Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Repeated from the comments on the Crooked Timber post on the BBC and the word "terrorism".

Shalom Beck’s theory of the BBC, developed by reading through the old four volume Collected Essays, Letters, and Journalism of the late BBC staffer George Orwell

1. The BBC is a tax-funded agency of a democratic state. Its reporting decisions should, on the whole, advance the interests of that state. This means:

A. The BBC is a political educator, providing a democratic political education.

B. The BBC advances British foreign policy by propogandizing non-Brits

2. However, as agents the BBC staff have their own interests. In particular, they have a personal interest in career advancement, which to some extent conflicts with their duties as employees of the BBC.

3. The BBC staff also have personal political views, which may conflict with the interests of the British state or with their own professional interests.

To use the word “terrorist,” today, is in the global war between Islam and the Jews to take a decision to side against those who deliberately set out to kill Jews. Motives that I would categorize under 1B, 2, and 3 make BBC staffers reluctant to use the word, therefore.

But the interesting question, I think, is whether the BBC’s role as a democratic educator is furthered or compromised by this reluctance.

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