Dawkins’ doc complaints dismissed

Ofcom received 23 complaints (PDF download) about Richard Dawkins’ two-part documentary The Root of All Evil?. The complainants considered the programme:

a) showed a negative portrayal of religious beliefs and called religious faith “a virus”, and that this was both offensive and harmful;

b) contained inflammatory comments, slanderous remarks and atheist
propaganda, which resulted in possible incitement to religious hatred;

c) allowed an “ill-informed” presenter to treat religion with “ridicule and scorn”,
and misrepresented religious views, which – along with disingenuous editing –
offered no opportunity for debate. As there was no balancing programme on
the same service, this resulted in an approach to the religious matters being
explored that was not responsible;

d) allowed the presenter to air bigoted, intolerant, biased and anti-religious

e) attempted to promote religious (i.e. atheist) views by stealth;

f) generally contravened Ofcom’s rules on due impartiality and due accuracy;

g) focused on the behaviour and beliefs of “religious extremists”, with little
reference to moderate/mainstream religious belief and practice, and that
therefore this was misleading;

Ofcom ruled that the programme was a carefully-worded polemic which provided opportunities for counter-argument, did not incite hatred, reflected a range of religious views, and fairly pre-warned viewers as to its likely nature and tone.

Not in breach. Of course.

A good summary of the programme can be read at PSOM, and video interviews of various religious loonies are here.

7 Responses to “Dawkins’ doc complaints dismissed”

  1. martyn says:

    I wonder how it would go down if a couple of hundred like minded people were to phone in and complain about some of the offensive lyrics in hymns during songs of praise?

  2. Andy A says:

    Quite! Religious propaganda is always with us. Like the poor.

  3. davblog says:

    Root Of All Evil Complaints Dismissed…

    Richard Dawkins’ programme The Root of All Evil? generated 23 complaints to Ofcom. The latest Ofcom bulletin is published today……

  4. Marc Draco says:

    Maybe we should, Martyn (comment 1), maybe we should!

  5. Hang about – promote atheist views “by stealth”? STEALTH?!!?! Honestly, I think Professor Dawkins would be the first to say his programmes were a pretty bloody overt promotion of atheism! Evidently the message is a bit too subtle for some of the complainers, and he should title his next film, column or public pronouncement on the subject “Religion: It’s For Mugs, Really, Isn’t It?”

  6. Monitor says:

    Yes, that particular one received short shrift from Ofcom:

    This rule concerns programming that purports to be one thing, but ultimately intends to acquire converts to a belief-system by not revealing its true intention. The viewpoint of the series Root of All Evil was clear and identifiably atheist from the outset. Atheism, by definition, is not a ‘religion’ and so does not fall under this particular category.

  7. G, Tingey says:

    I think you all forget just how persistent these bigots and brain-dead bellievers are …..