Thursday, 14 February 2008

How to inflame Passion...

To start a media firestorm, you need a media flamethrower. Say what you like about Archbishop Rowan, anyone who writes 146 word sentences ain't no media flamethrower. So how do you whip up a firestorm out of a law lecture? The Wardman Wire has been digging through some BBC dustbins, to find out exactly how the Archbishop was kebabed by BBC news editors before he even opened his mouth.

The moral? The looser the nickers, the easier it is to get them in a twist. You need them well twisted when you're hanging archbishops out to dry. Many Congratulations to Matt Wardman for digging this lot up. Plainly the process of sexing up dodgy dossiers is not confined to government — You have to, if you’re churning out what Nick Davies calls “flat earth news” I’m really sorry the BBC’s editors are now on the game. Perhaps this story isn't all doom and gloom. Making Fox look like a serious news organisation is some kind of an achievement.

3 comments:

Free to think, free to believe said...

On comparing the article you link to and the one by Andrew Brown in the church times...

I agree with Andrew Brown - most of the questions about how could the BBC say that before the interview is answered simply thus - it wasn't a live interview. Therefore the BBC could comment and draw attention to it... It would have been interesting to see if they had emails BEFORE the interview if they had given that option.

Sadly we'll never know...

As I listened to the interview I was shocked and flabbergasted that Rowan was provoking a sizable storm. All he had to say were the words 'Sharia' and 'law' next to each other. I have had the privilege of working from time to time where tabloids litter the table top of the dining area, once out of boredom in my break I have asked to 'borrow' someone's copy to read the 'politics section' of The Sun - this was always instructive...

The point I'm drawing to, in a slow rambling fashion you can choose to edit, is that these papers go out of their way to find stories on issues like this to twist in their own vitriolic fashion. Personally, I am glad Rowan did do the interview and his talk - I'm also glad that the tabloids drew such erroneous reporting such that even their most faithful readers can realize that what they read may not be the ENTIRE truth.

I, for one, am ready to take up the banner and talk about 'HOW' we should treat the strangers in our midst.

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

I See what you mean about the BBC and the timing. But I still feel that if they had the interview in the can it was entirely reprehensible to manipulate the interview by the use of the very powerful and misleading word "inevitable" in their entry down the wire, knowing, as they must have by then, that Rowan had said no such thing. Point taken though. The thing that I found most heloful in Matt's blog was about the importance of distinguishing between the journalist, who is probably just doing a job of work, and the editor, who can easily twist perfectly honorable material into something inflammatory by the way it's handled and put out back at the ranch. I

I think I strongly agree with your overall feeling about the value of the whole incident. I think the whole discernment of how we treat stragers in our midst flies in the face of the secular multiculturalist fantasy that we're all the same (which we're not) whilst at the same time locating the responsibility for working out what we do with us, where it belongs. I'd buy such a conversation... Thanks for a great comment.

Free to think, free to believe said...

The interviewer said 'inevitable' - Rowan said 'unavoidable' - I don't think there's much difference in their meaning... So folk getting them mixed up is a small matter for me.

You are right that the question was loaded with that word, though. On the other hand Rowan would have been better served by answering about what changes we've already made to accomodate Sharia Law and say that such changes were no threat to our legal system...

I had an interesting debate, which was mirrored on The Moral Maze last night as I, or the panel argued that the change in Stamp Duty was directly to accomodate Sharia law to my boss at work or Polly Toynbee [one of the rabid dogs of securalism] - neither wanted to grant the point of why the law was changed and rewrite the whole thing away...

I think this is entirely because the change to Stamp Duty cannot be percieved as a threat to 'social cohesion'... I don't know how Rowan was briefed but if he was briefed his briefer should have made him repeat in his head all the changes that have already been made rather than say anything which might be interpreted as 'inevitable'...

But on the other hand, aside from apologies for length of comment, perhaps the debate - the toing and froing in the media was perhaps the best thing in the end?

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