25 July 2007

How bad things are

I regularly take part in a public opinion survey which asks how I think things are going in my neighbourhood, in the UK and in the world. The definitive answer is provided by Dave Walker:

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Labels: ,

David Cameron, the truth and another good story

Beginning to sound uncharacteristically like an apologist for the Tory party here, but ... what is all this fuss about David Cameron jetting off to Rwanda and ignoring his constituents?

If you read carefully, then you will spot - hidden away deep in the text of this alarmism - the admission that:

"On Sunday [Mr Cameron] visited Witney, his West Oxfordshire constituency, where 3,000 homes have been flooded. He said he had been in touch with the local council leader since arriving in the Rwandan capital Kigali."

So, just to get things straight, he's not ignoring his constituents then. That's just an impression the rest of the article tries to create.

I thought the BBC had said it wasn't going to misrepresent people any more?!

We can spot the media's current narrative by noticing the description (elsewhere) of Mr Cameron as "embattled". Seems as if the fashion is changing - once again, why let the truth get in the way of a good story?

Labels: ,

21 July 2007

Davis doesn't go there

I am no great fan of the Conservative politician David Davis. I suppose if pressed, I would probably confess to grudging respect for him - a respect enhanced by an episode this week, recounted by the BBC's Nick Assinder.

Shadow home secretary David Davis wins the prize for the shortest, sharpest answer yet given by a guest at the monthly lunch for political journalists.

Davis was asked, first what advice he thinks Alastair Campbell would have given him had he been running his campaign to be leader of the Tory party and, second, what he believed David Cameron's biggest mistake had been so far.

After no more than a nano-second's pause, Mr Davis replied:

"He would have advised me not to answer the second question."

It was the only time I have witnessed a guest getting a round of applause half way through his appearance.

Labels: ,

20 July 2007

Myers Briggs for Potter fans?

I scored Lupin over Hermione on a tie-break question! This means either that I am in touch with my feminine side ... or that I am even more confused than I thought!

50% Snape is a bit worrying ... Either I am, or I'm not?!

You scored as Remus Lupin, You are a wise and caring wizard and a good, loyal friend to boot. However sometimes in an effort to be liked by others you can let things slide by, which ordinarily you would protest about.

Hermione Granger


Remus Lupin


Ron Weasley


Albus Dumbledore


Ginny Weasley


Severus Snape


Draco Malfoy


Sirius Black


Harry Potter


Lord Voldemort


Try the quiz here

Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?


Labels: ,

19 July 2007

More on Public service broadcasting

It may just be me, but isn't the BBC's Director General, Mark Thompson, stating the blindingly obvious when he says:

"We must never, ever knowingly deceive the public. There is no excuse for deception."

Surely employees - even those of production companies engaged by the BBC - ought to realise that? They are supposed to serve the public, not deceive us.

After all, they are so fond of invoking the "public interest" when it suits them.

(The key points of Mr Thompson's speech to staff are given here.)


14 July 2007

The BBC, good faith and public service

I awoke the other morning to extremely prominent BBC radio news reports that the Queen had stormed out of a photo session. I must admit that my first reaction was along the lines of "so what?!" Her Majesty must get impatient like the rest of us, and surely she is entitled to react from time to time.

But then, as the day wore on, the story changed. It turned out that the Queen had extracted an apology from the Corporation! In a delicious phrase, the BBC admitted that "the actual sequence of events was mis-represented." BBC Statement here.

News Sniffer catalogues the many revisions of the story - the actual volte-face happening here.

The senior executive responsible, the Controller of BBC 1, says that he does not intend to resign, since he "used the sequence in good faith".

I'm not at all sure that he should resign - though I am sure he will have learned some lessons. People make mistakes, and should be allowed to apologise for them. But it occurs to me that the BBC regularly sneers at others in public life who claim to have acted in good faith! The Corporation's treatment of Tony Blair springs immediately to mind.

Good faith is routinely doubted and regularly ridiculed - except it seems when the motives of BBC executives are concerned!

The other point, of course, is that the BBC and other media organisations often misrepresent events. They do so - explicitly or implicity - by presenting them slanted by a particular political bias, or by an underlying set of assumptions, or just by the desire to sell papers or to promote programmes. The difference here is that the Queen has the clout to extract an apology and a swift correction of the impression created.

What about those who are misrepresented and have no means of obtaining redress? Public service broadcasting indeed!