I don't know if anyone's ever asked you this question, but what exactly do you think the BBC gets out of being biased one way or another? Having experience of working within the arena of complaints (at the BBC and elsewhere), getting to watch news report after news report, dealing with endless complaints from people suggesting bias towards Israel, bias against Israel, bias towards the Palestinian peoples, bias against the Palestinian peoples, I'm just wondering if your own personal views are blinding your viewing and reading of BBC News reports? It seems that from reading the endless correspondence you have on these pages with various BBC representatives, you'll never be happy until everyone agrees with your own views. Have you ever considered that, however well intention your views are (and I do agree that Israel's actions are abhorrent on the majority of occasions) there comes a time to accept that you're simply wrong in what you believe about the BBC?
I've seen many people become obsessed with making complaints to the BBC on a variety of subjects. Everyone's got their pet hates, but it's worrying to me that you seem to have been doing this for an extended period of time. I fear that it's now a personal crusade, you versus the BBC, and that you've lost sight of helping others. Is it all about you, really?
I always prefer an actual name, but, of course, respect your identity rights.
Many thanks for that courteous feedback, which I take, quite genuinely, as welcome, constructive criticism.
In that same engaging vein, yes, I believe it's right and healthy to think reflectively about one's own beliefs and actions. Caught up in the passion and commitment towards a cause or injustice, it's always possible to become a little fixated on 'the enemy', as it were.
You may not believe this, but I do actually spend regular mental energy questioning my own understandings, views and conclusions. I regard it as an important heuristic exercise, helping to form what I still consider to be realistic, measured and, above all, evidence-based arguments.
You ask: "what exactly do you think the BBC gets out of being biased one way or another?"
The answer is prosaically simple. The BBC is a crucial part of the ruling establishment, so its role in serving the ideological interests and instincts of that establishment are already encoded as biased understandings.
It would be facile to claim that every single piece of BBC output is false or without useful value. It would be outlandish to say the BBC serves no purpose as a news body. But it's equally valid to show how the editorial content and journalistic impressions behind most of that output is, contrary to claims of neutrality and objectivity, subject to systematic, establishment control.
It's evident in the language of most BBC reports, in the gross omissions and calculated minimising of issues - like this flotilla story, and others before it - and in the very organising structure of the BBC itself.
It all goes to reinforce a set of safe, reliable parameters which, crucially, encourage the self-certain belief among people like yourself that the BBC is some 'impartial' paragon and apolitical entity merely gathering and dispensing news.
That seems to me, on close analysis, to be a quite staggering fixation and blindness to reality.
You talk of "dealing with endless complaints from people suggesting bias towards Israel, bias against Israel, bias towards the Palestinian peoples, bias against the Palestinian peoples..."
That not only sounds a lazy dismissal of complainants' views - token as the complaint process is at the BBC - but an implied reassertion of the BBC as passive victim, stuck in the middle of these assaults from extremist whingers on both sides. That's a familiar and convenient BBC trope.
It's always harder, of course, to dismiss the multiple, respected studies on the issue, such as the Glasgow University media group's output, recording the BBC's consistent bias by language and omission.
Which, given that you've worked at the BBC, leads me to question your own apparent lack of comprehension and self-reflection.
I don't just mean this as a cheap point, but where is the critical self-inspection of working BBC staff, journalists, editors and senior executives?
I'm sincerely interested in the psychology of institutional-think, namely, the ways in which people with genuinely-held views about their own free-thinking credentials and perceived autonomy are, in practice, rendered 'fit for purpose' by the organsation they serve.
It comes down to what Chomsky said to an incredulous Andrew Marr when the latter was asked to reflect on his own self-believing journalistic independence : "if you were saying anything different, you wouldn't be there."
Of course, that conditioning doesn't just happen within the organisation. It will, most likely, be a product of schooling and other life-informing experiences. The overwhelming pressure on individuals aspiring through life is to conform and fit in order to 'achieve'.
Harold Pinter once wrote a fascinating piece on the psychology of conformity, pointing out the disincentives in putting one's head above the parapet. In short, it's much easier to be safe and quiescent.
Sadly, there's nothing in your comments here suggestive of any such self-awareness or possible exploration of BBC bias.
In stark journalistic contrast, think what people like Pilger, Chomsky, Edwards and Cromwell at Media Lens and a whole raft of informed others are saying about the BBC. Are they all just fixated lefties and obsessed malcontents with some disturbing axe to grind?
Look at what the fine journalist Jonathan Cook has written about the BBC - notably, in relation to its Israeli-centred bureau - and other major media organisations, providing invaluable insights into the daily conditioning, expectations and institutional understandings which prevent and discourage the dissemination of news and information deemed too 'controversial' or threatening to power.
Then look at what the 'best' of the BBC, such as Jeremy Bowen, are saying about such matters. Precisely nothing.
To my certain knowledge, Bowen offered no principled reaction or rebuke to the BBC Trust's ruling taking him to task over his 'Israel as Zionist state' reference. The lesson is clear: keep your head down, don't bite the hand that feeds.
I recall during our recent occupation of BBC Scotland - in response to the BBC's DEC appeal refusal and multiple other instances of bias in reporting the assault on Gaza - being told by BBC insiders that there was a "climate of fear" within the organisation, with people too afraid to speak out in opposition to senior management.
I understand, of course, why people do refrain. It's pretty obvious. And it's different for me and others who don't depend on the BBC for our livelihood. But that doesn't preclude people from looking more closely at their employer.
You say Israel's actions are "abhorrent". Do you genuinely believe that the extent and severity of those actions are being adequately conveyed to the public by the BBC?
Take a look at what BBC News Online's Middle East section actually put out in the course of a week about the West Bank and Gaza. Risibly little, and always lacking in context about the sustained nature of the occupation and Israeli violations.
So, have you anything more challenging to say about the BBC's reporting of Israel's "abhorrent" conduct?
Which takes us to your conclusion on me:
"I've seen many people become obsessed with making complaints to the BBC on a variety of subjects. Everyone's got their pet hates, but it's worrying to me that you seem to have been doing this for an extended period of time. I fear that it's now a personal crusade, you versus the BBC, and that you've lost sight of helping others. Is it all about you, really?"I suppose I should be a little concerned about such an assertion: either I've got, as you imply, a psychological condition - obsessive BBC-baiting? - or I'm one of that increasingly aware community actively challenging what we see as systematic BBC propaganda.
The possibility of the former should, I guess, never be dismissed. Maybe one can become a little too focused on these things - I've also seen decent people burned out by such causes. On the other hand, I'm somewhat calmed by the possibility that the 'disorder' may have taken a wider hold, and that I'm in pretty good company.
I'm also deeply aware of the need for a healthy balance of activities and outlets in one's life.
So, touched by your "worrying [about] me", please be reassured that my correspondence with the BBC is not "personal" in the sense of deriving some kind of suspect gratification. Rather, in the spirit of proactive compassion, hopefully promoted at Zenpolitics, it's about being of some practical help to others - in this case, suffering Palestinians.
You say I'll "never be happy until everyone agrees with your own views."
Thankfully, not so, Anon. Please be assured that my imperfect understanding of 'happiness' doesn't depend on such conformity. That would be too much like the sacrosanct consensus that prevails within the BBC bubble.