Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Is the job of a BBC journalist to investigate and report news in an impartial manner, or is it their job to disseminate a point of view without question?

Last Sunday, Catholic church opposition to marriage equality was given a great deal of air time on the BBC News channel. Presumably BBC religious affairs correspondent, Robert Pigott, had decided that the latest attempt to prevent equal marriage rights in Scotland actually constituted an important news story. (see previous blog)

Of course this was not the first time that a letter about same-sex marriage had been read out in Catholic churches. So how many letters and other anti-gay publicity stunts can they get away? Mr Pigott knows very well that Sunday-morning congregations are dwindling away and that without mass media help, the church leadership would simply be wasting its time opposing 'gay marriage' legislation.

Now look at how the Bishops' message began:

In all things, we as Catholics look to Jesus Christ as our model and teacher. When asked about marriage He gave a profound and rich reply: “Have you not read that the Creator, from the beginning, ‘made them male and female’, and said: ‘This is why a man must leave father and mother and cling to his wife and the two become one body’.”
In actual fact the quotes from Matthew are Jesus' response to a question about divorce, not marriage. His "profound and rich reply" is a taken from Genesis. Incidentally Jesus goes on to seemingly contradict Genesis by suggesting that people are not required to marry.

Had Mr Pigott been doing his job properly, he would have immediately recognised the true significance of the Biblical verses upon which the Bishops' message is based. From there Robert might go on to ask why Catholic church leaders are not railing against divorce.

But, instead, the BBC simply acts as a mouthpiece for the church position.

All this gives rise to a very worrying possibility: Maybe Mr Pigott is sympathetic to anti-gay bigotry, and not acting as a responsible and impartial journalist.

No comments: