The potential strike by BBC staff at plans to cut nearly 4.000 jobs has moved smut-campaigner John Beyer to speak out against the action. He brands it – apparently without irony – “a serious threat to freedom of expression”.

Quite why he regards union-bashing as part of the remit of an organisation which claims to provide “an independent voice for those concerned about issues of taste and decency in the media” is anyone’s guess. But he goes on:

Licence Fee payers are entitled to a full uninterrupted service of programmes from the BBC and it is not appropriate for strikes to result in the possible censorship of programmes in this way.

Remarkable that a man in his position should have such a flawed understanding of the word “censorship”.

Trade Union action to pull the plug on transmissions illustrates where power in broadcasting resides. I hope that common sense will prevail and that viewers and listeners will not be denied access to news and current affairs programmes and sporting events that they expect to receive from the BBC.


22 Responses to “Chutzpah”

  1. Andy L says:

    That’s actually the dumbest thing he’s ever said. And that’s quite an achievement.

  2. Andrew Nixon says:

    This is just remarkable. I hope every time he appears on TV or in the press, whoever is interviewing him digs this up, because this is like Golddust.

  3. Dan Factor says:

    If channel 4 staff went on strike Beyer wouldnt be bothered. He probably would join them on the picket line so he can keep the “filth” of the TV.

  4. Christopher Shell says:

    Im not sure I agree with him – but what about Andrew’s comment:
    ‘Golddust’ – so the highlight of your week (or life) is being able to score points off ppl concerned for moral standards?
    You also approve of the seedy press habit of digging up the worst possible thing they can say about a person’s past every time that person is mentioned? This is a good way of giving an accurate balanced picture of that person? Yeah right ;O

  5. Garry says:

    Extraordinary, but I’m sure this is just a blip in his otherwise entirely rational campaign. In this case, we can only hope that “common sense will prevail”.

  6. tom p says:

    Actually, doc, pointing out that the person providing ill-informed knee-jerk copy is a rentaquote who doesn’t have the faintest idea what he’s talking about, using a quote not from their past (implying that you can’t apply it now to this different position), but given in the context of being in the very position from which they now talk is a perfect way of giving balance to a piece that involves quotes from them. Ones credentials should always be open to assessment, and the provenance of a primary source is of the highest importance. You should know that.

  7. G. Tingey says:

    What is this “Licence-payer”?

    Remember, that if you watch TV, you’ll probably end up more ingnorant afterwards …
    I’m sure that both the information-content and signal/noise ratio of most TV programmes is negative …..

  8. tom p says:

    G. Tingey – In the UK you need to have a license to own a television. We pay about £100 a year, which goes 100% to fund the BBC’s TV, radio and internet output. That’s why, whenever the BBC is criticised, people often talk about ‘license payers’.
    As for the information content being negative, it depends entirely on the information you’re seeking. If you’re after information on holidays, then I’d suggest that a holiday programme is probably useful for you and would provide you with the information you seek.
    Most drama/comedy shows tend to have no factual information in them, but then they probably don’t actually diminish your store of information either.
    I saw an informative documentary on the history and development of poisons last night. I definitely learned from it.

  9. Christopher Shell says:

    It’s all a matter of (a) balance and (b) motive.
    (a) There are people who sum up an individual on the basis of one embarrassing (& possibly unrepresentative, or even misunderstood) moment in their past. Such ppl include bullies and some journalists. Few would support this.
    (b) One is not always sure of the purity of journalists’ motives. Money, sensation and selling more papers tend to come into the equation.

  10. tom p says:

    But Beyer’s quote is neither unrepresentative nor from his past (a word which implies that it was a long time ago and unrelated to his present situation).
    It is a perfect example of his mindless rentaquote idiocy. The man exists purely to pronounce on things, usually to unintentionally comic effect.
    Frankly knowing who is speaking is always relevant to what they are saying. For example, if mother teresa said she was trying to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people, you’d take it that she’s trying to help. If Hitler said it, you’d take it as justification for killing disabled, mentally ill & mentally handicapped people.
    Therefore, if this quote were to be used to highlight Beyer’s general publicity hungry idiocy, then it would let people know that whatever he says is to be taken with a pinch of salt and that he’ll say almost anything to get in the papers.

  11. Christopher Shell says:

    OK – re ‘past’ I meant that it it were incessantly wheeled out in the future it would be a ‘past’ quote.
    A person’s most extreme quote, by virtue of being extreme, is thereby not representative. One can generally tell a person’s motives from whether they choose an extreme quote or a representative one. It is only the representative one which will give one some idea of a person they have never met – and even then not by any means a full idea of that person.

  12. tom p says:

    However, in this case the quote is representative of Beyer’s whole MO. Were he to stay in his present position for the next 50 years and only say sensible things, then continuing to hold this quote against him would be unfair. But we all know he won’t. He’s going to carry on being a tedious worthless rentaquote idiot, desperate to get in The Hate Mail, and thus this, quite startling example of his idiocy, more so than usual, will in those circumstances be appropriate to hold against him.
    After all, he is an adult who knows what he’s doing, and it’s not like he’s being misrepresented or quoted out of context here, this is published on his own website.
    And I wasn’t talking about just publishing it everywhere for the hell of it, only in the context of when he gives a quote, so the readers know of whom they read.

  13. Christopher Shell says:

    Can anyone’s worst quote be representative? By virtue of being worst, it would not be representative. By virtue of being representative, it would not be worst.

  14. Stuart says:

    This reminds me a bit of the old joke about various newspapers and their readers that used to get wheeled out at party conferences.
    Essentially, what Beyer is saying is that BBC programming shouldn’t be dictated by the people who govern the BBC, and it definitely shouldn’t be dictated by the people who work for the BBC, but it is the god-given right to dictate BBC programming of people whose invisible friend has told them how to do so.

  15. tom p says:

    However, in this case the quote is representative of Beyer’s whole MO

    Your entire comment 13 is irrelevant because you did not address the fundamental point underpining the whole of my argument. It’s barely his worst quote, simply the best representation of his idiocy. If you’ve got it, flaunt it, baby.
    Stuart – I like your ideas and wish to subscribe to your newsletter (to slightly misquote Homer J. simpson)

  16. Christopher Shell says:

    OK, but how can anyone take seriously such a monochrome/uniform and unnuanced account of any person’s views? Let alone one verging on abuse (which tends to go with lack of thought)?
    Unless someone points out both pros and cons, they tend to be either an ideologue or someone unaccustomed to seeing different sides of a situation. After all, no-one’s views are all bad – or all good. Not even yours or mine. 😮

  17. Garry says:

    Unless someone points out both pros and cons, they tend to be either an ideologue or someone unaccustomed to seeing different sides of a situation.
    This reminds me of someone. Oh,what’s his name again? One sided arguments, an ideologue, can’t see different sides to a situation…
    No, I give up, sorry, I just can’t remember.

  18. Christopher Shell says:

    Can I jog your memory? 😮
    I guess the solution is for debate contributions to set things out in pros and cons. It’s one of the only ways of ensuring that participants are not partisan.

  19. Garry says:

    Hi Dr Shell. I couldn’t agree more. Like this perhaps:
    It is plainly evident that some young people are emulating precisely the behaviour and activities that are being demonstrated in the pornography, apparently, unhindered by the criminal law and with no known admonition from the political establishment.
    A balance addition to the debate on censorship, clearly written by someone with an open mind and no axe to grind.

  20. Garry says:

    Or this:
    Remember – switching off and remaining silent, or grumbling to your friends and neighbours, will change nothing!
    Here we can see a positive contribution to the debate on censorship in the 21st century, a contribution absolutely removed from ideological bias.
    Perhaps we could compose a list of the good directors comments in order to diplay their nuanced nature.

    (And it should say balanced in my previous comment, not balance. Doh!)

  21. Christopher Shell says:

    I agree. It’s no good writing ‘it’s plainly evidenc’. If it is plainly evident, there must be one of two things: statistical evidence or conceptual overlap.

  22. tom p says:

    However, if it’s only wheeled out in conjunction with whatever is Beyer’s latest sondbite, then it’s putting the con to the pro that is ‘Media Watchdog, John Beyer, said”, which is the sort of phrase that usually accompanies his latest blast of idiocy and is phrased to give him a spurios credibility. Whenever he speaks, he’s the pro (albeit very amateurish). Using this quote to point out he’s a rentaquote idiot would be the con and would be providing the balance for once. duh!