Monday, October 23, 2006

Auntie's White Guilt

Via Melanie Phillips:
A leaked account of an 'impartiality summit' called by BBC chairman Michael Grade, is certain to lead to a new row about the BBC and its reporting on key issues, especially concerning Muslims and the war on terror.
At the secret meeting in London last month, which was hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians.

One veteran BBC executive said: 'There was widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness.' Unfortunately, much of it is so deeply embedded in the BBC's culture, that it is very hard to change it.'

In one of a series of discussions, executives were asked to rule on how they would react if the controversial comedian Sacha Baron Cohen known for his offensive characters Ali G and Borat - was a guest on the programme Room 101. On the show, celebrities are invited to throw their pet hates into a dustbin and it was imagined that Baron Cohen chose some kosher food, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a Bible and the Koran. Nearly everyone at the summit, including the show's actual producer and the BBC's head of drama, Alan Yentob, agreed they could all be thrown into the bin, except the Koran for fear of offending Muslims.

In a debate on whether the BBC should interview Osama Bin Laden if he approached them, it was decided the Al Qaeda leader would be given a platform to explain his views.
And the BBC's 'diversity tsar', Mary Fitzpatrick, said women newsreaders should be able to wear whatever they wanted while on TV, including veils. Ms Fitzpatrick spoke out after criticism was raised at the summit of TV newsreader Fiona Bruce, who recently wore on air a necklace with a cross.

The full account of the meeting shows how senior BBC figures queued up to lambast their employer. Political pundit Andrew Marr said: 'The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It's a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.'

Washington correspondent Justin Webb said that the BBC is so biased against America that deputy director general Mark Byford had secretly agreed to help him to 'correct', it in his reports. Webb added that the BBC treated America with scorn and derision and gave it 'no moral weight'.

Former BBC business editor Jeff Randall said he complained to a 'very senior news executive', about the BBC's pro-multicultural stance but was given the reply: 'The BBC is not neutral in multiculturalism: it believes in it and it promotes it.' Randall also told how he once wore Union Jack cufflinks to work but was rebuked with: 'You can't do that, that's like the National Front!' Quoting a George Orwell observation, Randall said that the BBC was full of intellectuals who 'would rather steal from a poor box than stand to attention during God Save The King'.

There was another heated debate when the summit discussed whether the BBC was too sensitive about criticising black families for failing to take responsibility for their children. Head of news Helen Boaden disclosed that a Radio 4 programme which blamed black youths at a young offenders', institution for bullying white inmates faced the axe until she stepped in. But Ms Fitzpatrick, who has said that the BBC should not use white reporters in non-white countries, argued it had a duty to 'contextualise' why black youngsters behaved in such a way.

Andrew Marr told The Mail on Sunday last night: 'The BBC must always try to reflect Britain, which is mostly a provincial, middle-of-the-road country. Britain is not a mirror image of the BBC or the people who work for it.' Daily Mail
So, my question for the day: what do you call people who are forced to pay - via licenses on every tv set - for a media outfit that promotes worldwide hatred of these very same people who are footing the bill? Melanie calls it cultural Stalinism. But I doubt we yet have words adequately to describe this evil and wide-ranging resentment of a given reality.

UPDATE, in the comments at Covenant Zone where I cross-posted this story, an anonymous person challenges me to post this link, a response by the BBC's Helen Boaden to the Daily Mail article quoted above. My response to Helen Boaden's nonsensical response can be found in the CZ post.


Rick Ballard said...

Isn't "Comrade" the correct salutation?

Orwell must have been a descendant of Nostradamus - only he was much better at predictions. More's the pity.

truepeers said...

Rick, Auntie is what I believe the Brits were calling their didactic betters at the Beeb even before Orwell came up with Big Brother.

DT, the CBC is only a few steps behind the BBC. However, we have also ABC and CNN and all the US networks to set us straight ;)

truepeers said...

Hah! According to my 1990 Concise Oxford Dictionary: Auntie: an institution considered to be conservative or cautious, esp the BBC.

Barry Dauphin said...


I have my alarm set to CBC to listen to classical music when I wake up. But they also throw in the news. Oh my God, the guy they have covering the White House is an A No. 1 wacko. I think he'd probably kiss George Galloway's rear end if his lips could reach that far. To him, it is clear that Bush is the epitome of evil. I know whose side he's on (and it ain't ours).

truepeers said...


Do you mean Neil Macdonald? You should have heard him when he was the Israel correspondent. I once saw him interview Ann Coulter as she was just becoming famous - when she said she thought the media was dominated by liberals, he just couldn't believe that she really believed it. He was sure she was bs-ing for show, 'cause everyone knows who runs the American media.

truepeers said...


Lots of speculation about how the 1965 red maple leaf flag was chosen. It was supposed to be a non-partisan work, but some of us just can't help but think it was finally chosen because the Liberal party's colours are red and white. In any case, the sentiment that we are free to re-draw our national symbols whenever we want - just as we are free to construct any reality we want because human nature is a myth - is perhaps the real poison of that era, the underlying truth behind the new symbol.

You guys have me thinking about how to test whether the BBC or the CBC is the more anti-American. I just figured the BBC was a step ahead in the revolutionary game, because they are so audacious and brash about it. But perhaps the CBC's greater lingering pretense to objective fairness is all the more deceptive when there is nothing to support the pretense?

Rick Ballard said...


They can get a decent taste every day by going here - as can the Brits. The subjects will be better after the election.

Rick Ballard said...

If they want to find out what Rush sounds like they can go here. Shoot, the Brits could listen to him from 5-8PM.

Charlie Martin said...


truepeers said...


That was a detail I hadn't noticed before. So I don't know if this website has it right:
The maple leaves at the base of the Canadian royal arms change from green to red. The 1921 [Royal] proclamation specified that the leaves be "proper," i.e., in their natural colour, but this was ambiguous because maple leaves can be green, yellow, or red. Artists had previously drawn them green, but on this date the secretary of state announced that they should henceforth be red.
Dean Tiegs, 21 December 1997

The formal heraldic description of the Maple Leaves is: "Argent, three maple leaves, conjoined on one stem proper". The heraldic term "proper", of course, can be read as "any naturally occurring colour of the object", which in the case of a maple leaf, can be red, green, or yellow, (depending upon the species depicted and the time of year). The original submission to the College of Arms, London, asked for green maple leaves, hence this is how the authorities subsequently interpreted "proper", once the grant was made.

However, there was some discontent, among certain segments of Canadian society, (no doubt an insignificant minority, given the few people who actually concern themselves with such matters, (comme nous), over the choice of green as the interpretation of "proper". This seemed to stem (pardon the pun) from the fact that at about the same time HM King George V formally declared red and white to be Canada's official colours; hence, some people argued that the 3 maple leaves in the shield, (meant, of course, to represent Canada, along with the Dominion's 4 founding nations -- England, Scotland, Ireland, and France), should therefore be red on white, (or argent/gules). The influence of this opinion seemed to grow as time marched on, since subsequent renditions of the maple leaf, (when meant to represent Canada), tended to be presented in red vice green: e.g.., the c. 1940 Canadian Army Battle Flag; as well as numerous Royal Canadian Navy and Air Force wartime badges, as well as the Canadian Army Flag formally adopted in 1947.

Finally, on 8 Oct 1957, the Canadian government formally announced changes to the design of the Red Ensign's, (and Canadian Coat of Arms') shield, to wit:

* a) the proper maple leaves were henceforth to be red; and
* b) (at the Queen's pleasure) the "female" Irish harp was replaced with the traditional Celtic version of the harp.


Suckers is pretty close - depending on the consequences, maybe not quite a full accounting, which I fear may be hammered out yet

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Years ago I took a trip through S. Ontario and turned on Canadian radio. It seemed to be one long litany of anti-Americanism (English station) and faux we-are-all-French-after-all-really! (French station). I was underwhelmed.

The fundamental problem Canada faces is: what the hell is it? Britain is facing the same question, albeit to a lesser degree. Canada is the non-United States. That's the only answer they've ever been able to come up with. As such it becomes increasingly incumbent upon them over time to be anti-American, and the anti-American-ness must reach to ever more strident and virulent levels.

I have no doubt that, were all those dangerous enemies of civilization itself to disappear overnight, leaving the field for Canadians to be working out their destiny as they see fit, they would quickly convince themselves that destroying America was so important that they would start suicide-bombing Vermont. Americo-terrorists in lieu of eco-terrorists.

truepeers said...


We're not all anti-American; can your idea that we don't know who we are explain that? English Canada, from its very start when the refugees from the Revolution headed north, has had an anti-American streak; but it has always had a pro-American one too. It is not too uncommon to be a pro-American Canadian, but why are so many anti-American, especially those who make a living by trading political opinions? Here, there is something to the idea that those lacking imagination or a sense of republican virtue take the easy way out. And given that anti-Americanism is a world-wide disease there are all sorts of easy identifications to be made. But I cannot imagine many Canadians ever caring enough to blow up Vermont. We have a few hardcore moonbats, to be sure, but most people like too many things about American culture to allow their facile political gestures to amount to anything much. This is what makes us different from the many in the world who hate America as the leading nation of the global economy and modernity and feel excluded from same. Most Canadians have found their way in the global economy and they like modernity. And some of us have a fairly good idea what we are, even if this is a bit of a jumble and so not readily symbolized in political theatre.