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Astonishing support for authoritarian state

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You are obsessed with whether things are tax-funded or not. I think your reference to tax-funded TV must refer back to your item on the BBC. It is not tax-funded. It is funded by a license fee which is an important distinction. It’s optional (if you don’t have a TV you don’t have to pay it) and it goes straight to the BBC which gives the BBC its independence.

So, commenter, lemme get this straight: If I were a Brit, I’d have to fund the Beeb just in order to even have a working TV and get the channels I want?

And the money goes straight to the BBC? – which could be using it for any purpose? Oh yeah, independence.

And the commenter does not think there is anything the matter with that? Hold that thought, people.

So it’s really like this: If I were a Jew, I’d have the right to go to shul—as long as I also contribute to the Church of England?

The Beeb could be supporting anti-Semitism and the Jewish person wouldn’t have the right to do a thing about it? Unless she could persuade some utter stupe Brit toff that anti-Semitism is a problem for her?

Meantime, she’d still have to pay if she wanted communications at all?

So … a forbidden thought from Canada: Why can’t the Jewish person just use all her media-directed money for what she thinks is worthwhile?

Look, we have similar ripoffs in Canada. There is now a big move to defund the Ceeb (Canadian version of the BBC).

And kick its fat [horse] onto the sidewalk (but you didn’t hear that from News, right?).

Skinny: In an age when even homeless people have cells, no one needs “public broadcasting” anyway. It is a relic of a former age, and now just a platform for authoritarian-directed views, and supported by people who think that way.

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65 Replies to “Astonishing support for authoritarian state

  1. 1
    Mark Frank says:

    Denyse

    Stop digging!

    The license fee is under 40 pence a day. It is a simple and practical way of funding it. If you have a better alternative then let’s hear it.

    The important thing abouts its independence is that it is independent of the government. That, of course, is vital or it could become something like Putin’s TV. A glance at the stuff it writes about government will reassure you that its content is not government controlled. However, that doesn’t mean it can broadcast whatever it likes. People have more ability to effectively object to the BBC’s output than they do to a commercial channel. They have all the same recourses that they have available for a commercial channel (sue it for slander etc). In addition it has a charter which they can use a basis for accusations of partiality and if necessary legal action. Commercial channels have in general no such requirement for impartiality (just look at Fox News). Because of its public role it is subject to far more scrutiny than than any commercial channel.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Mark Frank at 1: Some of us will not pay a cent ($.01 Bank of Canada exchange rate) to be “independent of government.”

    Canadians are supposed to be, by nature, independent of government already. That’s the point.

    If we keep reasonable English Common Law, we are already independent of government.

    Or should be.

    And will be.

    No one cares whether channels are impartial.

    Doe anyone truly expect Ottawa sports news to favour the Pittsburgh Pengs over the Ottawa Sens?

    Impartiality is irrelevant in the age of the Internet.

    But no one expects an authoritarian to understand that.

    He desperately NEEDS something to police, whether it needs policing or not.

  3. 3
    not_querius says:

    “: In an age when even homeless people have cells,…”

    This is the type of “accurate” journalism that we have learned to expect around here. Are you seriously trying to tell us the it is common for homeless people to have cells?

  4. 4
    Mark Frank says:

    Denyse – you are getting confused in your old age. We are not talking about whether citizens are independent. That’s a given in both our countries. We are talking about whether a broadcaster is independent.

    If you seriously think that “impartiality is irrelevant in the age of the Internet” then I suggest you spend a little time in Russia, China or Iran. You are confusing the medium with the information provider. Even in the West most people still get their news from TV and they tend to listen to the channel that confirms their prejudices. Those that get their news from the Internet tend to go to websites such as the BBC and the Daily Mail.

    Why on earth do you think that I am an authoritarian or want to police things just because I like having non-commercial TV which is relatively free of government control? Maybe you have a desperate need to characterise those that disagree with you as left-leaning authoritarians?

  5. 5
    News says:

    not-querius at 3: There is nothing unusual about technically homeless people in North America having cell phones:

    http://www.homelesshub.ca/blog.....ell-phones

    Technically homeless, where I live, just means one does not have a reliable street address. One that EMS can use, for example.

    That may become more common in the future, and having a cell may be correspondingly more important as well.

    Revise your expectations.

    Mark Frank at 4: How can you possibly expect me to believe your scandalous “independence” nonsense around government news claims?

    If I MUST pay, it is not “independent.” Any more than I can choose whether to fill out a tax return.

    I do not wish to pay for the government-dependents’ “non-bias” news.

    If I am forced to pay, I am forced to pay for government news because, like most people with actual lives, I do not have the time to lar-di-diddle with toffs about bias problems with the news. It is that simple.

    Doesn’t matter whether the bias is left or right or in the middle or whatever. I do not wish to pay a cent for government news.

    You wouldn’t know this, of course, but in Canada, that train left the station a while back. The government news people here are playing for time.

  6. 6
    Mark Frank says:

    Denyse – you grow more and more wild and confused (and confusing)

    Mark Frank at 4: How can you possibly expect me to believe your scandalous “independence” nonsense around government news claims?

    The whole point is the BBC is independent of the government. It is not “government news”. If you don’t believe me just look at the complaints the government makes about how biased the BBC is against it.

    If I MUST pay, it is not “independent.” Any more than I can choose whether to fill out a tax return.

    Again you are muddling your independence (whether you choose to pay or not) with the news provider’s independence. I don’t think you are really that dim – but you are making a very good impression of it.

    I do not wish to pay for the government-independents’ “non-bias” news.

    All societies involve sometimes paying for things you don’t want.

    If I am forced to pay, I am forced to pay for government news because, like most people with actual lives, I do not have the time to lar-di-diddle with toffs about bias problems with the news. It is that simple.

    I don’t understand that sentence – but I suggest you drop the “I am a plain-speaking country girl” act. Your opponents come from all sorts of backgrounds and by most people’s standards you are very much part of the chattering classes.

    Doesn’t matter whether the bias is left or right or in the middle or whatever. I do not wish to pay a cent for government news.

    I know – you wrote that several times already. So I will repeat – the BBC is not government news.

    You wouldn’t know this, of course, but in Canada, that train left the station a while back. The government news people here are playing for time.

    Maybe. We will see.

  7. 7
    News says:

    Mark Frank at 7: There is nothing confused or confusing about what I am saying.

    I will not vote for tax dollars to pay for a service (government TV) that people don’t value and can easily replace if they did.

    It doesn’t matter what complex formula you claim citizens can use to complain to ‘crats about government TV.

    What if we just want it all GONE from our lives?

    If we must all pay for it regardless, it is NOT independent.

    And not GONE.

    You cannot understand that we just want it GONE? That tells us a key fact about Darwin’s followers in general.

    Your Honour, the Defence rests.

  8. 8
    not_querius says:

    “You cannot understand that we just want it GONE? That tells us a key fact about Darwin’s followers in general.”

    I must have missed the memo that stated that you speak for all of us Canadians. And I must have also missed the research that demonstrates a correlation between people who think that the modern evolutionary theory is the best explanation of biological diversity, and people who support a tax payer funded broadcaster.

  9. 9
    Me_Think says:

    What is ISIS opinion on this important matter?

  10. 10
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mark, you don’t seem to understand some very basic issues here. The BBC might not technically be the “government,” but the government forces everyone (under threat of physical violence and coercion) to pay a fee to the BBC. The BBC is unaccountable to the people who pay the fee. The BBC can do whatever it damn well pleases with the people’s money. It can put out awful programs (and there have been plenty) without penalty. Why? Because it gets the same money whether it is meeting demand or not.

    You ask if there is a better system? Yes. Obviously there is. That you don’t seem to understand what it is makes it clear that you are blinkered in your outlook.

  11. 11
    Barry Arrington says:

    Mark Frank,

    One more thing. You have been a long-time opposition commenter here and we hope you are able to continue.

    But your crack about Ms. O’Leary’s age is way past the line. Walk it back and apologize or you will be gone.

  12. 12
    not_querius says:

    Barry: “The BBC might not technically be the “government,” but the government forces everyone (under threat of physical violence and coercion) to pay a fee to the BBC.”

    Using false inflammatory claims (eg. “Threat of physical violence”) removes all credibility from your point.

  13. 13
    humbled says:

    “the whole point is the BBC is independent of the government” haha ok…

    Mf now I know you are just arguing for the sake of arguing. There is ZERO chance the BBC is independent of the government, come on, you must surely know this? Either that or you are truly ignorant.

    Secondly, there are huge amounts (51% in some surveys) of Brits who want the tv license scrapped and for good reason.

    Crimewatch’s Nick Ross calls on BBC to scrap TV licence
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/.....st-viewers

    Campaign to abolish the television licence
    http://www.spiderbomb.com/tv/index.html

    TV LICENCE RESISTANCE
    http://www.tvlicenceresistance.info/forum/

    This propaganda machine will get NOTHING from me. I pulled my TV aerial out and sent the BBC gestapo packing when he came to my house to check. Been TV license free for 2 years now. I have a Netflix and Amazon Prime subscription, don’t need their nonsense in my house.

    If you are not receiving a live broadcast you a NOT required to pay for a TV license.

  14. 14
    Mark Frank says:

    Denyse at #8
     
    Mark Frank at 7: There is nothing confused or confusing about what I am saying.

    You confused

    your independence with the broadcaster’s independence
    the medium with the information provider
    the license fee with a tax
    government news with news from an independent publically funded source

    Throughout the following you refer to “government TV”. I don’t know about CEEB but the BBC is clearly and demonstrably not government TV. It is independent of the government (although bound by its charter).  It doesn’t matter how many times you refer to it as government TV that won’t make it true.

    I will not vote for tax dollars to pay for a service (government TV) that people don’t value and can easily replace if they did.

    You may not value the service.  The vast majority of the UK population (and a good portion of other countries) value the BBC a lot.  I don’t know about the CEEB. I am not sure how you replace either.

    It doesn’t matter what complex formula you claim citizens can use to complain to ‘crats about government TV.

    Is it so very complex to say it has broken the terms of its charter?  I think you can manage to understand that. (Do you really think the UK is still run by aristocrats? You are about 150 years behind the times).

    If we must all pay for it regardless, it is NOT independent.

    For a writer you are having a surprising amount of trouble with the word independent. If you have to pay then in a sense you are not independent. That is nothing  to do with whether the broadcaster is independent. See (1) above.

    You cannot understand that we just want it GONE? That tells us a key fact about Darwin’s followers in general.

    You have made it abundantly clear that you want CEEB gone. I have no idea how many Canadians agree with you. If it is a non-commercial publically funded broadcaster which is independent of the government then you will lose something rather precious (never mind – you will still be able to access the BBC as countries all round the world regularly do).  You seem to be unable, or unwilling, to move beyond that to a rational discussion of the role of the BBC. In fact you can’t (or won’t) even make the elementary distinctions I listed above. All you can do is rant about Toffs and Profs and ‘crats (I am none of these).  That confirms some key facts about you.

    Your Honour, the Defence rests.

    Expires is more accurate.

  15. 15
    Barry Arrington says:

    not_querius @ 13.

    Perhaps in the la la land in which you live the essence of government is not coercion. Out here in the real world it is. That is why they call it government.

  16. 16
    Mark Frank says:

    #11 BA

    Mark, you don’t seem to understand some very basic issues here. The BBC might not technically be the “government,” but the government forces everyone (under threat of physical violence and coercion) to pay a fee to the BBC. The BBC is unaccountable to the people who pay the fee. The BBC can do whatever it damn well pleases with the people’s money. It can put out awful programs (and there have been plenty) without penalty? Why? Because it gets the same money whether it is meeting demand or not.

    Are you saying the BBC is independent or not? If it can “do whatever it damn well pleases with the people’s money” then it is independent.  As it happens this is not the case. It is independent of the government but it is accountable to the people of the UK both formally and informally. Formally via its charter. Informally via the immense scrutiny it gets from other media.

    You ask if there is a better system? Yes. Obviously there is. That you don’t seem to understand what it is makes it clear that you are blinkered in your outlook.

    Obviously? Well tell me what it is. Just so long as it isn’t the stream of commercial rubbish that I see whenever I am in the States. (And yes there are some very good programmes in between the rubbish and the commercials – just as there are very poor programmes on the BBC)

    One more thing. You have been a long-time opposition commenter here and we hope you are able to continue. But your crack about Ms. O’Leary’s age is way past the line. Walk it back and apologize or you will be gone.

    I apologise. It is a quite a common light-hearted phrase over here which I often use to my friends when they have said something confusing. I don’t imagine she took it to heart, much as I don’t take it to heart when she refers to us Profs and Toffs and Darwinist Trolls.  I believe I am almost the identical age to Denyse.

  17. 17
    News says:

    Don’t know it matters, but I am proud to be 65 this year.

    Most ancestors lived to be late eighties, early nineties. One grandma lived to be 101. My dad will be 96 this year.

    Hey, when my mom turned 90 last year, we had a big party, free stuff for everybody!, at the retirement home.

    Look, I realize no one cares, but if someone wanted to make a cheap crack about it all … don’t expect to be rid of me so soon.

  18. 18
    Mark Frank says:

    #14 Humbled

    Mf now I know you are just arguing for the sake of arguing. There is ZERO chance the BBC is independent of the government, come on, you must surely know this? Either that or you are truly ignorant.

    Well I have put forward an argument (it is funded independently) and evidence (the frequent complaints by the government about the BBC being biased against it). You have produced neither.

    Secondly, there are huge amounts (51% in some surveys) of Brits who want the tv license scrapped and for good reason.

    There is an active debate about the best form of funding the BBC – which is healthy. No one is suggesting scrapping the BBC itself. Most of the polls do not specify what the alternative funding arrangements should be.  I just hope it is not advertising which would be fatal.  

    Crimewatch’s Nick Ross calls on BBC to scrap TV licencehttp://www.express.co.uk/news/…..st-viewers

    Well the BBC is certainly an improvement on the Daily Express which seems to have given up journalism altogether.

    Campaign to abolish the television licencehttp://www.spiderbomb.com/tv/index.html

    Did you read this link? It says:
    The CAL is no longer active and this site is for information only. For the latest news on our campaign please see our other web site at Abolish TV Licence. When you click on the link it goes to a site in Chinese (I think)

    TV LICENCE RESISTANCEhttp://www.tvlicenceresistance.info/forum/

    The existence of a chat site is not proof of anything much. There is a similar site for every opinion under the sun.
     

    This propaganda machine will get NOTHING from me. I pulled my TV aerial out and sent the BBC gestapo packing when he came to my house to check. Been TV license free for 2 years now. I have a Netflix and Amazon Prime subscription, don’t need their nonsense in my house.
    If you are not receiving a live broadcast you a NOT required to pay for a TV license.

    How very clever of you.

  19. 19
    Mark Frank says:

    And I am 63.

    For what is worth – my Mum is 93. She lives by herself in a large crumbling house – runs a small business – and continues to drive herself most places. So I also hope to be around for a bit.

  20. 20
    News says:

    So Mark Frank at 20 made such stupid remarks about age instead of keeping to the issues because … ?

  21. 21
    Silver Asiatic says:

    humbled

    I pulled my TV aerial out and sent the BBC gestapo packing when he came to my house to check.

    I find that amazing that they came to your house to check up on you.

    i notice that the BBC blocks a number of shows to US providers — that always suggested to me a very tight control and financial interest. It might be the same in the US without me noticing it, but i think in general we have more freedom. I think our public TV is tax funded also but perhaps to a much smaller extent.

    All of that said, the BBC produces some very high quality TV dramas and comedies (for my tastes) and it’s easy to get addicted to it.

    I wish “The IT Crowd” stayed alive forever. Hilarious.

  22. 22
    Mark Frank says:

    News #21 I was trying to defuse the situation with light-hearted chatter about our respective situations. I can see now how you might have interpreted it as some kind of dig at you. I am sorry if it was misinterpreted.

    Everything I said about my Mum is completely true. It wasn’t meant to be getting at you. I am very proud of her.

  23. 23
    not_querius says:

    Barry @16
    “Perhaps in the la la land in which you live the essence of government is not coercion. Out here in the real world it is. That is why they call it government.”

    I wasn’t commenting about your coercion claim. I was commenting about your threat of physical violence claim. Unless, of course, you have examples of threats of physical violence being made against people who don’t pay the licence fee.

  24. 24
    Mark Frank says:

    #22 SA

    It is standard for all providers to block material to other countries for financial reasons – they want to sell it. It is one way of replacing the license fee! I don’t think you will find the BBC news is blocked – only programmes.

  25. 25
    not_querius says:

    I am 61. None of my family has lived longer than 60, so if I don’t finish this sent…

  26. 26
    News says:

    Mark Frank at 23, it was not light-hearted chatter. It was an insult, accepted and treated as such.

    But unlike Europe, much of North America is NOT currently plagued with a bad outbreak of “diversity officers” (like a bad outbreak of fleas, but much harder to just fix). So in many places, like the one I live in, people ignore the insult, and pursue the problem.

    Your mother sounds like an excellent person.

  27. 27
    Mark Frank says:

    #27 News

    Clearly there was no insult in #20 (which was what I meant by light-hearted chatter). So presumably you were referring to #4 for which I already apologised and tried to explain. It is a comment friends frequently make about me (and vice versa) and I don’t stop to think about it for a moment.

    When you keep up this incessant stream of accusations of Darwinist trolls and the like you must expect the opposition to snap back occasionally – albeit in a trivial way.

  28. 28
    Curly Howard says:

    Insulted News?!

    BAN HIM!
    BAN HIM!
    BAN HIM!

  29. 29
    Florabama says:

    Mark Frank and others, why do you favor government funded news? Doesn’t that smack of favoring propaganda? Whoever controls the purse controls the message, right? What if there were government funded creationism programing or right wing propaganda — would that be acceptable to you as well? Do you approve of other governments controlling the news like say the way the former Soviet Union did and Russia still does to great degree or North Korea does or Islamic states do? Of course not because you only defend government funded news because you agree with your specific government’s message of secularism and more government. People of principle disagree with government sponsored news — no matter the message — because it is by definition propaganda. I don’t care what TV you want to consume but don’t force me to pay for your propaganda message. Is that really too hard to understand for you?

  30. 30
    Mark Frank says:

    Florabama

    I have spent most of the afternoon explaining that I do not favour government funded news for the good reasons you give. Nor do I favour exclusively commercial funded news because, as you say, who controls the purse controls the message. That is why I like the BBC approach which is neither. The people of the UK fund the BBC directly according to its charter via the license fee. It is not dependent on tax revenue or government policy (at least not until its charter next runs out). It is part of a tradition of independent public bodies such as the Bank of England and the Office of National Statistics. This arrangement was implemented in the 1920s for radio and has prove extremely effective – especially during the second world war where countries on both sides turned to the BBC as the most trusted source. As Humble points out there is an ongoing dispute about alternatives to the license fee which may well have been outmoded by technology. I hope it doesn’t result in either advertising or government funding.

  31. 31
    not_querius says:

    Florabama, you obviously have no experience with the government mandated broadcasters such as the BBC or the CBC. You may disagree with the editorial slant of them but you would have to be deaf and blind to think that they are a propoganda arm of the government.

    Debating whether or not these mandates should be retained is reasonable. But basing the argument on the false claim that they are not independent of the government is a non starter.

  32. 32
    drc466 says:

    MF,

    I must admit to being surprised to find you on the pro-license side of the argument. Freedom dies one step at a time – every choice you cede to the government is one less freedom you retain to yourself.

    The obvious alternative to funding the BBC via a forced license is…not funding the BBC via a forced fee. Make them compete in the open marketplace just like every other broadcaster out there. If they are, indeed, better and more watched than their competitors, then they’ll certainly be able to fund themselves, right? And if they actually had to rely on viewership and popularity instead of having an open checkbook enforced by the government, then they have increased incentive to provide the people what the people want, rather than what some employee or group of employees within the BBC wants. If you, and some of your pro-public-eat-your-vegetables broadcasting friends think it is important that unpopular good-for-you programs be made, then YOU should have to fund them, not get to steal my 40p/month for it.

    When the government picks the winners and losers, the outcome is always sub-par.

  33. 33
    Mark Frank says:

    #33 drc466

    The BBC provides two public goods: entertainment/culture and news/current affairs etc.  Although they overlap in some programmes and services the two goods can be considered separately. The UK (and many other countries) have a long tradition of publically subsidised culture – theatre, opera, ballet, music, museums etc. The cultural side of the BBC is essentially no different from this. We can argue about whether it is a good idea – but it is not an argument about freedom of news and information.

    The news/current affairs side is rather different.  It is not just a question of providing people with what they want. Otherwise you end up with commercial stations feeding untruths and distortions to the politically faithful to keep their confirmation biases satisfied because that is what pays or because the owner can afford to put out the message he/she wants people to hear. The free market doesn’t work well for news (just look at the Daily Mail) although I don’t deny the value of having commercial free press as well as non-commercial free press.  If people are to hear the truth they also need a source which is as free of influence as possible.  The difficult question is how best to provide it.

    A solution is a non-profit public service organisation with a charter to provide impartial coverage. It is far from perfect but it has proven to be a good option. Then comes the question of funding. Until recently a license fee seemed like a good approach.  However, it may be necessary to look for other ways in the near future. The BBC already makes a lot of money (about 25% of its revenue I think) from selling its stuff abroad and commercial products such as box sets.  Maybe that can be expanded. Personally I would absolutely hate to see advertising. It really spoils my enjoyment of anything I am watching. But if it comes to that then I can accept it politically as long as the BBC remains a non-profit public service organisation with a charter.

  34. 34
    News says:

    But why should anyone pay for a public broadcasting service that is not re basic issues like weather (cd be a big issue in Canada) or public safety?

  35. 35
    not_querius says:

    News@35:
    “But why should anyone pay for a public broadcasting service that is not re basic issues like weather (cd be a big issue in Canada) or public safety?”

    Now, that is a reasonable question that can be debated. I think that arm’s length public broadcasters and privately funded broadcasters each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

  36. 36
    Florabama says:

    @ 31,32 and 33,

    First, it does not matter whether you believe that a fee is not a tax (Bill Clinton would be proud of your parsing — but maybe the question depends on what “is” means, huh?). Anyway, whether a fee or a tax, it is still money taken by force without choice. Yes, one can throw out their TV just like one can choose not to pay the electric company and live in the stone age or choose not to pay the water company and dig a well and live in the stone age. Your argument is ridiculous on its face and reveals vacuous desperation in your excuse.

    Second, whether the message is the message that government approves or not, is irrelevant, but I believe it is the favored government message — certainly in the U.S. where PBS, NPR only give one message — bigger more secular government and the leftist narrative. No one else need apply. I take note that you would be opposed if you disagreed with this message. Again, I ask, would you favor government funded ID/creationism programing? I am still waiting for your response to that question.

    As I said, I have no problem with propaganda. It is free speech. Just don’t make me pay for your propaganda unless you’re going to pay for mine, and you wouldn’t do that.

  37. 37
    Silver Asiatic says:

    MF

    When you keep up this incessant stream of accusations of Darwinist trolls and the like you must expect the opposition to snap back occasionally

    You’re almost always much more courteous than that so I think it came as a surprise.

    Some Darwinists who post here are trolls – in my opinion. I’m surprised they’re allowed to participate. A minimum level of sincerity (which you certainly have) should be required … but it’s not my blog, etc. Just venting.

  38. 38
    clancampbell says:

    Denyse,

    I heartedly agree with you.

    As a British citizen it really smarts that I have to pay this ‘STEALTH TAX’ for an organization that doesn’t speak for me.

    If I don’t pay it I am breaking the law, so I do pay (begrudgingly.)

    The licensing scam cannot last very much longer (I hope). It does come to something that I find better things to watch on YouTube then I do on the BBC!

    Anyway here is a response from the BBC from my latest compliant to them….

    {
    Dear Mr Campbell

    Thank you for your enquiry.

    With a TV Licence you’re entitled to do much more than just watch TV at home on a TV set. You can also watch and record programmes as they’re being shown on TV through your computer, games console, any digital box, DVD/VHS recorder, even your mobile phone.

    Although the revenue is used to fund the BBC, it is not a charge for BBC services.

    The licence is payment for a permission to install or use television equipment to receive or record television programmes. It is not a payment for service and is payable regardless of which channels are received.

    ‘TV Licensing’ acts as agent for the Licensing Authority, which is the BBC and does not set the level of the licence fee, which is determined by the Government. All TV Licence revenue collected is passed to the Treasury, who in turn fund the BBC.

    Under the Communications Act 2003, you need to be covered by a TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes as they are being shown on TV. This is the case no matter what device you use ? whether a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

    If you want further information on how the BBC uses the TV Licence fee you can visit bbc.co.uk.

    I hope this information is helpful.

    Yours sincerely,

    }

    … so it is not a service, it is not a tax, it is a privilege and I should be grateful!

    Is that a nice big smile as they rob me? 😉

    Best regards,
    clancampbell

  39. 39
    velikovskys says:

    florabama:
    Anyway, whether a fee or a tax, it is still money taken by force without choice.

    You are free not to pay the fee.

    Yes, one can throw out their TV just like one can choose not to pay the electric company and live in the stone age or choose not to pay the water company and dig a well and live in the stone age.

    Exactly, so just as you are forced to pay for your groceries,you pay for benefits of living in an ordered ,stable society by a percentage of your labor. You then get the voice in the society’s decisions.

  40. 40
    Barry Arrington says:

    NQ @ 24.

    The government has a near monopoly on the use of coercive violence. Every statute and regulation that has the force of law is backed by tacit threat that if one violates the law or regulation government will use coercive means, up to and including physical violence when they place you under arrest and detain you against your will in a jail, to enforce that statute/regulation.

    This is not rocket science. Think just a teeny weeny bit past the surface and it is obvious. I encourage you to do that. (Think, I mean. If you want to do rocket science as well be my guest)

  41. 41
    Barry Arrington says:

    MF @ 34:

    The BBC provides two public goods . . .

    Why, yes, government thugs always try to justify their thuggery by claiming it is for our own good.

  42. 42
    Barry Arrington says:

    AS, does the license fee have the force of law?

    Answer, yes. Then it is coercive. That is my point. Try to read for comprehension next time.

  43. 43
    Mark Frank says:

    #38 SA

    You’re almost always much more courteous than that so I think it came as a surprise.

    Thank you. I was a bit surprised that it was taken as insult. I have never thought of old age as an insult. But I am happy to apologise if it gives offence.

  44. 44
    DNA_Jock says:

    What a peculiar argument.

    Firstly, as various posters (most recently velikovskys) have pointed out, it’s a fee. florabama`s attempt at satire “choose not to pay the electric company and live in the stone age or choose not to pay the water company and dig a well and live in the stone age.” misses the mark. My brother has chosen to not watch broadcast TV for the past 25 years. I have relied on well water for the past 17. But we do make sure we pay the electricity bill, as we have an electric water pump
    If you don’t want to pay for a driver`s license, then don’t drive a car.

    Secondly, all this “coercive-government” schtick is a libertarian anti-TAX argument. If you don’t like how the government spends your taxes, then vote them out of office.
    Strange to relate, but the people who use this libertarian argument are more likely to complain about their tax dollars being used to fund NPR and abortions, but don’t see why I could have a beef when my tax dollars are spent on drone strikes and executing people.

  45. 45
    Curly Howard says:

    “What a peculiar argument”
    Welcome to UD.
    The twilight zone of “peculiar” arguments.

  46. 46
    News says:

    Clan Campbell at 39, welcome. You seem to understand the basic principle that eludes many: Why pay for a “public” broadcasting service in the age of the Internet (when everything is public if not protected as private)?

    The principal question commenters elude is why pay for “public” broadcasting in the age of the Internet?

    It’s like paying for seawater in the ocean. Why?

  47. 47
    not_querius says:

    Barry@41,

    I agree. It is big of you to admit that the government doesn’t impose the fees under the threat of physical violence (as you originally stated) but that the threat is tacit, subtle, if you will.

    But, as a lawyer, I am sure that you are aware that any consequence of violating a statute, regardless of what it is, is useless unless it is backed up with action when violated. When people speed, they are fined; when they drink and drive, they lose their car; when they steal, they may be incarcerated; and when they kill, some of the more barbaric jurisdictions still have the death penalty. Your original claim was that there was the threat of physical violence to coerce the payment of the fee. I can provide you with numerous examples of the consequences I mentioned above being used. Even accepting your definition of physical violence (being arrested) do you have any examples of this occurring as the result of not paying the licence fee? I have not researched this so i don’t know the answer. If there are numerous examples, then your original choice of word may be justified. But, if not, then they were unjustifiably inflammatory.

  48. 48
    Curly Howard says:

    “Why pay for public broadcasting in the age of the internet”
    Well as long as there are people viewing, it will be funded.
    I would assume a tv program would be held to a higher standard than much of the internet and therefore would be a more reliable source of information as well.
    Not to mention a tv show (hopefully) puts everything together clearly, concisely, and logically. Whereas surfing the net can be pretty overwhelming due to the amount of stuff that’s out there.

  49. 49
    Silver Asiatic says:

    MF

    I have never thought of old age as an insult.

    A man makes a negative comment about a woman’s old age … and has never thought it would be an insult?

    I mean, seriously, Mark. That one I’d classify under basic etiquette.

  50. 50
    Mark Frank says:

    #52 SA

    It was a total misunderstanding, that’s all. I thought she was confused (I still do). The addition “in your old age” is just an idiom. I wasn’t even thinking about how old she was. I use the same idiom with my children sometimes. I should have thought more deeply about how things can get misunderstood over the internet.

  51. 51
    Barry Arrington says:

    NQ and AS, I will say this one more time: The essence of government is coercion. Coercion takes many forms, up to and including physical violence. It makes no difference that jackbooted thugs are not at this instant waiting outside your door. If you don’t understand the most basic of all basic fundamentals of government, then further argument with you is useless.

    I will leave you with Thomas Jefferson:

    To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.

  52. 52
    Mark Frank says:

    #37 Florabama
     

    First, it does not matter whether you believe that a fee is not a tax (Bill Clinton would be proud of your parsing — but maybe the question depends on what “is” means, huh?). Anyway, whether a fee or a tax, it is still money taken by force without choice. Yes, one can throw out their TV just like one can choose not to pay the electric company and live in the stone age or choose not to pay the water company and dig a well and live in the stone age. Your argument is ridiculous on its face and reveals vacuous desperation in your excuse.

    Now that is what I call a real insult! I don’t mind whether we call it a tax or not. The important point is the money is not under government control and therefore allows the BBC to remain independent of the government.

    Second, whether the message is the message that government approves or not, is irrelevant, but I believe it is the favored government message — certainly in the U.S. where PBS, NPR only give one message — bigger more secular government and the leftist narrative. No one else need apply. I take note that you would be opposed if you disagreed with this message. Again, I ask, would you favor government funded ID/creationism programing? I am still waiting for your response to that question.

    If the BBC started broadcasting ID creationist programmes I would object using the channels available to me. From time to time it does broadcast things I intensely disagree with.  I remember Juliet Stevenson trying to make the case there was a link between MMR and autism. That doesn’t mean I would want the BBC disbanded or my license fee back. It is part of what comes with having an independent broadcaster.

  53. 53
    Andre says:

    In South Africa you have to own a TV licence even if you don’t watch SABC. TV licence inspectors come visit often to check on you. Those of you that think public and government funded broadcasters are independent are deluded. We had major drama here during SONA when government tried to jam comms signals and when police entered our house of parliament and forcefully removed MP’s the public broadcaster did not air it. None of our president’s current scandals get any airtime on public TV. This government is using the broadcaster exactly like the apartheid government did. It is one big propaganda machine.

    And the quality of programs are appalling.

  54. 54
    not_querius says:

    I will leave you with Thomas Jefferson:

    Being Canadian, I don’t hang on every word spoken by Jefferson.

    Barry: “Coercion takes many forms, up to and including physical violence. It makes no difference that jackbooted thugs are not at this instant waiting outside your door.”

    But that is not what you originally said. You said threats of physical violence AND coercion. You initially drew a distinction between the two and now you are saying that there is no distinction. Which is it?

    I am not actually disagreeing with the idea that the government probably shouldn’t be in the TV business, especially the CBC version of it. But you can’t have a fair and open debate about this (which you have not demonstrated any intention of having) when you use inflammatory language that, if not intentionally misleading, misrepresents the facts.

  55. 55
    Mark Frank says:

    #56 Andre

    Those of you that think public and government funded broadcasters are independent are deluded.

    That may be true of your country. It clearly isn’t true of the BBC which frequently criticises the government – have you not seen Paxman tearing into MPs? There would be the most immense scandal if the government were found to be influencing content in the way you describe. It sounds like your government is simply not conforming to the rule of law. If so it is equally capable of influencing commercial channels.

  56. 56
    News says:

    Andre at 56, that is why so many Canadians have invested so much time and energy and personal risk in attempts to simply remove the “public broadcaster.”

    In an age when it is possible to equip any human being with a transmitter/receiver, claims about the importance of “public broadcasting” are patently ridiculous.

    Agreed: In any system, extreme weather warnings and similar notices from emergency services should of course have priority over entertainment, norts spews, crossword puzzles, and gossip.

    Not only is it reasonable to charge a small fee for explicitly security-related services, no one who is insurable should wish to turn them down.

    Indeed, the next thing, if we are ever relieved of the burden of the Beebs and Ceebs, is: Insurance companies will give a discount to policyholders who use such services.

  57. 57
    not_querius says:

    News: “Andre at 56, that is why so many Canadians have invested so much time and energy and personal risk in attempts to simply remove the “public broadcaster.””

    I am not a huge supporter of the CBC, but I am a limitless confused by your statement that there is “personal risk” in opposing the CBC. Could you elaborate?

  58. 58
    Seversky says:

    I was born and raised in the UK. I worked at the BBC for over 25 years, although not in broadcasting or journalism. A few years ago, I came to the US, got married and became a naturalized US citizen. So I’ve seen both sides of the coin.

    Do I prefer to watch TV shows all the way through, without interruption, rather than chopped up into bite-sized 10 minute morsels floating in a sea of commercials? To repeat my previous comment, “Hell, yes!”

    Some of you may remember a US TV show called All in the Family which was regarded as groundbreaking in its day. That was derived from an earlier BBC TV sitcom called ‘Til Death Us Do Part which was much rougher and edgier. That came from what is regarded as the Beeb’s boundary-pushing Golden Age. It had independent funding, an influx of young, innovative talent and new ideas to try out. Most of all it could take risks without being reined in by company suits, PR flunkies and ad agency hacks all terrified of doing anything to offend an audience that were all potential customers.

    The BBC licence fee is, strangely enough, just that, a fee. It’s not a government handout and it’s not a tax. You have a licence to drive a TV set like you have a licence to drive a car or own a gun.

    Is there coercion involved, Barry? Of course, there is. It’s a legal requirement. Law, which you make a living out of, is backed by coercion. Most forms of government are backed by coercion. Except maybe for anarchy or nihilism, and I doubt you’re advocating those. The divine command morality of Christianity is coercion and you seem to think that’s a Good Thing.

    As for all this grumbling about paying for stuff you don’t want, I’ve got just one word for it – TANSTAAFL! “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” Everything gets paid for by somebody, even the so-called free stuff. Commercial TV gets its money from the ads it broadcasts. The cost of those is built in to the price you pay for the goods they sell.

    One way or another, like it or not, we all pay. You wouldn’t like paying for a TV licence? Tough. I don’t like the huge tax-breaks organized religions get in this country. Some of the taxes I pay go towards featherbedding faiths I don’t believe in. Too bad. I just have to live with it.

    As for broadcast journalism, the BBC helped set the standards. It’s why the World Service was a byword for trustworthy news reporting, a reputation that government propaganda mills like Voice of America could only aspire to.

    Maybe truly objective coverage is an unobtainable ideal. So what? Doesn’t make it any the less worth striving for and what can be achieved is still a whole lot better than the Palinesque partisan populism that passes for journalism in some quarters these days.

  59. 59
    Barry Arrington says:

    AS @ 61.

    Nor has it any bearing on the BBC who are independent of the UK government of the day.

    The government forces levies a fee that forces people to support the leftist spewings of the BBC, and you think it has nothing to dowith the Jefferson quote. There really is no use talking to you.

  60. 60
    Barry Arrington says:

    AS @ 61:

    That’s a very pessimistic belief.

    No, it is neither pessimistic nor optimistic. It is a simple description of reality that you don’t seem to be able to get your head around. It does not apply only to corrupt governments. All governments coerce. What do you think the word “govern” in government means? You should think about these things beyond a surface level before you comment on them.

  61. 61
    Barry Arrington says:

    Seversky @ 63:

    Is there coercion involved, Barry? Of course, there is. It’s a legal requirement. Law, which you make a living out of, is backed by coercion. Most forms of government are backed by coercion.

    At least you understand the basics. Good for you. Try to explain that to your materialist friends who can’t seem to get their head around the idea.

  62. 62
    not_querius says:

    “At least you understand the basics. Good for you. Try to explain that to your materialist friends who can’t seem to get their head around the idea.”

    Has any materials here said that there is no coercion? I certainly have not. I simply pointed out that your claim that the fees are being paid under threat of physical violence is a blatant misrepresentation of reality. It should be easy to prove me wrong. Just provide a handful of examples of UK citizens experiencing physical violence as the result of not paying the licence fee. These incidents will definitely be in the public record.

    And if you are going to broaden the definition of “physical violence” to receiving a fine, please think twice about the rationality of that spin.

  63. 63
    Andre says:

    Our public broadcaster is the one who litters it with ads all while charging a licence fee. Our pay channels have almost no ads. For those that want to see government abuse of power just Google SONA 2015

  64. 64
    Jerad says:

    Anyone who has heard John Humphry’s grill a department minister on the Today programme knows how much some MPs are afraid of the BBC.

    TV programmes that were developed and broadcast by the BBC: Monty Python, Dr Who, Faulty Towers, Strictly Come Dancing, The Voice, Spooks, Poldark, Waking the Dead, The Goodies, The Young Ones, Ab Fab and many others. The other (commercial) channels outputs are much, much more limited. And the commercial channels pander much more to current trends and tastes.

    The BBC also has excellent news and weather reports and a website you can all access. It covers Wimbledon, the Olympics and many sporting events of interest to British citizens.

    I would also like to point out the BBC has several TV channels (including a 24 hour news channel) and about 10 radio broadcasts. There is something for everyone.

    If you watch commercial TV then you are paying higher prices at the store to help the producers pay for the advertisements. Isn’t it better to just pay upfront for things rather than be inundated by inane ads for things you may not even want?

  65. 65
    Mark Frank says:

    In an age when it is possible to equip any human being with a transmitter/receiver, claims about the importance of “public broadcasting” are patently ridiculous.

    I don’t see the logic of this. It would be ridiculous if the presence of the Internet provided a service which an independent non-profit broadcaster did not. Those services include:

    * high quality entertainment

    * educational and informative documentaries

    * independent and trustworthy news and current affairs

    All of which is adequately funded but free of both government and commercial control (and the pain of commercials).

    The internet is just piece of technology which provides a channel to these things. Some institution still has to provide them whether it is via the internet or broadcast.

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