Has the BBC just taken a position on Paris?

The BBC, famous for sitting on the fence, even when it’s made of flaming hot pokers, appears to have just taken a position on the Paris attacks. Thanks to a near two minute monologue by Andrew Neil on his current affairs show, This Week. Never before have I heard such vicious condemnation of an event on British news. Sure, the Americans love to do it, but here, it’s just not seen as the thing to do.

Welcome to This Week. The week in which a bunch of loser jihadists slaughtered 132 innocents in Paris to prove the future belongs to them rather than a civilisation like France.

I can’t say I fancy their chances. France, the country of Descartes, Boulet, Monet, Sartre, Rousseau, Camus, Renoir, Berlioz, Cézanne, Gauguin, Hugo, Voltaire, Matisse, Debussy, Ravel, Sanson, Bizet, Satie, Pasteur, Molière, Frank, Zola, Balzac, Blanc.

Cutting edge science, world class medicine, fearsome security forces, nuclear power, Coco Chanel, Chateau Lafite, Coq Au Vin, Daft Punk, Zizou Zidane, Juliette Binoche, liberté, égalité, fraternité and crème brûlée.

Verus what? Beheadings, crucifixions, amputations, slavery, mass murder, squalor – a death cult barbarity that would shame the Middle Ages.

Well IS or Daesh or ISIS or ISIL or whatever name you’re going by – I’m sticking with IS, as in Islamist scumbags. I think the outcome is pretty clear to everybody but you.

Whatever atrocities you’re currently capable of committing, you will lose.

In a thousand years Paris, the glorious city of lights, will still be shining bright as will every other city like it. 

While you will be as dust, along with the ragbag of Fascists, Nazis and Stalinists who have previously dared to challenge democracy and failed.

If this was a two second ad-lib in a live show, it could likely be explained away as “a slip”. This Week however isn’t a live show, and this wasn’t an off-the-cuff remark. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that little segment made its way across the desk of Tony Hall, the director general prior to transmission. Judging by the response the clip has received on social media though, I think it’s hit the nail on the head. It’s refreshing.

The BBC has built a reputation for impartial and accurate reporting. While that reputation isn’t spotless, the outcry when they blunder shows the value of this reputation. When one of the American news networks gets caught doing something unsavoury on the other hand, nobody cares – it’s expected. In most news stories, there is always a counter-position. Some of these are hugely complex, and this type of comment cannot be made without jeopardising that impartiality. In the case of the Paris attacks though, there is no counter-position. The attacks were carried out by scum who deserve no voice or right to a considered reply, and it was good to hear that sentiment echoed by the BBC.

Andrew Neil commenting on the Paris attacks


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