Sunday 1 June 2014

That BBC Plain Packaging Advert

One of the reasons we are coerced to pay for the BBC, at pain of hefty fines or (currently) imprisonment, is that the licence fee is its only revenue stream. It doesn't carry ads so Nanny Beeb's fingers are allowed to rifle our wallets with full backing of the clunking fist of government.

In return, we are promised that the BBC is fiercely independent, apolitical and scrupulously impartial. Imagine our surprise, then, on Thursday night to have been served up an hour long advert - far longer than the standard 30 seconds commercial channels derive income from - for plain packaging which was blatantly biased ... less than a week before the Queen's speech which Labour politicians are desperately hoping will include the policy.

We've seen some shit from the BBC on public health issues over the years (re-writing of an article on e-cigs overnight last week to add seven bells of prohibitionist toss was a particular doozy) but this tops it all.

Saving me the task, Snowdon has a comprehensive and accurate account here which I urge you to read if you haven't done so already. Of course, you can still watch the propaganda documentary yourself at this link for another 10 days if you're in the UK.

Incredibly, the first 5 minutes of the programme told us that:
"Smoking among 20 to 34 year olds has actually increased in the last few years"
Which suggests that the massive escalation of tobacco control industry activity in the past decade - as we fellow jewel robbers know very well - has been a disastrous failure.
"Everyone knows that smoking kills"
Yes, because as the programme-maker rightly says.
"Smokers can't fail to be aware of the health risks, they scream out from every packet"
So no need for plain packaging then, surely?

Yet the subsequent 55 minutes ignored all that and became, as Christopher Stevens in the Mail put it, "not a documentary but a polemic" and all in favour of ... plain packaging.

There's a reason for that, as Stevens also alluded to.
[Documentary veteran Peter Taylor] only knows one tune: The Evils Of Tobacco
Because, as he admits in his show, he's been playing this scratched record for 40 years now. How the BBC could not be aware that he would produce something so one-sided and contrary to their stated aims of fairness, impartiality and political independence is anyone's guess. Perhaps the BBC didn't give a stuff, I dunno.

However, they should very much care because Peter Taylor is one of the old school prohibitionists, the ones described so very well by George Ade in 1931 when America was finally waking up to the horror of alcohol prohibition.
The non-drinkers had been organising for fifty years and the drinkers had no organization whatsoever. They had been too busy drinking.
Taylor has been despising tobacco companies for nearly as long as I've been alive! While the rest of us have been enjoying life and having adventures, this man has dedicated himself to a particular sad hateful obsession. How can we blame him for taking advantage of the BBC's lax standards to produce a quite appalling piece of one-sided, timely political indoctrination on their mainstream highbrow channel?

After all, he makes it clear early on what his game is.
"Who finally wins the decisive battle over plain packaging has still to be decided"
This is true. The political debate is not yet over, especially considering those not consumed with hatred like Taylor are significantly opposed to plain packaging, despite the health lobby trying to ignore it. But Taylor seized his chance and used the BBC like a cheap whore to try to sway the "decisive battle" in favour of his corrupt tobacco control industry friends.

He was recently described as “honest, scrupulously fair and deeply insightful” but there was no sign of that in Thursday's offering, just snidey editing and policy-led advocacy which goes against everything the BBC claims to care about.

Perhaps someone should mention it to them.


PJHH said...

"It doesn't carry ads..."

Objection M'lud - it's full of adverts.

Radio 2 advertising Eastenders.

BBC 1 advertising Just a Minute.

Any news item featuring something upcoming on some BBC channel.

Once this has been pointed out and you learn to look/listen for them, you cannot fail to notice how frequently adverts appear on the BBC.

truckerlyn said...

I started to watch this programme and quickly realised it was nothing but blatant propoganda and there would be no impartiality, no views from the other side, nothing but a sledge hammer driving home the rabid views of the presenter. I switched off.

Yes, we all know that smoking CAN kill, but does not necessarily. Same as being knocked down by a bus can kill you, but not necessarily - some are killed others survive. That is just life. When you time is up, your time is up, regardless of what you do!

If smoking is the way I am meant to go then so be it, but I would rather die that way than live a life, possibly longer, fighting harder against depression and anxiety, that smoking helps to alleviate, and popping more and more pills and very probably being unemployable.

moonrakin said...

If one spends time outside the UK bubble (and oh, boy! is it a bubble!) The BBC's poncing in advertising becomes very clear - Rolex alone must be paying them millions....

The alternate funding contingency project is far removed from even the vestigial transparency they're reputedly subject to in domestic distribution channels - there's a lot of assholes taking / making a lot of (your) money..

I do not think it's me getting older and grumpier - I have challenged myself on this innumerable times. The corporation's output has simply gone into free fall. I can't even casually turn on the car radio because I know that within 30 minute max I will hear something that's manifestly untrue, driven by political correctness and slimy, smug mendacious advocacy.

FreeMediaFan said...

The BBC is a disease no true Democracy can tolerate
An honest modern state would have put it to sleep decades ago
It has been an harbour for perverts,child molesters,Fabians,Trots,Liberals and other assorted decadents since the 50s

An Observer said...

What was the BBC doing for 40+ years closing their eyes to their stars
molesting and violating the young,they were conducting a witch hunt for naughty catholic priests and the demonic smokers
In the 60s and 70s the BBC North cliques were well known for attracting young tarts to their "functions" a bit like a freshly dumped turd is a must for lusty bluebottles.

Mark Wadsworth said...

"[Documentary veteran Peter Taylor] only knows one tune: The Evils Of Tobacco"
haha, the joys of mild dyslexia - I though that said "The Elvis of Tobacco".

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX It doesn't carry adsxX Like FUCK it doesn't!

Every two bloody minutes an advert for some sand-nigger airline, or finance companys in Singapore, or similar!