Sunday, 7 May 2017

Death of Facts

Idly flicking through the ridiculous abundance of TV channels yesterday and landing, serially, on a seemingly solid wall of adverts, I realised once again the importance of the BBC. We do need an ad-free broadcaster. No, really we do. We need to be informed educated and entertained without being browbeaten or brainwashed.

James Delingpole explains why it matters that the BBC fails to live up to its charter obligations
“to produce output that is rigorously fair and balanced.” 

Part of the problem is that the BBC believes that it is already fair and balanced.  Talk about a divided nation! The BBC is in its bubble, all lefty and consensual, and the other half are in theirs; alt-right, far right and “altfas”. 

One thing nearly everyone seems to agree on is that the BBC is biased. Some think it’s biased to the left, some to the right. So it’s a bit unfair on the BBC. They’re damned before they start. 

However, the BBC is “left-blind”. (I got that from an ad, you know the one with ‘nose-blind’, which means acclimatised to one’s own stench.) The BBC has slipped and slid into a default position wherein left means good ad right means bad.  
So, as many of us have worn themselves blue in the face trying to point out, labelling something “right’ or ‘far-right’ is understood to be pejorative. The kind of pejorative that is wrapped so loosely in ‘code’ that it’s still just about possible to deny with a knowing  “innocent face”. 

Critics of the BBC claim that think-tanks are frequently tagged with a ‘right-wing’ health warning, whereas ‘left-wing’ views are unlabelled.  

James Delingpole was cross, and rightly so - (sorry) because his (London branch) online site Breitbart has to endure being lumbered, and implicitly denigrated, by being tagged ‘far-right’, and on this occasion “very extreme right”. 

Of course, within the framework we’re obliged to use, Breitbart is right-wing - in that is it’s a staunch critic of the left, and will use the terms ‘left’ and ‘progressive’ as a pejorative, and in that respect I suppose the one mirror-images the other.

However, Delingpole’s criticisms of the edition of Word of Mouth with professor George  Lakoff were spot on.

I like words and linguistics as a topic. In a parallel world I might have been one of Professor Lakoff’s students. 
(But I fear the droning timbre of his voice would have turned me off, pronto.) 
Professor Lakoff’s superior, and dare I say patronising explanations of the terms “snowflake”, “alt right” and “antfas” were so off-beam that I almost felt sorry for him. They were the “dad-dancing” version, if you like. Misunderstood and uncool. Not to mention his definitions of “virtue signalling” and “Social justice warrior”.

Even more irritating than that was his assurance that these terms were ‘hardly ever heard of’  in the mainstream. That is to say, in the ‘left’ world he inhabits. Only experts like him would be aware of them at all, he explained, and we were lucky he was here to enlighten us. I think even Michael Rosen was taken aback at that.  

Another, even more disturbing and hypocritical aspect of the ‘progressive left’s attitude  was exposed too. 
The ‘hardly ever heard of’ aspect. So much so that alternative (another misrepresented term) view, that of the so-called ‘right’ has now become verboten. (There you go.  See what I did there? “Sorta, kinda, like Hitler”.)

This no-platforming malarkey, of which Berkeley, the professor’s stamping-out ground, is a hot-bed. 

Melanie Phillips was there.  Her “Zio” lecture was so ‘against the grain’ that it had to be carried out in a secret location. In a university. (You know, a seat of learning, where a plethora of ideas are explored) Or not.

Douglas Murray has written many articles, including The Death of Facts, about this state of affairs. 
Universities are now silencing free speech. It’s not only in California that this is happening though. No Israeli or pro Israel speaker can even think of speaking in a British university these days without an angry mob screaming and shouting abuse.

Oddly enough a teeny counter movement is burgeoning. Did anyone see Alastair Sooke’s anti-Trump programme yesterday? Another of the BBC’s supposedly ‘above it all’ investigations, full of baffled and despairing  lefties and progressives. 

Did you see Nadya Tolokonnikova from “Pussy Riot” ?(I thought the Pussies were in a Russian prison?) Her forehead and part of one cheek was adorned with shards of mirror. What if one of them stuck in her eyeball? I suppose punk is all about living dangerously.

The pro-Trump movement was not completely ignored through. Matt Rich, a publicist who worked for Trump, pulled Sooke up for saying people who work in the arts feel a “natural” resistance to Trump… “why do you say ‘natural’ of all things? […] I would certainly not call it ‘natural’. ” 

A black singer called Sam Moore shocked his former fans and compatriots by singing at the inauguration, attracting opprobrium from “Snoop Dog”. 
Sooke provided the obligatory opposing view again, in the form of an ironic gay, “counter-culture” “Twinks for Trump”.  An alternative alt-right Trump fan-base.  

I mean, here I go again. I’m forced into the position of defending Trump and the ‘extreme right’ not because I support them unconditionally, which I do not, but merely because ‘someone has to do it.’  



  1. The BBC journos are, with one or two rare exceptions (Paul Mason, now departed, to the Left and Andrew Neil somewhat to the Right), people whose views I define as Soggy Left. Not really hardline socialist (they get paid too much for that) but pro state expenditure, pro progressive taxation, pro an ever expanding welfare state, pro mass immigration (including illegal "no borders" immigration),pro ethnic minority identity politicsm, pro atheism, pro extreme feminism, and pro transnational bodies like the EU. They pretend to be pro Islam (I know - makes no sense since they disagree with all its tenets) and pro working class (although Brexit exposed how fake that love affair is. They claim to support free speech but they show little concern about the erosion of free speech rights. They oppose nationalism,free market economics, capitalism, and sentimental patriotism (except when it suits them).

    1. Good List. The BBC also claim to be anti-privilege (that is anti Cameron, Osborn, and Johnson), but many are themselves in an equally privileged position - Well educated, London-based with privileged access to all the country's cultural wealth, part of the Westminster Bubble, no doubt more than adequately paid with more than adequate expense accounts.

      This is where the hypocrisy shows through most clearly. How can the BBC justify its views (as listed above) whilst at the same time apparently despising the rank and file British voters.

    2. Management and upper-echelon producers and on-air talent are generally 'Soggy Left', sure. But there are far more than just the Mason idiot and a handful of others on the far Left. Lots of radio people are hard Left (as their tweets have shown, for example). Mark Mardell is pretty far to the Left (I could provide a litany of examples from his reporting over the years), as most US Beeboids have been (Sopel, Webb, and Ghattas excepted).

      Most of the focus regarding BBC bias is always - and rightly - on the news and current affairs, but they have a significant amount of soft influence via comedy, children's programming, and light entertainment. The people who produce that very large segment of BBC output trend much farther to the Left, e.g.: Dr. Who, all the 'edgy' pet comedians who produce several hours of broadcasting per week, The Archers, the 'White Series', CBBC Newsround. They slipped a couple gently right-of-center jokes into an episode of 'Outnumbered' once, but I think they got away with it. If the BBC didn't think they had influence on the public through that part of their output, they wouldn't have included people from those departments in that Warmist propaganda scandal now known as '28-Gate'. Which is itself proof of an overall leaning farther to the Left than just being a bit soggy.

    3. I completely agree with you. I have never bought into this idea of a cosy middle-class left of centre BBC. The voice of the far left is present in the whole range of the BBC’s output, from current affairs to comedy.
      I’m also not sure I would describe Andrew Neil as being specifically right wing, except in comparison to some of his colleagues.

  2. Breitbart has been mainly crap since its progenitor passed away. Delingpole hasn't been much help. As for Prof. Lakoff, Humpty Dumpty smiles. The BBC is very good at finding ways to control language and terminology, thus controlling the narrative.

    Lots of anti-Brexit and anti-Trump broadcasting still going on. It's not just that they say things with which I disagree, either. It's an overwhelming tilt to one side. The complaints about the BBC being pro-Brexit were mainly - and this includes the alleged rant by Lord Hall - that the BBC didn't do enough to promote Project Fear. Hardly proof they got it about right.

    And are we expected to believe there have been complaints that the BBC is pro-Trump?

  3. I'm glad you finally got around to picking up on that Word of Mouth piece. Not only do the 'left' get to change the meaning of words but they even get to define what the 'right' mean by their own terms! Who would have know that 'snowflake' was anti-gay rather than wimpy millenial? Still it doesn't matter because, as the good professor told us, no-one listens to this 'far right' stuff anyway!
    As has been pointed out many times before BBC bias is all one-way it is just described differently; one side complains that their case is never supported, the other side that their case isn't supported enough, i.e. everyone agrees that the BBC is biased to the 'left', it is just the degree of bias that is debated. It as if there is a bias scale of +5 through -5 with zero as 'no bias'. The BBC control sits at +3 which makes the 'plus fives' unhappy, while the 'zeroes' through 'minus fives' are also unhappy because they thing the contorl should be at 'zero', let alone 'minus' anything.

  4. Yes, there is a pressing need for recalibration. There are plenty of labels for the centre-right - far-right extremists, white supremacist etc, but what is there to the left of centre in BBC parlance? John McDonnell is never referred to as far-left, where it appears his support comes from.

  5. It's a shame that 'Word of Mouth' choice someone who seemed to be making it up as he went along. Googling around I can't see the slightest evidence that 'snowflake' originated as an anti-gay slur, and the programme simply took it as read that 'virtue signalling' was coined in the US rather than having been coined by the UK's very own James Bartholomew in 'The Spectator'.