Collusion between the BBC and dissenting Catholics

Over the past couple of weeks Catholic bloggers have posted evidence of collusion between the BBC and dissenting Catholics which faithful Catholics have long suspected. The BBC’s editorial policy appears to be the ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’, having found in  The Tablet and Catholics for  Changing Church enemies of Pope Benedict and the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

The Scottish Catholic composer has posted about his experience of being interviewed by dissenting Catholic ed Stourton on BBC Radio 4′s Sunday programme:

‘There is growing disquiet about the umbilical links between the Tablet, now Catholic in name only, and the BBC’s Sunday programme where the linchpin is Ed Stourton, whose show mounts Left-wing broadsides, week after week, against orthodoxy. Stourton is also a trustee of the Tablet. Is licence fee money being used to boost the Tablet and its agenda? If so, lucky for them. As a Contributing Editor to the Catholic Herald and Scottish Catholic Observer, I, and the staff there, would be stunned to receive such open-armed encouragement.

I was on the Sunday programme on BBC Radio 4 a few years ago, being interviewed by Mr Stourton. I could tell, as the discussion went on, that he was not enjoying it, and he seemed surprised that I was not wanting to whinge about Rome in the face of ample encouragement from his good self. The week before he had given an uber-friendly, slightly ingratiating interview with Valerie J Stroud, one of the most prominent “Catholic” dissenters from Rome, from an organisation called Catholics for a Changing Church, who are always banging on negatively about the Pope etc etc.

I’m not really sure what is Catholic about this organisation; I mean, in the sense that being Catholic might involve believing in what the Catholic Church teaches, but I might be old-fashioned in these matters. However, could you imagine the BBC daring to wheel on a Muslim who mounts sustained and bitter assaults on key aspects of Mohammed’s message, while claiming he was an Islamic spokesman?

Anyway, I brought up Stourton’s friendly chat with Ms Stroud at the end of my interview with him, drawing attention to the fact that she had let slip that her organisation was getting marvellous and helpful support from within the media. Stourton thanked me at the end of our conversation – I was doing the interview down the line from Glasgow – and after we had finished, I was slow in taking my headphones off. I’m glad I was, because I would have missed the conversation between Stourton and his producer, both obviously miffed at my final point. Eventually Stourton said: “Well it’s OK, we can obviously cut that bit out of the broadcast.” And, of course, they did.’

The excellent ‘Is the BBC Biased’ website has published a survey conducted over the past 22 months that reveals in detail the hand in glove relationship between The Tablet and BBC radio’s flagship programme on religion, Radio 4′s Sunday. Its presenter Ed Stourton is a trustee of The Tablet.

The Tablet’s editor, Catherine Pepinster, has appeared on three editions during the time-frame of my survey (25/3/2012, 15/1/2012, 28/8/2011). You may know her from her frequent appearances on Today‘s Thought For The Day. [She is the second most regular of the Catholic speakers on TFTD, behind fellow Tabletista Clifford Longley]. Fans (like me) of thePlatitude Of The Day website will know that she is the holder of the prestigious Platitude Of The Year award 2011.

Even more conspicuous has been Robert Mickens, Vatican correspondent of The Tablet. Robert is immediately recognisable by the ironic tone he uses to dish the dirt on the Vatican. He has appeared on six edition of the programme during my survey period (16/9/2012, 9/9/2012, 3/6/2012, 12/2/2012, 5/2/2012, 1/5/2011). As I shall expand upon later, the irony-tinted Mr. Mickens was treated as if he were a friendly BBC colleague on the occasions Ed Stourton chatted with him…
On these occasions, whichever presenter was hosting Sunday [usually Edward] made sure to mention The Tablet. Sometimes this was not the case. To introduce my next Tabletista, here’s the former editor of The Catholic Herald again…:
Stourton was chatting with one of the Sunday programme’s favourite Catholic commentators, Dr Tina Beattie, a straight-from-central-casting 1970s feminist (and director of the Tablet, according to the website of Roehampton University).
Tina Beattie is, indeed, a regular Tablet columnist. She’s been invited on four times over the period in question (14/10/2012, 9/9/2012, 1/5/2011, 30/1/2011).
And on it goes…The man who, as editor, steered The Tablet leftwards, John Wilkins, has also been invited onto Sunday over this period. He was there for two of the big Sundayspecials – those (alongside Tina Beattie) for the 50th anniversary of Vatican II (14/10/2012) and (also alongside Tina Beattie and Robert Mickens) for the beatification of Pope John Paul II (1/5/2011).

Protect the Pope recommends interested readers go to Is the BBC biased and read the entire post.

Protect the Pope comment: During the recent crisis at the BBC time and again journalists and commentators have talked in hushed tones about the BBC’s world famous reputation for the impartiality and balance of its journalism, and how this needs to be repaired after its failure to report the Saville abuse allegations and its more recent appalling calumny against Lord McAlpine.

Catholics in this country have known for decades that the BBC’s reputation for impartiality and balance is a lie, created by very skillful propagandists.  The BBC’s coverage of the Troubles in Northern Ireland was blatantly biased against the Catholic community. And the animus of the BBC against Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church was blindingly obvious in the run up to the Holy Father’s state visit to the UK in 2010.

The lack of impartiality and balance in the Sunday programme’s coverage of the Catholic Church has now been exposed for all to see in black and white. Will anything change? Judging by the BBC’s past record for smug complacency and obduracy,  not a chance.

H/T Fr Ray Blake

19 comments to Collusion between the BBC and dissenting Catholics

  • Patrick Fahey

    The obligatory tax which is the licence fee should be abolished and the BBC left to raise funds itself.

  • Simon

    Further evidence of the anti-catholic nature of the BBC bringing in those who claim to be Catholic but do not follow the God-given authority of the Pope and Rome.

    • John Dare

      Perhaps if you write they’ll give you air space to put your POV, though, as Eric hints, it might have limited audience appeal. Does radio 4 reach Italy?

  • John Dare

    Or possibly some lad who has a view and interprets everything said from that POV. Leave conspiricy theories to daft yankee films.

    • Eric

      I imagine a lot of it has to do with the fact that the Tabletistas are accessible, approachable and radio-TV friendly. The lesson to the authodox is that they need put forward their own people who are these things.

  • Eric

    You do realise that Platitude of the Day is an atheist piss-take?

    Personally, I find it amusing, but surprised to see you post a link, that’s all.

  • Appreciative Protestant Reader

    “The BBC’s coverage of the Troubles in Northern Ireland was blatantly biased against the Catholic community.”

    Can you explain this remark, please?”

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      I’ll give one example I re-call as a teenager growing up in south London. During the terrible spate on tit-for-tat killings in the last 70′s often when a Catholic was gunned down the BBC would report that a ‘man’ was killed, not reporting that the victim was a Catholic. The BBC would use the word ‘protestant’ or ‘loyalist’ when a protestant was killed. Contrary to the BBC editorial approach, ITN would always report that the victim was Catholic or a protestant. I shouldn’t need to write this but I will so that there is no misunderstanding, I condemn all violence from either side of the Troubles, Catholic, Protestant, Irish and British.

  • John Dare

    Has my saville/mcalpine post been dissapeared?

  • John Dare

    That was ironic comparison Nick, you can slag the BBC off on the back of the mcalpine/unmentionable person story, but it appears that you can also censor posts that make that clear. Bit oportunistic?

  • Robin Leslie

    Anyone who has gone through a Media Studies course (which I haven’t) will recognize the symptoms of a subtle propaganda machine, which is now in trouble over its closeness to the prevailing mores from the 1960s on. The BBC,
    or British Bullshitting Corporation has been anti-Catholic for decades, ever since
    the 1960s and possible before, it has continuously peddled the image of the Catholic Church as a ‘foreign’ and un-British (often anti-British) institution.
    The media Corporation has served more recently in the West’s strategy in neutralizing religious organizations by emasculating their leadership and softening them up for ideological congruence with secular movements and the Humanist agenda, The arrogance of the early days of neo-liberal neo-colonialism
    in attempting to cover the globe with ‘liberal democracy’(viz. free market capitalism) was mirrored in Francis Fukuyama’s book The End of History which peddled the idea that Western Civilization has reached its perfection in Liberal Democracy aided by Scientific Progress, all we had to do was sit back and let the military impose this megalomaniacal faith cover the globe by invasion and imposition.
    Sadly of course the rest of the story is now known…..! The decline of the BBC, which was a first class organization in my childhood with political gravity
    and considerable idealism, is reflected in its obvious biasses, made insidious by the covert pretence that it is neutral and impartial. Lord Reith’s BBC was
    probably outstanding (but of course exercised some ideological balance in seeking to provide a measure of social integration, a necessary balance).
    We all need the BBC, but a BBC that recovers its Reithian ethos. We also need to recover sovereigny as a nation-State from our rather foolish ventures into trading blocs and Corporate corruption.

  • John Dare

    Robin, the British state was founded on the basis that catholics were ‘foreign’, easy to do at a time when religion was politics. I thinking that you’re stretching things to say thay the Beeb has or had the same view.

  • fd

    This reminds me of Rai3′s cultural programmes. When they want to talk ill of the Church they generally invite dissedent Catholics, even priests. Two years ago a Rai3 show interviewed an Italian priest who is openly in defiance of the Church , about euthantasia. This priest was absolutely favourable of euthanasia and slashed the Church so much himself ,that the journalist did not need to do anything other than nodding and smiling. They are best satisfied when they can have Catholics who slash the Church themselves rather than having to do it themselves.

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