The BBC and Lee Kuan Yew

March 23 2015

On the first main bulletin after Lee’s death, the 10 pm Radio 4 news yesterday: item number 3.

Twelve hours later, 10 am R4 headlines: Lee not mentioned AT ALL.

Here’s the punchline. On the “flagship” R4 lunchtime news programme on Monday, and a 45-minute affair supposedly of some prestige, The “World” at One: Lee not mentioned AT ALL again, even in the headlines. We once ruled the world. We should at least understand it.

This was the day, in Asia time, of Lee’s death, a man of historical importance, the first half of whose life was closely bound up with Britain. There was a lot on extremism, UKIP and sexual abuse and, when the editors had run out of that and didn’t have a welfare story, a long closing section about, not hawking this time, but what makes a gardener.

9 Responses to “The BBC and Lee Kuan Yew”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    Extremism, UKIP, abuse and welfare are important subjects. What is shockingly missing now in the BBC is the rest of the world and a sense of history.

  2. davidderrick Says:

    Thanks. But I would EXPECT it to make a front page, wouldn’t you? Am I exaggerating this? Perhaps in 25 visits, I have become 5% Singaporean. I can feel this.

    • Lance Knobel Says:

      I don’t think you have any idea how unconscious most of the US is about things happening beyond its shores. The only exceptions are Israel, Russia and terrorism.

      I do expect the Times to get it right, but they’re the lone exception.

  3. davidderrick Says:

    The NYT piece is OK, but it barely deals with his past and the roots of his motivation.

    The World at One has been in a bad way for a long time. The spirit of Martha Kearney rules.

  4. davidderrick Says:

    Comment on a BBC blog, replying to a BBC summary of users’ criticisms of the news site’s redesign.


    This is a highly disingenuous post. It chooses to focus on relatively tiny criticisms (ticker, colour, banner) and misses out the avalanche of informed, constructive, legitimate expressions of deep disappointment with the overall lack of coherent design.

    And then it says “There has however been some positive feedback” – it is less than 1% of the HYS posts. This is clutching at straws – the vast majority of comments are strenuously negative.

    And finally it says “we know it takes a while to get used to changes like this”. In other words, there is still absolutely no recognition that the criticisms carry any weight – we the majority of licence fee payers are simply an annoyance.

    Let me summarise the feedback – the vast majority of it has been overwhelmingly negative for very good, very well argued reasons. It is not about the shock of the new, it is about the wilful destruction of one of the world’s most authoritative news websites.


    Not design only. What remains of text is one sentence, one paragraph, and barely literate or proofread. The entire resources of the BBC, once perceived as a great institution, can now produce only this.

  5. davidderrick Says:

    BBC 2’s Newsnight had a segment the other day on what men wear in hot weather.

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