The Beeb

Friday, October 08, 2010

Transcript

Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, talks about the future of funding, so-called "BBC English" and the perception that the network plays favorites in its coverage of the Middle East.

    Music Playlist
  • 65 bars and a Taste of Soul
    Artist: Charles Wright

Comments [90]

Richard Johnston from Manhattan Upper west side

Doc, I still don't see your reference to the Irish oppression of the minorities in their land. Would you propose that the Celts be returned to the lands the Romans took from them, or the Native Americans be given back the areas the Europeans seized from them, without ample consideration for the people who had moved in there in the interim?

Oct. 21 2010 07:36 AM
anna from New York

One more thing, Richard:
Read also about EJECTION of some 800 000 Jews, including BABYLONIAN (it means that they were there probably long, long, long before anybody else, most certainly Westerners, such as British) from countries like Egypt, etc.
Interesting story, worth reading instead of limiting oneself to .. "sources" such as ... the BBC.

Oct. 21 2010 05:39 AM
anna from New York

Correction.
I was in such a hurry to leave this place, that my last comment had typos which obscured the content. Below is a slightly improved version:
Dear beloved Richard, a typical listener of BBC.

Read how Jews were ejected from THEIR land and which convenient theories have rationalized keeping them away from THEIR land (including, or primarily "Christian" - your inspiration ?), read how Israel was created, read about Jordan AND the Palestinians, read how the Palestinians have been treated by their own politicians (Arafat for example) and brethren etc. (a hint - used and abused for political reasons), etc. Literature is huge * and I believe you can find it yourself if you ... want. If you don't want, I can't help you.

Now, enough is enough. It's time for me to leave this "We're all Al-Quada and Hezbollah NOW" crowd.
Thank you.
dr anna
* You can start, for example, with William Nichols's Christian Antisemitism: A History of Hate

Oct. 21 2010 05:19 AM
anna from New York

Dear beloved Richard, a typical listener of BBC.
Read how Jews were ejected from their land and which convenient theories have rationalized their keeping away from THEIR land (including, or primarily "Christian" - your inspiration (?), read how Israel was created, read about Jordan the Palestinians, read how the Palestinians have been treated by their own politicians (Arafat for example) and brethren etc. (a hint - used and abused for political reasons), etc. Literature is huge and I believe you can find it yourself if you ... want. If you don't want, I can't help you.
Now, enough is enough. It's time for me to leave this "We're all Al-Quada and Hezbollah crowd"

Oct. 21 2010 05:06 AM
Richard Johnston from Manhattan upper west side

Doc, I don't recall the part where the Irish ejected the occupants of the land they wanted to occupy who had been there for hundreds of years, and committed to squalid internment camps those who did not want to flee what they considered their homeland. Can you direct me to that chapter?

Oct. 20 2010 10:09 PM
anna from New York

Well, Chris, how little it takes ...
Yes, offer your expertise and you're labelled ... My question was correct, your answer is ... problematic and all the slogans about love, peace, equality etc. are gone.
Ireland and Israel are countries and I personally believe that both countries have a right to exist. All your quotes and uncles (one doesn't choose relatives) are irrelevant,
and you didn't answer a question why you have anti-Zionist friends (negating the right of Jews to have their country) but not anti-Irish friends (negating
the right of the Irish to have their country), and why the only "Jew" on your show is ... Amy Goodman (8 ministers, 3 imams and not a single rabbi)
IRA, Hezbollah, Hamas and BBC's fondness only for the last two only is a different topic.

Oct. 20 2010 02:09 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

The phrase "obsessive/compulsive" comes to mind!

Dr. anna, I'll do you one better. I have Irish-born Irish-American & Irish relatives who never supported the positions of the IRA, Provisional IRA, or any of the political groups, North or South. I also had a grandfather who fled rather than suffer through the birthing of his nation. But, there are just as many of them who were political.

You may recall that Joyce wrote of those who favored and those who reviled Parnell. It's a strain that runs though Irish history. It is independent thought!

Oct. 19 2010 12:54 PM
Richard Johnston from Manhattan Upper west side

Mik, she isn't listening to you. Give up being reasonable.

Oct. 17 2010 12:42 PM
Mik

You obviously know everything there is to know about antisemitism - and much more.

Oct. 17 2010 09:31 AM
anna from New York

"As (presumably) one of your heroes Ronald Reagan"
OK, Mic. Did you actually read any of my posts. You're fighting someone who definitely isn't me. Me ... and Reagan? "I haven't learned"? "I ... painting"? Antisemitism is one of my areas of expertise. What do you want me to do? Talk about teaching Chinese to Chinese children in China, just because I don't know a single Chinese word and because American corporate culture favors incompetence? Antisemitism is my area of expertise, but you are teaching me. Ha. Manipulate someone "stupider."
dr anna

Oct. 17 2010 03:39 AM
Mik

And another thing, Anna. You haven't learned that you alienate potential allies by taking such extremely uncompromising positions. Israel has many potential friends in the US and the west in general that you alienate by painting them all as self-hating Jews or anti-Semitic as the case may be. Similarly there are many, probably a large majority, in the Arab world whom you might win over, but won't as long as you totally distrust anything that any of their leaders say. As (presumably) one of your heroes Ronald Reagan said, trust but verify. In your constant fight to discredit those in the general population and in media such as the BBC who try to understand the aspirations and concerns of both sides, you, unfortunately, are part of the problem. It doesn't sound as if you want a solution.

Oct. 16 2010 08:49 PM
Mik

"it's much more difficult to understand what people are saying."

And that seems to be your problem.

Oct. 16 2010 02:55 PM
anna from New York

"It's very easy to label all your opponents as Hitler, Stalin"#72
We (or at least I) can't continue forever, Mik. It's very easy to label all your opponents as "labelers;" it's much more difficult to understand what people are saying.
Nobody is against peace (or at least not me), for example, but the fact is that
- pacifists often have been part of the problem
- many ugly people (demagogues for example) tend to use "pretty words"
And I think I'll sign off, unless something terribly exciting happens.

Oct. 16 2010 12:05 PM
Mik

Anna, I have studied and absorbed history, and I'm still learning though my school years were decades ago. What I haven't done is rewrite history or invent my own facts about the present.

It's very easy to label all your opponents as Hitler, Stalin et al, but all that does is indicate either laziness or unwillingness to admit that the other side may have some valid positions.

Oct. 16 2010 09:54 AM
anna from New York

#72
No Mic, I just despise those who think that if you use pretty words, such as love, peace etc., you are a nice person. For example, some New Age folks who use the word "peace" more times than Stalin (who plastered the entire Soviet Union with "Peace to the World) are clearly amusing.
What is not amusing that they, with their idiotic smiles, distract from real issues and prevent reforms which are badly needed.
Study history, friend.

Oct. 16 2010 01:29 AM
anna from New York

"I'm simultaneously amused and dismayed by some here who think the sun rises and sets on what happens in Israel and Palesting to the exclusion of all else"
I don't know what you study and how, but I resent this manipulation. The problem is with BBC and its obvious biases. The problem is with BBC which is antisemitically obsessed with Israel and Jews and the exclusion of all else.

Oct. 16 2010 01:13 AM
John Figliozzi from Clifton Park, NY

As to the question about BBC news presentation style, I greatly prefer it to our American faux friendly, shout at you as if you were deaf style. Frankly, I find ours to be the one that's more "sing-songy". (Although, parenthetically to Bob, if you want to hear a truly sing-songy BBC style, tune into James Alexander Gordon's rendering of the British soccer (sic-I mean, football) scores on the World Service every Saturday.

Oct. 15 2010 04:44 PM
John Figliozzi from Clifton Park, NY

I'm simultaneously amused and dismayed by some here who think the sun rises and sets on what happens in Israel and Palesting to the exclusion of all else. Having studied media professionally (and amateurly) for decades--and while there is no holy grail for the genre in general--the BBC gets far more right than any such organization you can name anywhere for its breadth, depth and consistency of reporting. Frankly, through its Kroc Foundation funding, NPR aspires to what the BBC has been doing for decades and I warmly wish them well and ultimately success with that effort. However, were it not for the BBC (and other public service media like the CBC, ABC-Australia and others), too many important events, issues and personalities would have gone unreported or unexamined. By contrast, our largely commercially driven media fails by almost any reasonably measure both objectively on their own and especially by comparison to what the BBC and these networks (now under considerable economic and political siege) have contributed to important public discourse. I shudder to think what will happen to civil society if they were ever to be ultimately rendered inert as some with lesser motives seem to most fervently desire.

Oct. 15 2010 04:39 PM
Mik

"Well, if one starts with a dogma, one continues with dogmas and lack of understanding."

Anna, it takes one to know one.

You try to be very clever equating a movement that campaigns for a peaceful solution (though not at any price) with fascists like Mosley. Mosley would have liked your style.

Oct. 15 2010 08:52 AM
Richard Johnston from Manhattan Upper west side

You go, girl, shout 'em down.

Oct. 15 2010 08:41 AM
anna from New York

This last comment until tomorrow at least - traveling, but I have a question to you Chris. IMHO, the question is not whether you have Zionist and anti-Zionist Jewish friends, but whether you have anti-Irish Irish friends.

Oct. 15 2010 05:43 AM
anna from New York

Chris, I don't want to fight you.
Just one comment. The word "friend" does have a different meaning for me than for most American born and I tend to have ethical friends. I am sorry I can't see how a Jew can be anti-Zionist. I do find privileged American Jews (so far from rockets falling on Israel) who are actively anti-Israel utterly repulsive. There is no justification for opportunism, cowardice, ignorance and simple scoundrelism.

Oct. 15 2010 02:48 AM
anna from New York

"Anna, if people are slipshod about their speech they are more than likely be slipshod and lazy in their thoughts"#66
Well, if one starts with a dogma, one continues with dogmas and lack of understanding.
"Settling a dispute like Israel-Palestine demands a good understanding of both sides, both by the adversaries and by any would-be mediators. That was the key to the settlement in Northern Ireland"
The primary understanding is that Northern Ireland is different from Israel. This understading does require profound knowledge of history.
"More than most other English-language media, and especially more than those in the United States, the BBC covers the mid-east conflict in a way that really tries to portray both sides fairly" - dogma not analysis. Etc.
Oh, peaceniks. The last one I read about was Sir Oswald Mosley in 1940 (!):
"On 23 May 1940 Mosley, who had continued his peace campaign, was interned under Defence Regulation 18B"
And Chris, look at this:
"I was moved to tears to see bearded Jews and Irish Catholic dockers standing up to stop Mosley"
This was in 1936. Sadly they fail to stop this "peacenik."

Oct. 15 2010 02:32 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Oh, and about your question about the White House not representing a minority position, first it could be pointed out that the office is held by a member of a historically mistreated minority. Then, more importantly, where else does one ever see the White House positions so publicly and graphically presented without a media filter and/or the spin with which a "news" organization decides to overlay it? No where! (Oh, maybe C-SPAN some.) It is a minority position, marginalized by the media itself. Public access goes a little way to balancing that.

Oct. 14 2010 11:17 PM
Mik

Anna, if people are slipshod about their speech they are more than likely be slipshod and lazy in their thoughts; and if they are lazy in their thoughts they make easy fodder for manipulation by demagogues, of whom there are plenty among both militant Zionists and their adversaries.

Settling a dispute like Israel-Palestine demands a good understanding of both sides, both by the adversaries and by any would-be mediators. That was the key to the settlement in Northern Ireland. More than most other English-language media, and especially more than those in the United States, the BBC covers the mid-east conflict in a way that really tries to portray both sides fairly. It's too bad that poorly informed people in the United States, including Bob Garfield, consider any portrayal of the Palestinian point of view as bias.

I know, there's more than one Palestinian faction, but then there's also a peace movement in Israel about which all too little is heard.

Oct. 14 2010 11:07 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

P.S., As a grandchild of an Irishman who in his many hours spent with me spoke often in Gaelic, I was taught never to accept being called "sir'. "We have NOTHING to do with the English aristocracy. Your name is Chris!"

Of course, as the son of a man who died a member of the English army, he had to say of my father to his daughter, "Thank God he's Catholic, Eileen!"

Oct. 14 2010 09:56 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Now, dr. anna, we are engaged. I agree, I do not see a Rabbi. Nothing at all prevents a Rabbi from using this entirely volunteer medium and, in fact, my very good, undeniably Zionist friend Irv Pinsky, Esq. has a show and I've seen my other long-time, anti-Israeli friend Stan Heller standing in front of Yale's Woolsey Hall with a bullhorn excoriating student s about an act that moved him to protest on a CTV program.

I do not envision either holding an entirely civil discussion on the subject but they can both enjoy the service that I am one of five producers to have first exploited for the furthering community knowledge and sharing, even while we disagree. Some of us serve the discussion more than a competing cause. That's why they can both be my friends; I think, anyhow.

Oct. 14 2010 09:48 PM
anna from New York

"On the media" seems to be a decent program in spite of the idiocy of "I am not a Zionist."
I have a suggestion for NPR. I am pretty sure there are some Irish-Americans on the staff. Could they please declare on the radio (as an experiment) that they are against independence of Ireland. If there are some Polish-Americans could they declare that they are against the indepedence of Poland. Let's see what the reaction will be?

Oct. 14 2010 02:49 PM
anna from New York

Oh Emily. Oh, the joy of culture. Why should we care about the tortured, the abused, the villified, when we can be ... cultured (Ah, ah, ah). Care about grammatical mistakes when the world is on fire (Ah, ah, ah). Care about the music of the voices regardless of dangerous manipulations (Ah, ah, ah) Care about music - just like Goebbels did (Ah, ah, ah). Care about "ladies and gentlemen" - just like the OLIN FOUNDATION (PBS) wants , " (Ah, ah, ah)
dr anna

Oct. 14 2010 02:32 PM
Emily Hauze from Philadelphia, PA

I was very intrigued to hear this segment and wanted to respond to one of the smaller issues raised (carefully sidestepping the contentious political issues concerning the Middle East, etc), namely the delivery of the BBC broadcasters, which Bob Garfield characterizes as "singsong-y," serious, and uniform in its use of the Queen's English. I think that this is not only a bit harsh, which was Mr. Thomas's reaction, but also completely untrue. The British accent (particularly in male voices in the tenor range) does cover a wider range of pitches than most American accents (something I've observed in many regional British accents as well as the more standard speech), but to denounce this as "singsong" is to dismiss one of the great joys of listening to the BBC. The variety of melodies in their broadcasters' voices is something I always look forward to. I listen almost daily to the BBC Newshour and find the amount of personality, color, and wit that comes across from them to be delightful.

I felt particularly compelled to write this comment, since wit and personality are certainly also major virtues of "On the Media." It doesn't seem at all incongruous to me that "On the Media" and the BBC Newshour are my two favorite programs.

Oct. 14 2010 01:55 PM
anna from New York

Ah, in my previous post I forgot to stress that it was a combination of "wonderful" British tradition of antisemitism and appeasement of oil rich Arab countries.
It was then, it is now. Everything else is a lie.
Now true, dear beloved Director?

Oct. 14 2010 07:40 AM
anna from New York

#59
No, no, no, G. Wollman, I understand that you are not interested in debating middle-east politics with me. Fine. You don' have. How about British politics. I do have something for you and other listeners of ...
Guess which government blew up humanitarian ships?
"When on June 1 this year the British government denounced as “completely unacceptable” the way that the Israelis landed troops on the Turkish flotilla to Gaza we did not know that its predecessor had done much the same, actually blowing up one ship and damaging two more vessels of a genuinely humanitarian flotilla that was trying to bring Jewish survivors of the Nazi death camps to their people’s ancient homelandeaded for Palestine‏?"
In other words, WW2 Britain Blew Up Jewish Refugee Ships. REFUGEES, not provocateurs and manipulators. A new book by Andrew Roberts is published this week.
You see, my mind is not that closed. It is open to new material.

Oct. 14 2010 07:25 AM
G Wollman

@anna: I don't know how it's possible to make it any clearer for you: I'm not now, nor will I ever be, interested in debating middle-east politics with you. (For one thing, it's abundantly clear that your mind is already entirely closed, so there would be no point in discussing it.)

Oct. 13 2010 10:02 PM
anna from New York

"Recently, I've seen 3 Imams, 8 Ministers, NASA TV, city council meetings, Board of Assessment appeals, a high school soccer game between Hamden and my losing Amity Spartans and Thom Hartmann & Amy Goodman & the White House. They're all minority audiences but they get to have a voice in a market place of ideas at last."#56
So, if I understand it correctly, according to you ministers are a minority in the US. I don't see a Rabbi?
You list also the White House ... as a minority? Am I missing something? I used to like Thom Hartmann (I haven't listened for the last several years), but is he a minority. You don't seem to be clear what you mean by minority?
NPR (Brian Lehrer for example) has city council meetings.

Oct. 13 2010 12:58 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Forgive me, Carl Buck! "my speech instructor".

Oct. 12 2010 10:56 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Now, as to BBC-speak; where I briefly attended college, Emerson in Boston, all degrees are issued for Speech with an emphasis in one's own particular interest but all were taught Standard American English which has far, far less diversity of employment than the voices I hear on any BBC program. It is everywhere, here!

My speech vowed that he could correct my accented speech as, since he too hailed from the New Haven area, he understood exactly where I was going wrong. I stopped attending.

Oct. 12 2010 10:53 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

What interested me first in the interview was the discussion of the economic model on which the BBC is built. Having early on been involved in critiquing proposed regulations by our state Dept. of Public Utility Control of our cable t.v. franchises, I see that we used a similar model, resulting in something like a $2 fee added to our bills to fund - in my franchise area - CTV's 3 channels.

While, like BBC, you can't decide what is programmed you can submit programs and people do! Recently, I've seen 3 Imams, 8 Ministers, NASA TV, city council meetings, Board of Assessment appeals, a high school soccer game between Hamden and my losing Amity Spartans and Thom Hartmann & Amy Goodman & the White House. They're all minority audiences but they get to have a voice in a market place of ideas at last.

Oct. 12 2010 10:42 PM
anna from New York

Explanation.
I thought my comment wasn't accepted and offered what I thought a "blander" version.

Oct. 12 2010 08:34 PM
anna from New York

#48
G Wollman, interestingly, Howard Jacobson who won today the Booker Prize also mentions Radio 4 in one of his pieces on antisemitism and it looks like his view differs (differs significantly) from yours.

Oct. 12 2010 08:31 PM
anna from New York

Well, well, well ...
I didn't plan to return, but there are new developments, such a new Booker Prize.
G Wollman (#48), like you, the winner mentions Radio 4 ... and it looks like Howard Jacobson isn't charming and subtle either and like me he isn't fond of prostitutional "Jews" even though they are promoted by ... Radio 4
This what he said in one of the interview about one of the prostitutes:
"My Jewishness has always been a source of pride and solace to me,” he told Radio Four’s listeners, not quite candidly, “but in the matter of the dispossession of the Palestinians I am, as a Jew, profoundly ashamed"
Thank God for American Revolution (and absence of Radio 4, Mosleys and heirs) and congratulations, Howard.

Oct. 12 2010 08:18 PM
Richard Johnston from Manhattan Upper west side

It's your charm and your sublety, Doc.

Oct. 12 2010 11:08 AM
anna from New York

"Hang in there, Doc, you're winning hearts and minds left and right."#47
Which right and left do you have in mind? Fascist right and "prostitutional" left? Yeah, these hearts and minds are on my mind. Sure. And the difference between them is where?

Oct. 12 2010 03:35 AM
G Wollman

I hesitate to step in here with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict being fought out at full force on this comment page, but there was at least one misleading question in the interview that did not relate to mid-east politics. Bob relayed a listener question asking about making the "iplayer" available world-wide. It already is, for the vast majority of BBC programming. It's only the four domestic television networks that are not available outside the UK -- pretty much all of the domestic (national) radio programming is available both live and "listen again". In particular, Radio 4 is pretty much everything I wish NPR could be but never will.

Oct. 11 2010 10:39 PM
Richard Johnston from Manhattan Upper west side

Hang in there, Doc, you're winning hearts and minds left and right.

Oct. 11 2010 08:54 PM
anna from New York

OK, Bob is correct about certain left. I am of course correct about calling it correctly the "prostitutional left."
They are talking now about some Carlos, a Latin American leftist who after training at Patrice Lumumba Institute in Moscow of course, dedicated his life to booze, ladies, Harrods, caviar, etc. .... and your guess it ... to the Palestinians. There were brutal dictatorships in most Latin American countries, thousands were disappearing, but he dedicated his life to booze, ladies, Harrods, caviar ... and you guess it ... the Palestinians.
A question to Dianne:
Ever wonder how many of those with various accents on BBC are graduates of Patrice Lumumba Insitute in ... Moscow, of course?

Oct. 11 2010 02:07 PM
Sarah from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Bob, you had the opportunity and you neglected to ask whose idea it was at the BBC to have their webplayer's volume go up to 11? It does, if you haven't noticed.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/bbc_world_service

Oct. 11 2010 11:08 AM
anna from New York

"I threw up in my mouth just a little when I heard Bob Garfield say that the BBC is biased towards Palestinians. Whether they are or not, I cannot say"
You can't, but I can. Once again it's a propaganda arm of the Palestinian authority. Period.
I do own everyone a correction. No need to refer to Stalin/Hitler propaganda when we have the oldest one - the mother and father of all propaganda, preceding and influencing them all - the British propaganda. Not true, dear beloved Director.
Ah, I also had a problem with Garfield's linking of BBC to European left. The left is still not monolithic and there still is decent, traditional (unions, health, child care etc.) left in addition of course to clearly prostitutional "left" with the only concern (the Palestinians) - in my understanding no left at all. Yes, in the past it was financed by the Soviet Union and oil money, now only by oil money. What's is so left about it? It is as left as Hitler was - with the same concerns and connections.
Another book recommendation (for you Sam): A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West by Ian Johnson

Oct. 11 2010 02:05 AM
Mik

It's quite revealing the way the discourse has shifted on the right since the Berlin Wall collapsed. We don't have the Soviet communist enemy to kick around any more and we avert our eyes from the shortcomings of Red China (funny, you never hear that term any more) because they provide our fatcat bosses with the cheap labor that helps them make our American workers toe the (unemployment) line.

So who can we use to replace the Reds as the targets of our insults? Why, it's those socialist Europeans whom we used to consider our friends. Most of those ingrates and even some of their governments had the nerve to oppose our invasion of Iraq when we tried to tell them about those WMD. We showed 'em with our Freedom Fries. And they even have the effrontery try to tell us there are two sides to Israel-Palestine.

Oct. 10 2010 11:55 PM
Richard Gillett from Seattle WA USA

The interviewer states he will go to his grave believing the BBC has a European, left wing view of the world, implying it should be more "objective". Does he think it should sound more like the US media, ie more "centrist"?
I think the Beeb answered this well. First, the listening audience of the BBC is worldwide, and that should be taken into consideration. Second, is it not OK for the BBC to have a European and/or British perspective--just like we have an "American" perspective (heavily shaped by our pro-business American exceptionalism media)?

Oct. 10 2010 11:28 PM
D. Douglas

Liberal? You think the Beeb's reporting is liberal? You must be a lot, lot, lot further to the right than I had assumed.

Still, it's my primarily source of radio news because it's the only source that covers the world. NPR is, unfortunately, not only part of the media establishent but, like all American media, decidely U.S.-centric.

Oct. 10 2010 11:07 PM
Dianne Lynne from San Diego

Thanks to the digital age cutting off half of my access to television, I listen to a lot of BBC radio programming. A lot. I listen to dramatized stories, documentaries, history, forums...such a wonderful range of subjects and ideas (from both sides or many sides) that it spoils me when I have to listen to one of the local news stations. As for the accents, they vary greatly--I've gotten used to a mix of Scottish, Irish, British, Indian and a whole variety of accents I won't bother enumerating. No one in this country who has to listen to a standardized U.S. accent can complain of a lack of variety on the BBC side. I personally like hearing a viewpoint rather than standard political stances on viewpoints ... I don't agree with everything they say but I see nothing wrong with listening to voices outside of those inside my own head. The U.S. has gotten very narrow in viewpoint, and a quite hostile one at that--one thing about the BBC, the announcers almost always stay civilized even when the discussion gets heated (an art form we've lost in the U.S.). I am very tired of the screaming that has taken the place of discourse in the U.S....we have completely lost the ability to listen. For me, I'll keep dipping into the BBC programming until they shut off the stream to California.

Oct. 10 2010 08:47 PM
Katapaltes from USA

I threw up in my mouth just a little when I heard Bob Garfield say that the BBC is biased towards Palestinians. Whether they are or not, I cannot say. However, On The Media is carried by NPR, which, if the names of the hosts, guests, and underwriters is any indication, is overwhelmingly Jewish.

If this "Jewishness" did not impact their reporting, I would have no beef with [Hebrew] National Public Radio. Unfortunately, HNPR has in the last two months done an extremely biased piece on the rapidly declining rates of circumcision, where their guest (they only had one - a Jewish doctor) disparaged pro-intact activists, the guest and the host giggled when intactivists were mentioned, and the story was introduced in the context of parents refusing vaccinations for their children (listen to audio portion online for last two points). When NPR was confronted by a barrage of complaints, they issued a back-handed correction, forever confined to a small corner of their ombudsman's web page.
kat

Oct. 10 2010 08:18 PM
Richard Johnston from Manhattan Upper west side

Just checking in to be sure you got the last word, Doc. With friends like you ..., I think the other users know the rest of the sentence, but it is after all in your seventh language.

Oct. 10 2010 07:52 PM
rau from san francisco

It seems that Anna (not to mention OTM's Bob) have a problem with news organization's who are willing to present both sides of an issue. I thought giving a voice to people who have virtually no access to a larger listening audience is part of the journalist's brief. Ask yourselves when was the last time you saw a program featuring the lives of the Palestinian people, other than as ticking time bomb terrorists.

Of course, if you are the sort of person who believes any probing of the Palestinian point of view is harmful to Israel than; you might dislike the Beebs coverage.

Is that really where we are now? Is the one point of view with no counterpoint the new news normal.

Oh yeah, Bob!?! The Beeb is FINALLY using people of color in it's broadcasts, not to mention presenters from Ireland, Scotland, and yes even a few slight cockney accents.

Maybe it's the time warp he's in that makes Mr. Garfield so snarky.

Oct. 10 2010 06:41 PM
anna from New York

"I am not a Zionist but..."" What??!?!?!? "
Dorothy, I noticed this too, but I just focused on this BBC guy.
"I am not a Zionist" has a long history. Among other nice moments, there was a pressure in 1975 on Soviet academics to declare just that and sign some petitions against "Zionism" Most complied, some emigrated.
In 1968, during Polish repulsive antisemitic campaign, a freshman at Jagiellonian University responded to a friendly Jewish classmate's question: "Are you Jewish:" "I am not a Zionist." They never spoked again - "non-Zionist"was avoiding. It's usually pronounced in "nice" places, in "nice" circumstances.

Oct. 10 2010 05:45 PM
anna from New York

Sam,
Why don't you read?
You can start with an little old (?1993) book by Michael Lerner "The Socialism of Fools : Antisemitism on the Left" which among other issues addresses anti-Zionism as a cover for antisemitism.

Oct. 10 2010 04:57 PM
Andrew D. from Kansas City, MO

The OTM interviewer (Bob?) who said "I'm not a Zionist, but ..." clearly should take a step back and reconsider whether or not to ask questions from a Zionist perspective. To any ombudsperson who gets a report on these comments: please review this interview and consider having a less-Zionist bias in future interviews. I have inferred from this interview that OTM is a Zionist leaning organization at one or more levels, and will continue to assume this until some indication that this is no longer the case.

Oct. 10 2010 04:49 PM
anna from New York

"Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Look clearly at the degree of Zionist (NOT Jewish, NOT Semitic) power over our body politic and media and tell us that it is your opposition that is Orwellian??? "#32
Oh wonderful traditions of "The Protocols." Alive and well, served to billions by, among others, "powerless" Arab media, charming neo-Nazis, etc.

Oct. 10 2010 04:31 PM
Sam Kopper from Hingham, MA

Dr Ana, your ethnic-religious-based vehemence and vitriol is precisely what has this world in a death spiral. That same sort of rhetoric, coming from extreme Muslims, extreme Christians, extremists in general, is what's killing any chance of peace - peaceful dialog, peace in the end. Your raising Orwell as a point in your argument is in itself purely Orwellian. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Look clearly at the degree of Zionist (NOT Jewish, NOT Semitic) power over our body politic and media and tell us that it is your opposition that is Orwellian??? Wow. And Goodman, Chomsky et all need professional help? You're raising Stalinism?! Stalin and Hitler would be in jealous awe of the propaganda machine that our so-called "free press" has become! Read David Hirst's "The Gun and The Olive Branch."

Oct. 10 2010 04:10 PM
Dorothy from NYC

Anna said:
"This BBC guy is a lying liar. I can't listen more than one minute to BBC without vomiting. I don't see any difference between the BBC "reporting" on the Middle East and Pravda (in terms of style). Double standards, confusing of reporting with editorializing, constant manipulation of facts, ignoring of inconvenient facts, etc. etc. etc. "

I agree! This is the last straw for me with WNYC and BBC, you are both SO biased in your coverage of the middle east it is sickening. "I am not a Zionist but..."" What??!?!?!? I feel nauseous just listening to you. I am done with this station.

Oct. 10 2010 03:39 PM
anna from New York


#28
"I despise" etc. don't have anything to do with Orwell. Can I suggest that you leave this area to me. At this moment, I am not inclined to compile a list of Orwellianisms from the wonderful "traditional" (Jews, media, Aipac, lackeys) comments above even though it's difficult to resist the temptation of political "lackeys" (#29, good work, Stalin, with "despicable lackeys of capitalism") for example.

Oct. 10 2010 03:03 PM
Sam Kopper from Hingham, MA

It's astounding to accuse the BBC of bias in reporting the Israel v Palestinians conflict! It is not only the BBC that reports in a way virtually no American media do (with the exception of Amy Goodman, Danny Schechter, and a FEW others). Virtually the whole world outside of the U.S, friends and foes alike, hear the whole story, not just the story that AIPAC, Zionists (Jewish AND Christian Zionists), and their politician lackeys want/allow us to hear . In the U.S. we neither hear the whole 130 history that is the foundation of Palestinian anger, nor balanced coverage of what's happening now. Just one example out of hundreds - two months ago, at 4am I heard a BBC report of the U.S. adding to the over-the-top aid we give First World nation Israel by granting them another $200 million to build a missile defense system. I had no hope that the major commercial networks or NY-based press would cover it, but I expected that MAYBE, just maybe NPR would. Nope. Didn't happen. Not a word.

Oct. 10 2010 02:49 PM
Richard Johnston from Manhattan Upper west side

"Despise," "hate," "ignorant," "liar," ad hominem arguments, not to mention the ultimate epithet "Orwellian." You sure know how to please a crowd, Doc.

Oct. 10 2010 02:48 PM
Mik

Unfortunately, the media provide a very one-sided view of the Israel-Palestine conflict to the American public, thanks to their fear of being smeared as anti-Semitic by AIPAC and its political allies. (Note: look up the meaning of Semitic sometime). How often do you hear J Street's ideas being given any exposure in the US media?

Bob Garfield's question about the BBC's supposed tilt to the Palestinians just reflects that he is no better informed than most of his fellow Americans. Many Americans are pro-Israel AND at the same time critical of extreme Israeli government policies, particularly the building of walled-off "settlements" on historically Arabic land and the walling off of Arabic communities that humiliates their residents daily. Maybe someone should come along and say “take down these walls”. What the BBC does is provide its American audiences with real information that they simply don't get in their own media. In fact, there is much more robust discussion of Israeli-Palestinian issues in the Israeli media than in the US. The AIPACs of this world want to shut down any such discussion in the United States.

Oct. 10 2010 12:48 PM
anna from New York

"Airing 10 minutes of the Palestinian point-of-view followed by 30 seconds of an Israeli response"#21
It's not only that - it's also their style of reporting. What got me furious not so long ago was BBC "reporting" peppered with loaded, loaded, loaded "adjectives" truly reminiscent of good old days of Soviet/Nazi "reporting."

Oct. 10 2010 12:23 PM
anna from New York

"You will find very similar handling of the Middle East on Democracy Now"#19
Good point. That's why I don't listened to Democracy Now. Actually, I really, really, really despise Amy Goodman with her voice "distorted by sincerity," with her typical American liberal interests "genitals and ... the Palestinians (and not workplace for example), her historical/theological illiteracy, etc.
I hate psychobabbling, but I do think that people like her, Chomsky, Naomi Klein, etc. need serious professional help. You see, I am optimistic - I believe that one can be cured from prostitutional propensities.

Oct. 10 2010 12:09 PM
Nancy Lebovitz from Philadelphia, USA

At this point, I'm not dead certain what fair reporting about Israel/Palestine would be. I've noticed one increase of fairness in the past couple or three years-- a significant number of stories about Israeli doing all sorts of ordinary human things-- I didn't used to hear any such stories. I'm a fairly frequent listener to the BBC news programs that NPR picks up.

The BBC used to talk about "America's so-called war on terror"-- I always wondered what they thought it should be called. They don't use that phrase any more, and I *think* they don't name it at all.

Oct. 10 2010 11:23 AM
Benjamin

I know Brooke Gladstone, and her husband Fred Kaplan, whose commentary and writings I greatly admire on so many other topics, are terribly, and perhaps understandably, biased when it comes to I-P issues.
However, I was disappointed to hear that Bob Garfield shares the view that the BBC is biased on I-P issues.

No, Bob, the BBC is not biased on these issues. It is you who live in a bubble of inconsistency on this question; I'm amazed that the isolation of Israel and the US on I-P issues, causes you to believe the bias is BBC's and not our own. International liberal values that truly value the individual and human rights can not flourish unless US foreign policy is consistent on these issues in their to application to Israel and its continued illegal occupation and settlement of the West Bank.

Oct. 10 2010 10:54 AM
Jay Weedon from New York

What didn't come out from this interview was the fact that most Americans have little idea of any world view that doesn't conform with that of the US ruling elite, as filtered through US corporate media.

Oct. 10 2010 10:38 AM
Jeffrey E. Salzberg from Barre, VT

As long as the BBC World Service is on the air, the Palestinian Authority will never have to fund a Ministry of Propaganda.

Airing 10 minutes of the Palestinian point-of-view followed by 30 seconds of an Israeli response is not "balanced".

Oct. 10 2010 10:35 AM
Robert from NYC

It's interesting how Bob is always able to prove how much of a jerk he is. Keep it up sometimes we forget. lol

Oct. 10 2010 10:33 AM
Robert from NYC

You will find very similar handling of the Middle East on Democracy Now. Anyone interested in fair reporting should be looking for Democracy Now in your area. Here in NYC you will find it on MNN2 and CUNY. Excellent work of Amy Goodman and Juan Diaz and company gets very little attention.
And BTW do you expect to find REAL unbiased reporting on the Middle East on WNYC! Really, do you?

Oct. 10 2010 10:20 AM
Robert from NYC

The BBC does the fairest reporting on the MIddle East giving the Palestinian point of view and treating the Palestinians like human beings. It doesn't buy into the Israeli government's lies, BBC reports the truth about how the Israeli government, not all the Israeli people on the contrary but the government, treat the Palestinians as sub-humans who seem to have no rights. If Israelis were living under the same conditions in another country as the Palestinians are living in Israel there would rightfully be screams of anti-semitism. Well this is anti-Palestianism to the fullest. I've often heard Israeli settlers on TV often say they would like to see the Palestinians wiped off the face of the earth! What does that sound like to you?! I commend the BBC on it's reporting on the Middle East and unlike ALL the US media it has not bought into the AIPAC propaganda and lies that have usurped the American Press. Most of the country feels this way and so does most of the world.

Oct. 10 2010 10:16 AM
anna from New York

Briefly.
#11
You actually confirming what I am saying. In your words "BBC is right of center" but they represent the Palestinian point of view.
Correct. They couldn't care less about the homeless, hungry, abused in Western countries and about the "boiled and fried" elsewhere, but they "care" about the Palestinians. Sure. Well ... we agree.
#14 chascates
I am a European (and naturalized American) and I can assure you that Europe isn't a monolith you present. No amount of dogma and psychobabbling can change this.

Oct. 10 2010 05:44 AM
Just a Thought

Of course the obvious question that goes unasked is that if the British public supports the license fee with its threat of severe fines for non-payment then why not scrap it in favor of a voluntary subscription? There is vastly more variety of political debate in the US than there is in the BBC dominated media because it is what Americans choose to watch that decides what news network will dominate; not the state.
If even NPR is suggesting the BBC is elitist and politically biased, which it absolutely is, why should it be forced on the UK public? All of the Director General's self aggrandizing praise about "high quality content" means nothing because at the end of the day, he knows he will get the public's money regardless if they agree or not.

Oct. 09 2010 07:57 PM
Richard Johnston from Manhattan Upper west side

The piece is about the BBC, Doc. Relax.

Oct. 09 2010 07:18 PM
chascates from Austin, Texas

Leaving aside the eternal/infernal Israel vs. Palestinian debate, perhaps the perception that the BBC offers a left-leaning politically correct viewpoint may be because much of Europe is made from the same cloth.
People in the U.S. aren't surprised by a national candidate putting out a video stating she is 'not a witch' and her mentor posting a Facebook shout-out to the "sisterhood of mommy patriots" but Europeans (and many in Asia and elsewhere) would be astonished at the prevalent right-wing tilt of news coverage here.
One man's objectivity is another man's leftist, or another man's far-left, or another man's socialist Muslim. Americans live in an information bubble and if you try to prick that bubble you are obviously evil.

Oct. 09 2010 06:35 PM
anna from New York

"if you asked Palisteneans they would say that they are being systematically killed"
Oh, I am sure they would say that. For some two thousand years all sorts of things have been told about Jews. I am sure they wouldn't say how they are treated by their Muslims "brothers and sisters" in all Muslim including the insanely rich countries. Check Jordan, for example. Lebanon, another example, allowed them to work just last month.
As far as Haman and NPR ... you're wrong here too. Actually, Ayatollah of Hamas was likened by NPR to ... Martin Luther King (Take it Away)
So, you are one of those BBC listeners of broad interests: "my body, my ... everything .. and the Palestinians."
Ah, Hamas is a terrorist organization.

Oct. 09 2010 06:28 PM
john smith

Oh and by the way; the fact that other countries are also murderous does not absolve Israel from having its systematic oppression of the Plaistenean people described by news outlets.

And whether or not people in other countries are being "boiled, cooked and fried", if you asked Palisteneans they would say that they are being systematically killed, driven from their homes, denied their civil and political rights deneid access to basic food, shelter and medical care.

Oct. 09 2010 03:32 PM
john smith

The announcer was unbelievable: first, he calls the BBC hard left (or something to that effect) and then he accuses it of being pro palistinean? Becasue they at times present the opinion of Hamas, the elected government of the occupied, yes the word is occupied, terrotories?

This from a guy who broadcasts from NPR, the voice of neo-cons; the station presents Iraeli goverment flunkys as unbiased "analysts; the station that doesn't seem to be ever be able to present the opinion of Hamas.

NPR can't mention the word Hamas without saying "terrorist" but never seems to refer to the terrorist activities of the israeli government or the settlers
as "terrorism".

I have no love for the BBC; it is basically the same right of center drivel as is on NPR. But for the announcer to engage in McCarthyist tactics because the BBC at times presents the palistinean point of view smacks of both his bias and NPR's general right of center bias.

Don't forget to do a pitch for money.

Oct. 09 2010 03:25 PM
Richard Johnston from Manhattan Upper west side

Whatever, Doc.

Oct. 09 2010 01:53 PM
anna from New York

Well, Richard, you dont get it - the fixation is not mine.

Oct. 09 2010 01:27 PM
Richard Johnston from Manhattan Upper west side

I'm sorry you have this fixation that seems to be bothering you so, Doc Anna. I shall continue to trust the BBC more than I trust the New York Times, compounding my ignorance.

Oct. 09 2010 01:14 PM
anna from New York

Richard,
There are some 200 countries in the world. In many of them, people are boiled, cooked and fried, little girls are gang raped and little boys are soldiers. I would like at least once to wake up not to "this hideous (or something similar) Israeli occupation" at the start of BBC "News."
And this isn't a paid service? Just English antisemitic tradition? Or tradition meets money? Whatever it is - it isn't normal.

Oct. 09 2010 11:13 AM
anna from New York

Correction.
I should have started my first post with:
This BBC guy is a lying liar lying about BBC lies.
It's definitely better this way.

Oct. 09 2010 10:38 AM
anna from New York

Well, you are entitled to your opinion (unfortunately very ignorant if not biased) and I am entitled to mine - very, very, very competent. Yes, I have a masters in Jewish history with an emphasis on antisemitism. My Ph.D. is in a different field, related to a significant degree.
Your "preposterous" unfortunately is incorrect, but what to expect from a listener who just loves, loves, loves this Orwellian BBC style? I gave you an analysis - be grateful and don't serve propaganda. BBC doesn't need any complements, it's quite self sufficient.
dr anna

Oct. 09 2010 10:33 AM
David from Lawrenceville, NJ

Good, strong, interview, Bob!

Oct. 09 2010 09:55 AM
Richard Johnston from Upper west side of Manhattan

I was going to comment on the grammatical error Mr. Thompson made (subject-verb agreement) but was drawn off the track by the snarky and preposterous assertion that the BBC is biased toward the Palestinians. Remembering that they had their own corresondent Alan Johnston (no relation) stationed in Gaza until he was abducted and held for months and having listened to their news for about 40 years, I consider I have an unbiased point of view, not unduly influenced by religion, culture or national origin.

I find the BBC's coverage to be refreshingly impartial, unlike what I read in our "newspaper of record" in New York City. If you can't stand the truth, stay out of the studio.

Oct. 09 2010 08:43 AM
anna from New York

Ah ...
I have the impression that BBC is the propaganda arm of some Palestinian (?) authority.
Ah ... personally I, (a traditional Socail Democrat) really, really, really despise all "my precious body, my precious bank accounts .... and the Palestinians" "liberals."
Oh, irresistible charms of oil money. Truly, pecunia non olet.

Oct. 09 2010 08:14 AM
anna from New York

This BBC guy is a lying liar. I can't listen more than one minute to BBC without vomiting. I don't see any difference between the BBC "reporting" on the Middle East and Pravda (in terms of style). Double standards, confusing of reporting with editorializing, constant manipulation of facts, ignoring of inconvenient facts, etc. etc. etc.
I despise this idiotic pseudo argument "We're criticized by both sides" What kind of argument is that? Dear beloved Director, not all of your listeners are idiots.

dr anna writing in her 7th language, so don't ... (I wanted to say "bark," but I am not sure I can)

Oct. 09 2010 08:08 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.