Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The bizarro world of BBC 'objectivity'

Sifting through the evidence, it is clear that this government is just as psychopathically interferring as the last one. Whereas New Labour had the fervour of true-believing end-justifies-the-meansters (cackling to themselves about omelettes and breaking eggs) which the tories lack, these latter still possess a disdainful attitude towards the lower orders -an abiding view that the peasants are revolting. However the thread of continuity is not from the political, but from the bureaucratic class. Whilst ministers come and go, the mandarins - or to give them their full title; the twisted, control-freak, misanthropic mandarins - stay put, and if the new boy calls for proposals, they reach into the drawer, pull out a sheaf of papers and say; 'Here is something we didn't quite have time to implement before the recess.'

Anyway, that's all tangental to the point of the post, namely the BBC's 'objectivity' and how it works. Firstly the task is to set up a spread of opinion. Secondly to find a contrary voice from within that spread, to gainsay the primary position. By careful management of the spread, they can create an illusion of balance, whilst excluding other opinions. Most important is it that within the spread there is nothing which contradicts the presuppositions upon which the primary position is based.

Therefore, if someone is calling to reduce payments to the gnomes of Brussels, a contrary voice will be found that wishes to increase these payments, but not one that believes we should cease all such payments and leave Barosso's evil empire. The main thing, and this crosses many issues, is that the Big Government must not be questioned.

The source of this particular muse is Andrew Lansley's utterings on 'nudging' versus 'nannying'.

"The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley says he wants to nudge wherever possible and nanny only where necessary.

The "nudge" effect he's talking about is a growing body of evidence about what influences our decisions.

The advocates of nudge say understanding how and why we choose is a powerful tool for influencing behaviour.

Even sceptics accept this behavioural science has a place, but argue there are times where a government just has to act."

Regarding the continuity of agenda, we see immediately that Lansley is not repudiating nannying. He intends to continue the practice but only where necessary; a meaningless distinction, as even the most fanatical nanny would not call for nannying unless they deemed it necessary. I will leave aside the use of the new buzzword 'nudge' which is covered by others. Suffice it to say, once translated into action by the state, it amounts to a new label pasted onto the bottle of castor oil. Instead, I wish to draw attention to the last line quoted above.

As noted, the first rule of BBC bias is to define the spread of opinion, and then find a useful contrary voice. These are the 'sceptics'. And what are they 'sceptical' of? Why, that 'nudging' is effective, or should take the place of good, old-fashioned nannying.

Thus in the world of the BBC, there is a spread of opinion from those who believe the government must constantly nanny, nag and bully us for our own good, to those who think that sometimes this isn't necessary and that a more softly-softly approach may be more effective.

With the debate thus defined, there is nowhere to fit anyone who disputes the presupposed 'given that the government has a role to tell us what to do ...'

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