The full Paxo »« Offended that they might be offended

Why is it that we don’t see

Oh dear god. At 8 minutes in, Jeremy Paxman asks, slowly and with deliberation because all three of the dudes suddenly stop shouting over each other to let Paxo have the floor – he asks, I say:

Why is it that we don’t see a broader range of Muslim spokesmen?

Why?? Because the BBC doesn’t invite them!

The BBC does invite Maryam occasionally, but not nearly often enough. It doesn’t invite any women often enough, especially not ex-Muslim women, secularist women, atheist women, liberal Muslim women.

The BBC should invite Maajid back and invite Tehmina Kazi and Maryam Namazie and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to talk with him. The discussion would be far more interesting and productive, and less shouty.

Comments

  1. rnilsson says

    As long as it is held on a low level, no stares or ladders up or down the dainty delft dresses.
    And none of those Pt-blondes, for Pt’s saké!

  2. jesse says

    A deeper problem is the old chestnut “this is what a Muslim looks like.”

    That is, this happens in the US too. Whenever a TV station needed someone to comment on issues relating to minorities, they would have an awfully thin rolodex, and it was the same three people. That is still a big problem.

    It’s also the whole “false balance” thing. Noam Chomsky — I know, I know, there are problems people have with this guy — outlines it rather well. When the people in power (largely white men) want to marginalize someone they pull out the guy who viewers are guaranteed to not identify with.

    Let me give an example: on Nightline, the old US TV program, they might have a segment about, say, Palestine and Israel. So who do they get on? They’ll have the US spokesman, back int he 80s it was someone like Elliot Abrams. Guy in a suit, speaks well, sounds reasonable.

    The other side? They have Yasser Arafat in a keffiyeh and his military uniform. He speaks with an accent. He’s dark. He looks different. Then they will say “well, we gave him his say” and strictly speaking they did. But I can guarantee you most Americans didn’t listen to a thing he said.

    Now, Nightline could have had a member of Peace Now on (they did, this but only once in all the years I watched, it was a rarity). They could have had someone from the Israeli left taking to Ariel Sharon. But no.

    They pulled the same routine during the Iraq-war run-up. On the one side, our white, male, reasonable-sounding neocon. On the other, Tariq Aziz. Hoo boy, people are really going to listen to that guy.

    Rinse, repeat.

    In situations where you don’t really want to explore what’s going on with minority populations, you pull out the most stereotypical examples of that minority you can come up with. The people in question are usually happy to be on TV, because they don’t always know the scam.

    That’s why the discussion over what’s “offensive” gets so mired in bullshit, and ignores some very real issues and we get stuck back in the Freeze Peach routine. And we end up with the BNP / Daily Mail framing leading the debate. Nuance goes out the window, and the whole discussion becomes completely ahistorical.

  3. Dunc says

    The BBC should invite Maajid back and invite Tehmina Kazi and Maryam Namazie and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to talk with him. The discussion would be far more interesting and productive, and less shouty.

    And that’s exactly why they don’t – “lunatics shouting at each other” is the whole Newsnight formula these days. “Interesting and productive” doesn’t come into it.

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