There are many ways you could describe the BBC's coverage of the Olympics, crass; unimaginative, myopic, blinkered, shallow or just plain predictable. For me, while all those adjectives apply, more than all that, their coverage has to be described as sickenly chauvinistic. Since when has the BBC taken upon itself to be the national cheer-leader for Team GB, whether on the sporting fields or in any other endeavour? Was there not once a time when the BBC made at least a half-hearted pretence at being an impartial broadcaster? I must have imagined that, for any viewer not from the British Isles, and many who are recent arrivals, must be appalled at the hysterical one-sidedness of their Olympic coverage, virtually ignoring the honest or heroic exploits of the other two hundred odd nations.

Yes, it would be unrealistic for a national public broadcaster not to slant their coverage towards the national team, but the BBC has gone totally over the top, giving a minute by minute commentary on British medal successes and future prospects. With the sole exception of the magnificent Jamaican sprinters, where even the BBC had to admit there were successful athletes outside of the British Isles, there has been precious little of an international flavour to their relentless national coverage. And when they are forced to acknowledge another success story it is in the most perfunctory manner. There is no in-death story, no behind the scenes investigation, no attempt to put the sporting success in a broader context.

Take for example the amazing phenomenon of the Jamaican sprinters. This is a big story emanating from an impoverished country, one that is in the process of celebrating 50 years of independence from British colonial rule. How have they achieved this remarkable sporting feat, seeing off the challenge from their powerful North American neighbours? What is the social dynamic at play here and is it in any way related to the relative decline of West Indian cricket? Why Jamaica and not Trinidad or Barbados? Is this a product of elite training or is it part of an Island wide passion? None of these socio-economic questions are explored or even hinted at by the BBC. Bolt gets his due media attention but the why and how is swept away in the orgy of British national hysteria.

It's a similar deafening silence with the East African long distance runners. And what about the emergence of South Korea as a major sporting force? No discussion here, nor of their complex relationship with their North Korean neighbours. The absence of investigative journalism cannot be excused for lack of airtime, the BBC has no less than four terrestrial channels at its disposal, so surely at least one channel might take on the role of exploring the social story behind the daily headlines. No chance, they are too busy playing the role of cheer leader for Team GB, whipping the nation up into a frenzy, all the better to distract from the looming economic disaster fermenting all around us.

With all the resources at the BBC's disposal, why not do a special feature on a different nation each day? During the build-up to the Olympics and during the event itself some one hundred short fascinating documentaries could have been produced, giving the whole BBC coverage a truly international flavour. Not a hint of it though, just the same old crass national boasting that does either Britain or the Olympic Games any credit.

None of this should be a surprise to us when we reflect back just a few weeks to the exact same grovelling servile approach by the BBC to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Was there any attempt at balanced reporting where the republicans amongst us where canvassed for our opinions? Not a bit of it. Was there any attempt to put the whole question of the monarchy in a historical perspective? No sir. Anyone not wholeheartedly sailing along with the Royal circus was marginalised and virtually criminalised. And if that Royal reporter, that odious little man from the BBC, was any further up the royal anus he would be popping up out of another orifice. And he was far from alone in his cringing sycophancy. It is a wonder our publically funded broadcaster has not renamed itself the Royal BBC in this Olympic- Jubilee year.

Back to the Olympics and the BBC's never-ending rah rah for team GB. Has it not entered the consciousness of our Oxbridge broadcasters that 50% of our Gold medal winners from Beijing were privately educated and that a similar statistic is very likely to be produced this time around. Has it not occurred to our learned BBC administrators that most of the sports that Britain wins medals in are the pursuits of the wealthy and privately educated. Has it not registered with our dim-witted highly paid journalists that most of these elite sports are a million miles away from the experience of the average British school child. And has it dawned on our comfortably situated media executives that one in three children in Britain are living on or below the poverty line. What in fact the BBC is celebrating is the continuance of the British class system which, rather than being eroded with time is, if anything, being entrenched. Of course they don't worry themselves with these trifles because they themselves have by and large come from the very same privileged social strata. The middle and upper classes look after their own.

So what is the view of the Olympics from the grim high rise blocks of Tower Hamlets? We will never know listening to the BBC. What about those youngsters that felt the need to burn and loot just a few months back in the London riots? Did the BBC not think to interview some of these youngsters to get their take on the Games? Not a chance. Instead, at every opportunity the cameras zoom in on royalty and we are meant to feel a warm glow of gratitude and respect. For the growing ranks of unemployed youth in this country I don't think so. When the Olympic circus leaves town the unemployed will still be here, marginalised and alienated. And when the circus leaves town and if Britain falls deeper into recession, that alienation may well turn to anger, and who could blame them. Remember the look of terror when Charles and Camilla's car was threatened. Expect a lot more of that sort of stuff if the collective wealth of our society is not more evenly distributed. And soon. Now there's a story for the BBC to get its teeth into.

End JPK Copyright 6/8/12

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 26 May 2018 08:12 )