Wednesday, October 16, 2019

BBC: OK for journalists to criticize Pres. Trump

Following a fierce backlash, the BBC has reversed its decision to censure presenter Naga Munchetty for comments that were critical of US President Donald Trump.

BBC Director General Tony Hall emailed the British network's staff on Monday, saying the organisation's complaint unit had made a wrong decision in finding Munchetty in breach of editorial guidelines on impartiality for her remarks during a show.

The original ruling said Munchetty, who presents the BBC Breakfast programme, had broken impartiality guidelines during her discussion on Trump's comment in July that four female American congresswomen of colour should return to the "broken and crime-infested places from which they came".

Coanchor Dan Walker asked Munchetty for her opinion on the July 17 programme, and she responded: "Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism ... I'm not accusing anyone of anything here, but you know what certain phrases mean."

Questioned further by Walker, she said she was "absolutely furious a man in that position thinks it's OK to skirt the lines by using language like that".

Commenting on its initial decision on finding Munchetty in breach of impartiality, the BBC said in a statement that their editorial guidelines "do not allow for journalists to give their opinions about the individual making the remarks or their motives for doing so - in this case President Trump - and it was for this reason that the complaint was partially upheld. Those judgments are for the audience to make."

However, after the BBC's Director of Editorial Policy and Standards David Jordan doubled down on why disciplinary measures were directed at Munchetty, a woman from a minority background, and not at Walker, her white male cohost, the Guardian newspaper said the viewer complaint had explicitly called out both Walker and Munchetty.

Journalists and celebrities had demanded that the BBC overturn its decision, and expressed support for Munchetty.

Across social media, there was disquiet over the broadcaster's decision. That sentiment was plainly put in a letter to the Guardian newspaper on Friday, in which some 40 locally prominent celebrities offered support to the presenter.

Following the BBC's u-turn, several commentators demanded the network issue a full apology.


Major health insurer releases pro–drag queen ad, tells parents ‘too bad’

For decades, the left has successfully promoted the increased sexualization of children by portraying opponents as somehow mean or intolerant. In this latest volley, those who see problems with a sexualized man dressed as a woman reading to children are once again criticized as just disliking people who are different or "too much." A drag queen reading to children is the same as an elderly woman who dresses her best or a male healthcare worker showing a softer side, in a new commercial by health insurance provider Kaiser Permanente.

Kaiser Permanente promoted drag queen story hour in its recent healthcare ad, titled "To Them We Say." The ad begins with a voiceover announcing, "There are those who will say that you are too..." It then shows various positive images of people that some might unfairly call "too fat," "too skinny," "too old," etc. The ad continues along in this uplifting vein until it shows a drag queen reading and dancing for laughing children. The voiceover intones someone saying, "...too much." The drag queen performing for kids is meshed between scenes of healthcare workers, army soldiers, judges and a fashionable elderly woman, among others.

The ad ends with the voiceover telling the viewer, " them we say 'too bad.' At Kaiser Permanente, we believe everybody deserves the right to thrive."

According to The Drum:

In 'To Them We Say' from national healthcare titan Kaiser Permanente, the brand's message of Thrive is demonstrated through a series of vignettes that feature individuals unapologetically defying unfortunate societal perceptions. Whether it's a brazen elderly fashionista, a trio of minority cowgirls, or a man gleefully dressed in drag, this spot stands to prove that there's nothing healthier than a strong sense of self.

With the help of the American Library Association, drag queen story hours have been invading local communities, often against the communities' wishes. Children at these story hours have been exposed to convicted pedophiles, taught twerking, and placed in sexually suggestive positions with drag queens for photo-ops. One drag queen who participated in a story hour even admitted in front of his local city council that it was a form of "grooming."

This is corporate advertising once again soft-pedaling a radical left-wing sexual agenda by integrating it into what seem to be benign, everyday advertisements. Kaiser Permanente has a long history of contributing to liberal causes, like GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, and National Urban League.

To all those parents and taxpayers who are fighting this latest insidious form of child sexualization, Kaiser Permanente literally says, "Too bad." Apparently, the health insurance company thinks sexually grooming children is just another way for adults to "thrive."


Resist CSR activism

News that the eco-socialist network, Market Forces, intends to step up its campaign to choke investment in fossil fuel industries came as no surprise to those who have watched with concern the increasing activist pressure on the corporate world.

There is a burgeoning ‘social responsibility’ industry — managers and consultants employed in HR, people and culture and corporate affairs divisions, and in the major professional services firms — that is pushing companies to adopt more and more so-called socially responsible strategies and initiatives.

We are seeing pressure on businesses over a range of matters, from the use of traditional language — such as ‘she’ and ‘he’ — through to manufacturing practices, procurement and areas of investment. Even distribution can be a target, with Lego forced to stop distributing toys through service stations.

There is a legitimate business case for some CSR activities, particularly those related to core business activities and interests.

In today’s more complex business environment and questioning society, well-managed companies should use good commercial judgement to consider their activities’ social and environmental impact on relevant stakeholders in the community; thus helping protect the financial interests of shareholders.

But the notion that to earn an abstract ‘social license to operate’, companies must promote the non-shareholder interests of wider groups of stakeholders in the community, is a way of legitimising the idea that companies should take stances on social and political issues unrelated to their business activities.

This threatens to transform the business of business into politics. The approach being pushed by the CSR industry will inherently, inevitably, and inappropriately, politicise company brands and reputations.

Corporate leaders who might wish to limit CSR to appropriate business parameters are currently unable to be guided by any alternative set of principles, practices or institutional framework to counter the metastasising CSR doctrines and structures.

Inserting a ‘Community Pluralism Principle’ into company constitutions, or into ASX’s corporate governance guidelines, would remind directors and senior managers of the importance of ensuring CSR activities do not distract from the company’s core business purposes and negatively affect its brand by acquiring a reputation for being political.

This would also remind corporate decision-makers that public companies, given their special legal rights and privileges, should aspire to be pluralistic institutions that serve, respect and reflect the views and values of the whole community.


Why the British police swallowed Carl Beech’s lies

‘Believing the victim’ makes miscarriages of justice inevitable

The Metropolitan Police have published an independent review of their handling of historic sexual-abuse allegations against high-profile individuals. The report followed an investigation by Sir Richard Henriques, a retired High Court judge. The Henriques report is, in part, a response to the conviction of Carl Beech, who was found guilty earlier this year of perverting the course of justice. Beech’s conviction followed the collapse of Operation Midland, which was established on the basis of Beech’s lies about a VIP child-abuse ring, which he said included politicians like Ted Heath, Lord Brittan and Harvey Proctor

The report makes for shocking reading. Detectives misled judges in order to obtain warrants to search the homes of those falsely accused. The police simply ignored the array of undermining and contradictory aspects of Beech’s evidence, which should have revealed his deceit much sooner. Labour MP Tom Watson made a now-discredited statement in the House of Commons in 2012 that he had ‘clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and Number 10’, after meeting with Beech. Following this, a senior investigating officer made communicating with Watson one of her investigative priorities. Political pressure increased the risk of serious injustice.

What is so valuable about the Henriques report is not just what it reveals about Operation Midland but also its robust criticism of how sexual-abuse investigations more broadly have proceeded in recent years. It is deeply critical of a number of policies adopted by the police ever since the high-profile investigation into Jimmy Saville and other celebrities, which became known as Operation Yewtree.

First, Henriques recommends that police stop using the term ‘victim’ during an investigation, and instead revert to the term ‘complainant’. This practice began with Operation Yewtree’s report of its investigation into Saville, titled Giving Victims a Voice. This step was taken because Saville was dead and there was no way to test the evidence against him. The police simply assumed allegations against him to be true and therefore that all complainants were indeed victims. This then became policy for all abuse investigations. Henriques quotes guidance for officers from Operation Hydrant, written by Simon Bailey, national police lead for child protection and abuse investigations. As Henriques notes, it consistently uses the term ‘victim’ to describe those who make allegations. Henriques says ‘the entire judicial process… is engaged in determining whether or not a complainant is indeed a victim’ and using the term at the outset of an investigation ‘is simply inaccurate and should cease’.

Once complainants had been transformed into ‘victims’, it followed that police should ‘believe’ what these victims were telling them. In 2014, detective superintendent Kenny McDonald famously told the British media that Carl Beech’s false allegations were both ‘credible and true’. Henriques describes McDonald’s intervention as a ‘serious mistake’. Henriques rightly argues that the police’s blanket policy of believing the victim is a ‘reversal of the burden of proof’ which ‘imposes an artificial state of mind upon an investigator’. It ‘strikes at the very core of the criminal-justice process’ and will ‘generate miscarriage of justice on a considerable scale’.

This ‘reversal of the burden of proof’ has other consequences. Henriques discusses the statistics related to false allegations. He says the police have been proceeding on the basis that ‘only 0.1 per cent of complainants’ are likely to be false. Henriques points out that ‘the retaining of the word “victim” and the culture of “belief” appear to have been based on the supposition that the level of false complaints is so small that it can be disregarded’. Officers investigating these allegations ‘fail to appreciate that… a cardinal principle of the criminal justice system is that a complaint may be false’.

What’s more, it is simply not the case that the number of false allegations is low. This was made clear during Operation Fairbank, a forerunner to Operation Midland. In the course of this single operation, investigators received more than 400 complaints that transpired to be ‘without merit’. For Henriques, the culture of belief leads officers to ignore the possibility that allegations may be ‘malicious, mistaken, designed to support others, financially motivated or inexplicable’.

At spiked we have made these arguments time and again since the emergence of Operation Yewtree. Investigating allegations of sexual abuse must involve robust questioning. Complainants claims must be taken seriously, but not straightforwardly ‘believed’. The Henriques report is not just an illustration of specific police failings, it is a robust and welcome restatement of the principles that ought to guide our justice system.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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