Over the last months there have been regular marches and demonstrations against the massive cuts in state spending being forced by the EU in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece. Indeed in Greece these protests have frequently escalated into full scale riots.
The BBC has, of course, reported on these protests but in a strangely disconnected manner. The levels of anger and frustration are made obvious and the fact that the austerity programmes are the result of pressure from the EU (aka Merkel/Sarkozy) is clearly noted.
But that’s where it ends. There is little background or follow up – the journalism is very two dimensional. Now this is odd because there is nothing more that the BBC likes to do than to dig deep into any protest/riot. G20, Tottenham/Croydon August 2011, Occupy and Syria…..the agitation is lovingly filmed and often carefully choreographed for the cameras, just in time for the evening news. Individual protesters (usually young and photogenic) are interviewed with a hushed and reverential air and over the days there springs from out of nowhere a veritable tsunami of in depth analysis which is usually skewed against the powers that be. Within a fortnight or so there appears the Panorama documentary and six to twelve months later the play/film/opera dramatising the whole event with a cast of heroes…and villains.
The villains – they are always central to the whole performance. Bankers, Oil companies, government ministers – all wheeled out and deconstructed in the name of truth and journalistic rigour. Yet the script has been changed for these Mediterranean protests. There are no villains in this epic – no shadowy figures to abuse, excoriate or condemn. No implication of a deep laid conspiracy to suppress freedom.
Nobody to blame.
Of course you and I know only too well who to blame. They are the cartel of bureaucratic bunglers and con artists who cobbled together the gigantic scam that is the Euro a decade or so back. They are the guilty men and women. In any other situation the BBC would be hunting them down with mike and camera, confronting them in their glittering taxpayer funded offices in Brussels, metaphorically tarring and feathering them in the name of justice and revenge.
But the BBC could never perform that function against the EU, not in a million years. For it is essentially the PR arm of the EU. It has shamelessly pimped this raddled harlot across our airwaves for decades. It would be like the pope flourishing a condom. To admit this monumental failure on the part of the EU elite would demand a degree of honesty and conscience that is simply beyond the pale for any BBC chattering class apparatchik.
Sorry, people…move along there, nothing to see here. Why not look over there at Tesco or that travellers site or the anti capital protest – we’ve already got scores of reporters and the whole team of Today and Newsnight presenters covering those much more important stories…
You see all that criticism of the EU is simply not…helpful….it undermines the narrative and we at the BBC always appreciate the big picture….