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May 19th, 2015 - Echoes of Flavio's Ghost Dreaming
flavius_m
I don't listen to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 much these days. I suspect that may be, overall, a good thing, for my stress levels and possibly my blood pressure. I do however listen to their podcasts -then I choose what to listen to. The one exception is when I drive to my school in Watford on Tuesday mornings. Then there is at least one occasion to remind myself why I don't listen to the programme. I had a small sample of that today when James Naughtie was interviewing somebody from the trade unions, asking him (and it wasn't a question at all) whether it was legitimate to stage a strike when only a small percentage of those eligible to vote in the ballot did so, even if a majority of those who voted did in favour of the strike. The union spokesperson replies that the same could be said of the general election, in which the current government got elected by a tiny fraction of those eligible to vote. Ah, that is a very different matter, says Naughtie. Now, is it? If most of those who vote choose not to vote, is it an endorsement or a rejection of whatever platform those who won (and those who lost) were running on? Naughtie was saying in almost as many words that is is a very different situation and the government is legitimate but the union ballots, if they voted for strike, were not. I understand that the general BBC approach to interviewing people in public life is the adversarial, confrontational one in hope of catching them in error, but it does seem to me that it is nearly always tilted towards the right. If this guy had anything more to say, I never knew. The one 'question' that kept being asked to him was this demand to admit the illegitimacy of those strike ballots in which a strike was voted for when it wasn't the majority of all people eligible to vote.

I have many times said I'm happy to pay for the licence fee, better to have the BBC than some Murdoch puppet in charge of the main outlet of news in the country. But I do sometimes wonder. The way the BBC reports (or doesn't report) many issues, from Palestine to Venezuela and many others, doesn't look to me very different to me from the way Fox News would report it. Looking at the same issues reported by, say, Al Jazeera, can open one's eyes to a very different perspective.

Avoiding the Today programme seems to be a good idea overall. One should be aware of what is happening (what you don't know can do you a lot of harm) but maybe not like that and, also, maybe not that early in the day.

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