Saturday, September 01, 2007

News, views and whose who's?

I had better watch myself!

I was just having my breakfast when Newswatch came on with a 'special' from Edinburgh based on the recent TV Fest (was it so recent? It feels an age ago. So I had more than a splutter when they read out a quote from 'regular'.... me! It was my comment that they should stop asking for opinions and then not pay a blind bit of notice to them. So I guess I can't fault them paying attention... and sharing... though still stick by that opinion. I'm of course feeling awkward, because I think I went on to say that I'd given up commenting on Newswatch because I had no sense that it went beyond the featured edit-sneer (not Mr. Snoddy, who is in the unenviable role of posing some nasty questions to colleagues and does do so... though I too often feel that he asks, they answer and... nothing more happens) basically saying it wasn't a problem and if it was they didn't really care.

But if they are taking note maybe I will plug away a bit more.

Which, in a roundabout way, brings me to Biased BBC.

By virtue of a thing that pops up to advise me of a new comment (some RSS doo-dad I should get to figure out on here, probably), I do get seduced back a fair bit.

But it is proving a bit of a trial. I fear most of the diamonds are getting well and truly swamped by the rough, and there is a lot of rough.

I'm learning some lessons about forum and blog management for here, but one thing I certainly believe I'll keep is my moderator approval facility. It's pretty anti-democratic I guess, especially when I complain about it on several other sites, but while I am actually not so concerned about the more PC-concerns that most retain this facility to censure, I feel I need a check for (if it ever happens - so far I have found debate here to be refreshingly civilised and based on fact more than opinion) the selective cut and paste 'tis/tisn't' epic exchanges that I am seeing on the site, usually between two totally entrenched protagonists.

As I mentioned in my appeal (I guess that was what you'd call it) on their blog, cherry-picking something, and that includes a link, really doesn't serve the story or an observer's ability to track it well enough to make a judgment. And I fear that where there may be valuable debate some, like me, simply switch off and leave them to fill ether-space with usually increasing name-calling as they spiral to nowhere.

While I'm not a fan of the Newsnight 'twofer' style, I do see merit in inviting, or welcoming, diverse opinions, and then having a central, hopefully objective but informed moderator, ready to intervene to request claims are properly substantiated before moving on. Too often I see things, even in the major online media, simply popped in, and possibly countered, but not to my satisfaction, or at least enough to know what the actual facts are.

I think I will revise my participation with BBC is Biased to more of an observer role, and use it to act as a valuable potential counterpoint to some sloppy reporting I know does occur. They do catch some howlers!

One thing to note (and to be fair to the site), is that it does pin its colours to its blog title, so it's a tad silly to expect it to be that balanced in itself. It's there to find out what is perceived to be bias in the BBC. Fair enough. They can hardly be expected to fall over themselves to 'put the other side', but it looks like there are enough to provide such context (or call out the more rabid extremes) to make it a reasonable resource to use still.

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