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Comment: BBC’s Gay execution debate was murderous breach of impartiality

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  1. Robert Aimes 17 Dec 2009, 1:32pm

    ‘Should LGBT people and anyone who thinks dignity and justice is important, consider boycotting the BBC and refuse to pay their TV licences?’

    I already boycott the BBC as it has nothing worth watching and it’s news reporting is completely biased.

    As for a license boycott.

    Why not……

  2. “So, anyone holding a discussion on homosexuality has a moral obligation to inform readers that there is no ground for controversy in the first place. All medical, psychological, sociological and psychiatric experts are crystal clear that homosexuality is a natural, neutral, harmless way by which a small proportion of the population expresses love. Any ‘controversy’ about homosexuality was buried by the experts 40 years ago…..Armed with this information, almost all readers can see that even a debate on whether homosexuality is ‘wrong’, is inappropriate.”
    There being no scientific controversy about the nature of homosexuality does not entail that there it is not an object of moral dispute, or can be disputed on a moral basis.
    I suppose you could say the fact that scientific experts say that homosexuality is natural shows there is no moral controversy about homosexuality, since the the argument ‘homosexuality is natural’ is a moral premiss. It is a moral premiss and certainly a value judgement (and therefore not a scientific statement). But this argument relies on the assumption that the only moral ovjection to homosexuality is the ‘it’s not natural’ argument. There are other arguments made, all equally fallacious, I might add.
    The writer of the article also seems to infer “a debate on whether homosexuality is ‘wrong’, is inappropriate” from the strong genetic or hormonal basis homosexuality may have. This is a very poor argument. There may be a genetic or hormonal basis for any number of things, for example, over-eating, or a tendency to be annoying. By the logic of the write, this would entail, “a debate on whether over-eating/being annoying is ‘wrong’, is inappropriate”. This is absurd.
    People need to use stronger arguments against the bigots, such as the fact that loving consensual relationships, between two people cause no harm, and in fact, often cause lots of good and happiness.
    “The question treats the immorality of homosexuality as a foregone conclusion, and invites a discussion on the extent to which homosexuality is immoral or criminal. Incredibly, it even implies that a debate about the execution of gay people had two equal, legitimate sides.”
    That’s not true. I can start a debate now, with the motion: Should cannabis users be hanged?” That implies nothing about my attitude or the appropriate attitude to cannabis users. By analogy, the same is true of homosexuality.

  3. @Luke – I worry if you cannot see that stating “Should cannabis users be hanged” implies a huge amount of moral judgement not to mention an ignorance of basic facts. You might be just one person sitting in your front room wondering if they should or not – but putting up a senational headline on a message board on one of the most widely use sites in the world is a whole heap of difference.

    Homosexuality is moral for some – for most sane people, it just ‘is’. Like being male is natural and amoral. I’ll think you’ll find that being male is largely genetic and hormonal and as such out of the control of the individual. Your comparison to cannabis use is spurious indeed.

  4. I’d be interested to hear comments from the Corporation’s gay ‘talent’ on this outrage – Evan Davies, Graham Norton, Stephen Fry …. … anyone heard something from any of them yet?

  5. Simon Murphy 17 Dec 2009, 3:36pm

    What is your agenda Luke?

    You are appearing in all these threads about the BBC making statements about ‘freedom of speech’ but refusing to answer questions about whether you think a debate on whether the Holocaust is justifiable is an appropriate debate.

    I’m not certain but I get the impression that you may be a troll trying legitimise a debate about whether genocide against gay people is justifiable.

    *Note to Pink News – can you keep an eye on this Luke character – I suspect he may be another Rahman or Monkeychops.

    ** By the way I am simply exercising MY freedom of speech in asking whether you are a troll.

  6. ….hence, I refer to homosexuality as ‘neutral’ (harmless) as well as ‘natural’ expression of love. As the APA statement, linked, removes moral as well as scientific controversy. It helps to read the article properly, Luke. And indeed, you, or Jan Moir, or the National Front website, could have such a discussion on cannabis users, but the BBC, with its commitment to impartiality, and not giving equal time to nonsense, cannot.

    Actually, I can imagine a discussion on ‘when should the state regulate private relationships?’.

  7. Simon Murphy 17 Dec 2009, 4:17pm

    Yet another pathetic non-apology on the BBC website:

  8. Now I wish I had called for Stead’s resignation now after seeing the above link from Mr Murphy. This is a case of covering each other’s backs.

  9. The BBC says it celebrates diversity. Not much of a celebration IMO. Why don’t the just admit the truth i.e. they hate gays.

  10. I’m not overly impressed with the apology either. But it is an untypical move from the Beeb to make even that much of a retraction, so I will choose to see it as an admission that they got it wrong and hope (perhaps in vain) that they’ve learned something from it.

    In that case, for me, we then hit a whole new difficulty. Peter Horrocks sees it as the BBC’s job to provide Africa with a platform for debate. And I’m really concerned that this should not be the Beeb’s remit. I think providing global access to BBC’s services is wholly different from providing a specific service “for the benefit of” other countries or continents.

    I spend much of my time outside the UK, and have one web browser which accesses the internet through a UK proxy (ie. as if I were in the UK.) The BBC web site I see between the UK and international view is remarkably different. I won’t say that pages from the UK and international sites are blocked from the browsers of the other, but they are often well concealed. If you think the Beeb has an international role in promoting the UK abroad, you could be pretty disturbed by the reality.

  11. The shock generated by the BBC (Africa desk) putting such an outrageous question online as if it’s just a matter of opinion, has hopefully helped publicise what is going on in Uganda and other African countries as a result of the campaign of misinformation and fearmongering by US evangelists and their local fanatical friends. These extremists are at work in Europe and Asia too.

    Strange though that I’ve seen nothing on the BBC news broadcasts about what’s going on, and no documentaries, which I would have expected by now. When Uganda expelled all the Asians in the 1970s there was plenty of coverage then, and the UK gave them a home.

    But I believe the BBC acted in a way that clearly invited simple homophobic responses rather than rational debate (if that is even possible on such an issue). The BBC also omitted a lot of information and background in the introduction, such as how the proposed law affects the rest of the population of Uganda with it’s McCarthyite punishments on anyone who knows a gay person and doesn’t turn them in, or tries to tell the truth about gay people, or support them in any way.

    On that last point, the guy who posts the Gay Uganda blog, today quotes the proposer of the bill, Bahati, as saying if his own brother was gay he would arrest him himself and take him to the police station. This is the family values of the fundamentalists.

    “THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2009

    The love of a Brother
    Told you of my brother,… the one who is a Pentecostal Pastor. I would trust him with a knife to my throat.

    Yes I would.

    That is why I went to him when I felt I needed to come out to my family. That is why I went to him with an almost impossible request. I love him. We differ in many things, but, he is blood, and he is my brother.

    Where I grew up, I learnt that family, extended family, clan, tribe. Those were the things that mattered.

    I have other brothers, and other sisters. I know that they know my sexuality. With most, I have not talked. With some, I am not that close. But, they are family. They are blood. And, that small fact wipes out all our differences. Even if I am gay.

    But, David Bahati would report his brother to the police. Indeed, he would arrest him himself. Here:

    “It is the first bill Bahati has ever written, and he calls it a “very wonderful piece of legislation.” His bill would impose the death penalty on adults who have gay sex with minors. And it would jail anyone who fails to report gay activity to police within 24 hours.
    And what if his brother were engaging in homosexual activity?
    “I’d arrest him myself and take him to the police,” Bahati says.”


  12. Peter Theakston 17 Dec 2009, 6:02pm

    Superb article Adrian…. head should roll at the BBC 1) for posting this in the first place and 2) for the non-apology (a la Jan Moir) they sent out…
    Homophobia is now one of the fastest growing diseases in Africa..

  13. Jean-Paul Bentham 17 Dec 2009, 6:46pm

    Very good, Adrian. Still, I wish more was being said about “concerned”‘s first paragraph at post 12:

    “The shock generated by the BBC (Africa desk) putting such an outrageous question online as if it’s just a matter of opinion, has hopefully helped publicise what is going on in Uganda and other African countries as a result of the campaign of misinformation and fear-mongering by US evangelists and their local fanatical friends. These extremists are at work in Europe and Asia too.”

    “The Family” is an international reality, not a conspiracy theory.

  14. “Superb article Adrian…. head should roll at the BBC”

    The BBC unofficial motto when blunders occur is Assistant heads must roll, but in cases like this, it seems, the motto is No heads must roll

  15. Adrian – this is a prime example of why I value your opinion on these threads to the extent that I do. Spot on.
    Keep it up!

  16. it’s pathetic that users like Luke comment without even understanding why there’s a problem plus this was a pathetic question by the BBC

  17. I wish Adrian had dwellwd a bit on the context that the BBC posted immediately after the question:

    “Yes, we accept it is a stark and disturbing question. But this is the reality behind an anti-homosexuality bill being debated on Friday by the Ugandan Parliament’

    Yet, the overhelming number of responses supported the bill. It seems to me therefor that, had thhe answers been different, there would have been no resulting outrage. The BBC has actually done a service- exposing homophobia in the UK. In other words, the average Brit is no different from the Ugandan…

  18. Tony: “Yet, the overwhelming number of responses supported the bill.”

    Well I don’t know how much you read of it, but I went through the lot, and I would say it was 10:1 against. Even most people that didn’t like gay people, or felt homosexuality was wrong still felt that this was way over the top, and tantamount to legalised murder.

    Most of those that did support the bill were Africans, Muslims, or both. However, I think it’s good to have those comments, as it brings reality back with a jolt that homophobia is still alive and well, and we should not relax in complacency.

    Personally, I think the headline could have been more delicately worded, but ho hum, I see it as no big deal if it draws people in for debate. I’ve been doing the same on here and other sites for years…

  19. I never watch the BBC, and will continue to favour other channels for news and information.

  20. Stop paying tv license fees – the end of BBC – simple

  21. Rich: “Stop paying tv license fees – the end of BBC – simple”

    Get caught, go to court, get fined, go to prison for refusal to pay. BBC continue on regardless.


  22. It is true that there were many comments condemning the homophobes. It’s always good to expose them, but the framing of the question was whacko lunacy.

    What I want to see from the BBC is to provide the readers and its audience the facts:

    An easily accessible fact page for BBC African users on homosexuality:

    – what is homosexuality?
    – what do the experts think about it (e.g. American Psychological Association’s positioning statements)
    – can people change? (links to genetic, biological research)
    – can people be tempted into it?
    – what is life like for gay people (case studies on experiences, negative and positive, of gay couples in africa and europe)
    – religious positions on homosexuality
    – common fears / myths

    That would be responsible journalism, helping people educate themselves and form their own opinions about the matter.

  23. Yes, the bbc is breaking its own code of conduct as it quite clearly states on the have your say page they willnot tolerate x, y, z, and Homophobic comments!!!! Given the amount of Gay people who work at the BBC this is not only an own goal but a disgusting lack of thought!

  24. Jean-Paul Bentham 19 Dec 2009, 9:58am

    Luke (2):

    Could you repeat that, please. Possibly re-phrasing.

  25. Steven Capsuto 21 Dec 2009, 8:06pm

    Your headline reads “BBC’s Gay execution debate was murderous breach of impartiality.” Are you completely unfamiliar with the word “impartiality”?

    You seem to be suggesting that allowing only one side to voice its views is “impartial” but allowing both sides to speak is not. Unless my copy of the Oxford dictionary is defective, you’re wide of the mark.

    We can argue whether the poll was a wise editorial decision, but don’t hide behind the guise of promoting impartiality.

  26. John(Derbyshire) 26 Dec 2009, 2:15pm

    THE BBC ARE AT IT AGAIN!! Last night`s “Royle Family” was nothing more than homophobic slurs from beginning to end!! When is the licence payer sponsored HOMOPHOBIA EVER going to be banished from our screens!!!???

  27. dave wainwright 10 Jan 2010, 5:43pm

    this is not the first time the bbc has prompted homophobia in its reporting , last year their reporting of the popes comments were also inflammatory in the way the item was reported, their switchboard was jammed with complaints for two hours and the item was dropped for some hours whilst they attempted to give a better balanced news item under pressure from complaints, the bbc is actively engaged in homophobic stereo typing and inflammatory and anti gay propaganda and should be brought to book , they should be further be reminded that a large per centage of their license payers are lgbt people , furthermore it is high time that LGBT pride was given a similar profile and coverage as the notting hill carnival, being as it is one of the major dates and events on the capitals social calender

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