Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The case of the shaken BiasedBBC...

Basically, let me just say, ... I don't understand!!

For those who know nothing about this, I'll just link to Biased BBC and a post where the matter was addressed by Andrew, the leading advocate of comment moderation.

It does however seem sad to me that those concerned about BBC bias cannot work together. The imposition of moderation has had all sorts of curious side-effects, such as the emergence of sites like this, and this . There was this, but it seems to have gone.

I've always had a very merry view to comments- the more the merrier. Of course I don't like people being rude, spouting ignorant rubbish and whatnot, but in my view that's just as (or more) likely to come from some passing BBC staffer as from some anti-Beeb fanatic- to whom I would probably just say, "keep it real, bro", or something like that :-). I could wish that anti-Beeb types like myself didn't feel the need to be vociferous. A more serious point might be that in the end comment threads that are endless are accessible only to the monomaniacal commenter, and there are thankfully not too many of those. Slashing and burning has some virtue, in that the wood emerges from the trees. In the right spirit, people should accept that their comments (and mine!) are not "precious" and unexpendable, but temporary and for a purpose. Carefully thought out comments should never be a victim and where they are I personally would be aggrieved as well. The reason I allowed the comments here on this blog to stay absent when they disappeared as a byproduct of upgrading the blog was simply because they weren't attracting many comments, and it was getting boring looking at 0.

As for the idea of being landed in court over something someone says about the BBC in unmoderated commenting- can anyone be rude enough to make their case indefensible in front of reasonable judges or a jury? It doesn't seem likely, when as John Trenchard points out, TV licensing employs "around 1,700 staff in five offices" just to enable the coercion of TV owners into funding the BBC. Truly an obscenity.

It's not only rudeness though, there're also libel and slander. Well, in those cases what I would say is that as long as it's an allegation of BBC bias, rather than some criminal accusation, everything should be ok. If you say John Simpson is a murderer, then I'll back away from you as fast as from any rabid dog; if you say his bias has potentially dangerous consequences, I have no problem with that. Sometimes the latter can sound like the former, if you're clever in the way you put it ;-).

Well, since the BBC's rottweiler, JR, described me as engaging in casuistry recently, I trust you'll take the above statement of ambiguity in accusing BBC journalists with a pinch of salt.

Summary: I suspect those in opposition to the BBC are closer to each other than we imagine. Misunderstandings are very easy on the web. Understanding differences would also be useful, where they exist. Flexibility is a virtue. Apologies and common resolve are admirable.

BTW- I think I will put comments back from here on. Not that I expect many, or any necessarily, but why not? As a gesture.

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