>> 28 Oct 2004

BBC Sickness!

Did anybody listen to the phone-in vote on BBC Radio Five Live this afternoon? I have to ask because the presenter, Simon Mayo decided to launch a straw poll on how listeners would vote had they the chance to do so in the US election. Quite naturally the response was overwhelmingly in Kerry's favour (with the exception of two callers - one in Suffolk and one in Belfast).

Not wanting the programme to turn into a hagiographic endorsement of the capricious JFK, I took the option of phoning in myself to provide some balance. If readers have attempted to contact these kind of shows in the past, they will know that their call is answered by an intermediary who ascertains the tone and content of the contribution before passing it on to the presenter for analysis and possible on-air conversation. Below is a near verbatim account of the conversation I held with just such an intermediary. I hope it provides a snapshot of the degree to which the BBC has totally lost the plot when it comes to impartial examination of the respective presidential candidates. My responses are in red.

'BBC Radio Five Live, may I take your name please?'

'Yes, it's Andrew calling from Halifax.'

'And what would you like to say, Andrew?'

'I'd like to cast my vote for George W Bush.'

'Oh, and why's that?'

'Because I believe he is a man of principle who has the determination to see the justifiable war on terror reach a successful conclusion. I admire his stoic sense of leadership, his Christian beliefs and his honesty in his dealings with the Ameri............'

'Hold on. He lied about the mythical weapons of mass destruction.'

'No he didn't. He made use of the intelligence available to him at the time.'

'But there were no weapons of mass destruction.'

'In the conventional sense, there were no assembled weapons of mass destruction. However, there is plenty of evidence of all the necessary ingredients in place to devise future weapons programmes had he intended to do so. Also, don't forget about the tacit links formed between his junta and Al Queda.'

(Contemptuous snort) 'Not on any news bulletins I've ever seen.'

'Must have been looking at the wrong news bulletins then, musn't you? Or perhaps you have been indoctrinated by the expurgated selectivity which passes for news within your organisation.'

(An air of annoyance) 'What are you trying to say?'

'I'm not trying to say anything. I am saying the BBC never misses an opportunity to present Bush in a negative light. At the end of the day, this so-called 'esteemed' broadcasting corporation is fundamentally anti-Bush, and anti-Israel into the bargain.'

'Well (voice level rising) what about the rapid decline in the American economy since he took over?'

'Do you mean the economy which has enjoyed reasonably steady growth throughout his presidency? The same economy that was on the slide at the end of the Clinton era?

(Guffaw) 'Huh, the share of national debt has grown under this guy.'

'The share of national debt has also increased under New Labour. Hasn't stopped the economy from growing though.'

'Well, I'll put your comments through and we'll see if we can get you on air' (intonation of insincerity).

Needless to say I wasn't given a platform to elaborate on my support for 'Dubya'. Never mind, the liberal Lefties at the BBC will be crying into their Guardian newspapers come next Wednesday. I can hardly wait!!


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