Archive for December, 2019

Who murdered the BBC?

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

Screenshot 2019-12-01 at 12.56.41 PM

Say I’m an unbiased detective and someone has told me about the murder of a large media organisation that I only have knowledge of through news reports. I’m assigned to do the investigation of the murder. I might have my theories about who did it based on the perceived attitude of the BBC and those it might have angered but I need evidence that will stand up in court so I look for likely suspects. I get a tip off that a group of Flat-Earthers did it. I’m shown circumstantial evidence that is strong enough to make me do a thorough investigation of their ringleader.

Although I maintain I’m still being unbiased, I’m looking for evidence that proves the ringleader perpetrated the crime. If I find additional evidence that confirms my suspicion I will look for more. If I don’t find any I will need another suspect and motive. Because I’m a hard nosed detective who understands human weaknesses, a lot of my evaluation of the circumstantial evidence will be based on my gut feeling. For backup, I will have my trusty Occam’s razor perpetually up my sleeve ready to deploy.

Journalists are supposed to be like detectives – unbiased investigators looking for evidence of exceptialism. But what if the force becomes corrupt and infiltrated by bent reporters?

The BBC is supposed to be an unbiased news organisation (among other things) but there are rumours that it has become corrupt and right-leaning journalists are influencing particular investigations. Moreover there is empirical evidence to support the accusation: several recent broadcast clips have been manipulated to misrepresent the truth. The BBC’s defence is ‘human error.’

How can the claim be properly investigated?

Meticulous attention to detail might do it.

I could decide to take just one broadcast slot – the six o’clock news, and ignore all the other output. I choose this slot because it carries particular influence. I then decide on a timescale – say, one year, to analyse all the broadcasts in that period. I then decide to look for news items that feature only two entities: The Blues and The Reds as they are the most significant players in the power game. I then decide to choose a topic, one that is particularly human and therefore universal. I decide to look at mentions of xenophobia, in particular, anti-Semitism and racism. Then I begin my analysis.

Say I discover that in the time period there are forty reports of anti-Semitism (almost always associated with The Reds) for every one of racism (almost always associated with the Blues)*. My impression is that the problem of anti-Semitism is forty times greater than the problem of racism. And when I look forensically at the reporting of one of the news items I see that the BBC invariably maintains its supposed unbiased position by inviting a member of the Reds to deny the accusation. Strangely, little evidence is presented in these reports, it is nearly all opinion.

As far as the BBC is concerned, it has maintained its unbiased position and yet as an uncritical viewer I get the impression that The Reds have a huge problem with one particular issue whereas the Blues are almost completely free of it.

But then out slips my Occam’s razor and I assess the likelihood of this. Humans are more alike than different so I puzzle over this huge difference in reporting. I then find evidence that suggests racism is as much an issue with The Blues as it is with The Reds – so why the discrepancy in reporting?

I now look at the backgrounds of the people working in the BBC. The vast majority share the same culture as the members of The Blues. My Occam’s razor itches for more action. It appears a lot of the top journalists at the BBC are actually on intimate terms with a lot of The Blues – now I have a motive.

This forensic analysis could reveal significant patterns in bias. It seems strange that very few are ever conducted – I wonder why? I was sent a link (thanks Karl) of one such attempt though.

One final thought. There is evidence that illegal drug taking within Parliament is rife. Where is the ongoing outrage over this? Could it be that too many politicians and journalists are involved in the activity and so don’t care for its discussion? Lucky for them they have the powers to influence which cases are investigated and which are not.

*Hypothetical figures.