Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Catholic vs Catholic..

Internal Strife in the Holy See? Erm, no.

Newsnight's reporting of Blair's 'God' comments was extraordinary: clear bias. Here is my complaint to the Governors:

"This is a complaint to the BBC Governors about the way Blair's statements about (a) 'god' and the Iraq war was reported on Newsnight 3 March 2006.

"By way of introduction, the BBC as a whole is grossly and persistently biased in favour of 'faith' and/ or religious organisations. This appears to be an increasing trend. The BBC habitually treats religion as though it were a general social good, like 'road safety' or 'knowledge of the natural world' and it is promoted through all BBC outlets with much the same tone as Blue Peter would once promote these other 'goods'.

"That said, the Newsnight report was a much more specific violation of the ordinary practices. In this case, the whole point about Blair's statement that made it news was that it was likely to be taken, and indeed has been, as either unacceptable in itself for a variety of reasons, or else revealing of the PM's questionable state of mind or motivations either when he made it or at the time of the war in Iraq. Newsnight gave the statement substantial coverage, but it was wholly biased in a way that completely undermined such conclusions.

"Firstly, the voiceover of the initial report said "Blair has never made any secret of his DEEP religious faith", clearly and deliberately emphasizing the word 'deep'. What can this possibly mean? How is the 'depth' of 'faith' measured? It is clearly none of the BBC's business to comment on an alleged variable that cannot be measured by any means. It also slanted the coverage away from certain conclusions.

"In the studio, there were two guests, Christina Odone and Stephen Pound MP. Both of them were Christianists. It appeared that both of them were members of the Roman Catholic Church, a generally right wing international political organisation (whose leader (J. Ratzinger), for example, intervened directly in the last US presidential election in favour of the Republican candidate and whose representative in Cameroon (Victor Tonye Bakot) is currently supporting a campaign targeting named homosexuals in the press, who are then subject to attacks on these grounds).

"Predictably, both guests mulled over Blair's comments in an entirely friendly manner. For example, Stephen Pound's comment that 'Blair is not a theocrat' was particularly unacceptable. There is a great deal of existing evidence to the contrary (particularly in the new Education Bill, and, for example, his comments on creationism being taught in the new 'Academy' schools). The event under discussion was another such piece of evidence, and Pound's comment begged the question at hand. It was not challenged by the host.

"The overwhelming majority of British people attend no religious service in any given week. Religious observance of all kinds is a shrinking minority pursuit. How can the BBC justity not including a guest of a secular persuasion given the subject at hand, but instead choosing two people on the grounds of their 'faith'?"


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