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A Sunday rant in which I despair at the BBC (again)

October 9, 2011

I know, I know. It’s Sunday and I’ve already been wound up by the inane Sunday Morning Live, the BBC’s flagship example of it’s tabloidisation. But it doesn’t end there. It never ends there. So, I ask you, how can BBC News 24 think that another Paul McCartney marriage is more important (or essentially news-worthy) than the protest currently underway on Westminster Bridge against the government’s plans for the NHS? I’ve just watched some breathless ‘journalist’ outside Sir Paul’s London residence tell the nation that the ex-Beatle and his soon-to-be-bride are looking relaxed.

‘What’s been happening?’ she was asked by the studio anchor.

‘Ohh, lots’, the correspondent cooed, before elaborating in a way that demonstrated beyond doubt that there was fuck all happening. She even admitted that all she had to go on was speculation, but she deliver this speculation in the tones of someone who had just witnessed the second coming.

When journalists camped outside a celebrity’s home refer to ‘speculation’ what they mean is that they’ve been talking to other journalists, all of whom have a vested interest in the story and therefore in the gross inflation of it’s importance. They have nothing.

Not to worry. There’s always the Michael Jackson tribute concert. Even this morbid, sentimental pop-fest was deemed more news-worthy than protests in defense of the NHS. But then again, even the news that Sainsbury’s has committed itself to matching the prices of its rivals has made it onto the BBC News website, where there is no mention of demonstrations on Westminster Bridge. Fuck. Why doesn’t the BBC just hand back the license fee and carry proper advertisements. Better still, why not just accept sponsorship from a large supermarket and have fucking done with.

News is shit. But the BBC, one feels, is in particular trouble. This is because the sort of constituency that regularly jumps to the corporation’s defense when governments threaten it are the same sort of people who take an interest in things like the defense of the NHS. People like me. Who don’t give a toss about for Sainsbury promotions and celebrity gossip.

Now that I’ve got that all of my chest, I read on Twitter that the BBC has at last mentioned the demonstration on Westminster Bridge. But I’m still fuming. It is Sunday after all. And I’ve got Downton Abbey to avoid tonight. Don’t get me started on ITV…

Update: Below is the BBC News 24 coverage. I am nothing if not fair. The report is nothing if not impeccably balanced.


Stop press: This picture from CharlieMcMenamin, our correspondent on Westminster Bridge.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. charliemcmenamin permalink
    October 9, 2011 2:11 pm

    …I’ve just sent you a far more appropriate picture from the demo….well, more in keeping with your apparent mood anyway.

  2. October 9, 2011 4:08 pm

    That’s what I like to see in the blogosphere: an instant response to commentator feedback….

    UKUncut are very sweet en masse. At one point, the Police were actually doing the protesters job for them by turning tourists away from trying to cross the bridge and saying, ” you can’t go on there unless you’re part of the demonstration”. . Bless.

  3. Rab permalink*
    October 9, 2011 5:52 pm

    Charlie, what’s you’re feeling: is it a little too sweet?

  4. October 9, 2011 6:53 pm

    Innocent I’d say. Nicely innocent, and much better than getting harangued by some zealous sectarian trot with the answer to everything on their lips, but still innocent.

    There was a moment after the short speeches when they tried to encourage us all sitting on the bridge to turn to our immediate neighbours and begin a small group discussion of ‘what to do next’. Lots of us just silently got up and left….

    Good street theatre though, and that, after all, is all any demo can hope to be. I may not be one of them in any cultural sense, and I may think they need to work on their demands a bit, but I’m very glad they’re around.

  5. Rab permalink*
    October 9, 2011 8:27 pm

    It sounds a bit like the cast of CBeebies on a picket-line. But as you say, preferable to the zealots. But how long can we ask politely? The non-threatening approach is probably crucial in the building of broad support beyond traditional Left-wing constituencies, but the media just ignore it until someone smashes a window. It’s bloody hard building a revolution these days.

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