Meeting Adam Curtis on Bitter Lake

president-roosevelt-meets-saudi-king-bitter-lake-adam-curtis

Most broadcasters – especially those who work at the BBC – must produce their programmes to conform to strict guidelines. They must be within five seconds of the required length, they must comply with a rigid format and they must meet the approval of layers of executives. There are a handful of prominent programme makers who are allowed to set their own guidelines. Alan Yentob (Imagine) is his own executive producer and allows himself the freedom to make his programmes as long as he thinks they should be. Stephen Poliakoff has spent much of his career not bothered by the … Continue reading

The BBC is not ‘left-wing’

You often hear the BBC described as having a ‘left-wing’ bias. This is despite all the evidence to the contrary. The logic behind such accusations seems to be that the state and its institutions are inherently ‘left-wing’. Although the BBC is somewhat removed from the market pressures heaped upon private companies, it is still subject to the same sorts of political pressures facing state bodies. The absence of advertising and corporate sponsors does not leave them totally beholding to the state. The BBC does enjoy an aloof relationship with the state. Of course, though the BBC is a public service … Continue reading

Catastroika

So Russia is now an active participant in the Syrian civil war. The pretext is standard: Islamic State must be defeated at any cost to the Syrian people. Yet the bombs are falling on other rebel targets – al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, no doubt – and civilian targets are not out of bounds. Russian bombs have already hit hospitals and medical centres. These incidents will only increase as the bombing continues, and the war continues to hurtle onward. As I wrote before the Russian army began bombing Syria, Vladimir Putin has a more coherent strategy than the Western powers – which … Continue reading