Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June 19 Media Critique: "BBC's All-Out Apology"

Central place in todays 'critique' is Honestreportings obsession with the BBC.

The BBC apologizes for its Israel coverage?
Good thing there is a question mark, because it doesn't. The implication is what matters though. HR, in its' pursuit of "accuracy" in the media is unhappy with the BBC for issuing a correction on a factual error. That makes sense doesn't it?

Guess what? It doesn't.

The report was about the practical application of the policy of impartiality into the future, rather than about whether or not the BBC is biased. It does include some case studies to highlight the issues and suggest improvements. Though in its' conclusions it does comment on how its' efforts are perceived by viewers,
they regard the BBC as 'generally impartial'
Since we now know that HR is against corrections, we won't be expecting to see an apology for factual errors like this one.

HR just rehash some whining from one of Britains low-end newspapers, The Daily Telegraph. Like HR, they have a bee in their bonnets over the BBC. And a good demonstration of HR's own partiality is on proud display here. The Daily Telegraph article criticising the BBC quotes its' own editor who briefly worked for the BBC . He acknowledges he is "right-of-centre" and finds the BBC doesn't completely reflect his position, it is a "flat earth" viewed from his "round earth". Naturally HR see this as a vindication of the criticism, rather than what it is - a vindication of impartiality. Likewise for HR - from their own very partial position, BBC impartiality looks like bias. It is bias, but its' HRs.

The lights are on but nobody is home.

Here’s a few tips from the report to aid HR in understanding impartiality and in case HR ever stop being strident partisans demanding compliance with their views, and instead strive to be impartial (yeah yeah, I know, when Hell freezes over),
"Impartiality does not require absolute neutrality.: the BBC should broadcast professional, evidence-based judgements by those qualified to make them…the audience clearly values this."

"Factual programming should not normally be built around a 'for' and 'against' proposition. Opinion is more complex and subtle than that."

"Impartiality involves a mixture of accuracy, balance, context, distance, even handedness, fairness, objectivity, open-mindedness, rigour, self-awareness, transparency and truth.But it is also about breadth of view and completeness. Impartiality in programme-making is often achieved by bringing extra perspectives to bear, rather than limiting horizons or censoring opinion. "