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The Glass Box for Wednesday

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Eddie Mair | 16:45 UK time, Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Glass Box is the place where you can comment on what you heard on PM. Did we get the right lead story? Were the interviews terrible, or the reporting bad? Or was it all great?

Just click on the "comment" link.

If you want to post a comment about something that is on your mind but was not on the programme - use the link on the right to The Furrowed Brow. Also on the right, you'll find FAQ: try it. And why not visit The Beach?


  1. At 05:20 PM on 18 Jul 2007, R. N. Marley wrote:

    What a wonderful, secure, peaceful world it will now be now they'll make cannabis a grade 'B' substance again. Genius! Give them a pay rise!!!

  2. At 05:20 PM on 18 Jul 2007, Peter Smith wrote:

    You can't train someone to be honest. They are either honest and trustworthy or they are not.

    Are the people directly responsible for these deceptions still employed by the BBC?

    And are the Licence payers going to have to fund all this 'Honesty Training'?

  3. At 05:28 PM on 18 Jul 2007, mac wrote:

    What happened to all the facetious remarks about adding bird song to tapes, doctoring stories tec Eddie, that were all over the programme and this 'thread' the day before yesterday?

    Do you need a flow of criticism to get you to do your job properly I wonder.

    Again though, the 'Shouldn't you resign?' boistrous exhibitionism from you masked the real question which is 'Where does this culture of arrogance, that it is OK to deceve listeners (even) within the BBC come from?'
    And the answer is that it comes from the same attitude that spawns the extraordinary smart aleck tone of too much of PM's ambience.

    As I will keep telling you we don't need your cheap remarks. We can think of better ones ourselves but we don't bother. Such remarks are usually unpleasant and without serious purpose except to let the smart alecks think themselves 'clever'. Why waste my time trying to prove that to me when I'm trying to listen to the news?.

  4. At 05:30 PM on 18 Jul 2007, D.W.Roberts wrote:

    Once again in your reports you seem to be all on the side of terrorist suspects, and to imply that the police are ALWAYS wrong.

    Terrorists are terrorists, whether they are anti-semitic, anti-UK, or anti-anything else. If you don't accept this, go and live somewhere else, perhaps a country with Sharia law, which you seem ty think is perfect.

    Meanwhile I will stay here, in what is still (largely) a free country.

  5. At 05:34 PM on 18 Jul 2007, mac wrote:

    The cartoons depicted the Prophet with a terrorist bomb.

    One rhetorical device to divert a crtiticism is to embrace it with exaggeration.

    'We are terrorists etc..' reminds me of 'We are all, Academic thugs' chanted to Edward Short, Education Secretary in the 60's.
    And nothing more.

    As for 'Bomb the UK' that palls compared with 'Shock and Awe' which the British government cooperated with.

    Rhetoric, thats all.

    The sentences are clearly designed to crush what seems to me, and surely tyou, Eddie, to be legitimate if exuberant and boistrous, protest.

    So why haven't you attacked those sentences instead of running the rather silly 'Show Trial' of the BBC's MD?

    These men showed real courage. Are you going to support them by attacking the judge concerned? Or is your aggressive rhetoric reserved for the weak and the charade of a piece of 'in house' family theatre.

  6. At 05:37 PM on 18 Jul 2007, Lincoln Berkley wrote:

    When will comedy programs on BBC Radio stop deceiving audiences with "canned" recordings of laughter? It is ironic that on Radio 4 yesterday, in the programme "All in the Mind", Prof. Mark Van Vugt mentioned that broadcasters use canned laughter to manipulate audiences.

  7. At 05:54 PM on 18 Jul 2007, Anil wrote:

    Why do Pakistani youth get in trouble over some some toons. The rioting was pointless and the morons will have to do some time in Jail. They gained nothing out of this saga. Nothing at all.

  8. At 06:17 PM on 18 Jul 2007, Jacques wrote:

    A quarter-hour was too long talking about yourselves (i.e. the BBC)

    Can we please have more of the Islamic comic. His sketch, where he portrayed everyone being out-of-step, was so funny!

  9. At 07:10 PM on 18 Jul 2007, Truthyness wrote:

    Virtually reality – the age of Soma

    Surely the deception practiced by the offending BBC programme teams is simply the product of gross budget cut backs and the ever tightening grip on BBC employees to get the job done on impossible shoe strings? Add to that permanent climate of fear engendered by impending job cuts and what do directors of the broadcasting organization expect? Respect for truth and ethics?

    Ethics training is needed for BBC management upstairs and government. Journalists and broadcasters simply need an acceptable working environment to be able to operate properly.

    The problem begins with news and information : that's where, over the years, BBC standards have slipped. Eddy Mair appears to be the exception to the rule when it comes to maintaining high ethical standards?* But he’s only doing his job, I doubt he wants any hero status or to be taken as an example. This broadcaster is the natural heir to the legacy left by Nick Clarke; though with his own personal style of course (titanium balls?). The probing questions he posed Mark Thompson today serve to lend the Corporation a fig leaf of respectability, as they show someone with an unbiased approach.

    Generations of tax payers' money has been channelled away from the BBC to spawn private enterprise for a privileged few. And the organisation expects ethics from its workers?

    Wouldn't you just weep?

    From a BBC7 fan(chiefly archive material). who hasn’t the stomach for the Soma dished out by the other channels – PM of course, is the exception.

    *it is true there is Humphrys and Paxman and perhaps a handful of others like the You and Yours team, and WATO and even an occasional unexpected surprise beyond that. But the general climate has become grim.

  10. At 07:59 PM on 18 Jul 2007, Peter Shanley wrote:

    Dear P.M.
    I used to take the 'Radio 4 Liberal bias' idea with a pinch of salt but I am not so sure after hearing your report on the guilty verdicts on the Muslim demonstrators.
    You gave around two minutes airtime to an extremists who claimed everybody was guilty except those found guilty, and your reporter told of the 'great anger' in the Muslim community at the verdict. What 'great anger'?
    Some men threatened death and destruction (if you doubt it, check the extensive film footage) and after a fair trial were found guilty and sentenced.
    Can I ask your reporter were exactly the 'great anger' exactly comes in? If this were the trial of white instead of Muslim racists would you allow a White Supremacist two minutes to defame the court, then would your reporter tell of the 'great anger' amongst white racists everywhere?........... errrrrmmm, no, I can't see it happening either.
    Thanks for the nice slice of liberal bias, and before you think I'm a Torygraph reader I'm actually a North of England socialist, but I know liberal bias when I hear in on the radio!
    Peter Shanley

  11. At 08:33 PM on 18 Jul 2007, Paul wrote:

    DW Roberts (4). This is typical I would add anti-American and anti-anybody who gives or attempts to give a balanced viewpoint.

    Peter Shanley (10) Do you expect anything other than bias from Eddie Meir and John Humphries?

    According To Eddie Meir the BBC don't have a problem with bias the only problem lies with memebers of the public who attempt to debate this in a ration manner on this blog.

  12. At 09:26 PM on 18 Jul 2007, Truthyness wrote:

    Mac, er sorry gov, can't make 'ead or tail of it!
    You've got me, us? well and truly flummoxed.
    Can you say again? Ta
    And for god's sake don't go interpreting this comment as a "flow of criticism" ... that would never do ...

    I'd, we'd really like to understand...

  13. At 09:59 PM on 18 Jul 2007, Ruth wrote:

    Eddie Meir may have given the impression of pressing the Director General of the BBC on certain pre-set questions, however, he failed to press George Galloway the night before on anything. Not surprising since George Galloway is Anti-American, Anti-Israel, Anti-Blair etc.

  14. At 11:09 PM on 18 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    DW, Paul & Ruth,

    We usually see only the things we are looking for - so much so that we sometimes see them where they are not.
    -Eric Hoffer,
    _The Passionate State of Mind_

  15. At 12:18 AM on 19 Jul 2007, R Clayton wrote:

    Just a quick point - a couple of days ago you interiewed a chap who had gone swimming at the North Pole "to demonstrate the effects of global warming" - and proceeded to chat to him for 5 minutes about what it was like, and didn't talk at all about why he did it! It was interesting to hear a bit about the physical effects, but I'd really like to have had more than just 7 words about why he did it, and what message he was trying to get across! Thanks,

  16. At 01:28 AM on 19 Jul 2007, mac wrote:

    Thanks for the quesies, TRUTHYNESS.

    The programme is marred by Meir's style and by a cowardly choice of topics and targets.

    These two matters intertwine.

    Meir's sarcasm signals his 'awareness'. His more assertive interviews signal his 'ruthlessness'.

    He is to 'be trusted', a worthy champion for 'truth'.

    But the sarcasm, whether his own or that garnered from participating listeners, frequently destroys all possibility of creative thinking. (Eg? Try the transplant interview with the two MPs on Tues. and Meir's tail pieces.)

    And the 'ruthless' interviews are usually directed at the wrong target. (Eg? The interview with the BBC honcho Wednesday, where no attempt was made to establish how such cultural arrogance as the cheap deceptions imply could arise )

    Thus it is that our champion has done battle but rather like a rough neck Sancho Panza.

    Yesterday the NHS workers picked up on the M6 under the terrorism acts were released without charge. They it was who were used to raise cain about the need for 90 day detention.

    Today men clearly engaged in boistrous exberant rhetoric were banged up for four years or more.

    Yesterday too someone in court was charged with calling for the deaths of soldiers who had invaded Iraq. I remember a quarer of a million left students shouting 'Victory to the Viet Cong!' How could that have been achieved without American military deaths?)

    Nothing of this at all on PM.

    If the Iraq war was illegal the allies being charged with keeping the peace there cannot possibly make the occupation legal. (It sets a limit to US - UK behaviour whilst there - a limit they are failing - to keep the civil peace). Otherwise the de facto occupation of France by Nazi Germany would become legal.

    So how can calling for attacks on German soldiers in those circumstances or on Amrican and British soldiers now be ILLEGAL? You may disagree with it but it can't possibly be illegal. Neither I suspect can organising attacks on the occupying powers. (Or should the Hitler assasination conspirators have been charged with attempted murder by the Allies?)

    So these brave young men have raised rhetorical voices against what is clearly a deeply dishonest policy.

    But Meir carries a big stick and a sharp wit directed at far less important matters. The more 'ruthless' he is with the DG the less we think about the 200 people still in custody (against whom charges have not been brought) under the terror acts.
    And when you thrill to a piece of Meir repartee you join that self congratulatory group that knows that its 'champion' is 'clever', there are no flies on him and so news selection on PM must be right musn't it? (And it is that sense of its own 'cleverness' that is behind the current crop of media deceptions)

    Some jokes about bird song, sarky remarks about doctoring tapes, a grandiose in-house interview but nothing about the real evils that are going on now in our so - called legal system.

    I suppose, Truthynes, you think I should keep quite about the way PM and Meir fail to achieve even the sorts of background gains that might be useful - genuinely constructive suggestions and useful analyses - given the way they miss the main targets, but I'm an optimist.

  17. At 08:50 AM on 19 Jul 2007, Gillian wrote:

    mac(16) Why do you listen to PM?

  18. At 10:30 AM on 19 Jul 2007, Peter wrote:

    BBC news editors spent yesterday making the "culture" and "catologue" of the BBC "deceit" worth 25% of all news airtime.
    Eddie, you have mis-led people with your remarks - was there really a "save Vaugn Savage" petition? You said there was at the time of Moira Stewarts departure.....or were you deceiving me?
    Editors beware, I am sure there are other cases.

    Bringing it into the attention and reporting it in the way it has been, will lead to millions £ less being pledged for the relief programs next time around. It will not be the DG to blame, but the aggressive and rude questioning, presumably sanctioned through your ear-peice by the editors.

  19. At 10:36 AM on 19 Jul 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Gillian (17) I was thinking the very same. It strikes me that if you don't the style and content of a programme/blog then don't 'partake' in same.

  20. At 11:28 AM on 19 Jul 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Ruth and Mac, your writing styles and spelling errors are similar enough to arouse my suspicions.

  21. At 12:14 PM on 19 Jul 2007, RJD wrote:

    Paul/mac/Ruth - This Meir bloke you keep referring to - any relation to Golda?

  22. At 04:12 PM on 19 Jul 2007, tony ferney wrote:

    It's obvious that "even" Eddie doesn't get it right all the time - and I've had occasion to say so on this blog - but these attacks "ad hominem" say nothing about EM but alas far too much about the psyche and mindset of those who perpetrate them.

    Tact, as a French writer said, consists in knowing how far one can go too far. Eddie, in my view, practises that art with a degree of skill.

  23. At 04:38 PM on 19 Jul 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Paul (11), you misrepresent me, as any reading of previous postings will show. I took issue with comments you made and were unable to substantiate. Please don't be sore!

  24. At 05:27 PM on 19 Jul 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Appy & RJD;
    And you might have added Zeno from the Monday Glass Box, Mike from the Tuesday version, one of the many Peters who conducted a flame campaign on a Monday thread, James and Richard from a couple of threads last week.

    Similar styles, similar misspellings and grammatical errors.

    A self-congratulatory, multi-headed hydra with venomous fangs?


  25. At 06:50 PM on 19 Jul 2007, Hella Gamper wrote:

    I am getting sooooo fed-up with your continous coverage of the dangers/implications of climate change & what the various industries should do to combat it,( today it was shipping, another day it is driving,flying or recycling) yet you hardly ever touch upon the REAL culprits of noxious greenhouse gas emissions,ie. the meat & dairy industry According to a report by the Un.Agriculture & food dept.."Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems".(sic) It goes on to say that the meat & dairy industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all motor vehicles,,70% of Amazon deforestation (not only are rainforests cleared for new pastures,but for animal feed,too),64% of acid-producing ammonia,air & water pollution(from animal waste,antibiotics,hormones, fertilizers and pesticides used to spray feed crops)and soil erosion.Meat and dairy animals occupy vast areas of land and the demand for feed crops also contributes to biodiversity loss-15 out of 24 global ecosystems are in decline due to our insatiable appetite for meat and dairy.In other words, every single person can make a huge difference by changing his/her diet.
    Being the BBC,you will NOT want to read out or publish the b..* truth ,..so I don't expect the "glassbox" will welcome a beam of light....

  26. At 08:01 PM on 19 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Si, Appy, & RJD,

    Might I suggest the possibility of a Zionist mini-letter-writing campaign? Or somesuch? I think different individuals, but working from some sort of script. Strange the total lack of substance, except one of the Peters with a couple of links.

    Och, well...

    I'll repeat (yet again) that quote:

    We usually see only the things we are looking for - so much so that we sometimes see them where they are not.
    -Eric Hoffer,
    The Passionate State of Mind

    Sooooo appropriate in all of this recent stuff.

  27. At 10:51 PM on 19 Jul 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Yes Ed (26), Spot on, that Hoffer quotation.

  28. At 10:34 AM on 20 Jul 2007, Ruth wrote:

    Ed. You say something is so, so it is so. I don't think so.

  29. At 10:47 AM on 20 Jul 2007, Paul wrote:

    Eddie Meir. I'm not sore. Just stating the truth. All you have to do is read comments from contributors other than those on your twitter favorites list. Or maybe read up on public opinion. I'm not the one out of step on the BBC and anti-Americanism or indeed any other bias which is endemic in the BBC.

    I presented evidence and you decided to dismiss them. The BBC also has a reputation for denial. Sorry if the truth hurts.

  30. At 10:49 AM on 20 Jul 2007, Truthyness wrote:

    11 and 5 - Hey why tune in to Eddie when you listen to VOA - man that's were it really is at. I hate to think of you wasting your time. I'm happy to forward the link if it helps.

  31. At 12:00 PM on 20 Jul 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Paul (29) - your truth is opinion. Instead of evidence you cite other opinions. You accused us of anti-Americansim but then suddenly started talking about other things. And so it goes on every time you post.

    Your failure to grasp these basics I'm afraid renders attempts at intelligent discussion with you redundant. I'm confident we will be treated to more of the same but I won't be reading them.

    Thanks for contributing to the BBC's most commented on Blog.

  32. At 12:18 PM on 20 Jul 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Eddie: I second everything you say (and there's a lot more I'd say besides) about some recent contributors to the Blog, who appear to be trying to orchestrate a flare campaign here.

    And a lot of it is pretty personal, which woud go against the rules of any reputable online forum.

    The constant misspelling of your name does, indeed, smell very ratty.

  33. At 12:32 PM on 20 Jul 2007, Paul wrote:

    Eddie Mair

    You are right there is no problem with bias in the BBC. There is no problem with anti-Americanism, etc, etc.

    No doubt the government have orchestrated the recent external and internal reports which show bias in the BBC. The public debate doesn't exist. Bias is not just about one issue but many.

    Big Sister
    Please explain why you think my comments are some sort of flare campaign? Also, i'm not sure why an innocent spelling mistake should smell ratty? Perhaps you know something that I don't. Please explain if you can.

  34. At 12:47 PM on 20 Jul 2007, Paul wrote:

    Eddie Mair. Don't flatter yourself whether you read my comments or not is irrelevant to me. If what you and BIgsister are suggesting is that you prefer only to read comments from likeminded (groupthink) people please have the decency to make that clear on your webpage. However, many entries on this blog show that I am not alone in my opinions however unsavory they may be to yourselves.

    I'll comment as and where I see fit. Thank you.

  35. At 01:19 PM on 20 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Paul (29),

    "I presented evidence and you decided to dismiss them."

    Where? When? I have read every single one of your comments and have never seen anything which might answer the most generous definition of "evidence".

    Salaam. etc.

  36. At 03:46 PM on 20 Jul 2007, Truthyness wrote:

    16* Eeeeeeeee haw! MAN!
    Mac, is this esoteric or what?
    Decyphering has brought on an IQ shut down. I'm/we(?) are well and truly lost! Blimey what's happening to me I even tried!
    Take it easy

    20* hi there:
    styles? Did you say styles?

  37. At 05:29 PM on 20 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Hmmmm. Mac makes a couple of interesting points, in fact, but they seem to have got lost in the general kafuffle. Back up at 5, for instance, there is 'The sentences are clearly designed to crush what seems to me, and surely to you, Eddie, to be legitimate if exuberant and boistrous, protest.'

    OK, that's in a long and involved and complicated rantette against the general tone of PM and Eddie Mair's style of presentation, but (unlike some of the rantetti) mac does have something to say that seems to me to be worth looking at. And I may be wrong, but I don't think mac and Ruth are the same person, nor do I think mac is Paul or Peter. For one thing mac hasn't yet, that I have noticed, accused any of the other contributors to the thread of Unnamed Crimes or of ganging up, which the others named all do eventually if not in the first post they put up in a thread..

    So I'd like to agree with that comment and say that as far as I am concerned, to sentence to four years in prison people whose offence is essentially shouting in the street, which I gather is what has happened, does rather seem like using a tank to crush a wasps' nest.

    Was anyone actually injured or caused physical harm by these hotheads, for them to get a sentence on a par with or even greater than one that might be passed for rape or burglary?

    The fuss about the cartoons was silly and an over-reaction, but the reaction to the fuss is plain daft, and disproportionate, and frankly smacks of panic and futility. In fact it reminds me of the Oz obscenity trial, when really not-very-important-or-influential people were prosecuted for corrupting minors by printing pictures and articles many of which had been drawn and written by people under 16.

    The person who needs to be grilled by Eddie Mair over this trial having taken place at all is the Director of Public Prosecutions, in my opinion. Any chance of that happening?

  38. At 09:19 PM on 20 Jul 2007, Truthyness wrote:

    24 Simon!

    Nah, just a bit of a berk with issues!


  39. At 04:38 PM on 21 Jul 2007, Psuedonym The Third wrote:

    "I'll defend anybody's right to post whatever comments, opinions or evidence they like, (within the law) and accept their statement that they believe it to be Truth - regardless of whether I agree with a single word they write, or whether I think they are total nutters"


    In my opinion (!) this even extends to those individuals whose posts I find offensive. They have the right to offend me, (as long as they are not inciting....etc)...

    ...and they can even post comments saying that they think I and this post are part of a conspiracy plot hatched up by religious fanatics/ left wing anti -

    (cont pg 187)

  40. At 03:56 PM on 22 Jul 2007, Truthyness wrote:

    Hella, Hello... (25)
    Thanks for the point. Mind if I pitch in with a conspiracy theory scenario for a laugh?
    Let's title it "An Inconvenient Truth"!!
    Perhaps the denouement will develop, contributors may even want to add or detract from it

    … The story so far:
    A key nuclear energy group owns the major media channels throughout a prosperous western sub-continent. Over the decades their board directors watch glumly as oil shares wildly fluctuate triggering frantic buying and selling spawning vast fortunes for brokers and shareholders alike. Thanks to speculation the oil barons rule supreme. Their's is the ultimate power; war! Meanwhile the nuclear sector is stuck up a siding, their product stigmatized. But over time the planetary situation evolves and an opportunity emerges. A Machiavellian strategy is hatched to up the ante and propell the sector to the much coveted speculation arena. The ultimate capitalist goal.

    For the plot to materialize various ingredients are called for:
    ° Concept: such as creating an attention grabbing illusion to feed on current universal concerns.
    ° Trigger: the fear factor - that coveted tool
    ° Message: to cross all borders, cultures and beliefs. Necessarily a gross simplification!
    ° Ideal (their's): to achieve the momentum to move from a post-democratic to a neo-fascist age.
    ° Underlying motive: to transform achievements of a non democrat entity ruling world trade and compound them into full blown global governance for absolute power by the few (multinationals) of the many (masses and markets).
    ° Point of departure : legitimate global concern for the environment.
    ° Sales pitch: concept sufficiently convincing to carry opinion everywhere.
    ° Marketing pitch: via the key media channels on side and supported by key political figures, to hammer home the defined message.
    ° Tone: all pervading, the new religion.
    ° Mechanism to quell opposition: a cause that brings environment & health lobbies on side.

    The proposal: CLIMATE CHANGE.
    The result: every single serious issue confronting man is sidelined as forces combine to serve the nuclear sector in its bid to seize control from the discredited oil mafia. Nuclear energy shares soar. Oh ye market faithful! "Kneel to Babylon, your god!"

    How else can the fact that Climate Change has become the leitmotif to news the world over 24/7 be explained. And it's pointless blaming the messenger.

    *S. Colbert , @ the 2006 Emmy Awards

  41. At 10:08 AM on 24 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Pseudonym the Third @ 39 wrote:

    "In my opinion (!) this even extends to those individuals whose posts I find offensive. They have the right to offend me, (as long as they are not inciting....etc)...

    "...and they can even post comments saying that they think I and this post are part of a conspiracy plot hatched up by religious fanatics/ left wing anti- (cont pg 187)"

    Well, yes, since you don't have the power to prevent them it's sensible not to waste effort trying to do so!

    Incidentally, I think you can't be a Private Eye reader? If you were you'd know that the joke about "cont p94" (which has been being put at the end of articles there for some decades now) has always been p94 rather than some random large number. I'd always recommend reading Private Eye for a few minutes if one starts to feel monomanic on any subject; it's a good corrective for herd-think, since it has made a practice from its first publication of ruthlessly taken the piss without fear or favour from *anyone* of *any* political persuasion who has made a risible error, and of exposed the shady dealings of those who have deserved it quite regardless of their rank or status. Unbiased is the word for Lord Gnome's august organ.

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