Channel surfing over the weekend and choosing BBC News may have had you questioning your selection skills. It did with me. I assumed I was at the start of a cosy film review with BlacKkKlansman director Spike Lee and a female BBC reporter who I hadn’t seen before. But at the end when she handed back to the studio for the next headline I was genuinely shocked. This was ‘The News’! Since when do BBC News headline stories promote movies, as this section clearly was trying to do.
For those that don’t know the background, the film is loosely based on a true story about a black detective going undercover to infiltrate Jeremy Corbyn supporter David Duke and the KKK. It appears to be shot with a tip of the hat to the style of the popular seventies ‘blaxploitation’ movies, and I for one quite fancied watching it.
Objectivity abandoned from the get go (compare the grillings Tarantino received for Django Unchained from the BBC and Channel 4), the host and Lee quickly predictably slipped into dialogue about President Trump. In fact, the majority of the interview was about ‘Agent Orange’ in the film, and Charlottesville, and how all this is apparently playing out today in America. Urged on by the interviewer, it becomes clear that the film is more about Lee’s hurt feelings at Trump being president, and his statements bordered from the absurd to the downright dishonest. Not that the casual observer would realise based on the interview / promotion and lack of challenge from the interviewer.
The statement from President Trump condemning violence on both sides after Charlottesville was misrepresented, it went unchallenged by the BBC, followed by Lee and the host combining to paint a picture that America is close to going under from Nazis. The host missed the chance to press the point that more people die in black gang violence every 6 months than in the 85 year active history of the KKK. The focus was squarely on the one tragic death at Charlottesville, as if one maniac somehow represented President Trump. As if the rise in race crime and violence under Obama was somehow a new occurrence that sprang up 18 months ago. Why wasn’t the BBC reporter asking if Lee planned a film to highlight the cop murders of BLM, or the warzone of Chicago – at least make him justify his childish take on what could have been a great film. No mention of Trump doubling support among blacks either. Lee was allowed to sound like a bitter man with a huge chip on his shoulder (maybe he is) and paint a wholly inaccurate picture to justify his ludicrous plot deviations with this film. What could have been a great film has been turned into more Hollywood virtue signalling.
The interviewer should have done her job, pointed out that nobody in America supports the few dozen Nazis at Charlottesville. They’re idiots that have always been there. Focussing on them and ignoring the very real issues in the black communities as Lee seems determined to do is of no use. Trump was offering solutions to problems faced in Harlem and inner cities 30 years ago.
It is clear beyond doubt that the BBC has narratives to push, and will use any vehicle to press home that narrative. The constant reporting of the sexual abuse cases in the Catholic Church throughout all of the Pope’s visit to Ireland went beyond what is reasonable. It is fully correct to report them and they are rightly news (though a leading Islamic figure visit would not have been reported this way, make no mistake). But viewers wishing to hear the great voice of Andrea Bocelli singing Nessun Dorma were disappointed as his volume was lowered and a hopeless commentator, who clearly was making it up as she went along, just rambled about Catholic sexual abuse. Surprising, as when it comes to grooming gangs the BBC are so keen to distance religion from sexual abuse.
The BBC has become the Guardian on screen (I can’t think of a harsher criticism). The licence fee cannot continue to be justified to pay for their relentless propaganda.