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If we do not have an established church, we should not have established media

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The discussion around people being forced to support the BBC just to have the right to operate a TV was, I think, interesting and healthy (though I started it somewhat accidentally).

I simply couldn’t understand how otherwise presumably intelligent people would fail so simple a proposition as this:

If government says you cannot even have a TV if you don’t support some approved broadcasting service, that IS coercion.

Now, as a Canadian who has received about 500 extreme weather warnings since I moved to Ottawa, I would hardly object to a minimum charge to defray the cost of warning residents against letting the main drain bust. Or flash freezing their buns.  A basic, specific EMS-type service.

But the Brit-style compulsory TV service, BBC, could be fronting women’s rights—or Islamic terror.

And Brits who object are to spend their lives arguing with paid-off toffs about it— as opposed to working?

Many of us are well past caring. Readers, it is revealing that so many Darwinistas cannot figure this out: We just don’t want to pay taxes to support it any more! 

By the way, why exactly do pollsters in North America simper their surprise (so awful! so awful!) that so few here believe Darwin’s followers?

Who the heck should believe any of them?

Do these pollsters need to suck up to Europeans whose polled populations are presumably more docile?

Europeans pay all the fees without asking, right? Which makes them way smarter than us? Oh sure.

Barry Arrington summarized it here, in my view: He praised someone for understanding that when the government forces someone to pay a tax to operate a media service they hate, in order to have even the right to a working TV, that is coercion.

Of course it is. What if the government said that in order to have a telephone service, I must agree to a party line with Islamic terror? (head chopping, amputations as punishment, mutilations of girls).

Alternatively, I could otherwise spend the next five years arguing with “independent” toffs about whether supporting those people is a bad thing?

Simple solution, as above:  We do not have an established church and we do not  have established media.

Not a solution to all our problems but a good start.

 

24 Replies to “If we do not have an established church, we should not have established media

  1. 1
    Jim Smith says:

    “We do not have an established church and we do not have established media.”

    If you look at science education, you might find that atheism is the established church. When teachers aren’t allowed to teach about the flaws in Darwinism because atheists would feel threatened what else can you call it?

  2. 2
    Roy says:

    The discussion around people being forced to support the BBC just to have the right to operate a TV was, I think, interesting and healthy (though I started it somewhat accidentally).

    I simply couldn’t understand how otherwise presumably intelligent people would fail so simple a proposition as this:

    If government says you cannot even have a TV if you don’t support some approved broadcasting service, that IS coercion.

    But they don’t say that. There is no coercion.

    But the Brit-style compulsory TV service, BBC, could be fronting women’s rights—or Islamic terror.

    But it’s not compulsory. I know, because I opted out for several years when my aerial suffered storm damage and I realised I didn’t miss live TV.

    And, of course, the BBC isn’t fronting Islamic terror. That suggestion is preposterous.

    You and Arrington are spewing complete codswallop, simply because you are speaking form a position of total ignorance. You do not know what you’re talking about.

    Roy

    UD Editors: Roy, you don’t seem to understand what the word “coerce” means. Let us help you with that. It means “to compel by force, intimidation, or authority, especially without regard for individual desire or volition.” Now, if I live in England and want to watch TV I am compelled by the authority of government without regard to my desires or volition to pay a fee to the BBC. This is especially onerous to those who loathe the BBC’s leftist spewings.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    I simply couldn’t understand how otherwise presumably intelligent people would fail so simple a proposition as this:

    If government says you cannot even have a TV if you don’t support some approved broadcasting service, that IS coercion.

    Yes, it is coercion. It is coercion because, people being people, would prefer to have all the benefits of a modern society – healthcare, well-maintained roads, police, fire and ambulance services, water supply and sewage treatment, etc – without actually paying for them. But, as the saying goes, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”. The unwritten “social contract” stipulates that if you want the benefits of society then you have to pay your bit towards it.

    The only approval the BBC needs is from its audience, all those licence fee payers. It doesn’t have to toady to Big Government or Big Money.

    This is why us “presumably intelligent people” are wondering why this issue of government coercion is suddenly being raised. By all means complain loudly when government oversteps its bounds just as long as you are prepared to do the same when big corporate interests do the same. Except so-called libertarians are strangely silent about that.

    But the Brit-style compulsory TV service, BBC, could be fronting women’s rights—or Islamic terror.

    It’s compulsory to have a licence for the TV set. You don’t have to watch anything that comes through it.

    As for “fronting” Islamic terror, the Beeb would be howled down in an instant if it tried that. I know for a fact just how sensitive it is to public opinion.

    And Brits who object are to spend their lives arguing with paid-off toffs about it— as opposed to working?

    You know, this “toffs” thing sounds suspiciously like class warfare, and we all know the last political movement that rode to power on the back of that policy. It didn’t end well for a lot of people, not just the “toffs”. Besides, the real power now is not with old-style “toffs” but with the plutocrats. The gap between the rich and the rest in the US is widening all the time and that’s a dangerous trend.

    Many of us are well past caring. Readers, it is revealing that so many Darwinistas cannot figure this out: We just don’t want to pay taxes to support it any more!

    That sort of libertarian anti-tax agenda is such a scam. Cut taxes and you cut services. Cut a billion out of the budget looks good on paper. It’s a big number that means the rich get a bit richer. Who it really hurts is the poor who lose the services that money paid for and have no way to make up the difference.

    Do these pollsters need to suck up to Europeans whose polled populations are presumably more docile?

    Europeans pay all the fees without asking, right? Which makes them way smarter than us? Oh sure.

    Strangely enough, that’s one area where we agree, at least in part. I think the British have been way too docile about their rights. A US citizen has enjoyed the protections of a written constitution incorporating a statutory Bill of Rights since 1791 I think it was. Her Majesty’s subjects still have no written constitution and a statutory guarantee of rights only came into force in 2000, with the incorporation into British law of the European Convention on Human Rights in the Human Rights Act of 1998. That’s a scandalous delay.

    Barry Arrington summarized it here, in my view: He praised someone for understanding that when the government forces someone to pay a tax to operate a media service they hate, in order to have even the right to a working TV, that is coercion.

    Of course it is. What if the government said that in order to have a telephone service, I must agree to a party line with Islamic terror? (head chopping, amputations as punishment, mutilations of girls).

    A government can coerce but, in a democracy at least, they depend on the votes of the coerced to stay in power. Say the wrong thing and you’re out or you never get in. Try running for public office in the US as an atheist and see how far you get. In fact, you get the impression that most US voters would probably vote for an islamic terrorist supporter over an atheist if that was the only choice they had.

    Simple solution, as above: We do not have an established church and we do not have established media.

    There’s a lot of people in the US, some are probably here, who would like an established church. As long as it’s their church, of course.

    And the BBC does produce some really good shows.

    All without ads.

    Tell me how that’s a bad thing.

  4. 4

    Cut taxes and you cut services.

    PBS and the NEA is a “service” the country simply doesn’t need any more, what with all of the other technological avenues available to those who wish to provide media services/art to the public for free or for profit. It takes virtually no capital at all to throw up a website, populate it with whatever you want, and then work hard to create traffic.

    As far as “cuts” are concerned, that’s a laughable term. A “cut” is what they call it when you reduce the scheduled baseline budget increase for the future. Reducing the percentage of increase need not reduce any services.

  5. 5

    The BBC is controlled by the BBC Trust. The trust is appointed by the Queen on advice of government ministers. Independent? In what sense? Even the nature of the BBC is set by royal charter, which comes under governmental review every 10 years.

    To claim that a broadcasting company is “independent” of government when government establishes and enforces its charter and appoints those who set set company policy and hire all upper echelon management is either the height of naivete or someone here is a shill for the state propaganda machine.

    BTW, who breaks all the really big stories about the government there in the UK – BBC, or The Guardian? Oh wait .. does the BBC have any investigative capacity? Or do they only cover news other services and organizations have broken?

    Just because they are allowed to cover news that puts the government in a bad light after some other media source has broken it doesn’t mean it’s not a propaganda arm of the government – it just means it’s not as overt as, say, MSNBC or CNN here in America.

  6. 6
    News says:

    William J Murray has got the thing by the right handle.

    Public broadcasting was – in general – relevant to a former time.

    If the public broadcasting media had not told my classmates and me that Jack Kennedy had been assassinated 50 years ago, we just wouldn’t know.

    Today, it would be on iPods instantly. For better or worse.

    But a useless system can be harmful if it wastes time, money and energy.

    Today, I was part of a captive audience waiting for the train on a major intercity rail corridor.

    I would as soon go for dental surgery as Tax TV (yes, dental surgery is painful too, but at least I agreed the surgery might be good for me). So I don’t always keep up with how bad Tax TV is.

    If you are not used to it, it is pretty bad: A dumb, concerned-looking Canuck blonde was interviewing a plummy concerned-looking Brit toff on nuclear terror.

    The one thing I could be certain of beyond any reasonable doubt is that neither of them was smart enough, brave enough, or even focused enough to honestly answer any question a thoughtful viewer would have about how we got into this mess.

    In the faux world they inhabit, political correctness turns all thought into pablum and stifles every real world concern.

    That is the nature of Tax TV in the age of the Internet.

    Maybe I am forced to pay for this bilge, but I am not so far forced to watch it or say that it is anything other than a waste of public money.

    Can’t we just vote those people welfare and save the bandwidth?

    Note: The principal quietly told the class monitor to go out and put the (Canadian) flag at half mast, and we discussed the little we knew far more honestly than anything I would expect to hear from Tax TV today.

  7. 7
    bFast says:

    This post is a major example of majoring on the minors.

    Ok, so Britten has a weird way of funding public television. So what?

    Every nation I know spends gazillions of dollars to produce war machines, and my tax dollars have to pay for it even if I am a pacifist. The US, of course, is by far the worst offender. If the US cut back to just maintain its standard as the greatest military spender on planet earth it would solve its budget crisis — but no, it would rather put the tax burden on the shoulders of the people. What the Americans haven’t figured out is that their military is killing them, that their military might will be their downfall.

    Every first world nation has mandatory, government run, education. It is true that in North America you can opt out, and home school your own children. But even home-schoolers have to pay the taxes for all of the other children to be indoctrinated with whatever drivel comes to the government’s mind. (I know that in Germany, for instance, even home schooling is not permitted.)

    Lastly, in Canada anyway I have to pay my taxes to fund the murder of unborn children.

    It’ll all be fixed if only we can allow people to opt out of the BBC.

  8. 8
    Axel says:

    In your #3 Seversky, you essentially nail it, making very good points. the ‘leftists’ spewings’ as Denyse puts it, hardly offset the shocking right-wing bias of the rest of the media.

    Unfortunately WJM’s point is also true (so it may well have served its purpose, at least while the ‘one-nation’ going was good):

    ‘Just because they are allowed to cover news that puts the government in a bad light after some other media source has broken it doesn’t mean it’s not a propaganda arm of the government – it just means it’s not as overt as, say, MSNBC or CNN here in America.’

    However, the Labour Party has itself become corrupted beyond belief, NuLab(c), the former Labour party, founded by Methodist lay-preacher, Keir Hardie, is now more interested in promoting sexual licence – from infancy, where politically possible, and in economics, espoused Milton Freedman’s grand larceny against the Have Nots.

    So, as regards the ‘class warfare’ remark, NOthing wrong with that, except the way EVERYthing has turned out: THE RICH WON.

    And it doesn’t take a genius to see that capitalism soon becomes unfettered capitalism, and finally corporatism/fascism, such as we have today, in which governments are just the puppets of the ultra rich, finally what looks certain to be leading to an unparalleled, global, economic collapse. Particularly catastrophic, as the West has become so much more urbanized since the so-called Great Depression.

    Both parties are atheistic, whatever the claims of the right – although, particularly since Bliar (groomed, incidentally at university by MI5), NuLab(c) bring a particular level of inhuman horror these days, as the quid pro quo for throwing the public some bones.

    What a mess! Ultimately, I see it as primordially the fault of the pre-Vatican II, Tridentine Catholic church. The more was given, the more, not less, is expected.

  9. 9
    News says:

    Okay, I soon fully intend to write about other stuff.

    But the fate of legacy media is NOT a minor issue.

    In my own lifetime, the Internet changed everything. By giving anyone who wants to know stuff options that used to be the preserve of the “fourth estate.”

    I had a ringside seat for the whole thing.

    I don’t care that media tend to be leftwing. As long as people can choose other media if they want.

    BUT in my experience, institutions that are no longer necessary do not necessarily go the way of the buggy whip.

    They often hang on, doing something different, maybe something one shouldn’t want done.

    Take, for example, the media circus around possible US prez pick Scott Walker’s views on “evolution.”

    That was precisely what started me thinking about all this recently. The earnest conferences on the subject by blowdries who couldn’t possibly know anything on the subect set me thinking:

    At a time when many Americans are underemployed, the legacy media have so totally lost touch with what used to be their constituency that they imagine that whatever crochet they personally turn to is what matters to everyone.

    Seeing what was obviously BAD TV, I suddenly realized: It makes sense because no one IS watching!

    In that case, the last thing any reasonable person should want would be for the rubbish to be publicly funded by hard-up non-watchers.

  10. 10
    Starbuck says:

    The bbc doesnt spew leftist stuff, it spews reality, of course reality deniers are going to get angry about it.

  11. 11
    Ho-De-Ho says:

    What no everyone. Just thought I’d add a comment if nobody minds.
    I’m not sure if a thread like this detracts from the ID message which this site advocates. The is a spot of the squabbles about it and linking a TV license with Darwinism is a tad tenuous . At least it is from a bystanders point of view.

    However, with regards to the British TV license I should like to point out for clarity, that the government of this sceptered Isle does not require a person to possess a TV license in order to possess a TV.

    A television may be owned with pride and used even daily without the need for the £144 license fee. Nor is it necessary to possess said license in order to watch BBC programmes. There is one stipulation though, if one does not want to have ones collar felt by the law. It is this. One must possess a television license if one wishes to watch “Live Broadcasting”.

    If one wishes to watch Masterchef as it is being broadcast then one must pay the TV broadcasting license fee. If one can simply wait an hour for Masterchef to finish and be placed on the BBCiPlayer then one does not need a license.

    A license is also deemed unnecessary if one wishes to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, ITVplayer, 4oD or 5 on Demand etc.

    Just to reiterate, the purchasing of a TV license is not mandatory.

  12. 12
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray @ 5

    The BBC is controlled by the BBC Trust. The trust is appointed by the Queen on advice of government ministers. Independent? In what sense? Even the nature of the BBC is set by royal charter, which comes under governmental review every 10 years.

    The BBC Trust is appointed by the government. The Queen’s approval is a formality. The BBC’s editorial independence is guaranteed under the Charter and the associated Agreement.

    From the BBC Trust’s website:

    The Charter

    ?The Royal Charter is the constitutional basis for the BBC. It sets out the public purposes of the BBC, guarantees its independence, and outlines the duties of the Trust and the Executive Board. The current Charter runs until 31 December 2016.

    The Agreement

    ?The Agreement with the Secretary of State sits alongside the Charter. It provides detail on many of the topics outlined in the Charter and also covers the BBC’s funding and its regulatory duties. The Agreement is an important constitutional document because together with the Charter, it establishes the BBC’s independence from the Government.

    [My emphases]

    You are free not to believe a word of it but there is good evidence (see other thread) to support the contention that the vast majority of the Licence Fee payers both believe that the BBC is independent of both government and Parliament and want that independence preserved.

    To claim that a broadcasting company is “independent” of government when government establishes and enforces its charter and appoints those who set set company policy and hire all upper echelon management is either the height of naivete or someone here is a shill for the state propaganda machine.

    The BBC is a corporation not a commercial company. The Charter and Agreement both include legally-binding commitments to the Corporation’s independence.

    From the Charter:

    6. The independence of the BBC

    (1) The BBC shall be independent in all matters concerning the content of its output, the times and manner in which this is supplied, and in the management of its affairs.

    (2) Paragraph (1) is subject to any provision made by or under this Charter or any Framework Agreement or otherwise by law.

    From the Agreement

    4. The Independence of the BBC

    The parties to this Agreement affirm their commitment to the independence of the BBC as stated in article 6 of the Charter. By entering into this Agreement, the BBC has voluntarily assumed obligations which restrict, to some extent, its future freedom of action.

    BTW, who breaks all the really big stories about the government there in the UK – BBC, or The Guardian? Oh wait .. does the BBC have any investigative capacity? Or do they only cover news other services and organizations have broken?

    Big stories are broken by all manner of journalists in the UK, including those from the BBC. In its current affairs shows it has a strong investigative capacity.

    Just because they are allowed to cover news that puts the government in a bad light after some other media source has broken it doesn’t mean it’s not a propaganda arm of the government – it just means it’s not as overt as, say, MSNBC or CNN here in America.

    Just because it is set up by government does not automatically mean that it is a propaganda arm of said government. The fact that it is routinely criticized from both ends of the political spectrum suggests it is somewhere near the middle.

  13. 13
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray @ 4

    PBS and the NEA is a “service” the country simply doesn’t need any more, what with all of the other technological avenues available to those who wish to provide media services/art to the public for free or for profit. It takes virtually no capital at all to throw up a website, populate it with whatever you want, and then work hard to create traffic.

    Contra McLuhan, the medium is not the message (and, yes, I know what is McLuhan meant by the adage). We have the technology to create all manner of channels for information but creating the channels does not create the content. You can give everyone and his cat a website, blog or Facebook page and all you’ll get is the noise of personal axes being ground. Good luck finding reliable news in that digital cacophony.

    Personally, I listen to Minnesota Public Radio. In many ways, I think its news coverage equals BBC standards and almost no ads. It’s not perfect but what is? For me it’s like an oasis in a desert of commercial broadcast dross.

    As far as “cuts” are concerned, that’s a laughable term. A “cut” is what they call it when you reduce the scheduled baseline budget increase for the future. Reducing the percentage of increase need not reduce any services.

    If the “scheduled baseline budget increase” was only enough to offset the effect of inflation then doing away with it is a de facto cut. Just like a “wage freeze” during a period when inflation continues to rise is a de facto pay cut. And, of course, these always affect those least able to do anything about it. The rich just carry on getting richer.

  14. 14
    Mark Frank says:

    I apologise for the length of the following comment. I didn’t have time to make it concise.

    I agree this debate was healthy and interesting. It helped me to think through the value of the BBC and problems of funding it.

    The two things are different.  I am convinced there is a strong case for a broadcasting service which is:

    * Independent of government and commercial interests

    * Not tied to chasing ratings (although clearly it cannot totally ignore numbers)

    * Is sufficiently well-funded to broadcast good cultural, educational and journalist content

    * Has a clear charter to do these things

    How to fund such an organisation is a difficult but different problem.

    What is the value of the organisation?

    * Good cultural offerings benefit from subsidy and actually often pay off economically. That’s why we have an Arts Council, ENO, the National Theatre etc.

    * It has always been accepted that education is a public good that needs public funding. It benefits society economically and enriches lives and not just those that are educated.

    * The advent of internet actually makes it even more important to have a source of journalism that is independent and authoritative. Traditional commercial media have for the most part struggled financially over the last 20 years.  However, there remains an appetite and requirement for a trusted and in-depth source. Sure I can learn about the latest bombing within moments on Twitter. But where do you get a worthwhile analysis of its causes and implications?

    Some people are questioning whether it can be really independent of government. Nothing is perfect but it makes a very good stab at it. The content speaks for itself. It is not as though commercial media are independent of government. They meet and negotiate frequently. Even worse, they sometimes begin to control government. You get to the position where a single man who is not even a British citizen was having a large influence of British government policy.  In practice, the BBC is a harsh critic of the government that has no other agenda. There is no owner and no need to chase ratings. 

    It is an article of faith among the right-wing contributors here that anything that is not privately owned is “government” and therefore bad. This is an article of faith, not a conclusion based on evidence. There are many types of institutions that are not privately owned that are still independent of government. And there are many things that are better run by public institutions than privately

    Funding the BBC is a problem. Our debate has made me realise that the license fee is an anachronism. It is a left-over from the days when only a limited number of households had radios and TVs and if there wasn’t a government broadcasting service there would be precious little to watch.  It is bizarre and expensive to monitor. What is needed is a system that preserves its independence from government but also frees it from commercial constraints.  Right now I can’t think of a better alternative. Funding out of general taxation would immediately cause central government to want to manage it and severely damage independence. A pay-to-view system would cause it to have to chase ratings. Commercials put it under the influence of the advertisers (and ruin the experience. The license fee may just be the least worst solution.

    PS England has an established church.

  15. 15

    Seversky,

    First, if the government is appointing the body (BBC Trust) that oversees the institution and the nature of the institution is decreed by the government (royal charter), then it is simply not logically possible that the institution is independent of government, regardless of what any document (including the charter) says to the contrary.

    Second, you said:

    If the “scheduled baseline budget increase” was only enough to offset the effect of inflation then doing away with it is a de facto cut.

    Has baseline budgeting only been enough to offset the effects of inflation, seversky?

  16. 16

    Mark Frank said:

    It is an article of faith among the right-wing contributors here that anything that is not privately owned is “government” and therefore bad.

    I don’t know that I’m right-wing other than that I’m a fiscal and constitutional conservative (while being socially liberal in the original sense of being “liberal”), but the above is patently false and childish oversimplification of conservative position. Some things the government is better suited for, like national defense and the judicial system. The government is ill suited to be involved in many things for the simple reason that it gives too much power and influence over the lives of citizens.

    Right government is about maximizing the freedom and self-empowerment of citizens, not providing them with entertainment or cultural conditioning and political messaging. The bigger an more involved the government is, the less freedom and self-empowerment for the individual.

  17. 17
    Silver Asiatic says:

    MF

    That was a good summary – thanks.

    What is needed is a system that preserves its independence from government but also frees it from commercial constraints.

    Tax-deductable donations from viewers and grants from foundations could be a solution. But that also risks constraints on independence and the need to chase ratings.

    I see the artistic side of the BBC as very worthy of tax-support — are are national museums or parks. The news-political aspect however should just be given to the private sector.

  18. 18
    Mark Frank says:

    WJM

    First, if the government is appointing the body (BBC Trust) that oversees the institution and the nature of the institution is decreed by the government (royal charter), then it is simply not logically possible that the institution is independent of government, regardless of what any document (including the charter) says to the contrary.

    It depends of course what you mean by independent (here we go again). In a modern state most institutions are in some sense dependent on each other. Limited companies are dependent on government in the sense that government decrees the nature of limited companies and the rules under which they operate in a lot of detail. It will also regularly seek to influence their decisions e.g. getting energy companies to reduce prices or insurance companies not to withdraw flood. Interestingly I cannot remember any similar attempt to influence BBC policy – maybe leaning on them to withdraw one or two programmes. Conversely, as discussed above, government can become dependent on private media companies.

    It is true that the government does suggest who should serve as BBC trustees. But this is not in practice a political decision. There are lot of public positions which are recommended by government including some of the members of the House of Lords. For some reason this process is far less politicised than similar choices made by US Congress. I am not sure why, it is an interesting question, but it works in practice. In the case of the BBC it is helped by having a clear charter which the trustees are duty bound to implement. Whatever the theory – in practice the BBC’s editorial and journalistic policy is clearly not controlled by the government (something which I guess you do not dispute?)

  19. 19
    Mark Frank says:

    #17 SA

    The news-political aspect however should just be given to the private sector.

    Why? We have had some bad experiences with private sector news organisations and having an alternative seems invaluable, particularly in the age of the internet. (We have had some bad experiences with the BBC as well – but they are rather different in nature!).

  20. 20
    Silver Asiatic says:

    MF

    Why? We have had some bad experiences with private sector news organisations and having an alternative seems invaluable, particularly in the age of the internet. (We have had some bad experiences with the BBC as well – but they are rather different in nature!).

    I think you said it well here …

    It is a left-over from the days when only a limited number of households had radios and TVs and if there wasn’t a government broadcasting service there would be precious little to watch.

    You were referring to the license fee, but I apply the same thing to news and politics. In the U.S., at least, there is a massive quantity of internet news available to everyone, even the most economically disadvantaged. An important news story will be broadcast via twitter and facebook in seconds and amateur reporters will discover every true (and false) aspect of the story. People have far more news than they need – they can’t consume it all. The same is true for politics. I can’t see where public broadcasting offers anything at all of value in that area.

    For the arts, however, it’s completely different. It takes a lot of money, effort, talent and commitment to make great art. (That’s why art is not reducible to science – and materialist/Darwinist art would be the very worst thing imaginable in my opinion – the definition of ‘soulless’). It takes almost nothing to produce “great news”, if there really is such a thing. The BBC, in my opinion, produces great art in many forms. The news and political coverage, in my opinion, has far less value and is more subject to bias.

    Ok, I will concede this though … there are some aspects of investigative journalism that require significant funding. Those cases are rare and I wouldn’t call them “news” really.

    For example, an investigation about life in North Korea would require some big risks and money – far beyond what local internet reporters and bloggers would ever do.

    But for ordinary daily news, of the sort that always comes with bias and error … I can’t see that needing government support.

    At the same time, if the British people generally like and want to support the BBC, it wouldn’t seem right for me, an American, to complain about it. I’m just adding a voice to the people who don’t want tax support for the BBC.

  21. 21
    Mark Frank says:

    #20 SA

    An important news story will be broadcast via twitter and facebook in seconds and amateur reporters will discover every true (and false) aspect of the story.

    Of course but how do you tell the false from the true and where is the depth?  I might learn from twitter that a bomb has gone off somewhere – there will be several different views as to where and the most popular one may well be wrong. Where I do I get an informed report that I can trust on who might have set it off, why they might have done it and what the implications are?  The BBC report may not be right but it will be from someone who knows about the subject and is trying to be impartial (and people like that cost money). That’s why I wrote that an alternative seems particularly invaluable in the age of the internet. There is any amount of skin deep stuff that might or might not be true which makes it all the harder to spot stuff worth reading.

  22. 22
    Silver Asiatic says:

    MF

    Where I do I get an informed report that I can trust on who might have set it off, why they might have done it and what the implications are? The BBC report may not be right but it will be from someone who knows about the subject and is trying to be impartial (and people like that cost money). That’s why I wrote that an alternative seems particularly invaluable in the age of the internet. There is any amount of skin deep stuff that might or might not be true which makes it all the harder to spot stuff worth reading.

    With something like a bomb going off, commercial news sources will generally get the details right. Actually, that might be an advantage with commercial market-competition. There’s an incentive to get the details right because failure could mean going out of business. Mistakes for the BBC won’t cost that kind of risk.

    It’s the more difficult and less popular news items that are more of a problem, in my opinion. Of the billions of less-exciting things happening every day, which will be selected for news stories and, for the BBC, why those?

    That’s where a subtle bias enters in. Whatever is covered it handled somewhat objectively — but there are many stories that are simply ignored.

    I’m writing as one who reads UD every day for the news stories (with Denyse’s commentary as an essential aspect) — and I find them to be very important. They’re also overlooked and often misinterpreted.

    So, on that point I don’t think the BBC does a good job reflecting my interest or point of view regarding ID. There’s a bias at work, as I see it.

  23. 23
    Mark Frank says:

    The commercial news sources will indeed generally get the facts right for a dramatic incident. The tweets and such like may well not. As I tried to stress – where a well-funded news provider will add value is in the analysis of the causes and significance of the event. If they are sufficiently funded the commercial sources will give some kind of analysis as well but increasingly they are less and less well-funded, ironically because of the internet, and they always been subject to the bias of their owners.

    There is another issue over the more difficult and less popular items. No source is going to be totally unbiased in its selection and no source is going to reflect everyone’s interest. What the BBC does is provide a recognised alternative to the billions of blogs and tweets of uncertain origin and the commercially motived more serious sources. Sure it reflects the editors’ opinions (that’s why it is independent) but at least they have a brief to be impartial as opposed to someone working for Rupert Murduch.

  24. 24
    Silver Asiatic says:

    MF

    but at least they have a brief to be impartial as opposed to someone working for Rupert Murduch.

    It’s a paradox – as you mention. They have a brief to be impartial but we know that no source is unbiased. I don’t find my interests reflected in much of the BBC reporting – I have an eclectic view on things but not necessarily a minority view. But then again, I’d expect an impartial source to feature my point of view respectfully and at least in proportion to its support in the community (which is minority but not small).

    I have the same problem with media in the U.S. – so I’m not singling out the BBC. As for ‘government supported viewpoints’ – I don’t find that necessarily to be more evil than ‘corporate supported’ views, except that corporations can risk going out of business and don’t actually control people, whereas governments have less risk of that and do control the population.

    I think the relevance of all of this to ID is as I mentioned … often our point of view is silenced and/or ridiculed by the media, which really should be impartial to it and just report sympathetically on what a significant part of the population supports.

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