Friday, March 11, 2011
The far from impartial past of the new boss of the BBC's flagship political show
The BBC is facing fresh concerns about political bias after appointing an outspoken left-winger as the editor of Question Time. The corporation yesterday announced that Glasgow-based Nicolai Gentchev has been handed the role after the previous editor quit over the decision to move the show to the Scottish city.
But last night it emerged that the BBC employee had written a series of book reviews and articles for left-wing publications such as Socialist Review and the International Socialism Journalism.
MPs already concerned about left-wing bias at the BBC immediately raised concerns about the appointment, saying it would do nothing to convince them the BBC was addressing the problem.
Book reviews by Mr Gentchev for Socialist Review up until 2003 are still available on the internet and include him writing about class and power in communist Russia and looking at a book about ‘Labour Party Plc’.
He also wrote for the International Socialism Journal in 1995 about welfare dependency. In it, he claimed that even capitalist supporters ‘do not see an end to mass unemployment and low wages’. Mr Gentchev wrote: ‘Short of a new expansion in the system which provides jobs and rising living standards, all they offer is to make living on welfare so unbearable that even more people are forced off benefits and into conditions which were common in the last century before the creation of the welfare state.
‘While we fight to make sure such plans never become a reality, we have to get rid of the system which has brought us to this.’
Last night a BBC spokesman said that Mr Gentchev joined the corporation in 2006, ‘long after the pieces were published’ and it was ‘nonsense to suggest they have any bearing on his impartiality’.
But Conservative MP Philip Davies who sits on the culture, media and sport select committee said: ‘It sounds like an ideal choice for the BBC. ‘To be perfectly honest, we’ve come to probably expect Question Time to have a less than representative audience and to be hostile to the Government and to have a left-leaning panel. It seems to be that we can expect more of the same.’
Mr Gentchev replaces Ed Havard, who quit the show because he did not want to relocate from London. Presenter David Dimbleby, who was upset by Mr Havard’s departure, is yet to sign another contract.
Tender, Loving CAIR
Islamist Bigots Lose One - And They're Outraged
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is furious. For the first time since the birth of Mohammed, it isn’t getting its way in Washington. In the past, whenever our government raised the possibility of doing the least little thing of which CAIR might not wholeheartedly approve, the soft-core jihadis shrieked, “Bigotry!” And presidents, cabinet secretaries, senators, representatives and bureaucrats—even intelligence analysts and military officers--ran for cover (while, no doubt, suggesting that their spouses don head-scarves for a probationary period).
In the face of Islamist terrorism, we’ve been foolish. In the face of Islamist bullying of our government, we’ve been cowards.
Now, just this once, CAIR isn’t being allowed to dictate its sharia-flavored will to our nation’s capital. Representative Peter King (R-NY), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is marching ahead with hearings on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.”
Sounds like a no-brainer. With our country under relentless attack by an increasing number of home-grown, “self-radicalized” terrorists, the chairman wants to look into the community environments that inspire, nurture or tolerate these mass-murderers. And guess what? Presbyterian suicide bombers and Mormon assault teams aren’t yet imminent dangers.
The chairman’s just doing his job. But the howls from CAIR and other blow-dried Islamists exploiting our tolerance have been so vociferous, exaggerated and downright ludicrous that you’d think we were rounding up Muslims and putting them in camps.
Oh. Wait. Bob Herbert of the New York Times actually did compare Rep. King’s hearings to the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during WWII.
Jeepers! And lots of creepers! I’m afraid I lack the brain-power to make the connection between open committee hearings on a legitimate national-security issue and internment camps. But, then, Mr. Herbert probably has secret information about our fascist, jack-booted, black-helicopter, Tea-Party, gun-toting, Bible-thumping, Torah-wrangling plan to open concentration camps for Muslim children in Wisconsin (where public-employee-union members will teach them about citizenship…).
Besides, CAIR explains that anyone who dares to imply that there is a problem of any sort within even a single American-Muslim community is a bigot. Furthermore, Rep. King’s hearings, which aim to shed light on the code of silence within some Muslim communities in this country, are nothing but an attack on all Muslims and on Islam, according to CAIR’s spokes-thugs. That’s like claiming that hearings on the Mafia are an attack on all Catholics.
Hey, Mo! If Muslim-American communities are doing such a terrific job of policing themselves and tipping the Feds to terrorists in our midst, shouldn’t CAIR welcome hearings that highlight the wonderful state of affairs? Shouldn’t CAIR be proud of all those cooperative imams getting a turn in the spotlight?
If there’s nothing to hide, why try to stop the hearings? It’s not as if Rep. King runs a sharia court. He can’t chop off anybody’s hand. Can’t even sentence Barbara Streisand—or Snooki--to be stoned to death. (Maybe there’s something to be said for sharia law, after all…).
CAIR is just plain spoiled. In both the bumbling Bush and odious Obama administrations, Washington pampered Islamist radicals (a Pentagon lunch date for Anwar al-Awlaqi? Got to build those bridges to the religion of peace…). The meanest, loudest, nastiest, most-spoiled--male--child got every toy it wanted. Now, confronted with the prospect of eating some broccoli, little Omar’s throwing one bitch of a tantrum.
I say, “God bless Congressman King.” I certainly haven’t agreed with him on every issue over the past quarter-century. And yes, I think he’s a bit of a hustler—Peter King has a touch of Don King. But maybe that’s what it takes to take on the insidious dissemblers at CAIR.
And by the way: CAIR isn’t protecting America’s Muslim citizens and legal residents—most of whom are, indeed, upstanding members of their communities. CAIR is, at bottom, a front for Salafism and Wahhabism, Saudi-style. And the goal of the Saudis in every one of the countries in which I’ve seen these fanatics operate is the same (including here in the USA): Prevent Muslims from integrating into their host societies. You can see the same patterns in madrassas from Mombasa, Kenya, through Multan, Pakistan, to Dearborn, Michigan.
The Saudis don’t care about Muslims. They only care about Islam. They will sacrifice tens of millions of Muslims to ignorance, poverty and failure in order to keep the faith pure. The greatest modern-day tragedy of the Arabs is that the backward bigots got the oil wealth.
Which brings me to my real hope: That Rep. King will go on to look deeply and publicly into the financing of organizations such as CAIR and, especially, of Islamist-separatist madrassas in this country. Such an investigation needs to reach beyond the first level of donors and sponsors to examine who’s behind them—and to whom those sources are related—to the fourth and fifth levels. Follow the money. All the way back to the original source. Then publicize it.
I suspect we would find that just about every path of anti-American hatred leads not to Rep. King, but to the King of Saudi Arabia and his gangsters-for-Allah tribe of potbellied perverts.
We’ve been such patsies. Not one synagogue, church or chapel is permitted on “sacred” Saudi soil…but we permit Saudi and Gulf-Arab bigots to fund no end of hate-mosques and hate-schools here. All in the name of tolerance.
Good Christian Women Should Boo
Today's installment of the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization comes from Hollywood -- as if that's a surprise. Tinseltown is demeaning Christianity again -- as if that's a surprise, too. But this time, it's not some gutter-mouthed punk. This time, it's a network doing it, formally. ABC has approved a pilot with the title "Good Christian Bitches." Is this what Christian women -- especially the good ones -- deserve?
The first credit for this decision to offer offensive titles actually goes to CBS, which began this stupid trend with its awful sitcom "(Bleep) My Dad Says." Now one of Discovery's cable channels has a show titled "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" It chronicles women who have married vicious criminals.
But Disney-owned ABC (oh, the irony) has not one, but two B-word pilots in its outhouse of a production department. They're also considering a show titled "Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23."
Mickey Mouse should have his hands over his ears.
This titling trend matches Tinseltown's concerted effort to add profanity "seasoning" to spice nearly every script on network TV shows. On prime-time broadcast TV, use of the B-word alone increased from 431 instances in 1998 to 1,277 in 2007.
If this show wasn't marketed directly at a female audience, the same ones who watch those witch-versus-witch reality shows like the "Real Housewives" shows on Bravo, the B-word would sound more sexist and demeaning. So it's OK to say it because it's become a word women can call each other. Now, if it's used by an angry male, it's a hanging crime. We're talking about something verging on domestic violence.
Might ABC bow to any sense of decency and change the titles before it picks these shows up for the fall? Fugetaboutit. "GCB" is based on a novel by Kim Gatlin, who unsurprisingly stole her own concept from ABC. A divorced mother of two returns to her hometown in the Dallas suburbs, and as Gatlin describes it, "In an Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Desperate Housewives on steroids style, her old friends are already out to destroy her reputation."
So that makes them good Christian bitches.
If this were a CBS pilot, they could just call it "Desperate Housewives: Dallas." (That seems to work for "CSI" and "NCIS.") Gatlin claims the title isn't mocking God -- that it just refers to people who fall more than a little short of good Christian behavior. But she is so fond of the scandalous sound of her sleazy title that her website (using those same words) sells a pile of merchandise with the initials "GCB" and a cross on it, from shirts, caps and tote bags all the way down to overpriced "party packs" of peppermint gum and Styrofoam cups.
Playing on religion -- and these churchgoing female hypocrites -- is all part of the sale. Gatlin also promotes the book this way: "In the whirling midst of salacious gossip, Botox, and fraud, Amanda turns to those who love her and the faith she's always known. Will the (GCBs) get the best of her, or will everyone see that these GCBs are as counterfeit as their travel jewelry?" Then, in big bold letters, Gatlin's slogan says it all: "For Heaven's sake, don't let God get in the way of a good story!"
No one should doubt that it's this author and the "Desperate" TV network who win the gold medal for abusing a religion.
ABC feels free to pick on Christianity -- after all, what faith would your fictional churchgoing hypocrites stereotypically follow in Dallas? No one in Hollywood would consider swapping the "Christian" in the title for "Muslim" -- that would be oafishly cruel, discriminatory and hate-filled, not to mention potentially life-threatening.
How about moving the setting to Beverly Hills and calling it "Good Jewish Bitches"?
Regardless of trashy titles, real faith-filled people don't relish and wallow in the sins and hypocrisies of others. Gatlin's premise cashes in on the gossipy failures of the people in the pews, but for her and her TV partners, this is all a gold mine to exploit. They don't despair about it. They revel in it, like kids in a candy store.
If ABC picks up this pilot, it's very likely that the sour message that will be resonate is that EVERYONE who goes to church, including priests and ministers, can be exposed as a fraud and a counterfeit. That is consistent with Hollywood's long-standing hostility to the faith of its own audience.
These judges want to destroy Britain's core moral values. We simply can't let them succeed
By Melanie Phillips
One of the great bulwarks of a democracy is an independent judiciary, which acts as the ultimate defender of liberty because the judges are free from political control. In Britain and Europe, however, something very alarming has taken place. The judges are increasingly becoming a positive threat to liberty because they have usurped the political process.
As a result, they are straying — no, actually marching with banners flying and drums beating — into territory which should lie well beyond their remit.
In recent days, there have been two such outrageous court rulings. The European Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the European Union, ruled that insurance companies may no longer differentiate between men and women when calculating the rates offered on annuities which are used to convert pension pots into an annual income.
Until now, men have received higher rates because their average life span is shorter than that of women. But because the ruling will force firms to treat both sexes equally, men stand to lose hundreds of pounds of retirement income per year.
The reasoning, however, is utterly specious. The judges have interpreted anti-discrimination law in the most bone-headed way by saying that any gender difference in these rates is discriminatory.
But there is a very good reason for this difference, in that women live longer than men. Discrimination surely occurs only when people in the same circumstances are treated differently. Which is patently not the case with pensions, where the different rates aim to ensure men don’t lose out.
The ruling will therefore impose unfairness upon the pension system. And to put the tin lid on it, this is being forced upon us by a foreign court.
The second case was in many ways very much worse. This was a ruling handed down in the High Court, which effectively upheld the ban on a black Christian couple, Eunice and Owen Johns, from fostering children because they refused to undertake to tell a child that homosexuality was acceptable.
In just about every respect the Johns are ideal foster parents — decent, solid, loving and with years of experience. Given the chronic shortage of foster parents and the large number of black children in care, one might have thought the Johns would be as valuable as gold dust.
Yet Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson justified the ban by ruling that the couple’s attitude to homosexuality was a legitimate reason to withhold official approval from them. Such people are therefore effectively being punished for having the wrong attitudes. This is the kind of behaviour associated with totalitarian societies, not liberal Britain.
More jaw-dropping still, the children whose ‘right’ to be told that homosexuality is acceptable is supposedly infringed by the Johns’ Christian beliefs would all be under ten years of age.
So the Johns are being punished for wanting to protect children from inappropriate talk which would surely be an abuse of their childhood.
And despite the judges’ insistence that they are not taking an anti-Christian position, that is precisely what their ruling does. For it effectively holds that traditional Christian beliefs harm children.
Indeed, the judges went much further and said there was no place in law for Christian beliefs, since ‘the laws and usages of the realm do not include Christianity’.
But Britain has an established Church, the monarch undertakes to be ‘Defender of the faith’, the country’s literature, history, institutions and attitudes are steeped in Christianity, and most people still identify themselves as Christian.
In short, the judges’ assertion is simply idiotic. But these judges are not idiots; they are clever men. Their assertion must be seen instead as an attempt — at some level at least in their minds — to exclude Christianity from the public sphere.
For although they claim that they seek to uphold the equal rights of all creeds in a diverse society, they are actually denying the rights of Christians — and, by implication, pious Muslims and Jews, too — to live in accordance with one of the most fundamental doctrines of their faith.
In this, they were explicitly echoing last year’s controversial ruling by Lord Justice Laws against a Christian registrar who refused to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies.
In that ruling, the judge said it was wrong for the law to give preference to the Judeo-Christian tradition — which merely amounted to ‘subjective opinion’.
Well, so much for the Bible, then. And as if the opinion of these judges was anything other than wholly subjective! Their key error is to assume that secular — or atheistic — attitudes form a neutral middle ground, whereas traditional Christian beliefs amount to a kind of fringe sect.
But secularism is not neutral. It is directly and aggressively hostile to the Christian and Biblical morality which underpins western civilisation.
The judges think it is wise and humane to assert that there is no hierarchy of values, and that all creeds are equal. But this is both absurd and nihilistic. Some values will always trump others. The only question is which ones will do so. And what these judges are doing is de-coupling the laws of this country from the western civilisation which underpins it.
Because ‘human rights’ and anti- discrimination laws claim to be universal, they inevitably serve as a secular weapon against Christian or other particular religious beliefs.
Since different rights compete with each other, judges are inescapably required to arbitrate between them. But this means that — on issues which are among the most divisive in our society — the judges are given the power effectively to dictate the rules of moral behaviour on the basis of nothing more than their own prejudices.
Thus in the Johns’ case, they ruled that the equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence over religious rights. But on what authority do they issue such a momentous cultural pronouncement? Only their own secular prejudices.
In similar vein, the judges of the European Court of Justice are imposing the deeply oppressive and unjust ideology of equality of outcomes.
This court has long been infamous for having a highly politicised view of its role, promoting a federal state by extending the reach of the EU deep into the internal affairs of member nations.
But it must be acknowledged that the only reason judges in Britain and Europe have got too big for their wigs in this way is because politicians have enabled them to do so.
It was the government which took Britain into the EU, thus placing us under the increasingly oppressive and anti- democratic meddling of the European Court of Justice. And it was successive governments which signed us up to the European Convention on Human Rights and then saddled us with the ruinous Human Rights Act.
The fact that the judges are playing politics like this can only be undone by the political class. So come on, Mr Cameron — stop equivocating.
Take all this head on — the destruction of this country’s core moral values, the ‘human rights’ inquisition and the loss of democratic control to both the EU and the British judiciary — and you will walk on water ever after.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.