Sunday, October 22, 2006

Spooking the Spooks: More on the BBC

Anyone out there ever seen the BBC series Spooks? Also known, in the US, as MI5? I quite liked it in the first two seasons, although I had to spend an unreasonable amount of time filtering out its annoying BBC™ political slant.

You know, there was the time that the Neocon-Israeli News Magnate - I took it to be a swipe at Lord Conrad Black - arranged the assassination of the chief UN Peacekeeper, etc. And then there was the fact that, though there was the occasional chatter about Arab terrorism, as it turned out, anytime they had cause to suspect an arab of terrorism on the show, it was either because a white person had set him up to deflect suspicion from himself or because the agents had been tracking the usual suspects, but were plum wrong. And then there was the egregious anti-Americanism, anti-CIA attitude - which latter is funny, because I guess the rubes at the BBC have not yet figured out that in this war, the CIA is on their side and not on America's the Administration's. Haven't they heard of all the leaks? Or don't they actually follow American news?

Eventually, it became too aggravating to enjoy. So I simply stopped watching. Besides, after they got rid of Matthew Macfadyen, it was never the same.

It turns out, amazingly enough, that I'm not the only one irked by "Spooks" portrayal of Israel/Jews. Apparently, the season finale of Spooks this year in Britain was a real doozy:
The episode deals with a large-scale deal between Britain and Saudi Arabia wherein Britain is promised an unlimited supply of fuel for handing over plutonium to the Saudis. Mossad agents attempt to thwart the deal, and are seen shooting bound and blindfolded prisoners in the back.
In other words, they presented a typical views of the way in which BBC journalists - and series writers - view Israel. Even if this is not yet part of their private confessional.

And so who was irked?

The Mossad. Irked enough, if the story is true, for some of them to come to London and complain in person to the heads of both MI6 (external threats) and MI5 (internal threats).
The Mossad is furious at a popular British espionage drama series, or so says the 'Sunday Express. The British daily reported Sunday that senior Mossad agents were so angry with the way their organization was depicted in the BBC production 'Spooks' that they decided to take the matter to the British secret service.

High-ranking Mossad agents reportedly flew to London to see the last episode, which aired on BBC3 last week.
Though I do have a bit of an unbelievability gap here - did they really need to travel to London to see the show, or did they just want a fun jaunt? Because, hasn't the Mossad ever heard of bittorrent? They could have easily watched it in Israel.

Although, maybe they wanted to enjoy the show on a large screen TV? Who knows?

The Mossad is "officially denying" the story. But then, of course, they would either way. Because, if true, it reduces Israel to the level of Kazakhstan, re, um, Borat. Even though those of us who have watched Spooks - and, uh, are not acolytes of the BBC's political cult, understand implicitly how annoyed that show can make you.

To this "nonexistent" complaint, the BBC replied, that, like most of their journalism,
the series in question is fictional and that "we're sure the viewers understand that the episodes do not present actual events.
Yes, the viewers do understand that about BBC journalism. Though, we often wonder whether the writers and reporters understand it as well.
The series is about intelligence organizations all over the world and they've all had to deal with the imagination of our screenwriters."
Which makes it interesting to note that the imagination of these screen writers trends in precisely the same way as their journalists. In that case, is it simple imagination at work, or, rather, simply scripting one's cultural biases into a show that works very hard to present an aura of realism. Imagination seems to me quite different than scripting up one's raw political biases into a work of drama. But, seemingly, the difference, these days, is often lost on the Brits. As Terry Teachout notes about the Rachel Corrie play, Politics makes artists stupid.

What was that again, according to their own critique of themselves:
At the secret meeting in London last month, which was hosted by veteran broadcaster Sue Lawley, BBC executives admitted the corporation is dominated by homosexuals and people from ethnic minorities, deliberately promotes multiculturalism, is anti-American, anti-countryside and more sensitive to the feelings of Muslims than Christians.

One veteran BBC executive said: 'There was widespread acknowledgement that we may have gone too far in the direction of political correctness...
News programs, TV shows, it all comes out the same on the BBC.

Given this self evaluation, this catalogue of errant biases, it is interesting to note that news outlets like the BBC are part of an ongoing effort to turn being a supporter of Israel into the new transgressive activity.

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