Thursday, September 28, 2006

OK - enough is enough

I'm a huge advocate of the BBC. I think £140 for the quality of programming we get in the UK is absolute superb value and if it means no adverts, then even better. I'll defend it to the hilt. I understand the arguments against, but as it stands the alternative still appears the worse option.

However, watching the BBC 10'o'clock news last night, Nic and I spent most of the time open mouthed. I'm not sure I've ever watched a more emotive bulletin in my life.

First up organ donation in China - it has emerged that Chinese transplant centres are harvesting organs from executed prisoners and charging foreigners £50,000 a pop for a life saving transplant. It's a story that chills my spine. I'm vehmently anti-death penalty and I very much doubt whether willing consent has been provided by the executed prisoners. However, despite some pretty solid evidence, the level of specualtion contained within the report was astonishing. We had an interview with Mr Yu the father of one of the executed prisoners and all sorts of conjecture about what may and may not have happened to his son's organs, we don't know whether his liver was harvested as far as I could see, but never mind that, here was human tragedy. Then there's the poor unsuspecting foreigners. The abuse was termed horrifying.

Huw Edwards then went on to interview the correspondent saying. ''What many of the viewers will be horrified at tonight, is the amount of executions that are occurring in china'' WTF. Yes I am horrified Huw, but please don't make the assumption on my part, I'm sure there are some veiwers who think it's great and you know what they now hate you for assuming they're horrified.

This was Auntie Beeb at it's worst, telling the viewing public what they should feel. It was agenda setting propoganda, not public service. 'You sit there and we'll tell you what's what'. It left both of us wondering what the agenda was, for the first time ever. You expect this from Fox or CNN, but not the beeb.

Next up we had the report on the leaked War on Terror documents in the US and the UK. All fine for the first few minutes, purely factual. The Democrats are seizing upon it. MI5 are denying that these are widespread beliefs. The Republicans are defending the non-release of details. All fine.

Then cut to the war on the ground in Iraq, FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF AN 8 YEAR OLD GIRL. See the evil Americans. See the uncertainty of the girls life. What a tragedy she is trapped in a war zone. Again yes, this is what I believe is happening. Yes we've fucked it up. Yes the civilian population of Iraq are suffering. But, don't take my side. Stay neutral, report the facts. I'm smart enough to work things out for myself, I don't need to be told by you what to think and this report just means some arsehole's (probably Iain Dale) going to chip away at the whole BBC institution. How am I meant to defend this. I can't, it's undeniably biased.

Third up was Brazilian cleaner Roselane Driza, found guilty of blackmailing a high court judge over a sex tape he'd made with his high court judge lover. If 'Heat' had a TV channel they couldn't do a better job than this sensationalist nonsense.

The whole thing from beginning to end has rather rocked my faith in the neutrality and quality of the BBC. One half an hour programme has done an awful lot of damage.


vodka-and-coke said...

I'm surprised you ever thought the BBC was balanced.

The licence fee sees to that

Curmy said...

Six, I gave up thinking the BBC was balanced ages ago. I usually turn their TV news off after 5 mins.

Jane said...

Afraid to say I new already about chinese prisoner's organs being sold to rich westerners, and its actually way more horrifying than this. Read what Nancy Scheper-Hughes (google her name) says about it, she has been researching the global trafficking of organs for years now and is a leading expert on it. It's academic writing but actually pretty easy to read.
On the rest, can news coverage ever be unbiased?

jane said...

damn it! Knew not new

Six Years Late said...

No I realise you can't have a completely unbiased news report, but this was ridiculous.

Jane said...

I don't watch tv news anymore, and I get too angry when I do just cos it is too biased, and not having a telly means I forget what it's like.

Edward said...

Seldom watch BBC (or any, really) news but have seen, then switched off, jaw on floor, two items this week. First the amazing 'Chinese organs' (that's a half hour documentary - not first item in national 6o/c news) second, tonight, in the headlines '...blah blah Apprentice blah blah.... woman.. blah. WHAT!?!?

If I' looking for a bulletin I tend to try Sky first now, or radio 4 or World Service.
Heaven help us.