Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Melanie Phillips - she's not different, she's special!

Last night's TV. What a great subject for a blog post.

Newsnight last night was taken up by the BBC's favourite post-Hutton pastime - broadcasting earnest discussions of its own failings. On the panel was Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips, who had a number of curious things to say about Andrew Gilligan, reporting and her own product. Having retrospectively castigated him at length for mixing fact and opinion, she was taken to task by the presenter over statements in her own work regarding the European constitution. These, it was argued, were matters of opinion presented as fact or, at least, as equivalent to fact. She replied that this was all right because she "was entirely confident" of them.

Well, Mr. Gilligan was entirely confident of his report, too. And, after all, where are the weapons? But this, of course, was treacherous mendacity only permitted to be broadcast by the bias she stated was inherent in all facets of the BBC's output, especially the choice of interviewees (Eh?). Now, I remember that in my first year at university a really nasty put-down went the rounds that had obviously been adapted from some well-meaning effort to kibosh prejudice against the disabled. After someone had recounted someone else's brain fart, you put on a pink voice and replied "I'm not different, I'm special!" Quite clearly, the criteria that apply to Gilligan don't apply to Phillips. She's not different - you get the rest...

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