouldn't be here in Tottenham.

Unfortunately, England has been antisemitic since before Jews were first expelled in the thirteenth century. Even when that happened, the King was merely reflecting popular prejudices.

Despite that, when Israel were unable to play their World Cup and European Championship football matches in Israel because of the murderous activities of terrorist groups, the Israeli FA chose to hold their "home" matches in England because that was where they could rely upon the greatest level of support.

Are your fellow democracies really that evil
Quoted message from Grant

Of course not. We hold the good guys to higher standards and for the most part (I've never been there so I only get my news from the media so I can't be sure) Israel MEETS those higher standards, at least as far as the reports I've seen.

If they fall below from time to time, it's disappointing but not a reason to regard them as somehow worse than, say Zimbabwe, North Korea or Uzbekistan.

But it's hard to argue when I, from a vantage point here in England do not SEE the anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli sentiment that is so plain to you in Canada.

I see no point in blaming the BBC for a phenomenon that as far as the evidence of my own eyes and ears is concerned, has not happened.

I have ignored your last paragraph since it takes further the arguments your penultimate paragraph failed to establish as true.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Democracy and Hypocracy are the same thing as far as I can see...

Democracy from Greek Demos (people) and Kratia (rule) a government by the people.

Hypocracy, similar but with the Greek Hypo (below or under, compare with the hypodermic needle that gets drugs under the skin). So... Hypocracy, if such a word existed, would mean rule from below and, given that the majority in any society, are from the lower levels of society, it follows that those at the bottom could outvote the rest in a democracy.

Normally I can't be bothered to correct typos but I have actually seen hypocrisy spelled "hypocracy" on here more than I've seen it spelled correctly.

It's not illiteracy because if you ever look at letters by people with poor literacy, they tend to spell the longer words properly, because they looked them up in a dictionary, it's the short words they think they know that they tend to misspell.

Sorry to rant and I know it's off topic but it's one common misspelling that i find very irritating.

Thank you for listening. Rant over.