I like the BBC, but not enough to pay them

Posted by: Phineas on March 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

I admit it: this conservative likes the BBC, in spite of its self-confessed left-liberal bias. Maybe it’s a nostalgic attachment to the Beeb’s role in World War II, when their overseas radio broadcasts would begin “This is London calling,” bringing a message of liberty, hope, and resistance to people trapped in the Nazis’ empire. Or maybe it’s just a natural reaction to the reassuring aura of authority that comes from a posh London accent — at least for the Anglophilic among us. (Another confession.)

But, much as I like Auntie Beeb, I don’t want to give her US taxpayer dollars:

BBC World Service to sign funding deal with US state department

The BBC World Service is to receive a “significant” sum of money from the US government to help combat the blocking of TV and internet services in countries including Iran and China.

In what the BBC said is the first deal of its kind, an agreement is expected to be signed later this month that will see US state department money – understood to be a low six-figure sum – given to the World Service to invest in developing anti-jamming technology and software.

The funding is also expected to be used to educate people in countries with state censorship in how to circumnavigate the blocking of internet and TV services.

It is understood the US government has decided the reach of the World Service is such that it makes investment worthwhile.

In other words, we’re in a fiscal crisis with a looming entitlement crash and a massive deficit, we’re seriously thinking of defunding our own quasi-national broadcaster, and yet Foggy Bottom thinks it’s a good idea to give money to the British Broadcasting Corporation? Six figures may be chicken feed in DC, but spending even a dime of our money on this is nonsensical. Granted, London is massively cutting defense spending and is imposing what amounts to (for them) an austerity budget (including cuts to the BBC), but they can fund their own darned radio service, if they think it’s so worthwhile.

And may I remind State that we ourselves have a pretty well-respected overseas news service, the Voice of America? Sending the money their way would accomplish the same goal while directly serving American interests.

Oh, wait. I forgot. It’s the State Department we’re talking about. Never mind.

I’ll give Fausta the final word on this mini-farce:

Let me get this straight, the US is broke, borrowing money from China, and will be funding the BBC to broadcast in China?

I’m sure it makes perfect sense inside the Beltway.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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5 Responses to “I like the BBC, but not enough to pay them”


  1. Craig Lueschow says:

    Gooe grief, I should not be shocked anymore, but I am.

  2. Carlos says:

    The coming fiscal crisis, an actual, defined depression, will make this last round of economic downturn look like child’s play, and it will all be a result of Obhammud’s and Congress’ stupidity and determination to stick to ideological goals.

    If you own a house, be prepared to stay in it for several more years…

  3. Glenn Bergen says:

    It sounds like a good idea. Obama shut down the VOA programming to China, to curry favor with the Chinese gov’t. And now the State Dep’t wants to initiate BBC “Home Service” programming TO China ? This is funny; is there some internecine warfare going on between Clinton and Obama?

  4. Carlos says:

    This isn’t a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, it’s a case of neither hand knowing what they themselves are doing, let alone what the other is doing.

    And to top it all off, BBC has less claim to my tax dollars than does NPR, and I don’t consider NPR’s claim worth the toilet paper most congressional bills are written on.

  5. Glenn Bergen says:

    Carlos, My dear lad; This is a case where the left hand does not want to wash the right hand. All things given,I would rather defund NPR in order to free up funds to BBC. My taxpayer dollars are more effectively spent on a British institution than trying to chime in on the liberal East-Coast mental mindset. Transmitting to China and promoting democracy might have a bigger payout.
    p.s, Years ago when I wore a uniform, I had to DF the BBC broadcasts emanating from their site in Cyprus for purposes of a DOD program. Technically, BBC may have better access into China than VOA.