If you saw the BBC Ten O'Clock News last night you will have witnessed Nick Bryant’s dispassionate, even-handed treatment of Republican candidate Donald Trump. Trump had called for an end to Muslim immigration into the United States. Bryant’s face was puffed up with outrage; he almost spat out the words of the story and ended by saying that 'this is the gutter'.
It does not matter how often they are told, it does not matter how many complaints they receive: the BBC continues to pursue its own political agenda at every possible opportunity. If it addressed this problem it might find that fewer people wished to see the licence fee abolished. But fat chance. For Bryant, Trump is not a politician representing the views of millions and millions of Americans, he is simply vile and wrong. There is no discussion about this point, no room for doubt and therefore no requirement for balance. I guarantee that exactly the same utter certitude will adorn the BBC’s coverage of all things to do with the Front National in France. It will focus almost exclusively upon the necessity to stop the FN (including interviews with cowering, terrified, Muslims), because the BBC cannot bring itself to believe that anyone civilised would view Le Pen’s lot with anything other than outrage and disgust. Despite the fact that, very clearly once again, millions and millions of French people think they’ve got a rather good point.
The mindset was at work recently in a piece by Reeta Chakrabarti (and which I mentioned here) about people protesting outside abortion clinics: no room for discussion, horrible and bad and there’s an end to it. They cannot bring themselves to believe that when other people disagree with them on issues like these they are anything other than pig ignorant or simply evil. It is, when you think about it, an astonishing arrogance.
Incidentally, I’m no great fan of Trump and I have one or two reservations about the FN. I’m tempted to protest outside abortion clinics mind, if only to annoy Reeta Chakrabarti.