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BBC in row over doctored TV footage with Gordon Brown ("....made him look like a thug")
The Daily Mail (U.K.) ^ | July 14, 2007 | SIMON WALTERS

Posted on 07/14/2007 6:20:33 PM PDT by Stoat

BBC in row over doctored TV footage with Gordon Brown

By SIMON WALTERS - More by this author » Last updated at 23:28pm on 14th July 2007

  The BBC was at the centre of a new row over doctored TV footage after it admitted that its flagship Newsnight programme changed the sequence of events in a film highly critical of Gordon Brown.


Mr Brown's officials have complained to the Corporation about an 'unfair, unbalanced, unnecessarily personal, and disingenuous' film which they claim was altered in an attempt to make him look like a thug.

Newsnight editor Peter Barron has admitted that a sequence of events had been reversed in the film, but refused to apologise. BBC chiefs have defended the film as 'a cross between Louis Theroux and gonzo journalism'.

 

 

 

It is a near carbon copy of the row over the BBC's claim that the Queen had 'walked out in a huff' when she was asked to remove her tiara during a photoshoot. The Corporation apologised after it was revealed that the footage purportedly showing the Monarch storming out actually occurred before the photo session.

The new row involving the Prime Minister is likely to fuel claims that the BBC is 'sexing-up' news programmes in a desperate attempt to boost viewing figures.

The latest storm was prompted by a film in which provocative TV journalist Jamie Campbell ambushed Mr Brown as he toured the country last month in an attempt to secure an interview.

In the 12-minute documentary, Mr Campbell is shown clashing with Mr Brown's Press officer. The film – which was broadcast on June 26, the day before Mr Brown became Prime Minister – goes on to suggest that the 'next' time they met, the civil servant summoned police and insisted they question him under anti-terror laws – seemingly in retaliation for the earlier confrontation. But the two events happened weeks apart, and in reverse order.

In the film, Mr Campbell – who hosted his own ITV1 celebrity interview show, 24 Hours With... in which he once appeared naked – accused Mr Brown of using heavy-handed tactics to avoid answering questions.

But in stark contrast, the documentary maker praised Tory leader David Cameron as being 'affable and courteous'.

Mr Brown's Treasury officials complained to the BBC, claiming that as well as doctoring the film, Newsnight wrongly accused the Press officer of abusing her position and used a hidden camera to trick Mr Brown's head of security into making indiscreet comments.

In the film, Mr Campbell is first seen on friendly terms with Gordon Brown, shaking him warmly by the hand. But later, the journalist vents his frustration after Mr Brown's 'absurd' Press officer, Balshen Izzet, blocks his way when he tries to question Mr Brown as he arrives at an event.

In the next scene, Mr Campbell mocks Mr Brown's speech to a CBI dinner and conspiratorially suggests 'the same Press officer catches sight' of him and summons police.

In fact, the CBI dinner at London's Grosvenor House Hotel took place first, on May 15, and sources say police had no choice but to confront Mr Campbell as he was not known to Mr Brown's entourage. The handshake did not actually occur until the following day – while the incident with Ms Izzet occurred on June 4, nearly three weeks later, when Mr Brown met British Muslim leaders in London.

A source close to Mr Brown said: 'Newsnight doctored the film to make it appear as though the Press officer called the police because Mr Campbell had clashed with her earlier that night. 'It is totally untrue. The events happened two weeks apart and in a different order. Newsnight changed it to make it more damaging.

'Ms Izzet did not call the police as Mr Campbell alleged. And to dupe one of Mr Brown's policemen into giving a TV interview is not on. The BBC should not be employing “gonzo journalists” on serious programmes like Newsnight.'

 

Gonzo journalism is the name given to the deeply personal style of reportage invented by late American writer Hunter S Thompson, who chronicled his drug-fuelled escapades in books such as Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.

In Mr Campbell's film, still featured on the Newsnight website as a 'video highlight', the journalist triumphantly claims to have discovered the truth about Mr Brown in an off-the-cuff chat with his senior Special Branch bodyguard, declaring: 'Brown's head of security finally gives me the insight I'm looking for.' The police officer is heard to confide: 'To be honest Jamie, it's hard enough for us to speak with him...He's just a shy and introverted sort of person. It takes all sorts, I guess.'

Government sources say the policeman did not know he was being recorded. The interview was filmed with a camera held at pavement level and his muffled words are subtitled.

In contrast, Mr Campbell praises David Cameron for 'answering every single one of my questions. The two discuss rock music – and Mr Brown's supposed elusiveness about asking questions.

Elsewhere, Mr Campbell says: 'It was good to see Dave and to speak to him but when I come to film Gordon Brown again, I am shut out completely.' He concludes: 'I get the feeling that with Gordon Brown's Press officer refusing to speak to me, with his head of security unable to communicate with him himself and with Prime Ministerial office imminent, it is unlikely that I will ever manage properly to get to Gordon.'

A BBC spokeswoman said: 'We have acknowledged that the sequences in the film were not shown in chronological order. There was no intention to deceive anybody. The commentary does not suggest that the two are chronological and that one led to the other. The sequences would have had the same meaning if we had run them in the reverse order.

'It has been suggested that the film maker may have employed dishonest tactics in using a hidden camera. The camera was visible at all times and the film maker was completely open about his intentions.' Another BBC source added: 'The film was a bit unconventional, but we did not intend to be unfair to civil servants or show any disrespect to Mr Brown and we do not believe that we did.'


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: bbc; britain; distortion; england; gordonbrown; greatbritain; mediabias; uk; unitedkingdom
Although I'm guessing that this will surprise no one, it begs the question: "How many times has this sort of thing happened before, and simply was never caught or brought to light?"

Dan Rather would be proud.

1 posted on 07/14/2007 6:20:40 PM PDT by Stoat
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To: Stoat

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

We cant have any true-to-life pics or videos of PM Brown...

Not sporting, what?


2 posted on 07/14/2007 6:23:02 PM PDT by Tennessee Nana
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To: Stoat

The Beeb; just telling the lies the Islamofascists won’t tell.


3 posted on 07/14/2007 6:23:31 PM PDT by Natty Bumppo@frontier.net (The facts of life are conservative -- Margaret Thatcher)
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To: Stoat
and how long before the “BEEB” gets its permit pulled by Parliament?
4 posted on 07/14/2007 6:23:47 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: Stoat

OXYMORON - “journalistic ethics”


5 posted on 07/14/2007 6:24:39 PM PDT by BenLurkin
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To: Stoat
Newsnight editor Peter Barron has admitted that a sequence of events had been reversed in the film, but refused to apologise. BBC chiefs have defended the film as 'a cross between Louis Theroux and gonzo journalism'.

He went on to say, "We make the news, we don't report it, and I'll personally throttle anyone who has a problem with that!" /sarc

6 posted on 07/14/2007 6:30:31 PM PDT by Duke Nukum (Well, Harvey has overcome not only time and space, but any objections.)
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To: Stoat

Sounds like the BBC is still taking journalism lessons from OUR press...


7 posted on 07/14/2007 6:32:41 PM PDT by TheBattman (I've got TWO QUESTIONS for you....)
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To: Stoat

Even the BBC’s internal report found left-biased reporting, but that correcting such internally would be difficult. This newspaper report posits the motivation for “sexing up” the queen’s photo story and this PM Brown/”thug” story as possibly done to bolster ratings. The way to correct BBC bias is through competition, not any internal reform. Is Murdoch’s Sky TV making inroads on BBC’s previously captive audience?


8 posted on 07/14/2007 6:33:30 PM PDT by bajabaja
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To: Stoat

“There was no intention to deceive anybody.”

Then why did they do it?


9 posted on 07/14/2007 6:44:47 PM PDT by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: Stoat
"Mr Brown's officials have complained to the Corporation about an 'unfair, unbalanced, unnecessarily personal, and disingenuous' film which they claim was altered in an attempt to make him look like a thug."

This is standard practice for the BBC. It's a rare occurance that they broadcast anything without altering the facts to fit their agenda.

They belong in prison and to have their broadcasting license revoked.

10 posted on 07/14/2007 6:46:48 PM PDT by Nathan Zachary
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To: Stoat

The BBC report comes over to me as rather supercilious, to say the least, towards Mr. Brown, whereas they appear to be quite sycophantic towards Mr. Cameron. Would this be because Mr. Brown is Scotch?


11 posted on 07/14/2007 6:49:08 PM PDT by BusterBear
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To: Stoat

I’ve got a feeling it just got impossible for the Don Johson(miami vice) wantabe to get any of the PM’s time. Waste of film.


12 posted on 07/14/2007 6:52:40 PM PDT by mefistofelerevised
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To: Stoat

Fake but inaccurate :)


13 posted on 07/14/2007 6:58:09 PM PDT by kalt
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To: Stoat
Mr Brown's officials have complained to the Corporation about an 'unfair, unbalanced...

I wonder if any of the Fox people are gonna comment on that?

14 posted on 07/14/2007 7:04:23 PM PDT by Northern Alliance
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To: Stoat
"How many times has this sort of thing happened before, and simply was never caught or brought to light?"

Sorry, but there's not enough fingers and toes in this country to count that for you.

15 posted on 07/14/2007 7:16:17 PM PDT by Nova
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To: Stoat
Editing Clips and showing them out of order.

The Michael Moore school of film.

16 posted on 07/14/2007 7:43:07 PM PDT by BallyBill (Serial Hit-N-Run poster)
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To: Stoat
BBC chiefs have defended the film as 'a cross between Louis Theroux and gonzo journalism'.

That isn't exactly a vote of confidence. Gonzo journalism isn't journalism at all. Hunter Thompsom was an entertaining fraud, but a fraud he was.

17 posted on 07/14/2007 7:51:02 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill

“Hunter Thompsom was an entertaining fraud, but a fraud he was.”

Who blew his brains out with a shotgun, if I remember correctly.


18 posted on 07/14/2007 8:38:22 PM PDT by FastCoyote
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To: All

Remember the UK residents are paying $270 per year for a TV license fee per household to fund the BBC.

The other channels have to compete with the BBC with no license fee money... the people should expect accuracy and no bias... they sure are paying for it!!


19 posted on 07/14/2007 9:04:20 PM PDT by az_gila (AZ - need less democrats)
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To: Natty Bumppo@frontier.net
The Beeb; just telling the lies the Islamofascists won’t tell.

I assume that you are meaning to refer to "our honorable Muslim Friends who are engaged in a fully justified and entirely virtuous rise to defense against racist, Western aggressor nations."

(BBC definition of Islamofascist trash)

20 posted on 07/14/2007 10:47:51 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: SandRat
and how long before the “BEEB” gets its permit pulled by Parliament?

It will probably happen at about the same time that the Dems here in the USA release a statement along the lines of "Because it has been long apparent that the Democrat Party is nothing more than a hardline Socialist entity that represents poison to the principles and spirit of The United States and the American ideal, and because we in the Democrat Party leadership have had a collective awakening that has educated us as to the profound and inexcusable damage that our Party has inflicted  upon this great Nation and her people, we at this time officially dissolve the United States Democrat Party as a functional entity and renounce our membership in it.  We encourage all patriotic Democrats to do the same, and we wish to sincerely and profusely apologize for the endless lies and harm that we have inflicted upon this great country."

I won't be holding my breath.   "sigh"

21 posted on 07/14/2007 11:10:39 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: BenLurkin
OXYMORON - “journalistic ethics”

So much of what passes for 'journalism' these days is about as close as to true journalism as Michael Moore's films are to true documentaries.

22 posted on 07/14/2007 11:20:05 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Duke Nukum
Newsnight editor Peter Barron has admitted that a sequence of events had been reversed in the film, but refused to apologise. BBC chiefs have defended the film as 'a cross between Louis Theroux and gonzo journalism'.

He went on to say, "We make the news, we don't report it, and I'll personally throttle anyone who has a problem with that!" /sarc

LMAO!

It seems that you have successfully invented a 'truth' switch for your TV set.  Be advised that your life may be in danger if you were to ever attempt to market such a useful and world-changing TV accessory   :-)

23 posted on 07/14/2007 11:24:57 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: TheBattman
Sounds like the BBC is still taking journalism lessons from OUR press...

I suspect that a lowly videotape editor will be scapegoated and sacked over this in order to set an example, with the remaining staffers sent over to The Dan Rather School of Journalistic Ethics for a brush-up on "Effective Editing Techniques"

24 posted on 07/14/2007 11:32:49 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: bajabaja
The way to correct BBC bias is through competition,

Agreed, and they will fight it tooth and nail.

Is Murdoch’s Sky TV making inroads on BBC’s previously captive audience?

I haven't seen any recent viewer numbers, but the BBC is such an utterly massive, multi-tentacled entity that I'm guessing it will be a very long time before any serious dent is made upon their influence.

25 posted on 07/14/2007 11:37:18 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: sageb1
“There was no intention to deceive anybody.”

Then why did they do it?

(in best Bill Clinton voice) "It has to do with your definition of  the word 'deceive'...."

26 posted on 07/14/2007 11:46:30 PM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat
(in best Bill Clinton voice)

"Better put some ice on it."

27 posted on 07/14/2007 11:49:03 PM PDT by stboz
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To: Stoat
The BBC is controlled by the Left. But it can't seem to portray a Labour Prime Minister in a flattering light. Hmmm.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

28 posted on 07/14/2007 11:50:19 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Stoat
Here are some old (2002) viewer numbers and a BBC sourced article:

Sky News is still the most-watched rolling news channel in the UK, attracting 3.5 million digital or cable viewers per week - up 400,000 in the last 12 months.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1881176.stm"

Four years ago the Beeb was behind. Interesting.
29 posted on 07/14/2007 11:59:03 PM PDT by bajabaja
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To: Nathan Zachary
"Mr Brown's officials have complained to the Corporation about an 'unfair, unbalanced, unnecessarily personal, and disingenuous' film which they claim was altered in an attempt to make him look like a thug."

This is standard practice for the BBC. It's a rare occurance that they broadcast anything without altering the facts to fit their agenda.

Expecting a soulless, unashamedly Leftist propaganda outlet like the BBC to adhere to lofty standards of journalistic ethics that include such 'antiquated' concepts as 'truth' and 'accuracy' is sort of like expecting a school of ravenous piranha fish to phone the local rescue squad when a child falls into their river.

They belong in prison and to have their broadcasting license revoked.

A public flogging would be a nice added touch, but then again my tastes often run toward the Medieval..

 

 

30 posted on 07/15/2007 12:16:15 AM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: BusterBear
The BBC report comes over to me as rather supercilious, to say the least, towards Mr. Brown, whereas they appear to be quite sycophantic towards Mr. Cameron. Would this be because Mr. Brown is Scotch?

I think that it was done in an effort to send a message to PM Brown that he'd better stay on the Left's Plantation and not get any ideas into his head about embracing the War On Terror or, even "worse", President Bush.

It was a shot across his bow to remind him that they have the ability to sway public opinion in any direction they like, regardless of what he does or says.

PM Brown is due to visit us here in the USA very shortly, and I don't believe that the timing of this broadcast was any accident.

31 posted on 07/15/2007 12:35:47 AM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: kalt
Fake but inaccurate :)

This is apparently the modern Gold Standard for Professional Journalists.

"sigh"

32 posted on 07/15/2007 12:40:23 AM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Northern Alliance
Mr Brown's officials have complained to the Corporation about an 'unfair, unbalanced...

I wonder if any of the Fox people are gonna comment on that?

Starting up a powerhouse Fox-UK network might be a nice comment. Our British Friends might enjoy getting to know Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, as well as some homegrown Conservative commentators of their own.  :-)

There's nothing quite like competition to focus the mind.

(Adapted from a quote about the gallows, but I don't think that we need to go that far quite yet)

33 posted on 07/15/2007 1:03:01 AM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Nova
"How many times has this sort of thing happened before, and simply was never caught or brought to light?"

Sorry, but there's not enough fingers and toes in this country to count that for you.

Unfortunately, I believe that you're absolutely right.

"sigh"

34 posted on 07/15/2007 1:11:13 AM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: bajabaja
BBC’s previously captive audience?

There has been competition for the BBC,from ITV, since 1956!

35 posted on 07/15/2007 1:14:05 AM PDT by Winniesboy
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To: BallyBill
Editing Clips and showing them out of order.

The Michael Moore school of film.

The Left loves him, so it's to be expected that they will try to emulate him.

36 posted on 07/15/2007 1:15:31 AM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Billthedrill
BBC chiefs have defended the film as 'a cross between Louis Theroux and gonzo journalism'.

That isn't exactly a vote of confidence. Gonzo journalism isn't journalism at all. Hunter Thompsom was an entertaining fraud, but a fraud he was.

I believe that his main audience demographic was Leftist children and college kids, so it's no surprise that they would invoke his name in a pathetic attempt to defend the indefensible.

37 posted on 07/15/2007 1:23:16 AM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Stoat

I notice in comment #29 that Sky News is extremely popular in the U.K. Like FNC, that is owned by Murdoch. I wonder if it similar to Fox in content, fair and balanced political stance*, and viewership.

* There are a lot of Fox bashers on FR and I am not going waste my time getting drawn into a argument about FNC in this thread. Personally I feel we are very lucky to have them.


38 posted on 07/15/2007 1:26:16 AM PDT by Northern Alliance
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To: FastCoyote
“Hunter Thompsom was an entertaining fraud, but a fraud he was.”

Who blew his brains out with a shotgun, if I remember correctly.

He did it while on the phone to his wife, as I recall.

A real class act.

(hopefully I don't need to add a "sarcasm" tag to that)

39 posted on 07/15/2007 1:27:47 AM PDT by Stoat (Rice / Coulter 2008: Smart Ladies for a Strong America)
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To: Winniesboy

Does ITV obtain its revenue from the British taxpayer? I believe that ITV has commercials and BBC does not, though not being a Brit I am certainly less informed on that topic than you are. An audience is captive when it is forced to pay for the service received. ITV is a free market service, unless I misunderstand. Nobody is compelled to support it.


40 posted on 07/15/2007 1:29:48 AM PDT by bajabaja
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To: Northern Alliance

As the poster of #29 I agree. I like to watch liberals’ apoplexy at the mention of Fox News Channel. Try it sometime when you want to tire out a liberal friend so that they go home early to go to sleep from all the jumping up and down and screaming.


41 posted on 07/15/2007 1:34:18 AM PDT by bajabaja
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To: bajabaja
As the poster of #29 I agree. I like to watch liberals’ apoplexy at the mention of Fox News Channel. Try it sometime when you want to tire out a liberal friend so that they go home early to go to sleep from all the jumping up and down and screaming.

Hi,

I meant to c.c. my last one to you but slipped up. Yeah, I'm famous for my frequent references to Fox but mostly amongst acquaintances who can't/won't get it at home and never watch it elsewhere so really don't have a clue what is is like. That hasn't stopped them from forming an opinion, though. So is Sky News anything like FNC?

42 posted on 07/15/2007 2:09:45 AM PDT by Northern Alliance
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To: Stoat
There was no intention to deceive anybody.

Right.

43 posted on 07/15/2007 2:21:58 AM PDT by GretchenM (What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Please meet my friend, Jesus)
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To: bajabaja

No, ITV’s revenue comes entirely from advertising. Nonetheless, a TV licence is required to watch it, as it is for all channels. Until the many other digital, cable etc channels appeared in the last decade or so, the BBC and ITV pursued a relentless ratings war, which ITV won more often that not. This was not competition in an uncontrolled market, but competition it undoubtedly was. For the BBC, success in the ratings war was vital if it were to preserve its privileged status in the next Royal Charter/Licence Fee cycle. The fact that viewers in their millions chose so often to switch to ‘the other side’, as it was then called, shows that they were anything but an audience captive to the BBC: although the market available to them was, of course, limited.


44 posted on 07/15/2007 3:32:47 AM PDT by Winniesboy
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To: Winniesboy

Thanks for that additional information, Winniesboy. I now understand the situation much better. So instead of a monopoly marketplace in TV, the British (like the US) went from an oligopolistic marketplace to a more open market with the advent of cable/satellite.

In the US for many years the BBC was the international version of the New York Times — a medium of record and of undoubted veracity. And perhaps it was such when a previous generation of journalists were behind BBC’s microphones. But then I began to contrast BBC’s coverage, especially on the Middle East, and found it skewed.

Now it seems as if the BBC is reduced to Dan Rather style trickster journalism to shore up ratings. Misrepresenting the Queen on national TV takes real chutzpah (the reversed sequence of the photo session drama).

De-charter the BBC.

And on a closing note Winniesboy, I hear “Winnie” no longer warrants mandatory mention in British pedagogy. Perhaps the British anti-smoking campaign has gone too far this time. {:-)


45 posted on 07/15/2007 10:08:35 AM PDT by bajabaja
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To: Northern Alliance

I don’t think you’d get much agreement that there are “a lot of Fox bashers on FR”.

That’s simply not true in my opinion.


46 posted on 07/15/2007 3:20:19 PM PDT by ConservativeMind
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