Friday, November 03, 2006

A class apart

Brian Appleyard has plenty to object to in the reports about alleged BBC bias. But the thing that he choses to be annoyed about says quite a lot.

“Richard Klein, commissioning editor for documentaries, says, 'Most people at the BBC don't live lives like this but these are our licence payers. It's our job to reflect and engage.'If Klein is being quoted correctly here, he is suffering from a degree of arrogance that would glaze over the eyes of mad King Xerxes.

Note that he does not say, "Most people at the BBC don't hold these opinions...', he says they 'don't live lives like this...'. The BBC's obvious bias has never angered me as much as it does others. But, if these people really think their lives and not just their opinions are better than ours, then the problem is far worse than I realised.” (my emphasis)

What Appleyard appears to be saying is that, if there is a representative perspective, and a set of values that the British people as a whole can identify with, then this perspective and these values are the same as Appleyard’s but not those of the thought-leaders within the BBC.

I’m on Klein’s side here. At least he appears to be acknowledging that the ‘chattering class’ are indeed a social class. The perspective that they promote can be explained by their social class. A social class that has been anatomised by better sociologists than I will ever be*.

And while we’re on the subject, I resent the implication that the prevailing position within the BBC is ‘left-wing.’ It isn’t. It is, instead, the negativist pessimistic defeatist pseudo-left that increasingly slipstreams the position of well-placed upper-middle class middle-brows. Perhaps Appleyard's opponents in the school debating-society?

But it is not a perspective of the left. Indeed, it could be slowly stripping the left of any sense of purpose that it ever had.

*I will never be a sociologist.

Via S&M

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