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TinotopiaLog → Dangers of State Media (16 Nov 2003)
Sunday 16 November 2003

Dangers of State Media

No matter what you think of their reporting, you’ve got to appreciate that the BBC is in a sticky situation. It very much wants to be thought of as independent and objective, even though it’s fundamentally a wing of the British government.

Yes, yes, I know, there’s an independent board of governors, etc., etc. The BBC effectively has the power to tax people in the UK, and to have them fined or jailed if they don’t pay. You could more easily argue that the New Jersey Lottery isn’t a wing of the state government.

So anyway, in an attempt to prove its independence that’s remarkably similar to a teenager’s attempts to prove her independence from her parents by dying her hair green, the BBC has taken the position of opposition to the government, the requirements of responsible journalism be damned. Ironically enough, the BBC’s quasi-governmental status — its supposed freedom from the evil, evil Profit Motive — gives it additional credibility. Instead of being seen as a mainstream-but-only-barely left wing organ like The Guardian (itself a non-profit entity), it’s seen as credible and responsible, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

This is hardly news, of course. But the BBC’s website contained a particularly silly juxtaposition last night:
BBC Comedy

I find the placement of a quote from Tony Blair about ‘shared values’ next to a photo of police wearing body armor and holding what look like submachine guns to be particularly interesting, given that this has to be a stock photograph.

Even more interesting, this story appears to no longer be available on the website; the original headline still shows up in ‘related stories’ lists, but the link now goes to a different story. Down the Memory Hole.

Posted by tino at 12:45 16.11.03
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