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BBC film editing row: Apology to the Queen, two fingers to the miners


Paul Rigby
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Non-UK members might well have missed the finer details of the brouhaha which arose when an independent film maker, on a BBC contract, edited film to suggest, quite erroneously, that Brenda had stormed out of a photo-shoot with an American photographer. And thank goodness, too, for the matter is of little interest, save to note the grovelling apologies of the Beeb’s hierarchy to our reigning greatness.

Far more interesting is the opportunity the row gave to some tiresome souls who insist upon refusing to forget the BBC’s MI5-directed role in propagandising against the miners during the strike that destroyed both them and the UK coal-mining industry in the mid-1980s. Four letters have recently been printed in the Guardian reminding us that the BBC engaged in a sustained and duplicitous campaign propaganda war in favour of Thatcher and the permanent state throughout that strike. The four can be read below. Astonishingly - or perhaps not – no apologies have yet been offered by anyone to the miners.

1) 14 July 2007, fifth letter down:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2126224,00.html

2) 26 July 2007, p.39:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2134594,00.html

3) 28 July 2007, p.33:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2136625,00.html

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Non-UK members might well have missed the finer details of the brouhaha which arose when an independent film maker, on a BBC contract, edited film to suggest, quite erroneously, that Brenda had stormed out of a photo-shoot with an American photographer. And thank goodness, too, for the matter is of little interest, save to note the grovelling apologies of the Beeb’s hierarchy to our reigning greatness.

Far more interesting is the opportunity the row gave to some tiresome souls who insist upon refusing to forget the BBC’s MI5-directed role in propagandising against the miners during the strike that destroyed both them and the UK coal-mining industry in the mid-1980s. Four letters have recently been printed in the Guardian reminding us that the BBC engaged in a sustained and duplicitous campaign propaganda war in favour of Thatcher and the permanent state throughout that strike. The four can be read below. Astonishingly - or perhaps not – no apologies have yet been offered by anyone to the miners.

1) 14 July 2007, fifth letter down:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2126224,00.html

2) 26 July 2007, p.39:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2134594,00.html

3) 28 July 2007, p.33:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2136625,00.html

In today’s Grauniad, yet more BBC news footage manipulation-by-editing from the 1980s recalled. This is proving to be a fruitful little series. What a pity the paper couldn’t assign a reporter to bring all these disparate items together. Or re-evaluate its slavish editorial support for this discredited organisation.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2137476,00.html

The two letters (Sense of injustice over strike reports, July 28) reminded me of a similar incident in the 80s. The TUC held a peaceful rally close to the Commons. Between us and a line of mounted police at the bottom of Whitehall were TV cameras. Suddenly floodlights came on and the mounted police charged towards us, stopping within 20 yards of the main crowd, then retreated. On that evening's TV news we saw the charge with the comment "police charge unruly trade unionists threatening parliament". Nothing could have been further from the truth.

David Buckle

Abingdon, Oxfordshire

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Non-UK members might well have missed the finer details of the brouhaha which arose when an independent film maker, on a BBC contract, edited film to suggest, quite erroneously, that Brenda had stormed out of a photo-shoot with an American photographer. And thank goodness, too, for the matter is of little interest, save to note the grovelling apologies of the Beeb’s hierarchy to our reigning greatness.

Far more interesting is the opportunity the row gave to some tiresome souls who insist upon refusing to forget the BBC’s MI5-directed role in propagandising against the miners during the strike that destroyed both them and the UK coal-mining industry in the mid-1980s. Four letters have recently been printed in the Guardian reminding us that the BBC engaged in a sustained and duplicitous campaign propaganda war in favour of Thatcher and the permanent state throughout that strike. The four can be read below. Astonishingly - or perhaps not – no apologies have yet been offered by anyone to the miners.

1) 14 July 2007, fifth letter down:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2126224,00.html

2) 26 July 2007, p.39:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2134594,00.html

3) 28 July 2007, p.33:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2136625,00.html

In today’s Grauniad, yet more BBC news footage manipulation-by-editing from the 1980s recalled. This is proving to be a fruitful little series. What a pity the paper couldn’t assign a reporter to bring all these disparate items together. Or re-evaluate its slavish editorial support for this discredited organisation.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2137476,00.html

The two letters (Sense of injustice over strike reports, July 28) reminded me of a similar incident in the 80s. The TUC held a peaceful rally close to the Commons. Between us and a line of mounted police at the bottom of Whitehall were TV cameras. Suddenly floodlights came on and the mounted police charged towards us, stopping within 20 yards of the main crowd, then retreated. On that evening's TV news we saw the charge with the comment "police charge unruly trade unionists threatening parliament". Nothing could have been further from the truth.

David Buckle

Abingdon, Oxfordshire

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Guest Stephen Turner

Ah Paul, it seems only yesterday...As a young radical shop steward(COHSE) in the early eighties, I and colleagues twice visited Yorkshire picket lines in acts of solidarity. On both occasions I witnessed acts of barbarity by the Coppers, that by the early evening news, had somehow become the Miners fault. Seamus Milne's The enemy within gives a wonderful insight into those crimes against the British working class. Perhaps we should start a thread on MI5, and Roger Windsors role in this?

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Guest Stephen Turner
Perhaps we should start a thread on MI5, and Roger Windsors role in this?

Fire away, sir...

Right you are, give me a day or two to gather my materials. "Wierd scene's outside the coalmine" Remember Silver birch?

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Non-UK members might well have missed the finer details of the brouhaha which arose when an independent film maker, on a BBC contract, edited film to suggest, quite erroneously, that Brenda had stormed out of a photo-shoot with an American photographer. And thank goodness, too, for the matter is of little interest, save to note the grovelling apologies of the Beeb’s hierarchy to our reigning greatness.

Far more interesting is the opportunity the row gave to some tiresome souls who insist upon refusing to forget the BBC’s MI5-directed role in propagandising against the miners during the strike that destroyed both them and the UK coal-mining industry in the mid-1980s. Four letters have recently been printed in the Guardian reminding us that the BBC engaged in a sustained and duplicitous campaign propaganda war in favour of Thatcher and the permanent state throughout that strike. The four can be read below. Astonishingly - or perhaps not – no apologies have yet been offered by anyone to the miners.

1) 14 July 2007, fifth letter down:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2126224,00.html

2) 26 July 2007, p.39:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2134594,00.html

3) 28 July 2007, p.33:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2136625,00.html

In today’s Grauniad, yet more BBC news footage manipulation-by-editing from the 1980s recalled. This is proving to be a fruitful little series. What a pity the paper couldn’t assign a reporter to bring all these disparate items together. Or re-evaluate its slavish editorial support for this discredited organisation.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2137476,00.html

The two letters (Sense of injustice over strike reports, July 28) reminded me of a similar incident in the 80s. The TUC held a peaceful rally close to the Commons. Between us and a line of mounted police at the bottom of Whitehall were TV cameras. Suddenly floodlights came on and the mounted police charged towards us, stopping within 20 yards of the main crowd, then retreated. On that evening's TV news we saw the charge with the comment "police charge unruly trade unionists threatening parliament". Nothing could have been further from the truth.

David Buckle

Abingdon, Oxfordshire

While Mr. Turner takes a trip down memory lane, armed only with a good book, and a burning sense of well-founded injustice, a view from inside the spook leviathan that is the BBC. If you’re a dedicated spook-spotter, have a long, hard look at who does – and who has done - the editing within the organisation’s various news fronts:

Chris Harnett, “Mourning the loss of impartiality on the BBC,” The Guardian, 6 November 2006, Media, p.4: “…I began my near 40-year broadcast career in BBC TV news. It was impartial then; it certainly isn’t now. I have seen my own visual material presented in an entirely different timeline, totally distorting the actual event that I witnessed, and at no time did the intellectually lazy journalists ask me what I witnessed. I also have seen raw camera material destined for both BBC and ITN come out in completely different forms on air. The bias in both cases was pro-establishment during the Thatcher years.”

Of course, there never was a golden age of impartiality at the BBC, as its actions during the 1926 miners’ strike demonstrated so graphically. When push came to shove, the Beeb served (serves) power, not the truth.

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