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BBC R4’s “nostalgia-driven, rose-tinted hypnosis” hides most blatant propaganda on airwaves


by Tangible Truth

Recently, while having an animated discussion with my housemate about the properties of tomatoes, I had reason to refer to a program I’d listened to on BBC Radio 4 some years ago, about cold-stored fruit. I recalled a snippet of information about certain compounds in the tomato fruit which, damaged by low temperatures, severely affect a tomato’s flavour. It was probably on Gardener’s Question Time or the like. To which my housemate replied “Well, you can usually trust Radio 4”.

And then it occurred to me, this pretty much sums up what millions of people think about BBC Radio 4 across the British Isles and globally.

Radio 4 is the only aspirational talk-radio station on British airwaves and the second most popular radio station in the UK. Many who disavow and distrust the BBC TV news are inclined to view R4 in a more forgiving light, as essentially benign. In fact, as an ever-increasing number of people switch off BBC News programs, Radio 4 audience size is actually increasing.

Its millions of listeners are invited to tune-in and zone out to the reassuring sounds of a BBC of yesteryear. Harking back to that mythical Golden Age of British values, its self-styled image as a smart, erudite, discerning, well-informed network caters to its listeners’ vanity. With a troop of well-spoken, well-educated, knowledgable-sounding presenters, it is an ideal breeding ground for complacency. Well-spoken, plummy voices through sonorous ribbon microphones, Nicholas Parsons, the Archers’ theme – ready and waiting to trigger the dotage of our critical mind.

With its famous output of light entertainment, quizzes and magazine shows, it’s easy to forget Radio 4 is very much a “news” channel – with hourly bulletins and extensive current events programming. And whatever its facade of fusty comfort might be, it has a very definite agenda. As Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Radio and Music, says about R4’s Today program:

In an era of fake news, echo chambers and significant shifts in global politics, the role of Radio 4’s Today as the trusted guide to the world around us is more important than ever.

How reassuring. But before we settle back into cosy slumber, secure in the knowledge Radio 4 is keeping us safe, let’s examine just one small example of our trusted guide’s prodigious output.

In February 2017, on a program called Feedback, presenter Roger Bolton plays us a recorded message from an alleged listener, she says:

The BBC report on Russia with an underlying assumption that Russia is the enemy and must be responsible for almost everything we don’t like”.

Not always” answers Bolton (his tacit acknowledgement of the woman’s point – that most R4 output is anti-Russian – is interesting to note) “this week audiences welcome a different perspective”.

On Tuesday evening… a broader range of perspectives on Russia and its President was presented in a program called The Pull Of Putin. BBC Journalist Tim Whewell travelled from Moscow across Europe to Washington to talk to people who had a common message, Russia is NOT the Soviet Union”.

Note this carefully. The Pull of Putin is BBC Radio 4’s idea of a “different” and, by inference, sympathetic perspective on Russia. It’s presumably the best example Feedback could find to counter the listener’s objection of anti-Russian bias.

Here is a screenshot from the show’s page at the Beeb page:

Looks promising doesn’t it?

The show itself begins with the sound of a bell… Tim Whewell, the presenter, speaks….

“…On Red Square in Moscow the bells of the Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower strike the hour, echoing over the cobbles…. cold, harsh, slightly sinister. Quite unlike the chummy bells of Big Ben……

For those in doubt, this is a metaphor.

He continues:

“...Everyone remembers that [the Kremlin] was the centre of, what Ronald Reagan called, ‘That evil empire’ and, under that former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, the Russian State has become, in many people’s eyes, pretty evil again. Prince Charles, no less, is reported to have compared Putin to Hitler.”

But…..?

“….the person who is now the most powerful in the world, is immune to all that talk. In his openness to Russia President Trump is threatening to turn American Foreign Policy on its head. And some European politicians now also want warmer relations with Moscow – certainly those on the far right. But others too. In France, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic and elsewhere. They can’t all be Kremlin agents or dupes of Russian propaganda. So what, for them, is the pull of Putin? In this program I’m going to listen to those who reject conventional wisdom about Russia because they’re not quite such a small minority as they were…...”

Having very quickly established that “many people” and “conventional wisdom” think Russia is bad, Whewell proceeds to spend the next 38 minutes, as advertised on Feedback, traveling “from Moscow across Europe to Washington” interviewing representatives from this “not quite [so] small minority”, who allegedly offer a “different” view.

But who are the people he chooses to talk to? Do they represent a diverse and informed spectrum of all those currently questioning the West’s policy of confrontation with the RF?

You decide.

1) Interviewee: Dave Curry:
To kick off we get Dave Curry, a “large, bearded, jovial young American” who likes immersing himself in freezing water for religious reasons, and also likes Russia because it “defends family values”, and has undergone a “resurgence of Christianity”. Dave says he likes living there and probably won’t be going back to the USA.

2) Interviewee: Jack Hanick:
Next up Whewell interviews Jack Hanick, ex Fox News employee, now consultant to a, in Whewell’s words, “small, stridently nationalist and conservative Russian channel – Tsargrad”. Hanick is another religious type who enthuses over Putin’s visit to some shrine in Greece.

3) Interviewee: Brian Brown:
Another American, Brian Brown is next – he is President of the US organisation the “World Congress of Families” which lobbies internationally for traditional family values, who supported Russia’s recent “gay anti-propaganda law”, and who is accused of “exporting hate.”

4) Interviewees (multiple):various Pro-Life campaigners:
We discover Tim next in Washington DC, where he finds that most people at a Pro-Life rally dont like Putin, and then tells us that almost everyone on the Hill doesn’t like him either – especially the Dems, “whose party was hacked by Russians.”

5) Interviewee: Dana Rohrabache:
Then he introduces us to Republican Congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, whom Whewell calls the “only” Congressman in Washington “who consistently speaks up for Russia.”

And what does “speaking up for Russia” mean in this context?

Well, Rohrbacher says Putin is a “bad guy” and Russia is “not up to our standards of the way they deal with people”, but the US should try to work with them anyway.

It’s useful here to restate that this program is presented by the BBC as an ‘alternative’ view on Russia. So far it seems more like an excuse to reiterate a lot of tabloid prejudices under the guise of interviewing a few obscure and “eccentric” people. Perhaps all the fresh insights await us in the second half of the program?

6) interviewee: Richard Sakwa:
Indeed, at this point Whewell does make some slightly approving comments about Russia’s tolerance of religious diversity, and even alleges that there are more “extreme nationalists in jail in Russia than there are liberal opponents of the regime” – whatever that is supposed to mean. He interviews a Professor Richard Sakwa of the University of Kent, perhaps now the new perspectives are really going to kick in? Sakwa observes:

When we have national interests, that’s good, but when Russia tries to defend its national interests, that is illegitimate… and dangerous for the rest of the world

A good point, maybe things are looking up. But alas – within fifty seconds Whewell is reminding us about Russia’s “aggression” in Crimea and “military incursion” into Ukraine, and dismissing Sakwa’s reading of the situation as non-“standard” and – by implication – wrong. The “standard” version, Whewell reminds us is that Russia is set on “extending its borders”, and that any attempt at rapprochement by the West would be viewed by the Ruskies as “weakness.”

He cites not a single source for this view.

7) interviewee: Pat Buchanan:
His next interviewee is Pat Buchanan, an old school Republican “realist” who points out that Estonia can’t help but be in Russia’s “sphere of influence” any more than Mexico can escape the same with regard to the US. Whewell doesn’t attempt to refute this, but does point out to his audience that Buchanan’s views are “derided by many” (he doesn’t say who the “many” are), and that Buchanan also thought “Britain was wrong to go to war with Nazi Germany!

8) interviewee: Maria Schmidt:
At one point in their short exchange Maria Schmidt – Director of the Terror House Museum in Budapest, becomes mildly critical toward the West. She says:

[Hungary has] a common language with those countries who had to go through similar experiences [during the Soviet era]…. History was very cruel but it helped us a lot not to believe in the nice words of the Western world. In 1956 there were a lot of promises but no one came to help us, so we were left alone.”

To which Whewell responds editorially, “To my astonishment Doctor Schmidt has turned our conversation about Russia into an anti-Western diatribe.

His partisan sensibilities clearly offended, he then continues on his own diatribe, including Hungary among the ranks of the enemy. He talks about Hungary’s right-wing-leaning government, making hints at their attitude to refugees, declining to mention that one possible reason Hungary felt forced to deport so many was that Germany had closed its own borders, leaving people who had been intending to travel there stranded.

9) interviewee: Stephen Cohen:
Yes, Whewell does give about 40 seconds of air time to veteran Russia expert Stephen Cohen, but his segment has been so trimmed it loses almost all context and meaning. If Cohen voiced any of his usual and stern criticisms of the West’s policy of confrontation with Russia they didn’t survive Whewell’s edit, and Cohen’s truncated segment is quickly followed by Whewell talking about bells again, this time those of the “tiny Kazan cathedral” signalling Russia’s invitation back in to the nasty Right wing past.

And that is pretty much it.

In a 38 minute segment designed to explore “different” views of Russia, Whewell managed to spend less than five minutes exploring anything that could be termed a challenge to western political orthodoxy. The “different” view we were presented with was that maybe viewing Russia as an enemy might not be such a good idea – even though, obviously it is an empire of evil. The language is so biased it backs unwittingly into satire. Whewell talks about countries choosing to “escape” Russian influence, as if the iron curtain were still in place. He invasively edits his interviews to the extent that the original meaning intended by the interviewees might be entirely lost, and adds his own post-production editorial asides as if they were questions the interviewees are answering (we have no idea if they were actually answering these “questions” in the original interview). He characterises anyone whose isn’t rigidly anti-Russian as either deluded or rabidly right wing.

Whewell found time to consult pro-lifers and right-wing religious fundamentalists, but not Jack Matlock, John Pilger, Peter Lavelle, Mark Sleboda, Craig Murray, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, George Gallloway, Robert Parry, Ray McGovern, or any of the many well-informed and well-respected western commenters who believe the current anti-Russian bias of the west is both unnecessary and catastrophically dangerous. He found no time to explore alternative views of the official narratives he ends up supporting without question. Did Russia really hack the DNC? Does it really encourage Right Wing Nationalism? Did it really commit “incursions” into eastern Ukraine?

But no. The Pull Of Putin’s propaganda is so blatant and unsubtle it would look out of place even on BBC TV News. Radio 4, alleged purveyor of quality, intelligent programming, is actually providing lowest common denominator hate-porn of the kind you expect to see coming out of Radio Free Europe or some other intelligence-run “information” source, and very few listeners seem to have noticed. Is there something about Radio 4’s cosy format which desensitises its audience? Is a form of nostalgia-driven, rose-tinted hypnosis going on that allows the most overt and extreme forms of manipulation in the guise of chummy info-sharing?

And let’s remind ourselves again, this was presented by the BBC as a balance piece. In fact on the Feedback program mentioned above, presenter Roger Bolton interviewed Whewell, congratulating him on the great job he did being “impartial”:

We’re all used in the BBC to making programs in which we have to balance them, one of the things listeners were struck by is that you managed NOT to talk to a lot of critics of Russia, if you like, that you managed to explore people who have this rather different perspective and yet be impartial”.

“Impartial”? Yes, this is the level of detachment from reality being sold to us on R4, beneath the reassuring and tweedy exterior.

We tune in and listen, warm and sedated, to the authoritarian drone. How many of us notice the absence of sourcing or evidence? The sometimes blatant untruths? The misreporting? The non-reporting? Who identifies the global-corporatist agendas sliding by? The endless subliminal approval given to kill-list-wielding, drone striking, war criminals? Are the ‘pips’ of Greenwich Meantime, once such a symbol of accomplishment on our airwaves, now just the final tones of a failing life support machine, signalling the imminent death of our capacity for free, discerning, critical thought…?

However, somewhat hopefully, according to Whewell enough of us are noticing this bias to raise concern. Of course he doesn’t recognise what his own words imply, but still he says it:

“…By what yardstick should we be judging Russia? Obviously we’ve got to really stress, Putin is still seen overwhelmingly negatively, even among Trump supporters, but the number of people is nevertheless going down. And I think that part of that is because of a perception of double standards and, you know, double standards worry people….

and that’s why people go over to alternative media…..”

Gosh, Tim. Ya think?


37 Comments

  1. That one really made me laugh. All Russians are evil (at the same time all Muslims are perfect). If you happen to end up with a three-dimensional opinion your view is ‘different’, very ‘different’.

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  2. In 2011 the BBC told a tribunal that its editorial and ethical values were just so much corporate froth; a mission statement rather than a serious belief. Traducing the values it insists employees follow was a clear breach of public trust. The tribunal dismissed statements by the BBC’s Management Board and director general – that entirely undermined this argument – as irrelevant. In 2014 the Court of Appeal (Maistry v BBC) took the view that only senior BBC managers could be assumed to believe in the BBC Values. It was quite impossible to know if an ordinary employee would share such a belief. Although the case centred on the issue of journalistic conscience the NUJ stayed out because it has a cosy relationship with management. In short the establishment ensures that no competent BBC producer can throw a rotten tomato at the Whewells. And so well done Tangible Truth.

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  3. A few days ago I was listening to R4’s News at 6pm. They led off with a short piece about Syria. It began by re-capitulating all the reasons why Assad had no reason to attack his own people with chemical weapons. (The evidence is murky, his stocks were destroyed under UN supervision, the doubts about the chemical attack in 2013, he was achieving military success against the opposition, peace talks were about to start, all delivered in a slightly wry almost humorous tone). It then finished, to my amazement, by saying something like, “but he did it anyway, because he’s mad and bad” and moved onto the next news giblet. At the time I was really shocked (I do have a deep seated love / respect for Auntie and always used to assume she acts for the best motives and tries to tell the truth) because the distortion / weird conclusion seemed so disconnected from what had preceded it. But now I wonder if some bright sub-editor in Beeb news deliberately wrote the story so as to make all the arguments, very succinctly, for why Assad probably didn’t do it, but by adding the shocker at the end, got the piece out on the air anyway. Be nice if it was true!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Paul Marcroft says

    Can anybody still listen to “From Our Own Correspondent” without cringing at the openness of the propagandistic bias?

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    • John says

      I find – increasingly – that I cannot abide listening to and/or viewing BBC broadcast content.
      While the regular news programmes are usually simply inept, the allegedly more analytical programmes like “Newsnight” are becoming mere propaganda “assets” for the British State.
      Their coverage is invariably wrong, biased and slanted – all one way.
      I still have to rely upon them for extremely simple reportage.
      But analysis of the actual events involved requires looking – and listening – elsewhere.
      At least Sky News is so obviously biased that one can make allowances.
      RT has a lot of content which I find does not really impinge on aspects of the world I am interested in.
      Regrettably, reliable, factual, undistorted and unbiased reporting and analysis is becoming very hard to find.

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  5. I listen to BBC4 because it helps put me to sleep at night. Works much better than a sleeping tablet – or radio commentary of a cricket game.

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    • Seraskier says

      “Cromarty… Forth… German Bight… Lundy… Fastnet…. ”

      …. zzzzzz…..

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  6. Thanks for this very informative analysis of the way BBC radio 4 is promoting its form of bias.

    The BBC has always been the propaganda arm of the British establishment. The world service was regarded as an information service for Ex-pats living abroad to send their defined information about the world for many years before the internet.

    Having worked abroad for many years and in former Soviet countries I can attest to the way they stage and set the world news. After the collapse of communism the British Foreign Office for many years funded BBC Schools for Journalism in Moscow and Ekaterinburg, Russia. They have long since shut up shop and gone home as the Russian’s realised that along with the British Council they were being used as avenues by the British State to subvert the Russian state. That is not to say the foreign media is blocked in Russia it is not, and there is a vibrant and very open domestic media operating also.

    What is interesting is that the WMSM’s level of propaganda has now reached such a pitch as to form a perfect feed-back loop. So we have people who are in positions of power who believe the agitprop which is being delivered. This is a very dangerous situation indeed. Ironically in all of this the Russian media only has to tell the truth for it to appear to be 180 degrees opposed to that of the WMSM.

    Going to war is not the slow process it used to be, it will be all over in minutes and no one will be spared. False narratives are therefore incredibly dangerous in our modern world and may prove totally fatal.

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    • Seraskier says

      [[ They have long since shut up shop and gone home as the Russian’s realised that along with the British Council they were being used as avenues by the British State to subvert the Russian state. ]]

      The game was up when the craven piece of excrement who is Neil Kinnock’s son – the ostensible “British Council Head” in Moscow – was exposed as a spook, and sent home. No surprise that this worthless clown hadn’t attended a single British cultural event in Moscow since he arrived.

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  7. labrebisgalloise says

    I’m an expat who listens to BBC Radio 3 (classical music) regularly; it was great until it decided to do identity politics but is still listenable so long as they never talk or one doesn’t listen to what they say. There is clearly a unit somewhere in the BBC that injects an anti-communist angle into everything, no matter what the ostensible subject. It seems to me that BBC attitudes to Russia are still infected by this despite the Soviet Union being ancient history – e.g. it is impossible for them to play Shostakovich without having a go at Stalin or the USSR; I sense it’s a weltanschauung that sees Putin as nothing more than a new Stalin. As for Radio 4, as other posters here have already pointed out, every single utterance is imbued with a propaganda value – probably including the shipping forecast.

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    • That’s exactly my experience with either the Jazz or Classical radio stations here in Toronto (I can’t remember which one my ears twigged to a few times when their hosts were blathering about something political). I have no doubt that both stations owners and staff have the same rightwing views. Canada is not a land of progressives. As long as they stick to music, which they mostly do, I can stand to listen. Otherwise, I’m sure I wouldn’t.

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  8. Peter says

    The BBC is an independent, truth-telling, World-War-Two winning paragon of British grit, stiff-upper-lippishness and benign superiority over the benighted world beyond Dover.

    RT is a Putin-loving, Kremlin-propaganda, fake-news bullhorn.

    That is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Dead World Walking says

    Here in Australia we have the same problem. A government gelded public broadcaster, the ABC.
    Thank Christ for outlets like New Matilda, Radio 3CR, Counterpunch, Truthdig Friends of the Earth and the Anarchist Media Institute.
    The ABC was castrated by John Howard.

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  10. quizzical says

    As an expat, I still listen to quite a few BBC Radio 4 programmes, a habit formed in my youth. I have, however, in the last few years, stopped listening to almost anything that relates to current affairs, restricting myself mainly to old comedy and drama. I’ve given up, for instance, on the News Quiz. Two moments changed my view of that programme. The first was when Jeremy Hardy (yes that perceptive observer of much that is wrong with British politics, establishment, and media) made a comment to the effect that Putin was fundamentally evil – to br roundly supported by the rest of the panel. The final straw was the arrival of Miles Jupp as its chair in place of Sandi Toksvig, when his first show became a party political broadcast on behalf of the Tories. I have never listened to it again. The Now Show is close to achieving a similar fate.

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  11. Brutally Remastered says

    What a terrific piece; nicely captured my own subliminal detestation of the smug and sly and slightly coy musings of this ghastly broadcast.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I too used to listen to BBC4 a lot as they have many good drama shows and Gardeners’ Question Time on Sunday mornings (US time) is enjoyable. However, I had to stop because their pro-Western, pro-NATO, pro-financial sector bias came through so strongly in every bit of news and commentary. Their reporting on Syria and Ukraine is particularly horrible–nothing happens in Syria (according to them) that isn’t 100% Mr. Assad’s fault.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. michaelk says

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/23/when-nigel-farage-met-julian-assange

    If you think that stuff on Radio 4 was biased and awful, which it clearly was, just have a look at this piece from the Guardian, which I think defines the term… ‘conspiracy theory’ perfectly; yet, in Guardian-world this is what passes for ‘investigative journalism.’

    The Radio 4 programme represents a ‘triumph’ of style over substance. This is, I would argue, incredibly important to see, understand and remember. What they do, so well, is present the texts, information, in an engaging and entertaining package that is fascinating to behold. Essentially, one is being manipulated emotionally using the core techniques employed in fiction and specifically drama. Drama means, on its most simple level, contrasts made real on the stage. These contrasts are often symbolic and metaphorical. Like the sound of the bell tolling in across Red Square. The people being interviewed are merely players on a stage being ‘directed’ by the journalist, who edits the script to tell the story he wants to tell and this has been determined in advance. The actors aren’t allowed to question their ‘roles’ in this play. It’s all a game of pretend, where what really matters is the hidden editing process which happens ‘off stage’ and where the really important decisions are taken, but we aren’t given access to that material, because that would take us behind the scenes and reveal the mechanisms at work, the choices being made and the illusion of impartiality would be revealed for all to see.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Brutally Remastered says

      I think, though your comment is astute, that people are realising these shenanigans more and more.

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    • Seraskier says

      The BBC’s resident Bertie Wooster nutter, Rupert Wingnut-Crazed, was sent to N Korea last year to report. There was no particular story in view – it was merely a ‘fact-finding’ mission (aka ‘make as much trouble as possible’).

      The Beeb clearly had trouble-making in mind, since they picked Wingnut to front this piece, rather than anyone with any background in SE Asia affairs or politics – or the slightest knowledge of Korean matters. He was sent as a guest of the N Korea state broadcasting corp.

      The N Korean authorities were too delicate to mention exactly what Wingnut did, but apparently he was so calculatedly offensive to his hosts that he was deported from the country within 24 hours of arrival – in fact he never made it out of the airport, where he was viciously rude and threatening to a serious of customs and passports officials. He was taken to the airport and ejected from N Korea – and made to wait for the next plane out, along with his luckless film crew. His dimwit producer – herself another hee-hawing product of Roedean or similar – gave a bilious account of how the Koreans had been so beastly to poor widdle Wupert, once her crew arrived back in Britain.

      How much Licence-Payer cash was spent on sending Wingnut to N Korea was not disclosed. No usable footage of the trip whatsoever emerged as a result of the expenditure. No doubt the BBC Buftons were delighted with the ruccus caused – so much more newsworthy than anything with Rupert seeing normal life in the DRNK.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. rtj1211 says

    You cannot evaluate the BBC without acknowledging its links to the Security Services. The UK security services are viciuosly right wing, anti-Russian and full of the peep-show perverts (only emotionally disturbed individuals can countenance blanket spying on the UK populace, sfter all).

    The BBC likes to present itself as liberal lefties. In its international outlook, it is visciously authoritarian. It is permanently in bed with the anti-democratic, warmongering EU, its climate change religion is beyond a joke for all real journalists who evaluate evidence and its never ending support for US warmongering, genocide and financial organised crime renders it a fully fledged betrayer of the interests of the taxpayers who fund it.

    Of course, Conservatives use such truths to promote Rupert Murdoch, who is certainly no better and arguably rather worse.

    The problem with all authoritarian broadcasters is that they get to choose ose voice is heard. Challenge them with evidence and you y not be invited back. So if you get one shot at it, go in all guns blazing with a back up team whose job is to make your demolition job go viral on the internet.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Seraskier says

    [[ n Red Square in Moscow the bells the Kremlin’s Spasskaya Tower strike the hour, echoing over the cobbles…. cold, harsh, slightly sinister. Quite unlike the chummy bells of Big Ben…… ]]

    [[ Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole ]]

    Liked by 3 people

    • [[ Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole ]]
      Eh? There’s something familiar about this but I don’t know what. For dummies like me please elucidate and end my suffering.

      Like

    • It’s OK, I remembered it – Evelyn Waugh and the Scoop – used by Radio 4 and the questing vole. Duh! You have to deal with all sorts on this site don’t you? To be fair, I have an absolutely crap memory.

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  16. John says

    I used to listen to Radio 4 all day – but not anymore.
    I find their degree of bias in reporting absolutely staggering.
    Contrast the different reporting treatment of Aleppo and Mosul.
    Says it all!
    Radio 4 is trading on its once high reputation.
    However, they are now running scared of the Tory government, who are holding the renewal of their royal charter terms over them. The BBC were forced to meet the cost of the World Service (Radio 4 late night service) and the cost of free licences for over-75s.
    In real terms, they have had their governmental support cut and they have been forced to engage in the privatisation game and move their own remaining production facilities Up North.
    The senior management of the BBC are now kow-towing directly to central government.
    Friends with contacts inside the BBC tell me that all middle and senior appointment panels nowadays have someone from the US as part of the interviewing and selection panel, as the BBC is now getting some of its funding from the US.
    The BBC is currently engaged in selling its birthright for a proverbial mess of potage.
    A source of journalistic independence it no longer is – I am sorry to say.
    Perhaps it never was?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael Leigh says

      I well remember in my few years of technical service, with ” Auntie ” as it, the BBC was known to insiders, even me a mere acting Studio Manager, was an organisation which totally pandered to the contemporary right-wing agenda during off-duty gossip time!

      But, long after my departure from BBC radio to the seduction of the Sevillian named independent TV-box franchise, where the culture was totally different – no longer did one have to watch one’s back in private conversation – for like the the Company’s TV output it was a liberal organisation, which even considered a TV investigative programme on the insider events behind the unprecedented removal from office of the late BBC chief Milne ?

      Sadly, it the planned programme was never produced and even now we still have not been given the full story behind the scandalous affair of a major political personality assassination ? ?

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  17. The more I listen to the Today programme, the more infuriating I find it. It endlessly repeats sound-bite headlines, and thus replicates any inherent bias. This also happens on the general Radio 4 news broadcasts so that assumptions and theories about events become absolutes without any corroboration. Their interpretation of ‘balanced reporting’ is mostly to set up polarised viewpoints rather than exploring any topic rationally. All is constrained by arbitrarily imposed time limits. Last week the caring family show ‘You and Yours’ did an entire programme on organic food production – a positive gloss for Denmark’s efforts, but an overall negative slant for British production with emphasis on cost to the consumer, and the fact that it probably has no nutritional benefits. Quite omitted was any specific mention of GM crops, pesticide residues on food stuffs, or the effect of pesticides on the environment, or that this might be a significant reason why people might prefer organic produce. In other words it was a good example of sloppy/simplistic reportage that all seemed perfectly balanced, while determinedly not upsetting any UK food industry apple carts. As to the anti-Russia bias, that is deeply concerning. It’s almost as if we want to talk ourselves into another Cold War, and we all know why wars get talked up – so good for business.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Seraskier says

      But the Beeb has acknowledged the need to keep Britain’s Upper-Middle Classes on-side with the neocon agenda – just like the Graun, in fact.

      It’s gone past the point of actual news-fixing now. I have (former) friends who work for Auntie – and they themselves believe and generate the Reithian cobblers aired daily on Radio 4.

      It fosters their Little Englander view of Britain as a land of thatched, half-timbered houses with flower-filled gardens, in villages where The Jolly Stockbrokers serves room-temperature ale with a plate of ploughman’s – and no Serbians were ever bombed by the RAF, and the Weapons of Mass Delusion were indeed found in Iraq.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Neil says

        For those that don’t know, Graun = Guardian, Auntie = BBC and these are generally considered to be terms of endearment and I suggest should never be used again, until they stop pumping out the neocon establishment propaganda. Sadly the UK in now just a lap-dog for the US deep state and in both the moral corruption is almost absolute.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Seraskier says

          [[ I suggest should never be used again ]]

          Aye to that! But in fact they are now terms of mockery. The BBC is no maiden aunt of mine, and nevermore shall be either.

          Liked by 1 person

  18. Anna Zimmerman says

    I am a former devotee of R4 and now I loathe it so much I would sooner sit in silence for eternity than listen to another minute. Thanks for a great article.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Annie Rife says

      Agree 100% with Anna Zimmerman. I could go on and on about the times I’ve been shocked by the outrageous bias on R4. They’ve lost me too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Seraskier says

      [[ I would sooner sit in silence for eternity than listen to another minute. ]]

      Yes indeed, I too am unable to listen even for Just A Minute… the panel-game where BBC correspondents try to talk for sixty seconds without defaming Jeremy Corbyn, lauding NATO, or suggesting that Vladimir Putin is the first cousin of Beelzebub….

      Liked by 1 person

      • err, bonkers peeps. just a minute has never (I listen to it most weeks) hosted a BBC correspondent. or talked for anything like 60 secs about anything even vaguely political. try it for yourself, without repetition, deviation or hesitatation

        Like

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