Tuesday, 12 May 2015

BBC Propaganda Technique #6 - Stacking the Deck

When the BBC conducts a debate in which they want a particular side to win, they'll usually bring in an educated, intelligent, erudite, and well-coached speaker to present their argument. For the other side, they'll bring in a raving lunatic who'll shout, interrupt, and lose the debate before he's even started making his point. I call it "stacking the deck".

It was especially evident before the Scottish referendum when the BBC bombarded us with rowdy "Yes" voters who were hand-picked to alienate the public. The BBC wanted Scotland to vote "No", of course, because that's what the British establishment desired.

A further example appeared on Radio 5 today. Ironically, the topic was BBC bias. The BBC didn't want the public to believe they're biased, so they brought in a calm, cogent, and witty speaker to defend the organisation. For the other side, they gave us a lunatic who writes for a blog called `Biased BBC'. The blog is a cacophony of right-wing cliches in which the BBC is blamed for being pro-Labour, anti-Tory, pro-Obama, anti-Israel, pro-environmentalism, anti-firearm, pro-Muslim, anti-Christian, pro-immigration, anti-monarchy, etc. If you were to jot down a list of what it means to be right-wing, you'd find complaints related to all of it there. In essence, the blog's resident nutters blame the BBC for not being as right-wing as they are. They're the kind of people who think the Telegraph and Daily Mail are impartial.

Sure enough, the radio debate went as planned. The blogger, who I won't name, started calling the BBC a Labour propaganda machine that needs to be privatised (because that'd make them more impartial, right?), and said the public are being "extorted" for the license fee. He said the BBC should have "its throat cut", he nailed his partisan, ideological colours to the mast, and he did exactly what they brought him on there to do: alienate the public. The other guest sat back and wiped the floor with him. Here's the stream. The "debate" starts from about 42 minutes in.

I could have named this post "narrowing the debate" because the type of bias this blogger was talking about doesn't exist. The BBC isn't left-wing or right-wing, they're pro-establishment. They wouldn't dream of letting someone on air who claims the BBC promote the domestic and foreign policy of whichever government is in office, the interests of big business, the objectives of the British and American political and aristocratic elite, a two-party system, and the stifling of real democracy. They wouldn't let such a person mention the agreement made with each government's Secretary of State and the more questionable obligations included in the Royal Charter. That would be too close to the truth.

Instead, they gave us an extremist who was so caught up in his rabid, partisan beliefs that he didn't realise he was being used as a tool to perpetuate the illusion that the BBC can only be biased along the `left vs right' political spectrum. If that's the scope of the debate, then the BBC will always win because they'll always be roughly halfway between the two establishment parties (Labour and the Tories). They're simply not biased in that way. And for the BBC, the unsupported waffling of aggrieved, partisan demagogues who instantly discredit themselves because they can't break free of this unhelpful dichotomy, a welcome shadow is cast over what is really in their interest to hide.

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