Jane Kelly: The BBC, where history really is bunk

Jane Kelly: The BBC, where history really is bunk

This post by Jane Kelly originally appeared on The Conservative Woman

An eight-part drama about the Nuremberg Trials has started on Radio 4. BBC commissioning editor Rhian Roberts said it was ‘designed to present phenomenal moments of history in a compelling style so we can all continue to understand how our world was shaped by them’.

What we got was inexplicable: no Hartley Shawcross, Britain’s lead prosecutor, whose opening speech, lasting two days, disputed the idea that the trials were ‘victor’s justice’ or revenge. We got attacks on Britain and Churchill compared unfavourably to Stalin. ‘At least he wasn’t a hypocrite.’ America rather than Germany appeared to be in the dock.

The narrator is a posh young gel, the trope of the sexy female spy, apparently groomed only for marriage, recruited to SOE because she is good at skiing and more importantly, she hates her class. Not a common attitude among toff girls at the time, but this is the New History, termed ‘Presentism’, where the past is judged by our own standards and blame freely apportioned, usually to white middle-class men. This is called ‘Critical Race Theory’ and it challenges previous interpretations of culture and education, pitching the accusation of white racism into every subject. The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, established as a national memorial in 1965 by a combination of public subscription and government contributions, have just removed the ‘Winston’ from their name, claiming he was a racist.

Of course, history has always been a propaganda tool. When Henry Ford said ‘History is bunk’ in 1921, he meant it was often manipulated. His maxim has been cynically espoused by the Left who insist that it is no more than worthless disinformation, written by victors and imperialists. That theory is now overlaid by Marx, who said all history is about class struggle. This blurring of boundaries between teaching subject knowledge and preaching politics has profoundly affected the teaching of history and in some cases almost abolished it. With post-pandemic confusion in schools, the grip of Marxist teaching may get stronger. As education secretary, Michael Gove wanted to bring back traditional, chronological history teaching and his departure was a loss. Oxford’s vice-chancellor Louise Richardson has just greeted the start of the new academic term by declaring she is ‘embarrassed’ that Gove was a student there, while calling for ‘more ideological diversity,’ i.e. more people who think like her.

Now that history teaching is so poor, it’s not always easy for people to articulate their instinctive desire to defend the historical past. Robert Tombs, Professor Emeritus of French History at Cambridge, has started an internet site called History Reclaimed offering unbiased facts about ‘dead white males’, such as Darwin, who are being traduced. He aims to target ‘ideologically-driven distortions’ about our history. ‘You read in the paper that Churchill is a racist and you think could that really be true,’ he says. ‘History has become one of the major battlegrounds in the culture wars that are causing anger and alarm across the democratic world.’ His site will publish ‘short and accessible pieces’ for the public and ministers, civil servants, trustees of museums and galleries and local authorities who may suffer woke bullying. ‘There must be local councillors who think, what is the truth about this?’ says Tombs. ‘Should we pull it down, put up an explanation, or what? We’ll provide what I hope will be solid and historical explanations.’

He and his co-editor, Cambridge history professor David Abulafia, want to arm everyone against the thinking which associates imperialism and slavery exclusively with Europeans. ‘Adherents of Critical Race Theory place Europe at the heart of their arguments,’ says Abulafia, ‘ignoring empire-building and enslavement in Mongol Eurasia, or among the Aztecs and Incas.’ He might add African kingdoms such as Dahomey.  ‘What is deeply contentious,’ he says, ‘is the insistence that everything significant in world history flowed out of the slave trade to the Americas.’

Strangely, while everything apparently flowed from the evils of European culture, we are not allowed to believe that anything significant ever happened in Europe; the term ‘Renaissance’ has been replaced by ‘Early Modern’ as it suggested some particularity in the West, deliberately distracting from cultural advances in Africa and the Middle East. What we were once taught to call the ‘Enlightenment’ was apparently a racist enterprise. Abulafia points to the injustice and inaccuracy of the woke view that the cultivation of sugar, tobacco and cotton by slaves provided all the capital and raw materials for the Industrial Revolution, ignoring the massive profits from the earlier wool industry and Agricultural Revolution. Alleging that all UK wealth derives from black slavery ignores centuries of back-breaking labour by British people on the land and in heavy industry.

‘Unless we push back, this will continue to be imposed on the British public,’ says Professor Doug Stokes, who teaches international relations at Exeter, one of 40 academics connected to the site. ‘This country has played a hugely progressive role in history: Magna Carta; the abolition movement; fighting the Nazis. People should feel proud of that.’

Hopefully British history can be reclaimed. We may even take pride again in some of what we once had; Professor Tombs has been invited on to the new government Heritage Advisory Board created to establish guidelines on how to deal with ‘difficult heritage’ and ‘help boards make effective decisions about how to deal with objects that are contested within the government’s policy framework of “retain and explain”.’

Perhaps the professor’s new site should be called The Bunker, a cache where de-bunkers can themselves be debunked, a safe haven for truth and nuance, just in time to save them from extinction.

The Brexit Collection reveals the depth of the Corporation’s pro-EU bias – 13/07/2016

The Brexit Collection reveals the depth of the Corporation’s pro-EU bias – 13/07/2016

After the EU referendum, the BBC assembled on Radio 4 a barrage of anti-Brexit programmes which predicted that there would be rioting on the streets over food supply, the virtual ruin of the Scotch whisky industry and an uncontrolled explosion of hate crimes against EU citizens.

July 13, 2016

BBC reform, like so many other issues, has been pushed off the agenda by the referendum hullaballoo.

But sorting out BBC bias as the Brexit process gets underway is surely an urgent and major priority for the new May government – that is, if she genuinely wants Britain out.

The Corporation clearly now sees its central mission to push at every opportunity the case for Remain, for a second referendum, for a general election to endorse the exit plans. Anything, in fact, anything to upset the referendum vote.

So great is their opposition to ‘exit’ that their bias is now arguably (for example Newsnight, here) a deliberate attempt to undermine the democratic process, and to reinforce the view (held by many in the Conservative and Labour party and those who mounted demonstrations at the weekend) that those who voted ‘Leave’ were basing their decisions on lies; that they were deluded and plain wrong.

The new BBC Royal Charter is due to come into effect by the beginning of 2017, and yet the changes so far proposed by culture secretary John Whittingdale – broadly putting complaints under Ofcom and creating a new management board – will scarcely scratch the surface of current malpractice.

And meanwhile, BBC bias is continuing on an industrial scale. So brazen has it become that it has posted on the BBC iPlayer the Brexit Collection, a selection of 15 Radio 4 programmes about the Brexit vote.

The bias across most of the programmes is so extreme that it is impossible to know where to begin in describing it. News-watch, will, in due course, publish all the transcripts together with a full analysis and report.

In the meantime, a good entry point is the edition of The Food Programme, first broadcast on Sunday July 3, and presented by Dan Saladino.

He assembled for the bulk of the programme a cast list of six guests who declared, between them, that Brexit could lead to food riots; that ensuring food security after Brexit amounted to the worst peacetime challenge that the UK had ever faced; that farms would be abandoned, agricultural jobs would be lost, that the Scotch whisky industry faced virtual ruin, and that immigrants in the food processing and production industry the length and breadth of the UK were now living in fear. The full picture is here.

A key mover in this blatant exaggeration and scare-mongering was Professor Tim Lang from the City University in London, the main ‘expert’ on food supply. What Saladino did not tell listeners, however, was that Lang also works for a greenie food charity called Sustain, which, their annual reports show, receives a significant part of its funding (at least 10 per cent and probably as high as 25 per cent) directly or from the EU.

Ranged against the six gloom-mongers was a lone fisherman, who said he wanted Brexit but little more – the diminution of the UK fishing industry under the Common Fisheries Policy was not on the agenda –  and Tim Worstall, from the Adam Smith Institute. The latter managed to suggest, against all the predictions of doom elsewhere in the programme, that Brexit would actually lead to a reduction in food tariffs, and that the UK could make better trade deals with partners throughout the world.

But Saladino clearly thought that any positive comment about post-Brexit prospects should come with a health warning. Unlike with Professor Lang and his link with EU funding, he carefully pointed out that Worstall had been a speechwriter for Nigel Farage. For a BBC presenter, that, of course is a dog-whistle hand grenade that any views from the contributor have to be treated with caution because of (in the BBC’s eyes) Farage’s ‘extreme’ political views.

Another programme in the Brexit Collection was How to Make Brexit presented by Carolyn Quinn, about Greenland’s decision to leave the EU back in the 1980s. The bias is so evident it’s almost impossible to know where to start. Close to the beginning, Quinn used an extract from a pro-EU rant on the Now Show to illustrate one of her key points. The tone was thus set.

Quinn’s linking commentary and choice of quotes was framed with only one aim in mind – to tell us how desperately complex a departure would be. The first quote in this vein from a contributor was:

“This is the largest scale legislation and policy exercise that has possibly been carried out ever…The trade options alone are staggering….” Quinn left absolutely no room for doubt: leaving the EU is something that only a fool would contemplate.

Further initial commentary about the Brexit Collection can be found on the Is the BBC Biased? website here.

The choice of these programmes shows above all that the BBC itself does not care about and does not even begin to understand the depths of its pro-EU bias. The new Secretary of State for Culture has a huge challenge on his hands. The task of dealing with it has scarcely even begun.

BBC Drama revives anti-capitalist Priestley in a not-so-subtle hymn to Corbyn 18/09/2015

BBC Drama revives anti-capitalist Priestley in a not-so-subtle hymn to Corbyn 18/09/2015

This post from 2015 suggested that the BBC’s new version of the J.B Priestley classic play An Inspector Calls  – deliberately mangled to big up the core anti-capitalist theme – had been broadcast to celebrate the appointment of Jeremy Corbyn  as new Labour party leader.

18th September 2015

J.B Priestley, who in the 1930s and into the Second World War set himself up as the BBC’s master of socialist propaganda in his regular radio talks – so much so that Churchill believed he was undermining the war effort – must be smiling from on high today.

A new bells-and-whistles version of his play An Inspector Calls – written in 1945 and actually first performed in Stalin’s Russia – was chosen by the right-on comrades at Portland Place to go out on a Sunday night BBC1 primetime slot to mark the election of their hero, Jeremy Corbyn.

Coincidence, do I hear you cry? Not a chance. The BBC has a promotions unit whose job it is identify and head off scheduling clashes that might cause offence to the politically correct. Have no doubt, the timing was deliberate. What a lovely wheeze to celebrate the election of the most left-wing Labour leader in a generation.

But, then again, maybe even Priestley might be turning in his grave about how the BBC comrades mangled his most famous play.

His masterful plot – in which a mysterious inspector arrives to tell a mill owner’s family of the death of a poor hapless woman who, it transpires, they had all in different ways abused – reveals their moral culpability and shows them to possess almost every negative human characteristic imaginable.

The inspector, by contrast, emerges as  a brilliant, incisive sleuth who exposes and nails every aspect of their selfishness, nastiness and hypocrisy. The working class heroine, Eva Smith,  only referred to but never actually seen in the stage play, was mistreated in different ways by each member of the family. Because of their amoral self-interest, she is first sacked for union activism, driven  into poverty, then forced into prostitution, and finally denied the charity she seeks. They, in effect, force her into agonising suicide by swallowing disinfectant.

Gosh, how the BBC went to town on her on Sunday night..

In  a massive hijacking of the original text of the play, they decided to bring Eva directly into the plot in a series of flashbacks.

We saw Eva, a solid, flesh and blood character, descend into hell thanks to this evil, rich family. In this subtle-as-a-brick change, the intent was for the audience to see and empathise with the capitalist exploitation of her, and to witness her transformation from a porcelain, stunning beauty to an emaciated wreck.  The manufactured additional scenes were scripted and shot  for maximum  impact so that there could be no doubt that the upper/middle class tyrants who tormented Eva were unambiguously bad.

This was a subtle and  disturbing tale of 19th century morality, conscience and class transformed into a crude anti-capitalist  rant. All traces of subtlety were smashed to smithereens.

Is this over-egging the pudding in terms of claims of BBC bias ?

Well the BBC’s chums at The Guardian clearly got the message. Its television drama critic Sam Wollaston said the plea to the audience by the inspector at the end of the play to heed the plight of the working class could today be substituted using the word Syrians instead of Eva Smith and made direct reference to the little boy found drowned on a Turkish beach:

“There are millions and millions of Alan Kurdis left with us, with their lives, their hopes and fears, their suffering and a chance of happiness, all intertwined with our lives and what we think and say and do. We don’t live alone. We are members of one body. We are responsible for each other.”

Did the BBC press office maybe suggest this to Wollaston behind the scenes?

Every aspect of this beautifully shot, directed and acted production worked in similar vein. Ken Stott, as the mill-owner, and Miranda Richardson, his wife, used all their formidable acting talent to emphasis just how thoroughly, deeply vacuous, unpleasant and unprincipled this capitalist couple were.

In other words, an ode to Corbyn mania. Elsewhere, too, the  BBC has been bigging up the message.

Revealed: Humphrys’s own catalogue of Brexit bias 24/09/2019

Revealed: Humphrys’s own catalogue of Brexit bias 24/09/2019

Almost two years ago, John Humphrys retired from his role as presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and published a new autobiography to mark the occasion.  This blog claimed he was being hypocritical in continuing to work for the Corporation over the last decade while secretly disagreeing with its Brexit coverage.

24th September 2019

Kathy Gyngell clearly highlighted on TCW yesterday the hypocrisy of John Humphrys revealed in his forthcoming memoirs, being serialised in the Daily Mail. Today she discusses further evidence of his double standards, this time over the Iraq Dossier affair.

How could he have continued to work on BBC Radio 4’s Today – drawing massive pay from the pockets of the public he professed to serve – with the concerns he says he had about the anti-Brexit bias of the BBC hierarchy and the Corporation’s general liberal left groupthink bias?

Some would call that fraud.

There is another glaring contradiction in his stance. Mr Humphrys declares that he still believes that the BBC is a wonderful institution, is a ‘tremendous and irreplaceable force for good’ and that the country is stronger because it exists.

How does he square such sycophantic hyperbole with his assertion that the flagship BBC programme Today and news output generally is infected with institutional bias? It’s a massive contradiction. Impartiality is a core BBC Charter obligation and his grave allegations are that the Corporation has been in breach of it at least since the EU referendum (as well as at other times, as outlined below).

Digging into the Humphrys archives unearths rafts of similar inconsistencies in his approach and conduct which suggest he has worked for at least the last 20 years in a bubble of what at best can be described as selective vision and hearing.

Much of what Mr Humphrys has put into his book is not new at all. In 2014 (perhaps when he started drafting his memoirs? – there was no other obvious peg) and again in 2017 (h/t Is the BBC Biased?), he gave interviews to Radio Times which contained strikingly similar key points: that there was at the Corporation an all-pervading liberal outlook, and that the BBC’s reporting of the desire for EU withdrawal and concerns about high immigration levels had not properly reflected widespread public concern.

Then, as now, he was noticeably vague on detail. He seems to lay most of the blame on ‘bosses’ who were upset by the referendum result. Is his view that they have directly influenced programme content – and if so, who was it who followed their instructions? The Today editor? Presenters? Producers and behind-the-scenes staff?

In 2014, when the first Radio Times piece appeared, News-watch noted this point, and stated in a blog:

‘He doesn’t say in which interview, with which guests or how or when he arrived at the judgment . . . No, this “bias” happened at some undefined, mysterious time in the murky miasmic mists of the Blair era. It evidently made Humphrys queasy and uneasy, but back then, he and his chums above and below him in the BBC hierarchy did nothing at all about it. Now, though, says the great man, the bias is fixed – it’s a matter of regret, but move along there, folks, nothing to see: everything in the BBC garden is tickety-boo.’

News-watch has analysed over the years more than 1,200 EU-related interviews conducted by Mr Humphrys. Analysis in the News-watch reports highlight that his approach to Brexit was shot through with the bias he now seems to blame others for creating.

Two prime examples stand out. In 1999, when a thirty-something Nigel Farage was standing for the first time in the European Parliamentary elections as a Ukip candidate, most of the interview was taken up with suggesting that Ukip was, in effect, a maverick aberration. A News-watch blog observed: 

‘Farage said he simply wanted his country back on an amicable basis, and free trade; Humphrys’s stance was that this was ‘literally unthinkable’. . . . (he) did everything he could to attack the credibility of Ukip and asked nothing about the thinking behind the need for withdrawal. His opening gambit was to observe that it was “funny” (peculiar) and “puzzling” that Ukip was contesting seats in the European Parliament when it wanted to withdraw from the EU.’

Spool forward to the closing days of the EU referendum, and Mr Humphrys filed a highly unusual (in terms of its length) 27-minute Today item on attitudes towards immigration based on visits he made to Keighley in West Yorkshire, Shirebrook in Derbyshire and Hackney, east London. The News-watch analysis concluded:

‘Humphrys’s approach was heavily biased. In his world those who oppose immigration do so . . . from a position of prejudice. He . . . missed out numbers and rate of expansion – the key bedrock of opposition to current levels of immigration. Contributions of those who expressed concerns about immigration came across as shallow and prejudiced, a picture that was made worse by Humphrys’s repeated putting of “racist” claims to them. They had to deny they were racists, and were given only minimal space to advance their fears about numbers. ‘On the other side of the coin, Humphrys heavily stressed the contributions of those who were, in various ways – in their own estimation – victims of prejudice . . . Immigrants he spoke to wanted a better world, and had been thwarted in that quest only by white prejudice.’

All this, coupled with other more detailed analysis in News-watch reports, boils down to the fact that Mr Humphrys is as responsible as everyone else at the Corporation for BBC bias. What he is alleging now will probably generate book sales, but do nothing to sort out the problems he identifies. Those inside the BBC bubble, Mr Humphrys included, are incapable of seeing outside it. And complacency of the type displayed by Mr Humphrys for at least 20 years (the period of News-watch analysis) has blocked any chance of a solution.

Will Mr Humphrys now be thrown to the wolves by the bosses he so clearly despises? No. The Corporation will carry on regardless. As it always does.

Don’t rewrite history – we voted Leave because of Farage and mass immigration 26/07/2016

Don’t rewrite history – we voted Leave because of Farage and mass immigration 26/07/2016

A few weeks after the Brexit vote in 2016 the official Leave campaign (led by Dominic Cummings)  – aided and abetted by the BBC – were hell-bent on claiming they had won because they had ‘neutralised’ the alleged overt racism of Nigel Farage and the alternative Leave axis. 

26th July 2016

Referendum history is being re-written. The official ‘out campaign’ – in an interview for the Daily Politics and Brexit Britain Newsnight Special – has said that a key element was neutralising ‘the threat’ of Nigel Farage and presenting a more middle ground alternative.

Codswallop!  This is a simplistic and Orwellian re-writing of history. Most of the Conservative party, the BBC and the Left have always hated Ukip and Farage – and now that the dust is settling on the referendum are busy writing a hagiography that chimes with their contempt.

The reality is, however, that without Nigel Farage, there would have been no referendum. And there certainly would have been no ‘exit’ vote. It happened because of a crassly inept ‘remain’ campaign (analysed here) and a range of interlocking factors focused on an intense dislike and fear of the damage to British society and culture the EU has wrought.

Those hagiographers should take on board some basic, sobering facts. Holding the poll was adopted as official Conservative party policy in 2013 only because Ukip – guided by Farage – was making such deep inroads into the Conservative vote that David Cameron had no alternative. Up until that point – it has now emerged – he was a Conservative leader living a lie.

He had conned the Conservative party parliamentary rank and file and grassroots into backing him as leader in 2005 (against David Davis, a true ‘out’ campaigner) because he had told a huge porky – that he was ‘eurosceptic’.

The reality, as emerged in graphic detail during the referendum campaign, is that Cameron – and many of his supporters – is every bit a pro-EU figure as Kenneth Clarke, Michael Heseltine and Edward Heath. He was rashly, perhaps even recklessly, prepared to stake everything – and tell huge economic untruths – on ‘remain’.

Second, although elements of Vote Leave were based on smart online marketing techniques, there were glaring shortcomings in its approach from the outset.

For example, it failed to set up a proper unit to rebut BBC propaganda, and it failed to understand who to put up in the media to argue the Brexit case. The BBC coverage in response to this inadequacy nearly swung it for remain.  The Corporation could not believe its luck.

Vote Leave were also not clear about who they were targeting or what was likely to motivate ‘out’ voters. Control of immigration, for example – and the impact it was having, was scarcely mentioned until the final weeks of the campaign, and then only half-heartedly.

Farage, by contrast, after 25 years of campaigning at grassroots level – and putting up with name-calling, death threats from Scottish nationalists and the abuse of the BBC throughout – knew that the biggest issue for the 17m+ who voted ‘out’ was not how much money we give to Brussels, but that the EU socialist project was swamping our sense of identity, and was causing dislocation by allowing uncontrolled mass immigration on an unmanageable and unprecedented scale.

He knew because he had personally been there and spoken to thousands of voters, that folk in Boston in Lincolnshire, in Sunderland (despite the Nissan plant) and Middlesbrough, in Gravesend and Southend, in Ebbw Vale, in the Tory shires and the so-called ‘working-class North’, were sick to the back teeth of being patronised and lied to about the true nature of the EU project by politicians.

The hagiographers now say that the poster showing a snaking queue of ‘immigrants’ released by Farage on the Thursday before polling was ‘racist’. The BBC has amplified that message in dozens of contexts, and continues to do so. It is being disgracefully projected in lockstep with figures such as Baroness Warsi, Jeremy Corbyn and Eddy Izzard.

The reality is that the poster summed up exactly the frustration of the millions of voters who made Brexit happen, to defend their communities and stand up to the oppression and chaos unleashed on Britain by Brussels.

Of course, such a strategy ran risks. No-one could have foreseen the shooting of MP Jo Cox, and then the relentless and utterly cynical milking of the tragedy by ‘remain’, by Labour MPs totally out of step with their constituents, and the BBC, to suggest that supporters of ‘out’ – and above all, Farage – were all hate-filled racists. The reality is that the totally unforeseeable backlash unleashed by this tide of anti-Ukip/Farage certainly cost ‘out’ many votes.

That, however, was compounded by figures such as Michael Gove, who on the Sunday before voting, on the Andrew Marr show deliberately suggesting that he believed the Ukip poster to be racist and inexcusable.

The sobering, awful reality after the biggest democratic vote in British history is that elements of the Conservative party, aided and abetted by the BBC, are now back in control and are busy re-writing history in Animal Farm style. Such opinions suggest that Brexit is far from assured.

Yes, David Davis, is a genuine ’outer’, an immensely able politician. But he and his main lieutenant, Liam Fox, are surrounded by a party made up many for whom the lessons have clearly not sunk in. The British people did not vote for the Tory party on June 23. They voted with a roar to say that British cultural identity – in its many and tolerant guises – should be protected, and to get rid of the oppressive and destructive clutches of the EU.

James Townsend: Challenging the BBC’s Covid Project Fear narrative

James Townsend: Challenging the BBC’s Covid Project Fear narrative

This post by James Townsend originally appeared on The Conservative Woman

YOU may have seen some of my recent threads which have slowly been gaining traction in the Twittersphere. They have covered a range of topics, including defending TV presenter Beverley Turner from unwarranted attacks on Good Morning Britain and the Jeremy Vine Show, to questioning Sage scientist Susan Michie and exposing the government’s approach around mandatory vaccinations.

Nothing prepared me, however, for the reaction I would get following a Twitter thread published on Thursday afternoon questioning a BBC headline report into an apparent ‘third covid wave’ in the North East, specifically within the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (NTHNFT). In the days that followed it had tripled my Twitter following, attracted 1.5million views (impressions), and was amplified to audiences in Dutch, Spanish and Arabic, among others.

I’ve been followed by scientists, blue tick celebrities, political commentators, teachers, business owners, concerned parents, and everyone in between. It was also the lead item on Friday’s UK Column news where they discussed it at length. And now I find myself writing in a publication which I’ve long been an admirer of. The reaction has been overwhelming.

Why did it resonate with so many people, I wondered? Before I answer that question, here’s a recap. It’s a long read but please do follow it to the end.

Now a predictable few have tried rubbishing the thread by claiming either ‘there’s a lag on deaths, so it’s too soon to see an uptick in fatalities’ or ‘a lack of deaths doesn’t mean a hospital is not overwhelmed’. The former point neglects to mention that cases have been rising for weeks and the latter fails to consider the context of the supposedly deadly pandemic we’re living through. Both of these arguments have, of course, an element of truth in them but they deliberately sidestep the central point of the thread.

The reason it resonated with so many people is because British citizens have become totally fed up with the relentless fear-based propaganda espoused by the UK government, the NHS, and the mainstream media. It’s a narrative so strong and underpinned by a poisonous culture of cancelling those we disagree with, that professionals like myself feel that writing under a pseudonym is the only viable option. It’s a conundrum I eventually hope to overcome. As we get to winter, when deaths from respiratory viruses naturally rise, we will no doubt have ‘deaths with/of covid’ plastered all across our television screens once again. Until that time, whilst deaths are negligible over the summer months, cases are used to sustain the fear despite it not necessarily translating to sick or infectious people. No context is ever given to the viewer that, yes, from an extremely low base cases and hospitalisations may be rising, but that still isn’t translating into many (or, any, in the case of NTHNFT) deaths.

There has been a long and palpable silence from Hugh Pym since my thread challenged his impartiality although if I had been the press officer advising him, I may well have come to the same conclusion. Why? Well, there is simply no justification for a supposedly balanced health editor not to give the context of mortality figures, whilst running a segment which would terrify many of your average viewers through its hyperbole and emotional, fear-based rhetoric.

As I said in conclusion to a previous thread, if the mainstream media won’t do their jobs by offering context and balance then I will have to keep shining a light on these shoddy examples of journalism.

Photo by CDC from Pexels
We’re right about climate change, say the BBC – and let the facts go hang 16/10/2018

We’re right about climate change, say the BBC – and let the facts go hang 16/10/2018

A milestone in the BBC’s descent into becoming an overt political campaigning group – on a par with Greenpeace or Extinction Rebellion – came in October, 2018 when director of news Fran Unsworth issued a formal directive which decreed in effect that climate alarmism was based on proven facts and could no longer be challenged on BBC airwaves. One of her senior executives, James Stephenson, appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Feedback programme to explain the new directive.

October 16, 2018

How idiotic has the advocacy of climate alarmism by the BBC become?

Last month, as TCW reported, BBC news director Fran Unsworth issued a formal directive stating, in effect, that alarmism is proven and may not be challenged on the BBC airwaves.

Now one of her key minions, James Stephenson, the BBC’s overall editor of news and current affairs, has appeared on the latest edition of BBC Radio 4’s Feedback to ram home the message.

Full reading of the transcript is recommended to appreciate the jaw-dropping scale of the bias involved, but in essence Stephenson declared that, despite viewer concerns that the Corporation was adopting a partisan approach, ‘the science’ is beyond doubt and the IPCC’s word on the subject must be considered gospel.

His stance amounts to a total junking by the Corporation of basic scientific empiricism, which since Roger Bacon’s Opus Majus in 1267 has been based on the premise that one new set of verifiable data can sweep away any theory.

In that context, the alleged existence of ‘consensus’ between climate scientists on which Stephenson relies for justifying his propaganda position matters not one jot.

In fact – despite all the IPCC’s posturing, politicking and blustering – the study of the workings of the globe’s climate is in its infancy, not least because measurement of variables is so unreliable and incomplete.

A leading anti-alarmist scientist (and true empiricist), the Australian Jo Nova, excoriatingly reports that the world’s major climate ‘record’ – on which are anchored many of the IPCC’s alarmist predictions – is riddled with massive errors, gaps and assumptions.

So extreme was Stephenson’s partisanship in favour of the climate alarmist stance on Feedback that he bloody-mindedly defended a major mistake in the Corporation’s IPCC-related coverage.

Today presenters John Humphrys and Sarah Montague both wrongly said the IPCC report was warning about a 1.5 per cent rise in global temperatures when actually it referred to 1.5 degrees. Whoops, but in the BBC’s manual of climate change reporting, who cares? Stephenson accepted that this was inaccurate, but claimed it did not matter because ‘audiences would have recognised it was a slip’.

Eh? In other words, in the BBC’s climate change universe, never let the facts get in the way of a good scare story.

Ironically, perhaps, the BBC position on alarmism can be compared to that of the Catholic Church as imagined in Bertolt Brecht’s 1938 play The Life of Galileo. In the 1960s this was a ‘must see’ drama for all those on the Left. They wanted to ridicule the play’s projection of the unreason and unbending conservatism of Catholicism, then one of the biggest targets of every Left-winger. Ultra-Marxist Brecht represented Galileo as the voice of ‘reason’ against the Church’s defence of bigoted religious orthodoxy. The BBC, of course, would love to see themselves as Galileo in the climate change debate.

In reality, they are not. The BBC, the IPCC and other bodies such as the EU, politicians and governments who have swallowed the IPCC agenda, the multi-national companies benefiting from ‘green’ energy, and academia are now all vested interests defending the ‘warmist’ status quo at any and every cost – including the rejection of reason itself.

Every man (and woman and non-binary) jack of them, like the Catholic Church in Brecht’s projection, is pitched against true scientific inquiry. Those who question alarmism are not ‘deniers’, as the BBC so insultingly calls them. Rather, it is they, the ‘deniers’, the anti-alarmists, who are heroes and heroines fighting to smash the deeply corrupt alarmist scam, which, on some estimates, is costing taxpayers trillions of dollars a year.

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
David Keighley: So who did pay for the BBC’s latest blast of pro-EU propaganda? 04/03/2015

David Keighley: So who did pay for the BBC’s latest blast of pro-EU propaganda? 04/03/2015

March 4, 2015

Scratch the surface of almost any BBC statement about ‘impartiality’ or ‘bias’ and you unearth rather an unpleasant smell.

The BBC says no EU money was used in the making of its Sunday night pro-EU extravaganza The Great European Disaster Movie, which depicted  in ludicrous, extremist terms  the total disintegration of civil society across the Continent, if, God forbid, the EU was forced out of existence.

Note the weasel words: ‘in the making of’. The reality is that post-production, the film-makers Bill Emmott and Annalisa Piras – both of whom are pro-EU fanatics – have told the outside world they are receiving EU money for the transmission of the film in other languages. So put another way, it is an EU propaganda project.

And the BBC were co-producers of that film.

What’s also not clear is who did fund the project. It was made by Piras’s company Springshot Productions, and that means its financing is totally opaque. Things here don’t add up. It’s unlikely that the budget of a project of such scale and production standards would be anything less than £1m, and yet Springshot is tiny. According to the company website, it has made only one other film, two years ago.

The point here is that it is only larger production companies turning over millions a year that can afford to make glossy hypothetical dramas – and they don’t generally make money, which is why they are so relatively scarce. Someone with deep pockets and a deep desire to spread massively pro-EU propaganda was behind it. The BBC should tell us who this was so we can make up our own minds about the decision to show it.

It seems that someone, somewhere in the higher echelons of the BBC hierarchy has a guilty conscience, because immediately after it was shown, a very rare occurrence happened, the BBC equivalent of a Blue Moon. In a Newsnight special hosted by Robert Peston,  two genuine EU ‘come outers’, Mark Reckless, the Ukip MP, and Peter Hitchens, the Mail on Sunday columnist, were fleetingly allowed to make some of the arguments in favour of withdrawal and to explain why the claims by Emmott and Piras were preposterous.

Unlike the unremitting one-sidedness of the film, the views of Reckless and Hitchens were of course offset, notably by a spokesman of the Greek Marxist party Syriza, who agreed with Emmott in ascribing all the current massive economic problems of the EU to nasty ‘austerity’.

There are other BBC-related problems in this film which only surface with digging. Emmott, a former editor of the Economist, and Piras, an Italian who worked as a foreign correspondent in London for many years, are clearly united in their huge desire to ram the need for the EU down our throats.

They are so fanatical that they have set up an organisation called The Wake Up Foundation, a so-called charity, the main aim of which – though clothed in high-flown language – is another vehicle to spread their EU bile. A feature by Emmott on their website in which he compares Nigel Farage to Silvio Berlusconi typifies the approach.

Far more concerning about The Wake Up Foundation, however, is that one of its trustees is Richard Sambrook, who is a former head of BBC newsgathering and Director of News, who was moved sideways to the World Service at the end of his BBC career because of question marks in some quarters over his judgment relating to the BBC’s handling of the fall-out from the Iraq war.

Sambrook, after a spell as a public relations adviser, re-surfaced as a Professor of Journalism at Cardiff University.  His department was commissioned by the BBC Trustees in 2011 to conduct research linked with the Stuart Prebble inquiry into whether the BBC was covering EU-related issues in accordance with the Charter.

That research, as has been reported by Kathy Gyngell on TCW, was ineptly conducted and as a result gave the wholly false impression that BBC news programmes gave adequate coverage to eurosceptic and withdrawalist opinion. Not only that, the main person who conducted the research had recently received a substantial slug of EU cash from the EU for a project designed to ascertain how the EU might better project itself.

So, put another way, the BBC commissioned a rabidly pro-EU programme from a film making duo who have close professional and organisational links with a former Director of BBC News who, in turn, has been appointed by the Corporation to tell the outside world – on a supposedly ‘objective’ basis – how balanced and impartial is the BBC’s output in relation to the EU.

The linkage raises several awkward questions.  Was Sambrook directly involved in the making of the European Disaster Movie? Was he involved in any way in persuading the BBC to show it and to become co-producers? To what extent is he involved in the dissemination of the pro-EU propaganda of The Wake Up Foundation? Were the BBC aware of his links with Emmott when they commissioned his department to do the Prebble survey?

Something in the state of Denmark, if not rotten, smells very fishy indeed.

David Keighley: A star line-up for the new BBC theme park. Russell Brand despatches figures of hate 15/12/2014

David Keighley: A star line-up for the new BBC theme park. Russell Brand despatches figures of hate 15/12/2014

In this satirical piece hinged on plans announced in 2014 by BBC Worldwide to build a BBC theme park on the Thames estuary, it was imagined that a BBC ‘hero’ – the comedian Russell Brand – should act as Lord High Executioner in despatching BBC ‘figures of hate’ such as Nigel Farage and other supporters of Brexit.  

Roll up, roll up…the BBC’s commercial arm Worldwide has signed a deal that could mean BBC programmes becoming part of an entertainment park being built in Ebbsfleet and due to open in 2020.

This has triggered inevitable speculation about which programmes would achieve star-billing – Doctor Who is top of the list. Another hot tip is an Eastenders theme ride where everyone shouts at each other.

In fact, BBC ideology is now so well-defined that it won’t take much adaptation to get the crowds flocking to the park. The blueprints are already on the management board’s desks with former Labour minister James Purnell, the BBC’s head of strategy, in charge of making sure everything fits with Corporation rules about partiality and diversity.

The plans have been leaked exclusively to TCW. Here’s the list:

CHOP-CHOP: Following the rip-roaring success of choosing Hilary Mantel’s fantasy about murdering Margaret Thatcher as the latest Radio 4 Book at Bedtime, Ms Mantel has devised a theme park special game, inspired by her Thatcher fantasies and also based on the BBC 2014 adaptation of her Thomas Cromwell novel Wolf Hall. Each afternoon, in the Thatcher memorial arena – with the centre area lovingly recreating Tower Green – a BBC figure of hate will be publicly ‘decapitated’ by Corporation hero Russell Brand  using the latest BBC £100m special effects techniques to make each despatching look as realistic as possible.  Already on the list are, of course, Nigel Farage, Mark Reckless,  Theresa May, Lord Lawson of Blaby (for being both a Thatcher chancellor AND daring to challenge the BBC orthodoxy of climate change), and – the most popular – a legion of nasty City bankers.

NOT SO FROZEN PLANET: Here, the BBC – inspired by David Attenborough’s nature programmes – invites its public to experience what it knows for certain (because Ed Miliband, Christopher Huhne, scientists and computer models  say so) how the world will be in 2100.  Modelled partly on the geodesic structures in the Eden project, this exciting Epcot-style attraction will feature melting ice, endless storms, flooding and searing temperatures – all of which, it will be explained, were once foolishly called weather but are now known by Corporation correspondents and presenters to be certain evidence of impending disaster. The most exciting feature is at the end – the BBC vision of what must be done to save mankind: the destruction of capitalism and industry, and a reversion to the Stone Age.

QUESTION TIME: In line with focus-group findings that the public now find political debate too boring and must be spiced up, this attraction is set in a re-creation of the Coliseum in Rome. Rival gangs of politicians, aided and abetted – and sometimes led – by their celebrity backers, are invited each afternoon to devise ever-more-gruesome methods of combating each other. Consultants for ensuring maximum visual impact and unpleasantness are Jeremy Clarkson and the team from Top Gear. At the end, the crowd (hand-picked, of course, by the BBC from among Labour supporters) will be invited to decide who among the survivors should be spared.

NO MINISTER: supported by the EU’s diversity and public information fund, this attraction holds nothing back in showing how wonderful the EU is. With lots of polyglot singing. aerial gymnastics and illusionism, there are  a series of tableaux demonstrating how uncontrolled movement of people and endless new regulation benefit everyone. A special feature, drawing on the ever popular Yes Minister programmes (but without the humour, of course), illustrates how the EU is run without any democratic input at all, but is nevertheless entirely democratic. The second phase of this feature – intended when it is built to be star of the park – will allow the public to participate in a whole series of cross-European experiences showing how nationalism must wither and be replaced by a borderless Socialist Utopia.

Photo by Angie from Pexels
David Keighley’s BBC Watch: Radio 4 still fights the last propaganda war against Brexit 17/08/2016

David Keighley’s BBC Watch: Radio 4 still fights the last propaganda war against Brexit 17/08/2016

This item showed that in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 EU referendum,  the BBC went flat out to project that the ‘yes’ vote had been a huge mistake. Their reports from what they dubbed ‘Brexit Street’ on Teesside were fake news of the worst kind and were designed to misrepresent and malign the views of those who voted to leave the EU.  

What could be the biggest threat to Brexit?

Tory back-sliding and plotting by remainiacs like Anna Soubry? Undoubtedly they will have spent much of the summer fomenting new lines of subversion. They are ready pounce on and exaggerate any dissension in party Brexit ranks, as last weekend’s Sunday Times story about the alleged turf-war spat between Boris Johnson and Liam Fox underlined.

Or could Owen Smith confound the whole Westminster village, win the Labour leadership election and, with a miraculously re-unified party behind him, force, as he says he will, a second referendum? Most Labour MPs still obdurately think that voters for Brexit, many of them their constituents, were deluded fools.

Pigs are more likely to fly of course than Owen Smith is to beat Jeremy Corbyn. But much stranger things in politics have happened in the bewildering battery of developments since June 23.

One constant in the equation, and perhaps the biggest threat of all to Brexit – through the corrosive propaganda they are continuing to generate on an industrial scale – is the BBC. Two months on from the referendum vote, they are still searching relentlessly for reasons why ‘no’ was totally a mistake.

It is impossible to keep track of this deluge. It’s suffused, for example, throughout the Corporation’s business coverage (best evidenced in Today’s 6.15am business news slot), has infected food, environment and comedy programmes, and of course, dominates news coverage. If you have doubts, take a while to browse the Corporation’s Brexit Collection on the iPlayer – almost every programme rams home hard the collective anti-Brexit meme.

Such is the scale of the effort that a whole new mythology is in the process of being forged. In BBC programmes, Brexit voters are mostly unemployed, usually almost inarticulate, and they speak in impenetrable northern or guttural regional accents. They are mostly old and despise the young. Above all, they hate strangers and immigrants to the extent that they are plotting and committing by the hour ‘hate’ crimes on unprecedented levels.

A further bedrock of this new BBC reality is that ‘out’ voters were duped by unprincipled, racist opportunistic politicians such as Nigel Farage who spun a web of fiendishly convincing lies.

Over-egging? No. A manifestation of these fables-in-the-making is being broadcast on Radio 4’s PM programme, Producers have built around a real, but unidentified ‘ordinary’ street on Teesside a series they have dubbed ‘Brexit Street’.

So far reporter Emma Jane Kirby has fronted five reports, each of which has brought listeners – through the views of local residents – what is claimed to be the reasons why people voted out.

In the right hands, this could be interesting, revealing broadcasting. But this is the BBC, and instead it is a caricature of Northern voters that is beyond parody.

For a start ‘Brexit Street’ is not ‘ordinary’. The exact location has not been revealed to listeners. All that has been said is that it is in the town of Thornaby-on-Tees, an inner city area sandwiched between Stockton on Tees in the west and Middlesbrough to the east.

A little digging from the facts presented by Kirby (it has terrace houses, a Salvation Army premises, a bookies’ and a supermarket) reveals that it can be only one local thoroughfare, Westbury Street. And once identified, a whole series of alarm bells start ringing.

First, the housing is mainly old inner city stock and a terrace house can be bought there for between £40,000 and £60,000, compared with the local average of around £100,000 and a regional North-eastern figure of around £120,000.  So it’s pretty downmarket, even in an area (Middlesbrough especially) which is facing very tough and exceptional times because of the closure of the local steelworks.

Second – and this is probably the killer blow to any pretence of balanced journalism – Kirby revealed in the opening report that ‘a large number of asylum seekers’ are residents. Further spadework reveals that Middlesbrough and Stockton town councils are the only two in the North-east which are accepting asylum seekers on a large scale. There are nearly 700 in the local government area covering Thornaby, equating to one in 280 local residents.

That said, Westbury Street has only 120 households, and the local average house occupation rate is 2.3 – so it would be expected that only one or two residents there would be asylum seekers. Kirby, however, says there are ‘large numbers’ living there (and of course she’s interviewed many of them) – suggesting that the local council is using the street for their re-settlement because housing there is especially cheap.

What this boils down to is that Westbury Street is not at all average and not at all ordinary. Kirby has focused in two of the first five reports on that the asylum seekers feel isolated and alone and are not integrated, mainly because of the views and implied prejudice of the locals who voted out.

Asylum seekers, of course, are nothing to do with the EU. But never mind the facts. Going there and projecting the alleged prejudice against these unfortunate people (one is a victim of alleged military atrocities in the Congo) as a contributory cause of the Brexit vote fits neatly with the new BBC mythology.

More reports in the series are a treat in store. What has been presented so far is a travesty of balanced journalism.