Black people are stupid and criminal, says BBC
Or at least, apparently now it will if you tell it to. I got the most extraordinary email today. I'd been watching Breakfast news a few days ago, and was startled to hear one of the newsreaders assert, as part of a report on the progress of the Digital Economy Bill, that "music piracy costs the music industry hundreds of millions of pounds a year".
Since there has, of course, never been a single shred of evidence produced anywhere by anyone ever proving that this is the case, I was somewhat disturbed to hear the BBC suddenly reporting this claim as an absolute fact, without any sort of "the industry claims that…" qualifier in front of it. So I sent off an email via the BBC website politely expressing my concerns.
I expected an apologetic "Live show, regrettable oversight/slip of the tongue"-type response, but the reply I received this afternoon really made me blink.
"Dear Mr Campbell
Thanks for your e-mail regarding 'Breakfast' on BBC One. I understand you believe the bulletin on 24 March broadcast "unsubstantiated" claims that illegal filesharing costs the music industry hundreds of millions of pounds each year.
While we appreciate your concerns, a recent study by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) says that filesharing costs the industry £200million a year:
Please note the BBC isn't responsible for content found on external sites.
We don't aim for a balance of opinion within one single item or programme as it's not always possible or practical. Instead, we provide this balance over a period of time across our entire news and current affairs output.
Nonetheless, your complaint will be added to our audience log, a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.
The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.
Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.
So let's get this straight. If the BNP, say, was to concoct some "study" arriving at the conclusion that all black people had sub-90 IQs and were congenitally inclined to criminality, and sent the results to the BBC, it would be reported on the news as fact?
Bill Turnbull, we're apparently to believe, would sit there with his serious face on and say "Black people are congenitally stupid and inclined to criminality, and because of this fact the BNP have called for the law to be changed in order to have them all forcibly deported to Africa".
BUT, it would be okay because at some unspecified time somewhere else in the BBC's news and current affairs output (perhaps the graveyard shift on BBC Radio Humberside) someone might suggest that actually, black people WEREN'T all lawless brain-dead thugs. Phew!
As a dark Murdoch-shaped shadow looms over the BBC's future, the corporation sometimes seems to be going out of its way to portray itself as something that isn't worth fighting for. And if its journalistic standards have truly been degraded so far as to reduce it to an unquestioning mouthpiece for vested commercial interests and their worthless bullshit propaganda, Murdoch might as well have it and change its name to Fox UK.
On the other hand, if all you have to do to get something reported as a fact by the national broadcasting network now is produce your own completely spurious "study" on it, we could all have a lot of fun. I've dropped them another line just now, asking what address we should send stuff to that we want read out as news without anyone caring about whether it's remotely true or not. When I get the reply, I'll let you all know.