Sunday, 5 June 2011

Balance, Bias, Catholicism (BBC)

The BBC has a worldwide reputation for balanced reporting, it repeatedly assures us.

Consider the Sunday programme this morning, for example. One item was on in-breeding and genetic risk, with particular reference to the Moslem population in Bradford, where there is a cultural norm of marrying first cousins. A very careful report explained that this did increase risk of genetic disorders, but the increase was small. A study was being undertaken to look at precisely what the real evidence was. The report concluded with a brief interview with a chap from Bradford who had married his first cousin and had two children with (if memory serves) haemophilia. He stated that he was happy with his lot, would have it no other way, and would not have made a different decision even if people had informed him of the increased risk to any children of the marriage. There was no editorial comment on his interview. All very respectful...

Next up was an item no Caritas Internationalis, and the fact the Vatican had not approved the reappointment of its serving head. There were two Catholic interviewees for this item: and guess what? Both stated the Vatican had got it wrong. One attributed this at least in part to sexist prejudices, both to centralising controlling behaviour, and one to a clericalism that mistrusted lay people in important jobs (though the job has in fact gone to a lay person, as it always has for years...).

There was nobody there to put the Catholic point of view (oh, sorry, they were both Catholics, we were told - I must mean the Vatican point of view, of course...) Nobody to say why the Vatican (and indeed many lay Catholics) have lost confidence in the charitable work being done in the Church’s name and with money donated by the faithful.

Instead we were told that it was none of the Vatican’s business, and that Caritatis Internationalis was a democratic organisation, so it is up to the members who should lead it: democracy, after all, trumps Faith, Morals, and anything else.

Is it just me, or would the BBC have treated this story in a different way if it had been about any other religious group?

Or perhaps nobody from Catholic Voices was available or willing to stand up for the Church...?

1 comment:

Patricius said...

Like a lot of Catholics I tend not to hear such programmes- mainly because I go to a relatively early mass. Come to think of it I am not sure I would want to listen to a BBC religious affairs programme before going to mass. It could too easily become an occasion of sin.

As for the BBC being the best and most balanced- we know this because they have told us so for as long as I can remember!