Monday, March 05, 2007

BBC bias: new book

Background briefing.

From CFNews: The author of a new book about the BBC has said that the Corporation should apologise to the Church for its Panorama documentary 'Sex and the Holy City'. In a chapter from his book, Can we trust the BBC?, former BBC journalist Robin Aitken examined how the Panorama team misled its audience about the role of Catholicism in the fight against Aids. Looking at examples of BBC bias, Mr Aitken came across a document written by David Kerr, a BBC employee, which revealed how the programme screened in 2003 was riddled with factual inaccuracies and anti-Catholic prejudice. Mr Aitken said: 'A lot of Catholics are aware that there is anti-Catholic bias in the BBC. But the trouble is that nailing down bias is very tricky.

'The value of David Kerr's research was that it showed that, in the instance of that Panorama programme, the BBC fell woefully short of its own standards of objectivity.' He added: 'I think the BBC owes the Catholic Church an apology.' Mr Aitken said that the Panorama bias was astonishing considering the huge number of checks and balances that a Panorama programme is normally subjected to. How did a programme like that go out'? he asked. 'Answer: all the people involved in the production couldn't see its bias against the Catholic Church because they themselves share that bias.'

Mr Kerr's unpublished study shows how the makers of 'Sex and the Holy City', in seeking to blame the Vatican for the spread of Aids, caricatured Catholic teaching and distorted statistics. The producer, Mr Kerr reported, was Chris Woods, a prominent homosexual rights activist who was one of the founder members of campaigning group OutRage. In 1992 OutRage protesters targeted the papal nuncio's home in London and interrupted a Mass in Westminster Cathedral. Mr Kerr also uncovered a complex web of relationships between the BBC and groups such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation, whose pro-abortion agenda has brought it into conflict with the Church..

In his book, Mr Aitken writes: 'You do not have to sympathise - at all - with the Catholic Church, or with its teachings about contraception and reproductive rights generally to appreciate that Kerr makes a very strong case against Panorama. ''Sex and the Holy City' was a wholly one-sided, inaccurate and unfair piece of journalism. It made no attempt to be even-handed and it traduced the Catholic Church and the Pope.' In Can we trust the BBC? Mr Aitken a practicing Catholic, argues that for the last 40 years the BBC has promoted a set of secular, liberal values at odds with traditional morality and Christian ideals. 'For good or bad that campaign has been hugely successful, transforming public attitudes on a range of issues including abortion, marriage and homosexuality, among others', he writes. He claims the Corporation is too 'self confident' to redress its biases; 'Yes, they concede there may be some flaws, but they are nothing when set against the achievements. Mr Aitken concludes that the BBC is a 'profoundly influential opponent of nearly everything social and political conservatives believe'. [Catholic Herald]

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen