BBC Television on 26/07/15 – Oxbridge Domination

Welcome to a day in the life BBC Television on Sunday the 26th July 2015 (tomorrow’s schedule).

We will start the day off with BBC Breakfast from 6am in the morning. The most senior presenter of this show is Bill Turnbull, educated at Eton College. Following this show, we have more current affairs from the Andrew Marr Show, hosted by Andrew Marr (educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge), who will be discussing the latest policies from our government, which is run by David Cameron (Brasenose College, Oxford) and George Osborne (Magdalen College, Oxford). At 10am we have more political discussion on Sunday Morning Live, compered by Sian Williams (Oxford Brooks University).

After this we have some light entertainment in the form of Bargain Hunt, where antiques experts such as Kate Bliss (Brasenose College, Oxford), look for antiques at jumble sales.

12:15 – Formula 1 racing. We get to watch the current champion Lewis Hamilton (graduate of Cambridge Arts and Sciences) drive around in a shiny car. He is currently strong favourite to retain his title. But if you’re not a sports fan, you can watch Chefs on Trial instead, hosted by Alex Polizzi (St Catherine’s College, Oxford). Following the F1 we have a sports-based gameshow ‘A Question of Sport’ with rugby star Matt Dawson (Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe)

At 15:45 we have property show, Escape to the Country, with Alistair Appleton (Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge), followed by the Two Tribes gameshow hosted by Richard Osman (Trinity College, Cambridge).

We can then chillax and sing along to Songs of Praise, hosted by the likes of Bill Turnbull (Eton College), and Sally Magnusson (University of Edinburgh). At 17:45 Richard Osman (Trinity College, Cambridge) returns for Pointless, a gameshow which he hosts with Alexander Armstrong (also of Trinity College, Cambridge). Then it’s a news update from Reeta Chakrabarti (Exeter College, Oxford).

At 19:00 it’s time for one of the BBC’s flagship shows, Countryfile, with Ellie Harrison (King’s College, London), and Joe Crowley (Magdalene College, Cambridge). If you’re not into this you can watch Locomation: Dan Snow’s History of Railways instead (Dan Snow is a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, if you were wondering). At 20:00 we have Fake or Fortune? with Fiona Bruce (Hertford College, Oxford) and Bendor Grosvenor (Harrow School, Pembroke College, Cambridge). Alternatively you can watch Dragon’s Den, where the entrepreneurs are joined by new girl Sarah Willingham (Cranfield University, Oxford).

We end the day at 21:00 with crime mystery entertainment, Partners in Crime, starring David Walliams (Collingwood Boys’ School in Wallington, and the independent Reeigate Grammar School).

This day of entertainment will be brought to you by Director of BBC Television, Danny Cohen (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford), Director of News & Current Affairs, James Harding (Trinity College, Cambridge), and Director of Strategy & Digital, James Purnell (Balliol College, Oxford).

BBC Mission & Values (link to quotes below)

  • We respect each other and celebrate our diversity so that everyone can give their best
  • Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest
  • Audiences are at the heart of everything we do.

Judging by the disproportionate number of people from privileged backgrounds on the BBC, I don’t feel that socio-economic diversity is being sufficiently celebrated. I also don’t think the BBC’s employment track record is very “impartial”. And if audiences are at the heart of everything the BBC do, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a proportional representation of the average UK citizen on our screens instead of people who won the postcode lottery?

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Dodgy Journalism

We tend to believe what we read. At least, we usually believe it until (or if) we get the other sides of the story. Then we draw our own conclusions.

The Dutch philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, did a lot of work on the belief of information. This is a great article, which discusses his work alongside the work of Descartes, and provides the results of a study: http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/09/why-you-cant-help-believing-everything-you-read.php (since this is an article about us believing what we read, I feel I should provide comprehensive references to what I say so I’m not accused of b*llsh*tting you all).

With this in mind, we should be very careful about what we believe in the media – especially now that we are closing in on the General Election. There is a lot of good, impartial journalism out there, but you need to be vigilant because we live in a time where wealthy, powerful people use media outlets for their own personal gain. They are willing to leave truths out of their work, emphasise the points that suit them, and straight up lie to get what they want.

Look at the recent Daily Mail headline that coined Nicola Sturgeon (SNP Leader) as “The Most Dangerous Woman in Britain” based on nothing more than conjecture, and a very un-scientific projection of the future if the SNP were successful in the elections. Similarly, the Telegraph released a despicable article about a conversation between Nicola Sturgeon and a French Ambassador without going to either of them for a quote (both deny the content of this conversation that the Telegraph reported on, so the report amounts to fiction projected to us as the truth).

As a species, we are very trusting. As humans developed, information was life and death. When we lived in nomadic tribes, we passed information to one another about things such as the availability of food in an area. We are hardwired to follow this sort of guidance. When we were toddlers, our mothers and fathers told us not to go near the fireplace because it was hot, and it would have burnt us. We believed them automatically because it was essential for us to believe them. Our minds are filled with loopholes when it comes to believing what we’re told, and there are people out there who will take advantage of that.

I’m an advocate of free speech. I like it when people give their opinions and speak their minds, no matter how controversial or outlandish (when things are out in the open, you know what you’re up against). But there is a big difference between this and purposefully deceiving people for personal gain. As I write this, the media is producing something designed to benefit a political party (and to hell with the truth!). And let us not forget that it is the lower class masses that are most influenced by the media – because there are more of us, so we watch more TV and buy more newspapers, etc.

Don’t let the media set the terms of our democracy!