The Corner

More Rechristening from the BBC

Not content merely to describe the rioters in the U.K. as “protesters” whenever they could get away with it, or to bend the narrative away from criminality and towards the “cuts” (which are not cuts, and which are not culpable), the BBC has issued a new instruction to its staff: Henceforth, the events of the past week are to be referred to as the “English” riots. Not British riots. Not riots in the U.K. Just “English riots.” And why? The Daily Mail reports:

A BBC spokesman told The Telegraph: ‘Our initial approach was guided by the story’s impact for the UK as a whole – for example the UK Prime Minister returning from holiday and the decision to recall the UK Parliament.

‘However, with the events confined to several cities and towns in England… we have listened to feedback from our audiences.’

This is ostensibly to avoid offending the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish. But why not go one stage further? There have been no riots in the county of Devon, nor in Somerset, Cambridgeshire, or Oxfordshire. Surely the residents of those counties need protecting by the BBC from the pain of being lumped in with the others? In fact, the majority of English counties, cities, towns, hamlets, and streets are entirely unaffected. Most of the English people have had nothing to do with the disturbances. How dare the BBC say “English riots,” and impose collective guilt on the innocent majority. If it serious, the BBC should make sure to mention everyone involved by name, and only then within the frame of reference of the exact street in which their crimes — sorry, protests — took place.

It’s almost as if a major news organisation — which is, in fact, the largest media entity in the world — spending its time on such things smacks of absurdity. I am somewhat skeptical that the alleged “feedback from [their] audiences” ever happened. But if it did, it means that a sizable enough portion of the British public is thus watching these events unfold on television and worrying primarily about the nomenclature, and, as John Derbyshire is fond of saying, we really are all doomed.

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