Tuesday, 2 August 2011

More media bias

Apparently the BBC screened a Panorama programme last night that could be described as a half-hour commercial for the anti-drink lobby. I didn’t see it myself (my blood pressure would probably have been unable to stand the strain) but it is very effectively deconstructed by Chris Snowdon here.

Two of the Prohibitionists’ distortions of the truth particularly stand out:

  • While it is true that per capita alcohol consumption in the UK has approximately doubled since 1947, that year, in the wake of a World War and in a time of austerity and rationing, was an untypical historic low point. The current level is only consistent with the long-term historic average.

  • How can alcohol be considered absurdly cheap in this country when we have some of the very highest rates of alcohol duty in the entire European Union? Our duties are higher even than those in Sweden, notorious for its strict anti-drink culture. If alcohol is causing problems, then surely it must be due to social factors other than price.

6 comments:

  1. Having worked in Sweden I can testify that the government and bureaucracy's anti drink culture does not work.

    The Swedes are enthusiastic drinkers and faced with exorbitant prices in bars and the state run offie's many of my colleagues had become expert home brewers.

    One pair even brought to one of our office BBQs on the shores of Lake Maleren a five litre container of home distilled Aquavit. It was a bit disconcrting to see this stuff dissolve the glue holding our paper cups together but nobody died.

    Human beings are infinitely resourceful and as I've said in many other contexts, "They can't put us all in prison."

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  2. Ian R Thorpe: The Swedes are enthusiastic drinkers and faced with exorbitant prices in bars and the state run offie's many of my colleagues had become expert home brewers.

    I suspect this is commonplace right across all the Nordic countries too - the likes of Norway especially, with their home-distilled spirits. Regardless of legality, people will just do it on the QT and people will simply turn a blind eye.

    You price people out of the market, they go elsewhere. Seems to me the anti-drink loons aren't remotely bothered by that, though, as long as they can make life more difficult for the drinks industry.

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  3. You didn't miss much. Only the usual claptrap and myths peddled as fact. I'm also tired of the "it's too cheap" rhetoric when, by any standard, it is actually too expensive.

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  4. First they came for the smokers....

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  5. I made an official complaint about this programme to the BBC, regarding the lack of balance, and received the following brush-off:

    Thanks for contacting us regarding 'Dying for a Drink: Panorama’ broadcast on 1 August on BBC One.

    We understand that you felt the programme was very one-sided and came across as propaganda for the anti-drink lobby.

    We appreciate not everyone will agree with the content or outcome of our programmes. This programme in particular was an attempt to uncover the impact alcohol is having on a new and younger generation of drinkers, and asks whether the government is doing enough to stop us drinking ourselves to death. We appreciate that the audience may not agree with our conclusions. However, we seek neither to denigrate nor promote any particular view, rather we present the relevant facts and allow our audience to make up their own minds based on them. Senior editorial staff, the Executive Committee and the BBC Trust keep a close watch on programmes to ensure that standards of impartiality are maintained.

    We'd like to assure you that your feedback has been registered on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's made available to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, programme makers, channel controllers and other senior managers. The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

    Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

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  6. "We appreciate that the audience may not agree with our conclusions. However, we seek neither to denigrate nor promote any particular view, rather we present the relevant facts and allow our audience to make up their own minds based on them." If they don't promote a particular view, how is it possible that we can agree or disagree with their "conclusions"?

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