Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Further comments to the BBC re Jody McIntyre

I have responded to Kevin Bakhurst's editor's blog on the BBC and my comment "awaits moderation." I publish it here just in case it never sees the light of day there.

Dear Mr Bakhurst

It is quite immoral of you to insinuate that the strength of feeling generated by Ben Brown's interrogation (it was not an interview) with Jody McIntyre is some kind of shadowy "internet campaign". I watched the interview yesterday and was appalled by what I saw. I immediately wrote the following complaint to the BBC:
[Here I post my original complaint]

Feeling strongly about it, I then posted the content of the complaint to my blog and tweeted, as I always do with newly published blogs, the fact of its publication. Soon, my tweet had been re-tweeted a number of times and I had been contacted by a number of people who shared my dismay - all of us spontaneously coming to the same conclusions about the interview. We are all individuals but we share a sense of outrage here. Your dismissal of that as an "internet campaign" is insidious, the same insidiousness shown by Ben Brown when insinuating that Mr McIntyre has somehow earned his treatment at the hands of the police.

As for Mr McIntyre being "treated the same" as anyone else, the meanest glance at disability legislation will tell you that provisions must be made for some disabled people so that their treatment can be consistent with the treatment given to others; Ben Brown not allowing a man with cerebral palsy more time to get his answers out, cutting him off and barking at him in the way he might bark at a convicted criminal, is in direct contravention of the act. And as others have said, the suggestion in any case that you would treat Superintendent Julia Pendry or HRH The Prince of Wales in this manner is risible, simply risible.

I am going to take my complaint to Ofcom, as it is clear to me that the BBC is not capable of listening with sensitivity to this complaint.
You can complain to Ofcom here.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The BBC and Jody McIntyre

The following is the text of an email I have written to the BBC news with regard to their appalling interview with Jody McIntyre, a young man of whom footage has come to light of police dragging him from his wheelchair at the student protest in Parliament Square last week.

Dear BBC News

I am writing to express, in the strongest terms, my dismay at your broadcast interview on News24 with Jody McIntyre, a disabled young man who was talking about his experiences with the police at the demonstration in Parliament Square on 9 December 2010. The attitude taken by your interviewer was condescending and accusatory. He even stooped to imply that Mr McIntyre shouting was in some way justification for the police pulling him out of his wheelchair. The interviewee was rightly taken aback by the suggestion and stood up for himself admirably. But the point is that you were not dealing with a convicted criminal nor a career politician and such a bellicose interview technique on a young man who has clearly been the recipient of violence (we have evidence on film of this) is quite beyond the pale.

What I will finally ask you is, if you had interviewed the Prince of Wales or his wife about their experiences that night, would you have taken such a confrontational stance in questioning them? I think that we all know the answer and so we are faced with the truth, that the BBC are taking the side of power and privilege in the reporting of this story - and how many other stories might we say that about? Mr McIntyre was correct to draw a comparison with your reporting of the Palestinian conflict.

I work at a University where we all work very hard at ensuring that especially vulnerable students and staff, for example those with disabilities, are treated with respect and allowed to recount their experience with dignity. No doubt the BBC believes that it practises to the same standard. On the evidence of this interview, in which your journalist showed his opinions and colours only too clearly, you have failed to live up to any kind of civilised standards. If your interviewer were a member of staff here and had spoken to a disabled student in that fashion when listening to a complaint, he would be on disciplinary as a result.

You can follow Jody Mcintyre, and offer your support, on twitter. Details of how you complain about BBC news are here.

UPDATE: The interview is on YouTube now. Every one can see and hopefully many will complain about Ben Brown's appalling behaviour.