Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Newsround is running a competition to dream up inventions that solve everyday problems. The competition was announced a few days ago, but they're still seeking more applicants. Here's the ending of Newsround's second bulletin this morning.

The results of a public vote of the most important past and future British innovations were announced on Monday. The Universal Turing Machine was voted top past innovation. Alan Turing's work, dating from 1936, helped break the German WWII Enigma code, and was instrumental in the development of modern computers

Yet despite the significance of Turing's work, and the fact that he was a British genius, it seems that bosses at CBBC don't want kids to know about him. In fact Newsround viewers could be forgiven for believing computers were invented by Steve Jobs. He's frequently been talked about on CBBC. Here we can see a him mentioned in a Newsround report about sand sculptures.

Alan Turing was never once mentioned by CBBC during the his centenary year - 2012. And Newsround ignored the top British Innovation vote, instead choosing to concentrate on the Top 10 rubbish inventions!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Some tips for these hard times :-

For those with high cholesterol, consider asking your doctor for statins rather than use less effective but more expensive cholesterol-reducing spreads

Detail from Newsround Special Hard Times

Don't go on expensive conference trips abroad, except when others pay

Don't buy "Harmony" potatoes (even in times of plenty)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hard Times

The last few years have been hard times for many people in Britain. But some have suffered more than others. BBC bosses are, it seems, amongst the least affected. One such still regularly attends notable TV media conferences, summits and award ceremonies, staying at some of the world's plushest hotels at licence payers' expense.

Hard Times - A Newsround Special on Monday (5pm - CBBC channel) looks at families who've been struggling with money, the changes they've had to make, and how kids have been affected by the economic climate.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

About 9% of Britain's population identify as Roman Catholic, and about 5% identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. But given the amount of news coverage devoted to the election of a new pope, you could be forgiven for thinking the Catholic population of Britain exceeds the LGB population by at least an order of magnitude. And nowhere has that divide been more obvious than on the BBC children's channel, CBBC. (also see previous blog) Thankfully, though, most Catholics are somewhat more enlightened and progressive than those in the Church hierarchy.

In a tweet last month Aaron Balick considered why the Church is so anti-gay. He suggested the reason was "because it is so gay." Apparently this is known by psychologists as reaction-formation. Also sounds like those in charge at BBC children's TV.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

You'll recall that, last year, the BBC allowed itself to be used as a mouthpiece for the Catholic Church, culminating on Christmas Day with the Corporation giving Vincent Nichols privileged access to a series of TV news bulletins. Furthermore one of their journalists - BBC Religious Affairs Correspondent, Robert Pigott - fronted what seems to have been a most disgraceful attempt to mislead viewers.

Perhaps as recognition that they'd gone too far, last week a prominent journalist and equality campaigner, Benjamin Cohen, was allowed to put the case for treating LGBT people more humanely. He was speaking on last Wednesday's edition of Lent Talks. Benjamin said he'd been contacted by many whose families have abandoned them. Some religious groups felt that the BBC had sunk to a new low - they were very unhappy about hearing the plight of Christ compared to that of young gay people who fear being disowned by their friends and family.

Benjamin Cohen: Some parents give them an ultimatum: to ignore their feelings, or even undergo controversial reparative therapies to try to turn themselves straight. Shockingly, every year, hundreds of people, mainly teenagers, kill themselves because of their family or society's rejection of them due to their sexuality. In many cases the reason for this rejection is religion - something that really angers me and upsets me.

Despite the torment some lesbian and gay kids go through on account of their religious upbringing, it is certain that Newsround will soon be giving over even more airtime to uncritical reports about the Catholic Church, and that it will big up the next pope, whoever he may be. Compare that with almost zero empathy for gay kids. The programme, for instance, completely ignored President Obama's support for marriage equality, and what he said about gay people in this year's Inauguration speech.

Another example - on 15th January 2013, Newsround reported on the outcome of two discrimination cases at the ECHR, there was not a single word said about the other two extremely important rulings that Christians can not use their beliefs as a ground to discriminate against gay people. We can clearly see whose side BBC Children's is on.

Newsround report about FOUR discrimination cases (4th September 2012)

The stunning hypocrisy of Cardinal Keith O'Brien and his ilk is, unfortunately, not so far removed from what we've come to expect of those responsible for children's TV - see last Sunday's blog. I may, at some future date, publish a more complete version of the email referenced in that blog, but with redactions as appropriate.

Friday, March 08, 2013

In the latest episode of SadieJ we see Danny and Jake both have a crush on Leona from Year 10.

They've got a crush on Leona from Year 10

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Bosses at the BBC Children's department believe their audience should be protected from words such as lesbian and gay. Although The Dumping Ground was cited as an example of LGB portrayal (see blog on 2nd January 2013) - I believe it was not quoted as a sign of diversity and inclusiveness, but rather as a warning to prejudiced parents that their kids should be barred from watching the programme. Other BBC children's programmes are "safe" and parents can rest assured that their kids will not hear "gay" in an affirmative sense.

Not sure about this, but my guess is that the percentage of BBC staff who identify as LGB is slightly higher than you would expect in the general population of Britain {5% according to a ComRes survey in January (pdf)}

Some at BBC Children's are LGBT. In fact, a few years ago, I was rebuked by one such person who wrongly thought I had suggested the department was homophobic. In a lengthy email to me he wrote "As a gay man I take exception to your suggestion of homophobia on my part and your questioning of my sincerity – as well as that of my CBBC colleagues, many of whom are members of the LGBT community."

Today marks exactly one year since Cardinal Keith O'Brien wrote a piece for the Telegraph in which he condemned plans to "redefine marriage." O'Brien may not be homophobic, but the vituperative language in that article shows him to be a blatant hypocrite.