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Praise for the BBC

Like many libertarians I often attack the BBC. I doubt that it is actually more statist in the opinions it supports than ITV and C4, or, perhaps, than ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN in the United States – but with the licence fee (the tax on television owners that goes to the BBC) it hurts more to experience the endless blather about Welfare State spending being the ultimate good and the solution to every problem being another government regulation.

However, the BBC does sometimes get things right. Yesterday, when reporting yet another Chinese coal mine accident, the BBC reporter said “and this makes 7,000 deaths over the last year in the state owned Chinese coal mining industry” and pointed out that there were claims that the Chinese government had cut corners on safety in order to boost production (shades of Stalin’s “war on the limiters”).

In reporting the large numbers of deaths (i.e. that the accident was not an isolated incident) and that the industry was state owned (i.e. that the deaths were not caused by wicked businessmen), the BBC showed a depth of reporting and a fairness that should be praised.

11 comments to Praise for the BBC

  • While I agree that this is a positive development, I’m not sure how much the BBC should be praised for the one occassion they manage to report something fairly, given that this is something they claim to do at all times. One decent day should not be enough to counter all of the legitimate criticisms of the BBC and their system of funding.

  • Verity

    Oh, for heaven’s sake! They got one item of news right, out of the hundreds of thousands they broadcast yearly, and for this they should be mentioned in a blog? China’s a long way away and Tony Blair doesn’t have any personal interest in it, so they can say whatever they like.

  • __earth

    Just because it reports what you like to hear doesn’t mean it fair. If your opinion is otherwise, then FoxNews is the fairest of all news network.

  • __earth

    Just because it reports what you like to hear doesn’t mean it’s fair. If your opinion is otherwise, then something is wrong.

  • __earth

    apologies for triple-post

  • But they want to increase producing so that they can supply all the capitalists with Coal. Can’t you see its still the capitalists fault.

  • Rob

    But they want to increase producing so that they can supply all the capitalists with Coal. Can’t you see its still the capitalists fault.

    I don’t think many genuine capitalists would be enthusiastic about Chinese state subsidies for coal production. Besides, what is being criticised is not the increase in production, but the fact that China is using unsafe methods to do so, at the cost of human lives.

  • Also, to be snarky I have to feel that the BBC’s message was ” aren’t you glad you live in a compassionate socialist country that would never let such things happen?” Now if they had pointed out the much lower level of deaths and injuries in the privately owned US coal mines, that might have been a sign of a real change of heart.

  • Rob

    But Britain’s coal mines aren’t publicly-owned, so that comparison doesn’t hold.

    Besides, even calling China communist is a stretch these days. It’s definitely “somethingist”, but that “something” is a kind of economic pick’n’mix, under the general aim of increasing China’s power and influence. The communists who used to berate the Soviet Union for not being communist enough referred to it as “state capitalist”, and that’s probably an apt enough description for China – economic transactions occur, but mostly to the benefit of the state, which is a law unto itself and can thus act with impunity, even if it means the deaths of thousands of its “employees”.

  • Sylvain Galineau

    The BBC has done its job properly. Once.

    Let’s set up a committee to decide whether we should laugh or cry, shall we ?

  • But under the “real” communists mine disasters and other industrial accidents happened every day, no? The state’s goals under Mao didn’t include protection of the average worker. And if you think the workers’ local soviets in the USSR under Stalin provided effective channels for workers’ grievances, I’ve got a few million graves in Siberia to prove the opposite.