Saturday, August 4, 2007

Ethics and the BBC's Kate Silverton

Most mornings I quickly check the BBC's news pages to get a rough overview of what's going on in the world, before calling in at my favourite blogs and websites (see my links) to see what's really going on in the world. This morning something caught my eye: number five in the list of 'most emailed' stories was entitled simply 'Kate Silverton'. Now I'm aware that Silverton is a BBC news presenter, and I wondered what she'd done, or what could have happened to her, to make this story the fifth-most-emailed on the BBC's site.

Turns out that the piece which is apparently causing such a stir is no more than the BBC's stock profile of Silverton, which can only mean two things: either she's got a lot of groupies (it's fair to say she falls under the heading 'thinking man's crumpet', 'crumpet' being a polite British term roughly equating to 'chick'); or very few people email BBC stories to their friends.

Anyway, having got this far I decided to read Silverton's profile, which not surprisingly read like the resume of an entrant in a high-brow beauty contest. But in between all the usual guff about 'inspiration', 'fulfilling dreams' and 'foreign travel', this sentence caught my eye:

"I've always been inspired by those events or people who compel us to look at the bigger picture and question our ethics."

The last time I checked, the ethics of Western civilisation appeared to me to be fairly well-developed, and not in urgent need of questioning. The kinds of people who do question our ethics include Osama bin Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez – they'll doubtless be pleased to know they're such an inspiration to a leading BBC journalist. Silverton's comments are typical of the civilisational self-loathing and guilt that underpin the BBC's worldview, and which inform all areas of its journalism.

Fortunately for scholars of Aristotle and The Enlightenment, the profile quickly moves on to a giggling discussion of Silverton's dress sense.

No comments: