Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The King of Spin

Sometimes Iain Dale almost writes these posts himself.

Yesterday, he attacked an article by Sunny Hundal on Comment is Free. In the article, Sunny argues that then BBC is increasingly bending to the will of the vocal rightwing internet lobby which seeks to undermine its credibility.

Rather than tackling the wider point, I want to focus on one part of Iain's post. It is this:
But now we come to the most idiotic part of Sunny's article, for in this next paragraph he actually admits that there IS a liberal bias within the BBC, which surely undermines everything which precedes it.
Now, to my main point. For many of us on the liberal left, the BBC is a useful if somewhat increasingly dumbed-down antidote to the hard-right propaganda of most of the press. It keeps us vaguely sane, so we support it.
Quite a revealing admission, wouldn't you say?
This is quite revealing but not in the way Iain imagines.

If you read the entirety of Sunny's article, it is obvious what he actually means. As I explained in the comments to Iain's post, what was meant was that the BBC has been an impartial and credible antidote to the rightwing output of much of the media (septicisle also makes the same point but better). Sunny fears that this impartiality and credibility will be lost if something is not done to counter the pressure applied on the BBC by the rightwing press and the internet lobby. Iain has, either deliberately or unintentionally, misrepresented what Sunny wrote. He certainly didn't contradict the entire thrust of his article by admitting that the BBC has the sort of bias Iain claims it has.

No-one else took up the challenge but Iain himself decided to defend his position.
I have not deliberately misrepresented him at all. I can only go on what he wrote and interpret it. You and I may have different ways of interpreting what he wrote, but that does not mean I am deliberately misrepresenting him. I know Sunny and like Sunny, but I was suprised at the weak arguments he put forward in this rather ranting article.
I say defend...

Iain's "defence" is that there are different interpretations of what Sunny wrote and his is as valid as mine. Apparently, Iain does not accept that there is actually a true and accurate understanding of Sunny's meaning, merely interpretations of what he wrote. That explains why he has no interest in trying to get to the truth of the matter.

In an age when those on the right continually attack the supposed relativism of the left, I find this quite amusing. There is no spoon.


I see that the links to individual comments on Iain's blog are not working again. You'll have to scroll if you want to see them.

Update 2

Thanks to Tim for pointing out that it is possible to link to individual comments on Iain'a blog. Links adapted accordingly.


Iain Dale said...

Sorry, but this is ridiculous. I hope you accept that I haven;t deliberately set out to misrepresent Sunny. I have great respect for him. If I have misrepresented him it is because what he wrote is open to interpretation. He has now clarified things on his blog and I have linked to his clarification. No need to get so excited.

Sam said...

It's amazing when Sunny responds and tells Iain what he actually meant, Iain's response is "Make your own minds up. IF I have..."

CuriousHamster said...

Well said sam. That "clarification" is weak indeed. It also says something about Iain.

Iain, you're saying that you genuinely believed that Sunny had contradicted his whole article and that you continued to hold that belief even after myself and others pointed out that your "interpretation" was obviously not correct? And you're still not convinced even after Sunny spelled it out?

All in all, can I request that you never show me the same "great respect" that you have for Sunny?

By the way, a "no chance of that" response would suit my just fine.

Tim said...

Sorry Iain, but you significantly undermine your credibility when you delete opposing comments from your website without explanation.

You do not wish your readers to judge the facts and decide for themselves what's what, despite what you may claim. That's why you also censor comments that you claim to be abusive/insulting (when they merely oppose your point of view or threaten to undermine it with pesky facts), but leave actual abusive/insulting comments in place when they are aimed at those who oppose your point of view or threaten to undermine it with pesky facts.

I've made my own mind up; I think you're an outright fraud. Your upcoming book 'guide to blogging' should come with a warning label that says so.

(PS - You *still* haven't fixed your comment permalinks!!!! Tell me; have you, all this time, refused to add the single letter 'c' to your Blogger template purely because it makes it difficult for other bloggers to point to individual examples of your rather unique style of moderation? Or is it because you fear it would do your reputation no good if you ever admitted publicly that I know just a little bit more about this blogging lark than you?)