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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Some more thoughts on “Thought”

It’s hardly surprising that the religion-soaked BBC has effectively rejected a call for its “Thought for the Day” slot (within the flagship news programme Today) to be open to those who are not part of the Deluded Herd.

The BBC Trust has said that the slot – usually full of platitudes and meaningless drivel, with the occasional gem of wisdom that doesn’t need a religious perspective, anyway – “is religious output and that it is a matter of editorial discretion for the BBC executive and its director general as editor-in-chief as to whether the BBC broadcasts a slot commenting on an issue of the day from a faith perspective”.

What does it mean by “is religious output”? That implies that it has to be religious output. It doesn’t. It could be called something else. So that’s a non sequitur.

Then the chairman for the Trust’s editorial standards, Richard Tait, says having it as a God-bothering slot doesn’t breach BBC editorial guidelines.

This is another specious argument, since there’s really no need to argue over whether editorial guidelines have been breached as such, but merely to argue from fairness and from the premise that speaking as if there were sky fairies, with no challenge from an interviewer, is rather silly during what is mainly a hard-news programme (not that you should believe all that news programmes contain, but that’s another story). But it was editorial guidelines on which complaints were raised.

Notwithstanding, if editorial guidelines haven’t been breached, but we’re still left with only God botherers doing “Thought for the Day”, doesn’t that argue the case for changing the editorial guidelines?

UPDATE: However, we learn from the ever-helpful Ekklesia that the BBC Radio 4 Controller, Mark Damazer, has given the strongest indication yet that the BBC may eventually open up the slot to a wider range of contributors. So God knows what’s happening!

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