What is the BBC up to?

Lord Norton

2163836429In an earlier post, on 27 October, I wrote  about an American novelist who had been interviewed on the BBC’s Broadcasting House to object to the term ‘swing states’ in the coverage of the US elections and to claim that Britons were more racist than Americans.  I took issue with the assertions made in the broadcast.   In the comments, the novelist was identified as Grace Andreacchi. 

Earlier this week Ms Andreacchi responded to my post.  You can see her response on the thread to that post.   She concedes she does not know much about politics.  Perhaps the most remarkable point in her response is her observation ‘I just did the Broadcasting House thing because they happened to ask me.’  Given the number of informed commentators available to express views on the US elections, why did the BBC invite a novelist who by her own admission is a much better novelist than she is a commentator?

One encouraging aspect of the post, though, is the reach we are achieving through this blog.

6 comments for “What is the BBC up to?

  1. 27/12/2008 at 5:02 pm

    They’re doing the same thing the US media is: bring on anyone they can get with extremist views who will increase ratings.

    The problems with “commentators” has been remarked on a number of times during the recent election, where people with next to no experience or knowledge were put on TV, a fancy title was placed under their name, and their opinion suddenly had weight for no other reason. It’s a good argument for no longer getting one’s news from the television.

  2. Troika21
    27/12/2008 at 6:29 pm

    This is why I don’t trust the news media. Things are so easily taken out of context and distorted. On the internet its harder to mislead people as they can perform their own research. If they want, that is.

    Though, I have to say that I don’t blame Ms Andreacchi. I don’t know what the Beeb was playing at with the whole thing, your post was spot on with its criticism.

  3. 27/12/2008 at 10:49 pm

    Just to make things clear, and to be fair to the BBC, this was the sequence of events that led to my brief appearance on Broadcasting House. I heard an item on the show that amused me, about some of he sillier aspects of BBC coverage of the US elections. I sent the BBC an email (with absolutely NO ‘ulterior motive’!) saying how much I’d enjoyed the joke. They got in touch and asked me if I’d be willing to appear on the show and give my ‘views’ on what I disliked about British coverage of said election. I was surprised to be asked, but happy for a little exposure. Literary novelists outside the mainstream are not exactly flooded with offers to appear on the BBC in any capacity. I tried to persuade them to talk to me about literature instead, but they weren’t interested, so I did my best within the constraints etc. That’s how it was. I agree, there is a lot of ill-informed ‘commentary’ on the air, and I wonder how much of it has a story like this one behind it. Now, if they’d asked me for my views on post-modernism in fiction…but that, as they say, is another story…

  4. lordnorton
    29/12/2008 at 12:56 pm

    Grace Andreacchi: Thanks for that further response. I think it rather confirms the comments of Matthew and Troika21. Like Troika21, I don’t blame you. I don’t understand why the BBC failed to find someone to put the contrary view. I should add that one benefit of contributing to the blog is that several readers have now visited your website!

  5. Staci Siler
    03/01/2009 at 4:59 am

    Unfortunately knowledge of how the political system works in the U.S. these days is seemingly non-existant. After the contest between Gore and Bush four years ago, there was a media-driven push to re-evaluate the ‘electoral college’ voting system of presidential races versus the ‘popular vote’ system for local and state representatives. That discussion having gotten air-time at all revealed the dismal understanding of electoral policies of that day. Current election polls reveal the same defect when it comes to procedures and policies of elections so Grace Andreacchi isn’t alone in her lack of understanding (though I dare say she could teach me quite a bit about literary devices).

    On a slightly divergent line, I find myself wishing for a similar site ‘this side of the pond’, as English people so amusingly term our location, as an educated populace given the reins will usually guide a team better than an untrained mob. The only fault is that any attempt at emulating the ideals of this site in the United States will most likely deteriorate into the strife-filled antipathy exhibited by most politically oriented media we have.

    However, keep up the blogs – it is always interesting to see how our British cousins handle things (political descendants that we are, if not familial).

  6. Bedd Gelert
    06/01/2009 at 8:40 pm

    “Given the number of informed commentators available to express views on the US elections, why did the BBC invite a novelist who by her own admission is a much better novelist than she is a commentator”

    Lord Norton, Lord Norton, You just haven’t cottoned on have you ?? The whole point of all this interactive communications technology thingy is that EVERYONE’S opinion, no matter how ill-informed, vapid, vacuous or prejudiced is available to millions at the touch of a button..

    Which is why I shall continue to feel happy to share my views and opinions unconstrained by any need to have facts or expertise…

Comments are closed.