The BBC should know better

First watch this piece of regional news reporting from the BBC – it’s only just over a minute long.  It’s a terrible case.  A former winner of the title Mr Gay UK is accused of murdering an acquaintance, then attempting to cook and eat part of his flesh.

I don’t have a particular problem with the fact the story makes explicit reference to homosexuality being a feature of the case, although I do wonder, if it had involved a man and a woman, whether the reporter would have chosen to emphasise heterosexuality in quite the same way.  I don’t mind all that much that the report, and the accompanying text story,  state so prominently that the alleged murderer had won a gay beauty competition 15 years ago.  Again, it doesn’t seem as though it’s especially relevant, but it is the kind of salacious detail I would expect the mainstream media to pick up on – I can’t imagine the reporting would have been any different if the defendant in the case had won any other kind of male beauty competition.

What I do object to is the passing comment, made by the reporter at around 24 seconds, that the victim was a ‘promiscuous homosexual’.  What, precisely, is the relevance of the sexual habits of the victim?  Is the reporter alleging that, because he was willing to go home with a casual acquaintance for sex, that it was in some way the victim’s own fault that he was murdered?  If so, this sounds a lot like the argument that women who are raped after willingly going home with their rapists are responsible for what happens to them because they were “obviously up for it”.

Isn’t it enough that the friends and relatives of the victim have to cope with the fact that he was murdered, without having to face the fact that irrelevant details about his private life prior to the attack are being reported?  I’d expect this kind of muck-raking from a lot of media outlets, but not from the BBC.  It’s disgraceful.

While we’re on the subject of people who should know better, it’s quite something to manage to be so virulently anti-gay that even the church of England objects to your prejudice, but the “reverend” Peter Mullen has managed it.

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5 Responses to The BBC should know better

  1. Cellar_Door says:

    “What I have got against them [homosexuals] is the militant preaching of homosexuality.”

    This really pisses me off. Personally, what I have got against Christianity (and other religions) is its militant preaching of hatred.

    And really, who honestly thinks that ‘preaching’ homosexuality is going to convert any true heterosexual? It’s not like choosing which brand of soap powder to buy. I like to think my choice of sexual partner is governed by something a bit more complex than simply being told ‘yeah, it’s really good’. And why would this be such a horrible thing if it was theoretically possible?

    And I agree completely about the ‘promiscuous homosexual’ comment. Would they refer to a 20 year old woman killed the same way as a ‘promiscuous girl’? They wouldn’t dare.

    Arghh. Ok, will calm down…rant over… :0)

  2. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Cellar_Door – Thanks for the comment, and, please, feel free to rant whenever you want. :o)

    With people like Rev. Mullen, i do always find myself wondering if they are stupid (and genuinely can’t tell the difference between calling for an end to unfair treatment of gay people, and promoting homosexuality to those who would otherwise be straight), or if they’re being deliberately misleading (and hate gay people, and think saying what they do is a good way of whipping up popular resentment).

    And, like you, i’m always fascinated by the way they seem to see their orientation as such an incredibly fragile thing – it’s almost as though they’re not 100% convinced they’re straight. ;o) Speaking personally, i’ve encountered loads of heterosexual ‘propaganda’ in the form of books, films, tv, and the weddings of friends and family ever since i could first pay attention to anything, but somehow i still seem to prefer guys… (I don’t really think it’s propaganda, btw, i’m just reversing his argument against gay pride marches.)

    Frankly, i’m not all that bothered when i see the church expressing such naked hatred, though. Most people instinctively recoil from hatred. The “love the sinner, hate the sin” approach of apparently reasonable people like Rowan Williams is far more insidious, i think.

  3. Cellar_Door says:

    A – Exactly…if it was that easy to be ‘turned’ there would be no gay people at all, given the constant bombardment of hetersexual imagery in every arena :0) (That’s another of my rants; I’m so sick of absolutely everything being advertised by sex. You start to feel abnormal if your own personal world doesn’t revolve around getting your leg over).

    And I agree, the ones that are absolutely bonkers are easier to ignore, it’s the supposedly ‘moderate’ ones that are scary…

  4. cb says:

    That minister is exceptionally offensive and I don’t honestly think there is any defence at all to what he said. About the BBC reporting, I actually think the story as you say, dwells overly on the sexuality of the people involved when it is irrelevant however, I’m thinking of those cases a few years ago when a man killed women in Norfolk and they were constantly being referred to as prostitutes rather than women – as if that made them somehow less human or made the crime more insignificant… so I think they can be just as bad in their reporting of women who they feel somehow need to be judged even when they are victims.

  5. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Cellar-Door – yes, i agree. We seem to be doing very well putting the world to rights between us, don’t we? ;o)

    cb – you’re absolutely spot on. I thought the constant reference to the murdered women as prostitutes was shameful. There was – possibly – a half-justification when the killer was still at large, as a sort of coded warning to other prostitutes to be careful. (Although i doubt how effective it would have been – i’m pretty sure people wouldn’t choose to work the streets if they had any options at all.) But carrying on once the arrest had been made, and throughout the trial, was utterly unneccesary and seemed aimed, as you say, at reducing the severity of the crime.

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