Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Try to keep down your breakfast

I've written about this before. I really shouldn't watch it, but when I stumble down the stairs in the morning, my wife usually has it on. At least it gets my adrenaline going; tea on its own wouldn't stand a chance of waking me up.

I'm talking about BBC Breakfast. It's the sort of television you expect to be bad. To see just how bad it can be, you only have to switch over to GMTV. The BBC, though, always manage to mix a healthy dose of propaganda with the drivel. The commercial media is not agenda-free, but it's much more galling when I don't have a choice about funding it.

Today we saw:
  • A discussion of malnutrition in hospitals, and the poor quality of hospital food
  • Ofcom's action against Sky Sports
There were suggestions that hospital food standards should somehow be enshrined in law, and an NHS dietician predictably insisted that more money is the answer. It may be true that insufficient funds are allocated to food, but the unspoken suggestion was that improvements can only be achieved by injecting more money into the system as a whole. According to the TaxPayers' Alliance, "while overall numbers of NHS staff went up by just 20 percent between 1997 and 2007, the number of managers doubled from 20,000 to 40,000 ... in ten years the NHS went from having 12 beds per manager to less than five beds per manager". Crude metrics, of course — all metrics are crude — but anyone who suggests that savings in the NHS can only be found through cuts to front line services is being dangerously disingenuous.

Discussion moved from the depressing to the bizarre: pressure from Ofcom on Sky Sports. We're told that Sky Sports 1 & 2 must be offered to rival channels at 23% less than the current price. At least the BBC correspondent had the decency to highlight Sky's declamation against "unwarranted intervention" and its contention that "this is a marketplace where customers are well served". To be honest, I don't know how well Sky is serving its customers, but this is surely unwarranted intervention. Regulation is generally ineffective or counterproductive, but I can see why people are concerned about the cost of electricity, water, and banking services. Televised sports, on the other hand, are hardly a necessity. If people don't think Sky offers value for money, there are plenty of other places they can turn for entertainment. Tellingly, it was "BT, Virgin, Top Up TV and the now defunct Setanta" that expressed concerns about Sky's dominance, not the beleaguered viewers.

It was yesterday's programme, though, that truly made me sick.

To defend the government's Prevent initiative, the BBC called on an 'ex-extremist' who had fought British troops in Afghanistan. He's now employed by our government to guide vulnerable young Muslims down a more righteous path. At the end of the interview, he was asked what prompted his own remarkable transformation. He didn't denounce his past aggression, or repent of his treasonous attacks on British forces. He didn't renounce terrorism, or show any signs of regret for his violence against infidels. What turned him, he said, was "seeing Muslims killing Muslims ... and that's not right".

No comments:

Post a Comment