Thursday, January 21, 2010

Whatever happened to the BBC?

These days, thanks to the miracles of modern technology and that, we can get two BBC channels on our TV all the way out here in li'l ol' Csikszereda. (The same technology means we can no longer get the very local channels like Csiki TV and Szekely TV, which is kind of weird, really, but I guess that's globalisation for you)

Anyway, these channels are BBC World (which is the news channel) and BBC Prime, which has recently been rebranded as BBC Entertainment. I'm assuming that the rebranding came because lots of people were asking "is this really your prime output?". It may well of course be, and that all the BBC actually shows these days are interminable shows about antiques, "The Weakest Link", and seemingly thousands of soap operas with "Holby" in the title. Every now and again I flick over to see, but it's always some awful rubbish. The only time it gets watched is in the early morning when Paula watches the kids shows on it. These are actually quite good (at least compared with the alternatives she has available), though all of them seemingly ask her to guess something (which window to look through in Tikkabilla*, which coloured house someone will visit in Balamory, which teletubby will get the TV beamed through their stomach, etc), which is something she's not yet comfortable with. Perhaps it's something that you get along with breast feeding in the UK, but here I try to chivvy her along "Which window do you think it will be?" but she's having none of it "I don't know". "No, I know you don't know, but guess". "I can't know". "No, I know, just guess", by which time the camera has already zoomed in on the square window so she then says "The square one".

(*Tikkabilla, by the way, is clearly just the children's programme formerly known as Play School, but rebranded to be more hip for today's web 2.0 generation. New name, dolls and teddies replaced by small purple dragon, etc etc.)

But, anyway, I digress.

So, BBC News, has really gone downhill, and is depressing me. This is the channel that the hard right calls "leftist", but is in fact, as far as I can tell these days very much rightist. Some examples:

1. Yesterday, they invited someone from the Wall Street Journal to comment on the Massachusetts election (and provided no information that the WSJ has over the past few years turned into a hard right wing rag of the lowest order, nor any balancing viewpoints). This guy proceeded to say that the reason Obama was losing popularity was because he wasn't reaching across to the other side, which as far as I can tell is patently false, and if anything his problem is that he's spending too much time trying to appease Republicans. He's not reaching out to the mad Limbaugh/Beck/Palin extreme end of the Republican party, well, because they're all barking mad, and how the hell would you reach out to them? Promise to bomb Iran and jail people for using birth control if they agreed to say not such nasty things about you?

2. Just before Christmas the woman who does the business section on the morning slot was discussing the possibility of a strike by British Airways cabin crew. "It's really important that BA win this" she said (and that's a word for word quote, since it stunned me so much that I can still hear her saying it). Firstly "BA" does not equate to "BA Management" as she implied, and also what kind of reporting is it to say out front that the workers needed to be defeated? I know she's the business correspondent, but still. How left wing is all of that?

3. Today's top story was that the Chinese economy was moving ahead of Japan's. Haiti was barely even mentioned. I know it was a week ago, but it's still a huge story and one that is a bit more important than China moving up to second place in some kind of imaginary world economic league table. Euronews, by the way, has been fantastic on Haiti. Really good reporting, important information (journalists have been banned from the airport now, by the way, which is not something I've heard on the BBC), and great testimonies from people there (Haitians and relief workers).

4. They are really pissing me off with their pro-occupation stance whenever the issue of Israel - Palestine comes up. I mean compared to any US media outlet they come across as balanced, but they're really not. (And in fact an independent report a year or two back, confirmed this feeling of mine that they are more favourable to the Israeli government position than anything else)

So, what happened to the BBC? And what will become of it under the next government? It's all very depressing.

1 comment:

Denes said...

You still can watch Csiki Tv and Szekely Tv switching your tv set from AV mode to TV mode.