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"Fair and Unbiased"

So, Top Gear's man of mystery, the Stig, has unmasked himself in order to sell his book. The BBC is objecting to the publication of the book on the grounds that it breaches contractual and confidentiality agreements.

HarperCollins, the would-be publishers of the book, have issued a press release in which they say that they "are disappointed that the BBC has chosen to spend licence fee payers' money to suppress this book".

Remind me again who owns HarperCollins, and why they might want to make political capital at the BBC's expense in the run-up to the renegotiation of the BBC charter, and possible abolition of the license fee.

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I think that you are mistaking the baby for the bathwater. Yes, Top Gear is laddish and petrol-headed ("brutally unpleasant", "borderline evil" and "horrific" are both subjective judgements and hyperbole), and I can't make excuses for that. The homophobic undercurrent is the aspect of the show that most concerns me.

However, by judging the BBC - all of the BBC - through a single show, you're playing into the hands of those who would like to see the BBC usurped.

BSkyB is a New Corporation company (as is HarperCollins), and I'm sure that Murdoch would like nothing more to see an emasculated BBC. I'm also sure that our new masters in Whitehall would like to see more a subservient BBC (never minding that our previous masters wanted the same), but I don't think that ousting the BBC from their position as the news broadcaster of note and replacing them with Fox News will serve the UK at all well. In terms of revenue, BSkyB already outperforms the BBC (2009 revenue of roughly £5.5B, compared to £4.5B for the BBC).

The BBC *is* a fine organisation and a benchmark of quality, but by harping on about a single show, you're in danger of making the converse a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Absolutely with you here. The fact that Clarkson is thoroughly unpleasant and essentially undoes a lot of good work others do to raise climate awareness is one thing. The whole "backs-against-the-wall-lads" attitude to homosexuality though is just awful. The episode where that dance teacher guy was on was cringe worthy and I have no idea why he lent himself to it.

Subjective judgements? I guess so. Not sure I get your point there though; subjectively I find homopobic, anti-environmental nonesense where breaking the law isn't so much condoned as fully exemplified to be brutally unpleasant and just a bit evil. And wherever I encounter it I find that kind of homophobia horrific.

The BBC does a lot of good stuff, but until such a time as it starts outright rejecting the kind of offensive tosh that typifies Top Gear they can't claim any kind of moral high ground in dealings with Murdochs brigade.

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