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Wednesday, June 04, 2003

BBC Bashing favorite sport. We ought to form leagues, and have a big year-end competition.

Today's tidbit is from Silent Running, which unearths this smug Guardian (but I repeat myself) editorial on the rapacious Rupert Murdoch and how he seeks to infest Britain's clean green shores with Fox News-style corruption.

Mr Murdoch's news network used Oliver North, a former US colonel and neo-conservative firebrand, as an embedded reporter in Iraq.

Ah, good. We now see that "neo-conservative" is being used as shorthand for "icky warmonger". I'm sure that North is a Republican, but I don't think I've ever heard him explain his politics carefully enough to be labelled "neo-conservative", as opposed to paleo-conservative, or meso-conservative, or whatever. He doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who's interested in political subtleties. "Republicans good, Democrats bad" is probably about as subtle as it gets for him. (As you might've guessed, I do not have a great deal of use for Mr. North.)

The network referred to "our troops" and to anti-war protesters as the "great unwashed".

The entire network, as policy, not just one commentator. Actually, I'm pretty sure most of the anchors did refer to---horror!---"our troops", as in "Our troops were fired upon by..."; but I don't remember them regularly referring to protestors as "the great unwashed", as in "Today in San Francisco, the great unwashed held a 'puke-in' to protest..."

As for this:

When Baghdad fell, the news anchors addressed those who opposed the "liberation" with the words: "You were sickening then, you are sickening now."

That was Neil Cavuto, speaking on his "Common Sense" spot. Whatever one might think of Cavuto, he's an opinionator, and that spot is for his opinions. It's not meant to be straight news.

(The only thing Google turned up on for "great unwashed" was in these letters.)

In fact, I'll point out that most of the "worst" examples of Fox bias one reads of come from their analysis shows (which is practically all their shows, as far as I can see). You know, when you watch them, that you're watching someone's opinion rather than straight fact.

As opposed to the BBC, where they slip the opinion into straight news. For example, in August or early September of 2001, their environmental series "Earth Report" (if I recall correctly) ran a spot on global warming and Kyoto which contained the phrase, "Even when global warming hit George Bush's home state..." (he still didn't sign the Kyoto treaty). Under the voice-over they ran footage of the (then) recent floods in Houston due to Tropical Storm Allison. It's a hard fact of geography and meteorology that here on the Gulf Coast there are hurricanes and tropical storms, and the place floods easily. It's not like the region was tundra until the 1880s. Global warming had nuttin' to do with it.

The ads for Earth Report on BBC World used to say things like, "As environmental concerns ravage our homes...[something I've forgotten]. So we all live well today...who's looking out for tomorrow?"

And that's not editorializing?? (Not to mention poor grammar---I'm quite sure that their sentence broke down to the assertion that it was the "concerns" that were ravaging our homes---perhaps a truer statement than they intended.)

British viewers have confidence in television news because it is delivered free of rants or bias.

How nice for the British people that they have all these laws dictating that you can slant the news anyway you like, as long as you're pretending not to.