Monday, October 23, 2006

Matt 24 Watch, 3: BBC admits its anti-Christian biases

Given the note in Matt 24 that even as the gospel goes forth to the nations, it will do so in the teeth of hostility of "all nations," it is well worth observing the climate of hostility to the Christian Faith at the BBC, as revealed in this Daily Mail report on a leaked account of BBC's impartiality summit. [HT: Powerline Blog.]

Key excerpts:
. . . a host of BBC executives and star presenters admitted what critics have been telling them for years: the BBC is dominated by trendy, Left-leaning liberals who are biased against Christianity and in favour of multiculturalism.

A leaked account of an 'impartiality summit' called by BBC chairman Michael Grade, is certain to lead to a new row about the BBC and its reporting on key issues, especially concerning Muslims and the war on terror.

It reveals that executives would let the Bible be thrown into a dustbin on a TV comedy show, but not the Koran, and that they would broadcast an interview with Osama Bin Laden if given the opportunity. Further, it discloses that the BBC's 'diversity tsar', wants Muslim women newsreaders to be allowed to wear veils when on air.

At the secret meeting in London last month, which was hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians.

One veteran BBC executive said: 'There was widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness.

'Unfortunately, much of it is so deeply embedded in the BBC's culture, that it is very hard to change it.' . . . [More]

This is indeed a stunning admission, and should serve as a warning to those of us in the Caribbean and elsewhere who are inclined to still see the BBC as the gold standard of international news reporting.

It should also serve to warn us on the importance of addressing the issue of distinguishing straight news and commentary from agenda-driven spin, by thinking though the following key question:
Is the presented information: (1) accurate, (2) fair, (3) kind and (4) balanced?
From this we can then apply an assessment framework, as developed here:

_______________

I believe the following analytical "straight or spin" grid will be helpful in assessing the quality of news, commentary and education we are exposed to in our region:

STORY ELEMENTS:
(a) Headline & Lead
(b) Story &/or Views presented
(c) Characterisation of People &/or Institutions

(d) Context: underlying Issues, Alternatives and Historical Setting

(1) Factually Accurate?
Y/N
Y/N
Y/N
Y/N
(2) Fair, or Just?
Y/N
Y/N
Y/N
Y/N
(3) Kind or Gracious?
Y/N
Y/N
Y/N
Y/N
(4) Balanced, or provides a Counter - balance?
Y/N
Y/N
Y/N
Y/N

Fig. 1: News, Education and Views: "Straight or Spin?" [Key: Y, "yes" = 1; N, "no" = 0]

It is a reasonable expectation that, consistently, the answer should be YES, for all components of a news, educational or commentary item, or a presentation or even a sermon. However, to err is human, so there might be an occasional slip that requires minor correction. So, we can now grade the quality of our news, education and commentary services:

      • B to A: Consistent Score 13 - 16: a reasonably good to excellent service, but if errors keep on cropping up in any one square (e.g. cells 1a, 2c, 3b or 4d), there is a systematic problem (e.g.; 1a: inaccurate headings and leads, 2c: unfair or unjust characterisations of people or institutions, 3b: unkind (say, through sensationalism that exploits people's pain) presentation of stories, 4d: biased context), and corrective action is obviously needed. [The examples make the "structured common-sense" approach plain: do you wish to consume information from sources that are consistently inaccurate in how they headline and lead stories on issues and news? Or, from one that often slanders people or institutions it does not like? Or, tries to make money off sensationalising the suffering of others? Or, tells only half the story through suppressing materially relevant context? Etc.?]

      • D to C: Consistent Score 8 - 12: This source has a major, systematic problem with at least one of the four requirements of sound, straight information, and is probably pushing an agenda counter to the interests of the people of God and the wider community. The source and the editorial policy require major reformation.

      • F: Consistent Score 7 or less: Do not trust this source, period. Warn others about the evident distortion, bias, deception and agenda. If the source has significant institutional power and is unwilling to be corrected, make the creation of an alternative that will consistently correct and expose the errors and agenda a top priority.

Unfortunately, for far too many local, regional and international sources of news, entertainment, commentary and even education available in or to the Caribbean, the proper assessment in this post-modern relativistic age is: F.

__________

So, plainly [but sadly], we need to think again, very seriously, about how we respond to what we see, hear or read in the news. END

UPDATE: This earlier "whistleblow" communicated to LGF, will also give some significant context to the linked problems at AP and Reuters.

UPDATE, 2: You may also be interested to know that the NY Times Umbudsman has -- in a deeply buried paragraph [para no 16, page 2 of this article that starts on the subject of perfume critics; HT LGF] -- now admitted that the recent SWIFT programme expose in the NYT was not properly warranted by the facts. It also fails to frankly address the seriously damaging impact of the expose on the security initiative of tracking terrorist funding electronically transferred through the SWIFT node in Belgium. [That the tracking has continued is irrelevant to whether the "birds" have learned to avoid that particular potential trap.] Given the major, worldwide page 1 headline exposure at the time, this mea culpa should also be page 1 stuff; but of course it is not -- a classic: headlining the attack, burying the apology. No prizes for guessing how this reveals and underscores the lack of concern for fairness, balance, accuracy etc in the major media in the US. For, the NYT is by its claim and by general admission, the trendsetter for the US' major media. Read the remarks in PL and LGF -- don't forget to adjust for their perspectives! -- and, if you register you can read the NYT piece too, or see if this link works again.

1 comment:

David said...

For 6+ years I have wondered why the pro-Arab, anti-Israeli, and sometimes dead-false, reports and reporters have been allowed to go on. I have written letters of protest to no avail. There have been times when I wanted to change the channel, but focused on BBC still, because if you watch the worst, then you get all the controversial details. Better to watch the bad ones to know what 'they' are doing than to watch the ones that reflect your own truths.

Interesting now to note that BBC's truths are in fact not truths at all, in a democraticcourt of law.

But will anything be changed, as has been noted?