Yesterday the BBC's World at One, as well as other BBC news bulletins, "reported" that British forces in Iraq had engaged in battle the followers of a "religious cult". The Beeb did not enlighten us to the make-up of this "cult": was it Al Qaeda or some other Wahhabi or Salafi group. More likely it was just Sunni or Shia Iraqis. Perhaps this will be how the news will "report" Iraq. Everyone fighting the "coalition forces" are members of a "cult". If the Beeb has its way, the word "cult" will be on everyone's lips soon. It may be considered so incendiary that it may even be censored slightly from arousing too much feeling. Cu*t, perhaps?
Later, Newsnight Review, the leading arts review programme on UK television, had Michael Gove give his views on comedian Bill Bailey's stage show of work by Harold Pinter. The reactionary and exceptionally ugly Gove said watching Bailey do Pinter would be like having Chomsky do theatre. It'd be interesting for the "first ninety seconds until he denied the Bosnian massacres". Why would the beautiful Gove make a knowingly untrue and slanderous accusation? I know he's spent his life as a "journalist" doing just that, and is working overtime at slander by moonlighting as an MP. Could it be that he's a liar? Even beautiful people have their dark sides. One might imagine that the fluffy Martha Kearney, Newsnight's political editor who was doubling up as its Review host, would know something about politics and what leading thinkers have said and written. But no. Fluffy Martha sniggered at Gove's insights and startling wit. And yet she continues to wonder why she didn't get the gig as BBC's political editor, which went to the extremely weird Nick Robinson. Given a choice between weirdness and finding Michael Gove an interesting and funny cove, I'd choose weirdness any day.
All in all, it was a triumphant day for British journalism.