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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Emma Jay grossly misled Delingpole as to the nature of the programme.

It does occur to me though that in the internet age, this kind of thing, while remaining possible, will be hard to sustain in the long run. Anyone who is ever approached by Ms Jay can immediately put her name into Google and discover that she cannot be taken at her word. In the internet age a TV producer or journalist stands or falls on their integrity.

Emma Jay’s looks to be gone, as does that of Rupert Murray, the guy who dissembled his way into Monckton’s confidence. I wonder what these question marks over their trustworthiness will do for their career prospects.

– Bishop Hill, in a posting entitled Integrity in the internet age reflects on the lack of integrity that was involved in the making of two recent BBC attempts to drive a stake into the climate sceptics. The thing about Bishop Hill is that he does not make such judgements lightly. He does not indulge in thoughtless abuse, and constantly posts little homilies discouraging it among his commenters. If he says you lack integrity, the chances are, overwhelmingly, that you do.

Presumably, many will want to defend these deceptions as being beneficial in the same way as has been claimed on behalf of whoever it was who revealed all those Climategate emails. But the fact remains that if you are dealing with either of the two above mentioned people, you should not trust them to tell you the truth about what sort of progamme they are really making. Their cover is now, as Bishop Hill says, blown.

34 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Frank S

    Too right. There is an intellectual and moral decadence about the BBC that is sad to see, and which I suppose the insiders there are quite blind to.

  • I wonder why, in this age, with the history of the BBC, Jay and Murray had any credibility to squander.

    I predict this will have no negative effect on them or their careers. It’s who they are, it’s what they do, and it’s not going to get any more obvious.

  • Current

    Does Simon Cowell ever lose and credibility when he does something dishonest? Of course not because everyone know the contestants on his programs are fame-hungry morons and the supply of them will never dry up.

    It’s not quite the same for TV, but it’s similar. No TV producer will lose any respect in their community for doing this sort of thing.

  • Although I sympathise with Delingpole, I did feel when he first mentioned this on his blog that he’d been naive. If I were in his position, I would start from the presumption that I was being invited to a stitch-up, unless the film’s producer were overtly skeptic.

  • This does seem to be extraordinary naiveté on the part of both Delingpole and Monckton. They ought to have known that the political class, and thus the mainstream media has it in for climate sceptics. And acted accordingly. Trust, but verify.

  • David Roberts

    Just reading Deidre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Virtues of which hope is one. Delingpole and Monckton were maybe hoping that some people within the BBC understood either their charter or perhaps even the scientific method. Given the events in Egypt, hope is a current necessity. Ignoring, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me“, I think the likes of Delingpole and Monckton should keep hoping that the BBC will sometime become enlightened. The next time however, when someone tries to explain the sceptical position, the virtue of courage will also be required.

  • Concerning The Issue Delingpole, the issue is surely clear with the modern technology that we all have at our disposal.

    Record the voice (and the video too): if you reckon what you got is outside the bounds of fair reporting, publish the whole lot on your own website, by link to YouTube, or otherwise, with such commentary and editing as you judge appropriate.

    Global publication is no longer any sort of monopoly of the MSM and their lackeys: everyone beware!

    Best regards

  • Bod

    I’ll agree on the naivite view. It doesn’t take a genius to look at Jay’s bio to see where she’s coming from – basic reasearch, easily and quickly undertaken.

    A reason to decline an interview? Nah, but not knowing the likely agenda of your interviewer and such a highly charged topic has got to be right up there with Mounsey letting himself be savaged by Andrew Neil.

    We – and our allies – need to be smarter than this.

  • Jeff Wood

    A number of people, here and elsewhere, take the view that Christopher and James should have known better, but there is still a bitter disappointment here.

    About six years ago I and another took a programme proposal to the BBC. The subject was a major scandal, but we recognised that for a number of reasons it was not welcome.

    Fair play to the programme makers. They looked at the proposal all ways up, and became convinced we might be right in our contention.

    Just to be sure, they set the in-house lawyer on the papers, and on us, and she was satisfied we had a case.

    It was management who killed the proposal, not the programme staff. Maybe one day, but meantime it looks as if management have control of the groupthink in a way that was not so even a few years ago.

  • Laird

    I can’t imagine that it’s going to hurt their “career prospects”; after all, they’re on the politically correct side of the divide, along with their masters.

    Furthermore, it’s not going to affect their ability to seduce other willing naïfs into their clutches in the future. As proof, I offer to you the 60 Minutes TV program in the US. For literally decades (the show is over 40 years old) it has been famous for its dishonest brand of ambush journalism, luring people into interviews which are selectively edited to paint the victims in a bad light. Everyone knows this, and everyone knows that if you’re going to submit to a 60 Minutes interview you’d better have your own camera crew on hand filming the entire encounter. And yet the program is still on, week after week, purveying the same brand of crap and with no shortage of willing victims. I guess the lure of transitory fame is too potent to resist.

    Horizon will go on, none the worse for the experience.

  • John W

    “Why shouldn’t one have faith in one’s national broadcaster to tell the other side of the story?” – James Delingpole

    Is that meant to be some sort of joke?

  • Paul Marks

    I have said it before – but I make no apology for saying it again…..

    There are only two English language news stations where someone hostile to the establishment left view (not just on climate change – on ANYTHING) stands a good chance of getting a fair hearing.

    Fox News and Fox Business.

    I am not saying you will get a fair hearing (that depends what individuals you are dealing with) but you stand a fair chance of getting one – if you make an effort.

    To go on the BBC and expect fair treatment is, to be blunt, stupid.

  • manuel II paleologos

    Seems like a bit of an overreaction to me. Delingpole needs to get better at being interrogated on TV and more generally by hostile audiences. He bravely set himself up as a cheerleader so he needs to roll with the punches a bit better.

    I once dialled into a radio show right after Gitmo opened to point out that almost everything they’d said about the Geneva Convention was factually incorrect. The presenter (a Steven Rhodes) cut me off and then ridiculed me as if I were still dialled in and simply couldn’t think of a response; it’s a shabby, nasty trick that made me look silly and made him look clever, but hey – I bet I earn five times what he gets and I bet he can’t run a sub-77 half marathon either.

  • Yes, it does appear both Delingpole and Monckton should have known better and should have declined the interview. This is hindsight. Both were blinded by the ability of the producers to ingratiate themselves into a position of supposed trust, a trust that was then betrayed. Had either Delingpole or Monckton declined, any contemporary “documentary” film maker would have simply cherrypicked some quotes, taken them out of context, super-imposed a poor image of the protagonists and slowly enunciated the kill phrase that person *** “declined our request to be interviewed”, a technique much perfected by 60 Minutes. Case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  • Paul Marks

    Good points – in both comments.

  • Peter Melia

    I remember reading, some time ago, that in the old days, programmes were produced where and when they were said to be produced. So, for instance, a live broadcast was live (ever noticed a recorded programme with the date in the credits, if you get to see them, different to the alleged date of the programme?), but I digress. Anyway, it seemed that this didn’t work for entertainment, for a comedy show in an empty studio lack audience empathy. So taped applause was introduced. Notice, they never added taped booing or slow hand-clapping. This was such a success that very soon every “show” had it’s quota of, I guess you can call them “enhancers”, to improve the appeal. So. before this we had integrity. Afterwards, we had show-business.
    Is that when the integrity thing began to fall apart?

  • This might seem OT and trivial but bear with me.

    I grew up in Gateshead and as a teenager one of the top BBC kids shows was “Byker Grove” set in and around a youth club in Newcastle. For Geordie it was a peculiar viewing experience because the location shots segued into each other sometimes miles apart. It was like a dream where things proceed in abrupt jump cuts of location. Now someone who didn’t know the region wouldn’t get that.

    One minute the kids are in Jesmond Dean and they go round a corner and they’re in Wylam.

    Do you see what I’m getting at?

    If the BBC didn’t respect the integrity of location making a kid’s show then…

    I am reliably informed by commentator here RAB that Dr who has the same affect on him but this time with Cardiff.

    Moreover I suspect it points to a sort of nurtured culture in TV-makers. A belief that truth is “the good” and not “the right” by whatever definition of Good the producers think.

  • Midwesterner

    Great thought provoking comment Nick M.

    It occurs to me their mindset does that with all of the constraints of reality. If 2+2=4 doesn’t fit their narrative, then just skip over to the part about the pretty pony and, voilÁ , 2+2 equals a pretty pony. This ‘thought’ process is probably a factor in everything from AGW to self-defense to balanced budgets. They follow their narrative even when reality just doesn’t work that way.

    For them, ‘truth’ is just a TV show. To paraphrase that great twentieth century philosopher Julius Henry Marx (AKA ‘Groucho’) “This is my reality. If you don’t like it, I have others.”

  • Roue le Jour

    This might seem OT and trivial but bear with me.

    I used to work as a computer techie at a film company and I quickly realised that the whole process of producing a piece of film is so artificial that the guys doing it lose all regard for reality.

    You can see it on TV news every night. Journo interviews poli, POV switches back and forth between question and answer. But they’re only using one camera, right? So they film the poli answering the questions, he walks away, then the journo faces the camera and repeats the questions. Then they interleave the two in the edit suite. The same is true for all interviews outside the studio, they only ever use one camera. When you’re doing that kind of thing day in, day out, ‘real’ doesn’t mean anything, it just has to be ‘good television’.

    Oh, and they used to film the Doctor a stones throw from my house, at Ealing Studios, and they used to cut up the backstreets the same way then, too. It’s one of those things that film makers have always done. I can see it in “The Blue Lamp” which was filmed around where I used to live as kid.

  • Back in the day, at one of the theatres I was at, part of the office area was rented to a guy with a recording studio. His primary work was interviewing pop stars- the location was easily accessible in central London for them.

    Then the tapes were sold to regional radio stations, and the local interviewer spliced himself in asking questions and could pretend that Elton John or George Michael had made the journey to Radio Regional FM to do the interview.

  • RAB

    Oh it isn’t just Dr Who Nick. As you know I live in Bristol and Casualty was shot here for donkey’s years till they moved it, also Skins and Mistresses; all shot around my local park in St Andrew’s. Profoundly irritating and all that when they walk out the door and are immediately at the Floating Harbour or the Suspension Bridge, all miles away.

    But the real pissers are, as Roue De Jour says, the interviews to camera.

    If anyone has been interviewed to camera (and I have) when they finish, the interviewer usually says something like…

    That was great, thanks again, off you go now while we do the “Noddies” Well the Noddies are those shots where you see the interviewer nodding sagely whilst the interviewee’s voice is heard off camera.

    But the bastards often don’t stop at that, sometimes they reshoot themselves asking a question that was never put to the interviewee in the first place, and then splicing in some other answer the interviewee has given to another question entirely.

    But Dellingpole should know all this already. I didn’t think he came out that badly frankly. Ok he errmed and arred there a bit for a second, but did finally come out with he didn’t agree with the analogy Nurse was making.

    He should have countered with the Einstein quote, who when asked by a reporter, how many scientists would it take to make him believe his theory of Relativity was wrong, replied…

    Only one, as long as he was right.

    Always keep that one tucked in your belt when being confronted by Warmist loons ;-)

  • “He bravely set himself up as a cheerleader so he needs to roll with the punches a bit better.”

    I freely admit to being ignorant of American culture but I didn’t know that cheerleaders were routinely punched. I thought they were just girls who chucked each other about a bit, and wiggled their pompoms.

    Despite all the told-you-so cynicism, I suspect that the Horizon Affair will enter the meme pool as the definitive rebuttal to anyone who might be tempted to claim the BBC were somehow honest and fair. Three hours of interview, and they take the five minutes where the interviewee says “erm”, and doesn’t actually make any point. It doesn’t get much more unsubtle than that. I think the BBC would generally prefer not to be so unsubtle: they do, after all, survive on their reputation. This suggests to me a certain desperation. Shrillness is generally a sign of deep insecurity.

  • Whisper

    Only one, as long as he was right.

    Who is John Galt?

  • chuck

    …they do, after all, survive on their reputation.

    To paraphrase Mao, their survival grows out of the barrel of a gun. I find it disturbing that the English should cough up so much money to support a reactionary organization dedicated to the destruction of liberty.

  • another_anon

    “You can see it on TV news every night. Journo interviews poli, POV switches back and forth between question and answer. But they’re only using one camera, right? So they film the poli answering the questions, he walks away, then the journo faces the camera and repeats the questions. Then they interleave the two in the edit suite.”

    I saw a glaring example of this on one of the rare occasions I watch TV news. It was an outdoor interview, and as the scene cut from interviewer to interviewee and back, the ambient noise level would change. They weren’t even trying…

  • Paul Marks

    Chuck it just so happens that I got a demand for the BBC “licence fee” yesterday.

    I certainly do not agree that the BBC is reactionary (it is dominated by Progressives) – but anti liberty, YES that is true.

    Why do I pay?

    Because they will take me to court if I do not.

    And, sadly, the statute is on their side.

    I once spent years of my life in a hopeless legal dispute (over being denied my doctorate by the University of York).

    But, looking back, I must admit that the interpretation of the Lord Chancellor or England and Wales (then Lord Irvine) was CORRECT.

    Under the statutes of the University of York (1963) they had the right to reject any thesis and (again under their regulations) the QUALITY OF THE WORK was not relevant (it was no grounds for appeal).

    I had not even read the Statutes of the University of York (more fool me), and just would not accept it – asking for the matter to be settled by “evidence and argument”.

    The very things that the regs said were not relevant.

    I assure you that if I decided to fight the BBC – the thing would turn out the same way.

    I would lose.

  • RAB

    Well Paul, and I’m very tentative here, because it sounds like exploiting an obscure loophole but…

    http://www.oldholborn.net/

    Have a look at that. A friend of mine alerted me to the Freeman website a few weeks ago at a dinner party, and I pretty much took him to the cleaners. This is not Law as I was ever taught it etc to much hilarity from the rest of the party, but like I said if there is anything to it, it could be devistating for the Powers that think they Be.

    Follow the link to Captain Ranty for the full story.

  • Oh god RAB, not you as well. We’ve just been over this at the LA blog. It’s total pants, you know that.

    This is a pretty good summation-
    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Freeman_on_the_land

    I’m sure there’s a Freeman’s catalogue joke in this silliness somewhere, but I can’t quite push it over the finish line.

    Oh, if you fancy something just plain sad to while away the evening, here’s “Darren Of The Family Pollard” (most definitely not DARREN POLLARD) who is not a person, he is a human being, trying to avoid paying his road tax and insurance-

  • Laird

    RAB, I’m not familiar with the Cestui Que Vie Act of 1666 (I doubt that many people are!), but it would seem to me that if it is the legal fiction of MR ROGER HAYES, rather than the natural person of that name, which is responsible for the Council Tax, then it is also that entity which owns his/its bank accounts which could thus be seized to pay the tax. Am I missing something?

  • There’s a comment of mine awaiting permission on Olympus about the Freemen movement.

    Among other things, they’ve got corporate personality confused. They think that because a corporation can be a (legal) person, a person is a corporation, and a person (a corporation) is thus distinct from a human being, so MR ROGER HAYES, a corporation, is not Roger of the family Hayes, a human being.

    The 1666 Act is a short straightforward act which enables a person who has been lost at sea for 7 years to be declared dead- a practical measure in those seafarin’ and shipwreckin’ times. The Freemen have decided that it can be interpreted that any “person” who does not declare himself to the state for 7 years is no longer a “person” and thus is freed from any contracts with the state, or with anyone else, or something like that.

    That doesn’t get into the stuff about courts being under admiralty law because they have a “dock” in them. I mean really, it’s just barking mad.

  • Sunfish

    So you have them over there too?

    Here they claim that courts are admiralty courts because of gold fringes on flags, not because of docks. And the core legal theory they usually offer is based upon the united States (note capitalization) being a bankrupt corporation and therefore lacking on law-making power. The relevance of this argument to cases brought in state courts under state law [1] is unclear to me even if the underlying factual claims are true.

    And in my state, there’s a very easy way to avoid driver’s licensing, vehicle registration, liability insurance, and emissions testing: as long as the car is not operated on a public road, none of it is required. Of course, then we get into some really dumb arguments about whether a car is a “vehicle” or a “conveyance.”

    [1] Check fraud, and fraud in general, are favorites. And then there was the shoplifter who claimed that the stuff was his for the taking because “everything in the public is prepaid.” And some crap about sheriffs and grand jurors.

  • RAB

    Thanks Ian and Laird. I feel foolish now for even mentioning it. As I said in my comment, I told my friend at the dinner party that he was absolutely bonkers, this is not Law as I or anyone I know was taught it, and that if, by some miracle, there was such a loophole it would be closed PDQ.

    What had me confused was reading the Captain Ranty piece about the court case and how Mr Hayes had managed to bamboozle the Judge into pushing the onus of proof back on the Council.

    But I have said before that the quickest way to become a Judge is to be a really crap Barrister, so he obviously wasn’t the sharpest quill in Chambers.

    In Mitigation your Honours, I may have had a beer or two too many waiting for the Superbowl to start, when I posted that.

  • Laird

    On the contrary, RAB, these loons are always interesting. It’s kind of like those people in the US who claim that paper dollars aren’t “real” money (only gold is, you see), so since they were paid in these bogus dollars they don’t have any actual “income” to tax. Of course, the fact that they’re being required to pay the tax in that very same faux money doesn’t seem to occur to them.