Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It was so exciting when... Tookie Williams was at the centre of the debate about modern America's morality.

Take a look at the Google BBC site search generously supplied by an anonymous B-BBC commenter.

Then compare with this Google search of the BBC site using the terms 'Iran death penalty'

Then ask yourself why doesn't the BBC seem to bother reporting incidents like this one?

This is so shocking it is apparently beyond the comprehension of the BBC even to cover it, let alone analyse it and adjust their moral reporting compass to accommodate the fact that this savagery exists. Their failure means that they can scarcely be considered to be a global broadcaster. They are fond of moralising within a cosy liberal western context: their morality hasn't got the guts to report what's happening 'outside the box'. Of course they can report famine in Africa, rape in Uganda, and so on, but the reach of their understanding goes little further than a paltry post-modern, post-marxist emoting.

One might think there's a ready made excuse: some societies are closed, etc. Well then, whenever a story reaches the light of day it has to be poured over, analysed, lucrative prizes being dangled before journalists who can, not just go behind the lines, but bring back the specifics (somehow- it could simply be a clever internet reportage system). The point is that not only don't they report things which are known, they don't offer them the kind of coverage they merit. The BBC perpetuates the same 'two worlds' theory that they thrive off with their guilt trip journalism.

Much as I dislike transnationals, and Amnesty among them, the list Amnesty provides is instructive. In addition to the fact that Iran is performing annually (as far as is understood) three times as many executions as the US, some of the cases are beyond pathetic. At issue is the balance of the news, and the fact that the BBC pursues moral equivalence, and actually moral inversion, in the face of the reality. Exactly how to redress the balance is unclear to me, but the first step is making some recognition of the grotesque imbalance, and well, growing some balls to address it.

Under 'Iran death penalty' the BBC hadn't filed a report about a death penalty in Iran since 2004, and prior to that one has to go back to 2001 to find anything that approaches a firm story about this type of execution revolving around a woman's sexual behaviour. And in that story, extraordinarily, the BBC went into a kind of Lady Chatterley's time warp by describing the accused as an adulteress (no quote marks).

What the Tookie vs Iranian savagery comparison shows is that the BBC offers very little range in some areas, and certainly no depth. World Leader? I think not, or pity the world.

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