Really, Auntie Beeb? UPDATED


UPDATE: Success! The story’s headline is suddenly altered.

I usually go out of my way to resist the BBC-bashing instincts of many of my readers, mostly cuz I listen to the World Service every day and I know these guys do tremendous journalism in unbelievably tough circumstances all of the world day in and day out.

That said, the beeb’s Bambi insouciance on Venezuelan issues is really reaching an untenable extreme.



Really? These guys announce that they intend to to import – notice, announce that they intend to import – 1.3 rolls of TP per capita (what’s that? like a week’s worth if you’re stingy?) and THAT’S your headline?

If I announce that I intend to smack your headline writer upside the head for being a lazy hack, is the headline “Venezuelan blogger assaults BBC staff”?!!?

Ferchrissake. Listen, those guys you got dodging bullets in Aleppo are unbelievable. Just amazing journos doing amazing work. Best in the world, really, and you have my undying gratitude for empowering them to do the work they do.

But that does not give you carte blanche to phone it in when it comes to covering lower priority countries…

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  1. Knew somebody in the independent press who a couple of yars ago had access to official press agency people and who told me of how they were always so keen on monitoring what BBC in particular said , more so than any other publication , if it wasnt absolutely neutral in tone , they would rile up !! Cant understand why.

  2. Really, there is a simple explanation for this, which the post fails to explore. If persons employed at the BBC simply use this product on a twice per year basis, then the headline would be fully justified, as the supply being purchased would last a generation. Speaking as an intellectual, I must say, “no hay que desculi-fecar!”

  3. Well, I don’t think it’s a phone in shitty job, this is due to the fact that they love a socialist anti American regime, Chavez and Castro for that matter, so every time they can avoid reality and go back to their unicorn liberal dreams and mitigate the news they will do it. Just like that. Keep it fair and balanced you know. :O

  4. There is a very simple process to complain about stuff like that in their online platform. If a few of us files a complaint, then they might edit this evident mistake. I’ve done my bit in this sense. Kudos to FT for pointing it out.

  5. Has anyone noticed the amount of money involved? They’re budgeting $2 per roll. Either this corruption taken to ridicolus proportions, or they’re importing 39 million packages of, say, 12 rolls each, and just stealing about a quarter to half the money.

    The second option would actually end the acute shortage.

  6. Doesn’t anybody understand the ramifications of this situation? Now, there’s going to be toilet paper contraband, toilet paper cartels, people walking around with toilet paper in there pockets, people mugged or even killed for their toilet paper. This is serious!

  7. I guess the phrase “Fidel Castro put Venezolanos a comer mierda” would have been a better title to this piece… sigh…

  8. It doesn’t have to do with socialist US-hating people. It has more to do with the fact Venezuela comes last among Britain’s interests and BBC sends the less capable people there, often rookies, people who often don’t even speak the language, a few of them who are just on temporal contracts.

    The best BBC has to offer on foreign affairs is about some African regions and India…no surprise: colonial ties are stronger to those countries. Its reporting on the Middle East, on most of Asia and particularly continental Europe is rather weak. In a lot of places they don’t even send people who speak the language of the region and who have the proper background.

    • You might be right that they give more attention to the Arab word and Africa because of their proximity to Europe, BUT don’t kid yourself my friend the BBC knows exactly what’s going on in Venezuela and they choose to write antiseptically correct because it doesn’t fit their political template, somehow they think is fair to give them (Venezuela and Cuba’s regime) a chance. I am not saying that they are in bed with Maduro, or even if they like him or not, but somehow if they can play it lighty they will, because that’s their views of fair. Not because they don’t know, not because they don’t have time. Anything that Chavez did who was seen as “cool” was highlighted with the BBC. The america haters are cool, Chavez was cool. Maduro is nobody but as he the “president” of course they cover his government, but not with the same emphasis that Chavez had, because of the crazy things Chavez said that amused the brits. Still newsworthy.

      • I think their reporting about Arab countries is rather bad as well, actually. I prefer to that end to follow the news from the French (France 24, Le Monde), the Germans (ZDF, ARD), all sending people who know the region well and have a good command of the language(s) there or professionals such as Robert Fisk.

        But I know we differ quite a lot in what good journalism is.

        BBC does fine with such places as Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, India. Let’s say for Venezuela they send anybody, including a couple of pendejos sin fronteras. There is no “agenda” or such from the BBC, Feathers. There are not really so many “agendas” out there. It’s something else with the Russian public stations, which indeed have a very clear agenda: Putin’s.

          • Sorry, feathers, I think the issue is a little more complex — in part, my impression siding more with Kepler’s analysis.
            While likely there are editors/journos who have a US-hating agenda, and others who were once amused by Chávez’s antics, there are those, say, at the CBC (Cdn Broadcasting Corp) who have produced clichéd bytes for special radio shows (on Venezuela) because their producers (a) did not know any better, (b) understood that clichéd interviewees are generally more expedient and cost-effective, and (c) knew that the target audience would NEVER CARE or DEMAND OTHERWISE. That’s the sad thing.

          • No need to say sorry Syd, your opinion as well as Kepler is valid, however, thinking that only Fox News, Vladimir Putin and Globovision are the only news with political agendas are a little naive. It’s not matter of understanding, they know pretty well what’s going on. Don’t tell me you think they don’t know better. However I do agree that nobody cares what’s going on in the Banana Republic du jour.

          • Aljazeera, for being a relatively new and non-involved foreign reporting agency has had good stuff on Venezuela. I am actually moving more and more to their international reporting for decent information.

          • Of course Feathers,Very often people see the agenda of Fox News( which it has) but they do not see the agenda of that news is more in accordance with their beliefs.

          • Can you please define what you mean by your conspiracies? Please, be as concrete as possible.
            BBC is a public organisation that, although with some independence, responds to the interests of the UK government, specially when it comes to foreign affairs.

            Now, tell me who at the UK government sits with what people at the BBC in the board and discuss and plan what to do about “an agenda” in order to attack the USA?

            Feathers, the wars between United Kingdom and the USA are HISTORY.

            Now, please, tell me your conspiracy. Be as concrete as possible. I am sick and tired of these people from the conservatives coming up with the same kind of stories about agendas (the extreme right calls it “agenda”, the others something else I forgot)

          • Who is talking about a conspiracy? An agenda is not a conspiracy, is an agenda of some people who think, better, cannot leave their politics at the door. You are tired of “these” conservatives, well too bad what do you want me to say. You think only Fox News have an agenda? Or you think they are okay?

  9. Well sometimes they are not even journalists…10 years ago, or more, I met some people, either they were just in an adventour…and we’ll write some things in English for Newspapers, and when they actually send someone…they use to get the articles of Venezuelan journalist and make a summary of the 500 words or 1000 they were asked to write…

    • Pero, en el video, se incluyó el queso, “Venezuelan Beaver Cheese”, el cual, como tantas otras cosas, ya no se consigue: uno se encuentra reducido a llenar la boca con la misma lengua de uno, “tongue in cheek”, as it were.

  10. The Beeb, British Broadcasting Company, is ever less British but retains one characteristic of an erstwhile very respectable outfit, namely, an in-house culture of believing they are not perfect but pretty damn close, a culture that isn’t so much anti-American as 1950’s British snooty about it. The UK punched above its weight for the postwar decades (who says ‘postwar’ anymore?) owing to having done a sterling job during the war and speaking English, the language of the Americans, a detail which, together with a spot of shared history, has imbued them with the persuasion of enjoying a ‘special relationaship’ with them. Such persuasion, if ever it was grounded in fact, is more ragged than ever and often invisible to the practical eye (none of those detectable at nº 10!). Their reporting on Venezuela, with the ‘opinon from all sides’ fairness, so called, finishes up being subversive rubbish but ensures that BBC folk returning to the country won’t have any problem getting in. I have been very disappointed with them of late and watch them less and less. You don’t have to look for agendas with them; it’s worse, you have the problem of almost impenetrable BBC subculture for which, in some quarters, the technical term “arrogance” might be deemed applicable. But, as the famous 1890’s curate insisted, “ of it are excellent”, so too are the ‘parts’ that fall to Aaron Heselhurst!

  11. I stopped following the BBC once they started to get really anti-semitic, blaming Israel for every single thing that happens around the world. So this doenst come as a surprise.

  12. Do you mean that with all that is happening this is the article that they chose? Because I read the article and it did not seem very red.

  13. I have been watching BBC world news services quality going down since the early 2000s, Hands down, France 24, Aljazeera, and even DW have far better news and analysis nowadays. The rest is just regurgitating the 4 main news agencies (Reuters, AP, AFP and UP) or blatantly dishing out their own economic/political or personal crap agenda. At least the 3 I regularly watch are doing it with some “decor” and “restraint” . But, to be honest, nothing beats twitter for live events.

  14. Chavistas do not need imported toilet paper. They will just continue using the Venezuela Constitution as they have been doing for the last 14 years.

  15. No room to reply to Kepler’s utter defense of the sanctity of the BBC…

    “You are the one who needs to stop it if you are not able to explain what you mean by BBC having “an agenda”. There is a meaning to that word. I am not talking here about Fox. I am talking about BBC and Venezuela.
    BBC is an organisation with thousands of workers. Even BBC foreign affairs has over a hundred full time workers. You are implying by the word “agenda” there is some form of plan, that these things are not out of independent decisions of this or that journalist but product of a general plan with a certain purpose. By whom? If you can’t say it, it’s you who needs to stop. You see…you should really try to visit Europe, Asia, Africa, the rest of America, listen to people there, learn a bit about them. Things are not that simple.
    That’s all I have to say.”

    You are saying too much in fact, read my first comment, I am talking about people who work in the BBC, you are talking to biggest dimensions, with a movielike plot of people working in disguise… coming straight from your mind… not what I said. Your reading comprehension (and imagination!) mislead you badly my friend.

    Let me recap again, this was my first comment:

    “Well, I don’t think it’s a phone in shitty job, this is due to the fact that they love a socialist anti American regime, Chavez and Castro for that matter, so every time they can avoid reality and go back to their unicorn liberal dreams and mitigate the news they will do it. Just like that. Keep it fair and balanced you know. :O”

    Maybe your confusion was, who is “they”? In your imagination you saw a movie, I saw some dude writing the news based on his or her political mind. And I emphasized:

    “Probably writing the story with a red Che Guevara tshirt, listening to the woman screaming “terroristas” from the “Harlem Shake” or something on that line of fashion. Long time no see Firepigette :)”

    Then you made it as “the BBC” which I replied to you, in terms of the majority of people who work there, just like many agencies, they tent to lean one way or the other. But that’s not what I said first, you were commenting on your own, not precisely what I said.

    And, as far as visit the world, I have visited the 5 continents more than once, and I have close family and friend spread all over the world and as different you can imagine. I think I have a fair understanding of many places and views in this world. The fact I live now in the US doesn’t mind anything, I had lived in Europe too. And I travel frequently there when I can. You r not the only Venezuelan who has lived in Europe for you to give me a class about how the BBC and the political parties in the UK work. Or how is it different in Europe than in America. Catch up and focus on what people comment, not in your own stuff. You tent to take people’s comments and comment on what’s not said based on your own biases.

  16. Forgot to add, for you telling me that things are not that simple, you are the simpleton who didn’t understand my comment first, of what I was saying of anti America, it is a state of mind, very fashionable among people who think of themselves as intellectuals. Not a movielike agenda 60s style. Idiot.

  17. BBC antisemitic………….please!

    All thsi talk about Israel, Jews and Semites. I suggest you check who the Semites really were. And by the way think about the difference between Zionists, Israelis and Jews. Then it is easier to take a realistic stand on Israeli policies.


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