Episode 136 – 18th May 2012

We speak to HUGH GRANT, Tom Watson, Harriet Harman, Rich Peppiatt, Owen Jones & more at the rally for media reform, find out why the BBC isn’t biased, why Norway divorced its church and state and get the latest on Derek Acorah’s escapades.

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Media Reform (2:29) by Liz Lutgendorff & James O’Malley
(ft Hugh Grant, Tom Watson MP, Harriet Harman MP, Jacky Davis, Evan Harris, Owen Jones, Rich Peppiatt, Mary Ellen Field & Jacqui Hames)
BBC Bias? (23:02) by Cory Hazlehurst
Secular Norway (31:26) by Sean Ellis
Shareholder Revolts (38:28) by Alex Fitch
Derek Acorah (46:33) by Hayley Stevens
Word of Faith (53:20) by Jonny Scaramanga
The sketch at the end is by David Lovesy and Brian Two

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3 thoughts on “Episode 136 – 18th May 2012

  1. I’m concerned that Harman still doesn’t get it. The concept of freedom of the press outside neo-liberal capitalist economies is not sufficient to deal with what has happened her, in the US and in Australia (possibly elsewhere too, but that’s the extent of my knowledge).

    For democracy to really reflect the interests of the people, the people MUST have access to good information about what is happening in society. It must be factually accurate and not include lies of fact or omission. We do not have that at the moment, as is amply demonstrated by the vast number of instances in which various media outlets have unquestioningly published government statements on critical issues that contain misinformation, factual errors, distortions and outright lies. In my view, NEWS publishing and broadcasting should require a license and license holders should be subjected to fines for breaches and loss of license for repeat offenses. They can be free to do whatever they want with other forms but anything that is NEWS must be held to a higher standard. It is too important to leave to self-regulation. Let’s not forget how close the BSkyB deal came to being done: our government had NO INTEREST in protecting OUR interests.

    The attacks on the BBC – most definitely encouraged by Murdoch, he has done exactly the same with the Australian national broadcaster – are a deliberate strategy to stop the national broadcaster from fulfilling it’s intended role as the voice unmotivated by profit. It should give a more diverse view of the world than for-profit organisations whose output will always fall prey to market distortions but thanks to the constant attacks on it it has become feeble. The failure to cover the NHS break up is the evidence of how hobbled it has become.

  2. @Cory Hazlehurst:

    I enjoyed your piece on BBC bias, and thought you made some good points. I completely agree with your conclusions.

    However, there was one thing you said where I think you were wrong. It really wasn’t a key part of your arguments, and your conclusions stand 100% even if you are wrong, but it’s a little bugbear of mine so I couldn’t resist picking you up on it.

    You mentioned William Hague’s bizarre assertion that the reason why businesses aren’t doing well is because they’re not working hard enough, and ignoring all the external factors. One of those external factors you mentioned was “massive government spending cuts”.

    Sorry, but the idea that there are “massive government spending cuts” is a myth. The government is not cutting spending. It suits both the Labour and the Tory parties to create a narrative of massive cuts, so no-one challenges the prevailing spin. Labour like portraying the Tories as the Nasty Party, and claiming they’re cutting back on important spending suits them in that aim. The Tories like to claim to be fiscally responsible, saving taxpayers’ money and keeping the markets happy, so they go along with the story as well.

    But back in reality, government spending is increasing. For sure, not as fast as it increased under Labour, but it’s increasing nonetheless.

    There are a couple of interesting blogs about it, with numbers, here and here.

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