In return, we are promised that the BBC is fiercely independent, apolitical and scrupulously impartial. Imagine our surprise, then, on Thursday night to have been served up an hour long advert - far longer than the standard 30 seconds commercial channels derive income from - for plain packaging which was blatantly biased ... less than a week before the Queen's speech which Labour politicians are desperately hoping will include the policy.
We've seen some shit from the BBC on public health issues over the years (re-writing of an article on e-cigs overnight last week to add seven bells of prohibitionist toss was a particular doozy) but this tops it all.
Saving me the task, Snowdon has a comprehensive and accurate account here which I urge you to read if you haven't done so already. Of course, you can still watch the
Incredibly, the first 5 minutes of the programme told us that:
"Smoking among 20 to 34 year olds has actually increased in the last few years"Which suggests that the massive escalation of tobacco control industry activity in the past decade - as we fellow jewel robbers know very well - has been a disastrous failure.
"Everyone knows that smoking kills"Yes, because as the programme-maker rightly says.
"Smokers can't fail to be aware of the health risks, they scream out from every packet"So no need for plain packaging then, surely?
Yet the subsequent 55 minutes ignored all that and became, as Christopher Stevens in the Mail put it, "not a documentary but a polemic" and all in favour of ... plain packaging.
There's a reason for that, as Stevens also alluded to.
[Documentary veteran Peter Taylor] only knows one tune: The Evils Of TobaccoBecause, as he admits in his show, he's been playing this scratched record for 40 years now. How the BBC could not be aware that he would produce something so one-sided and contrary to their stated aims of fairness, impartiality and political independence is anyone's guess. Perhaps the BBC didn't give a stuff, I dunno.
However, they should very much care because Peter Taylor is one of the old school prohibitionists, the ones described so very well by George Ade in 1931 when America was finally waking up to the horror of alcohol prohibition.
The non-drinkers had been organising for fifty years and the drinkers had no organization whatsoever. They had been too busy drinking.Taylor has been despising tobacco companies for nearly as long as I've been alive! While the rest of us have been enjoying life and having adventures, this man has dedicated himself to a particular sad hateful obsession. How can we blame him for taking advantage of the BBC's lax standards to produce a quite appalling piece of one-sided, timely political indoctrination on their mainstream highbrow channel?
After all, he makes it clear early on what his game is.
"Who finally wins the decisive battle over plain packaging has still to be decided"This is true. The political debate is not yet over, especially considering those not consumed with hatred like Taylor are significantly opposed to plain packaging, despite the health lobby trying to ignore it. But Taylor seized his chance and used the BBC like a cheap whore to try to sway the "decisive battle" in favour of his corrupt tobacco control industry friends.
He was recently described as “honest, scrupulously fair and deeply insightful” but there was no sign of that in Thursday's offering, just snidey editing and policy-led advocacy which goes against everything the BBC claims to care about.
Perhaps someone should mention it to them.