02
May
08

In the spirit of openness…

We feature on this blog, again today, questioning our practices. I’ve posted there, but i think we can be a bit clearer on air about the contributors you hear. Regulars and readers of the blog know how we put the programme together (and it’s explained here ), but for our listeners only, we’ll be a bit more explicit.


27 Responses to “In the spirit of openness…”


  1. May 2, 2008 at 12:25

    Oh wah wah wah, I would hate to see what that thread would look like if it were about Faux News or CNN haha.

    BBC you do a great job, far better than what we have here in the states.

    Regards,
    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  2. May 2, 2008 at 12:45

    Hi my Precious Mark… And to Good John in North Carolina I do have this to say : I had the ultimate honour of being on OUR programme, the WHYS programme on air so many times, and in each time the ways I got through which on air were quite different… I’ll mention just two examples : On the 8th of March 2007 the programme was discussing the role of women in their societies all around the world, as a young Iraqi woman I felt that I must have my say on this issue, so I phoned the programme live and asked to take part on air, and a few minutes later Precious Mark rang me back and put me through the air… Also a short while ago the programme was discussing whether societies should force women to dress modestly, I posted a comment on the WHYS blog on this topic, and Precious Peter emailed me asking whether I’d love to take part in the programme on air, and thankfully that’s what really happened… When someone phones live during the programme and asks to take part on air, if he/she ever makes it to the programme on air, then Precious Ros makes sure to say ‘This is X from Nigeria for e.g. who phoned us live during the show. Thanks for calling us!’. Precious Ros NEVER says that to ‘invited guests’ on the show, not even once ! To all my Precious friends who work for WHYS I say : You’re the best guys… Please don’t you let anyone bring you down… With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  3. 3 Katharina in Ghent
    May 2, 2008 at 13:35

    Does it really make such a difference to the listener whether the person just phoned in or was contacted beforehand? As Lubna pointed out, you CAN just call in and may get put on air. What gives the show such a high-quality profile is the fact that people that are put on air actually have something meaningful to say be it now pro or contra a specific issue. And as far as I can tell, you do your best to give both sides their say.

    There will always be people who envie your success and the fact that they didn’t have the idea themselves, but I wouldn’t worry too much about them.

    Best wishes,
    Katharina

  4. 4 Nick in USA
    May 2, 2008 at 14:11

    I really don’t know why anyone has questioned WHYS on this. Even if the allegations about saying “John from North Carolina” instead of calling him a pre-arranged guest are true…Who cares? Also, what is everyone’s problem with letting Tamimi on the show? The show is about hearing all sides. He didn’t hide the fact that he shared many views with Hamas. We talked about this already and most of us agreed that the show should have anyone who can make interesting conversation. If the WHYS team didn’t pre-screen guests, then we would have a pretty boring show to listen to.

  5. 5 Ana Milena, Colombia
    May 2, 2008 at 14:51

    Hey, everyone! 🙂
    In order to make the show interesting and fair, it is necessary to choose guests, even in advance. I say ‘fair’ because the program needs to expose the two sides of the coin, and you’ve got to be sure these guests reflect these sides, not only one – that would be a partial and wrong decision of the program.
    I guess it’s impossible to do this just during the on-air programme!

    Cheers!

  6. 6 selena
    May 2, 2008 at 16:09

    WHYS is an excellent groundbreaking show. Don’t let the naysayers bother you too much.

    The story of the old man, the boy and the donkey comes to mind. If you try to please everyone you will end up pleasing no one.

  7. 7 viola anderson
    May 2, 2008 at 17:11

    Well, I’m a bit slow sometimes. I admit I thought WHYS’ purpose was to allow persons of differing viewpoints to debate issues. Ros set me straight on that one: apparently, WHYS wants conversations in which viewpoints are expressed, not debated.

    I guess that, ideally, we will then take these viewpoints and integrate them into our own views on the various issues. The debate should be with our own viewpoints, eh?

    The blogs on the different issues do turn into debates between posters.

    I think soliciting callers in advance makes a lot more sense than “first come, first served.” The issue can always be revisited if a good point was missed by excluding someone.

    As long as WHYS remains committed to fairly allowing viewpoints onto the show that do not agree with their own personal views, they will stay on the right track. Can’t be easy.

    Is this a kind of a poll, I wonder.

    I have heard WHYS moderators sometimes try to get a guest to agree that another guest has a good point. An example was when Tamimi said on air that it was not necessary for anyone to say that Israel has a right to exist in order for the peace process to go forward because it “de facto” exists. I think the moderator was earlier trying to get Tamimi to admit that Israel has a right to exist. I would say that was pretty well balanced by WHYS.

  8. May 2, 2008 at 17:22

    I had the chance to be on the WHYS show on a number of occasions, as I had the misfortune of being contacted to take part, only to be disappointed by not being called back during the show to take part. It happened to me at least four times in the past two years.

    But I understand the strain the team can have during the show when there are many speakers that can’t all be fitted on the show and the priority should be given to those who are to take part for the first time, especially from a country like Saudi Arabia, Cuba or Afghanistan.

    And also to be fair, extracts of my comments are frequently read as well as they are put on the front page of the radio section.

    I can say that the show isn’t dishonest at all. It is frank about what’s going on. When a show is suggested by a listener, it is said so. I have the examples of my friends Hisham in France and Lubna in Iraq who suggested topics to discuss.

    The fact that WHYS, from time to time, poses a criticism of it for debate is an indication that it is transparent. Accusing it of fabrication is laughable.

    And for those who find pleasure in criticising WHYS here is a video link: , which was first put on BBC WHYS blog some months ago.

  9. 9 selena
    May 2, 2008 at 17:32

    Viola, you have enlightened me with your post. I, too, was unaware that WHYS is strictly an opinions show.

    I have been pleased with WHYS and that information pleases me more. This is truly forward thinking, in my opinion.

    Debate is not a problem solving model. It is a conflict promoting model.

    Debate is strictly about winners and losers and who can construct a better argument.

    Opinions are about people and their thoughts and hopes and aspirations. If people know that they don’t have to back up what they say with “facts” in order to be heard, it will be possible to say what they are really thinking.

    In my view, that is the key to change because it permits thinking and saying the unthinkable.

    My goodness this is the second time I have praised WHYS today. I must stop this 🙂

  10. 10 Xie_Ming
    May 2, 2008 at 17:56

    The BBC as a whole has made great strides since the removal of top management.

    The WHYS blog continues to publish direct and eliptical denigration of Palestinians and pro- Zionist lines (see Talking Points 2 May and 1 May;
    Islamic Fanaticism 1 May, etc).

    WHYS management continues to block facts refuting these assertions.

    Now, if assertions have been defined as “opinions”, and “debate” has become emotional expression of personal views, we have created a pleasant fog

    Wherein WHYS management can block on the basis of their opinion of emotional tenor

    and, of course, they aren’t doing a pro-Israel filter and block.

    (They claim.)

  11. 11 steve
    May 2, 2008 at 18:09

    Xie_ Ming: They still published blatant falsehoods about Israel, such as Israel killing 2 million arabs. Because they don’t allow free flowing demonization of Israel doesn’t make them biased, they still a lot of untruths, and propoganda, as they should be able to.

    I’m curious, Xie Ming, what has been blocked that you have written? I’m curious to the level it went. I’ve read things on HYS that you have written about Israel and Jews, and while I strongly don’t agree with the hateful things you say, I think you should be able to say it.

  12. 12 Nick in USA
    May 2, 2008 at 18:34

    Xie Ming,

    What facts have been blocked by WHYS management? Is this just another one of your claims that you can’t back up?

  13. 13 Xie_Ming
    May 2, 2008 at 19:00

    Ask WHYS.

  14. 14 Mark Sandell
    May 2, 2008 at 19:18

    That’s right Steve and Nick, according to Xie Ming we (or more specifically i) are the real life equivalent of the Stone Cutters club on the Simpsons. Apparently we don’t block comnments because they’re abusive, massively long or off-topic, it’s because we have a sinister Zionist agenda and we just won’t hear any views that disagree with our bias. So if you look around the site, you’ll see that Xie Ming never manages to get his/her posts on the site because we don’t agree with them.
    I’ll be honest i’m so tired and bored of this i don’t even find it funny any more, as i used to. Or maybe it’s been a long week and i’m tired of trying to skew the agenda without all of you noticing.

  15. 15 Xie_Ming
    May 2, 2008 at 19:26

    Check the Blank Page #4 (last weekend) for specific examples of the activity.

    Facts, not rhetoric!.

  16. 16 selena
    May 2, 2008 at 19:34

    Life is a self-driving car, programmed to navigate smoothly all the curves and
    impediments on the journey. Those who don’t trust the autopilot are constantly
    trying to correct the course, causing near collisions and collisions with
    obstacles real and imaginary.

    In the spirit of openness, we could opt not to be offended by anything others have to say.

    Rather we could try to understand that our opinions are precious to us. We can change our opinions freely but others will never be able to force us to change them.

    It is in the spirit of openness that we will see the other’s heart through a series of small steps… much like an art restorer cleaning a precious painting.

  17. 17 steve
    May 2, 2008 at 19:43

    @ Mark

    Have you been going to the “we control the world” meetings recently? After my bar mitzvah I was allowed to go, and I know we discussed at recent meeting how we’re going to take over the BBC’s WHYS, apparently it was accomplished sooner than I had expected. Excellent [in a mr. burns voice].

  18. 18 Nick in USA
    May 2, 2008 at 20:12

    Xie Ming:

    I don’t usually use hip acronyms, but your criticism of WHYS warrants an OMG. Once again you have made a claim that you couldn’t even come close to backing up. Steve and I both asked you to give us an example of something that you said that was blocked. Did you try to give an example here? Was it blocked? If so, then my apologies. Unless that’s the case, I’m calling shenanigans because from what I’ve seen they’ve allowed you to criticize them over and over again. They even opened up this thread, so the people who have been insulting their integrity could discuss it with them. You’re right about one thing though… blank page #4 does shed some light about what WHYS will allow on the blog.

    You said:

    “As usual, WHYS management has allowed aspersions of Muslim governments, their “irresponsibility”, etc. WITHOUT allowing
    mention or evidence of ISRAEL’s

    1) “Sampson Option” (q/v) [a threat of suicidal attack against the West]

    2) The prevalence of insane fundamentalist extremism and millenarianism in Israel.

    3) Israeli official talk of nuclear attack against Iran.

    4) Filmed wild personal action of George Bush.

    5) Discussion by US officials of using tactical nuclear weapons against Middle Eastern targets.”

    Unless I’m totally confusing the situation, I just read about the the things you weren’t allowed to mention on the blog, while I was reading the blog. Is that what you’re claiming?

  19. 19 Nick in USA
    May 2, 2008 at 20:53

    I don’t usually use hip acronyms, but your criticism of WHYS warrants an OMG. Once again you have made a claim that you couldn’t even come close to backing up. Steve and I both asked you to give us an example of something that you said that was blocked. Did you try to give an example here? Was it blocked? If so, then my apologies. Unless that’s the case, I’m calling shenanigans because from what I’ve seen they’ve allowed you to criticize them over and over again. They even opened up this thread, so the people who have been insulting their integrity could discuss it with them. You’re right about one thing though… blank page #4 does shed some light about what WHYS will allow on the blog.

    You said:

    “As usual, WHYS management has allowed aspersions of Muslim governments, their “irresponsibility”, etc. WITHOUT allowing
    mention or evidence of ISRAEL’s

    1) “Sampson Option” (q/v) [a threat of suicidal attack against the West]

    2) The prevalence of insane fundamentalist extremism and millenarianism in Israel.

    3) Israeli official talk of nuclear attack against Iran.

    4) Filmed wild personal action of George Bush.

    5) Discussion by US officials of using tactical nuclear weapons against Middle Eastern targets.”

    Unless I’m totally confusing the situation, I just read about the the things you weren’t allowed to mention on the blog, while I was reading the blog. Is that what you’re claiming?

  20. 20 Will Rhodes
    May 2, 2008 at 20:59

    That blog is all anti-BBC – lots of them out there.

    May be he needed the hits?

  21. 21 Ana Milena, Colombia
    May 2, 2008 at 21:07

    Hi there!

    Xie Ming:
    The fact of having you here say these things as well as other participants, doesn’t it tell you something about the nature of this space, WHYS?

  22. 22 Ana Milena, Colombia
    May 2, 2008 at 21:17

    Hey, Mark! 😉
    Please correct me if I’m wrong:
    Although working under the same policies, every team deals with their own dynamics in a particular way. It happens in your company, doesn’t it?

    We’re human beings, we’re not perfect and, therefore, we’re likely to tend to a specific position. In the case of WHYS, however, it’s evident the way you want to do things as clear as possible. That’s one of the greatest reasons why I listen to you and participate as much as I can. And I know most of us here agree with the fact that this space is one of the most impartial opportunities to cope with global issues! People have different opinions, and this blog as well as the microphones are always there, to let us have our say, whatever we want to say!
    We do acknowledge this opportunity!

    Mark, don’t ever give up! 🙂

  23. 23 Xie_Ming
    May 2, 2008 at 23:12

    Nick:

    Thank you for your interest in facts.

    The posts on the weekend had been blocked by the WHYS management during the week.

    That they appeared on the weekend was due to the volunteer moderators.

    To put them in context, they were in response to arguments that Muslim governments were too irresponsible and extremist to be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

    The list of points was designed to say that the West and Israel have dangerous elements influencing policy, also

    It will be necessary here to do a full documentation, post by post, of the assertions allowed by WHYS management and the responses blocked by WHYS management.

    I no longer believe that the filtering and blocking concerning Israel is done through “timidity or bias” on the part of WHYS management, I am convinced that it is a matter of bias.

    This demonstration does require links and specifics and needs to be done.

    As mentioned on the previous weekend, bias needs a lot of documentation over time.

    As for the post that was blocked today, Friday, that was a response to the assertion that the Palestinians were exclusively an Israeli and not an international concern.

  24. 24 Xie_Ming
    May 2, 2008 at 23:25

    Ana:

    The BBC as a whole is doing a fine job.

    In the matter of Israel, WHYS management is applying a biased filter.

    You will notice that one essayist starts most days with slices against Palestinians and the Muslim faith generally, usually with a large number of other points. This cannot have escaped the notice of moderators.

    You do not know when the response to such assertions has been filtered out.

    Another habitually posts personal attacks or taunts. Moderators may have dampened that activity, but they do not stop it.

    You are right in that CNN would never dream of letting a comment really critical of Israel come through. Against, such a standard, WHYS is applying a biased filter, rather than a block.

    As I mentioned to Nick, it will take carefully documented specifics to make everyone aware of the exact situation.

  25. 25 Mark
    May 4, 2008 at 02:51

    This genre of program was pioneerd on television by Phil Donahue in Chicago in the 1970s and comes under the category of “info-tainment.” Then there were lots of immitators on both TV and radio in the US. Internet blog sites are just an extension of it. It’s not news and lots of times it is designed to incite emotions to get ratings rather than to inform. Anyone can play including those who know little or nothing about the topic at hand. It can be fun, it can be interesting, but it is not news.

  26. 26 Xie_Ming
    May 4, 2008 at 12:56

    Nick et al.:

    Several detailed examples, as you requested, were submitted on 3 May and have not appeared here in the “Openness” thread.

    https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/04/24/talking-points-for-24-april/#comment-17926

    The above link is not now working, but that thread quotes the thinking of the WHYS manager, Mark Sandell.

    He also seems opposed to citing “Talmudic” or Torah scriptural demands that so motivate the Orthodox and permeate the Israeli government thinking.

    Without such information, one cannot appreciate the primitive ideology that motivates the persecution of the Palestinians.

    Olives were critical to the Palestinian economy. In 2002, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel urged settlers to steal the olives of the Palestinians, citing scriptural authority that all trees within “Greater Israel” were the exclusive property of Jews. There was vast support, especially among the Orthodox, for this (search on: Palestine + “chief rabbi” + olive trees).

    Various secular Israeli groups have sought to defend the Palestinians and their trees from “settlers” and the Israeli Army. Among those groups:

    http://www.gush-shalom.org
    http://otherisrael.home.igc.org/contents.html
    http://www.btselem.org/English/
    http://www.phr.org.il/phr/article.asp?articleid=24&catid=51&pcat=51
    &lang=ENG

    ___________________________________________________________________________–
    Submitted to WHYS 4 May 2008 at 14:48 GMT

  27. 27 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 7, 2008 at 07:39

    Some people blog negatively about the B.B.C.

    I am a loyal BBC consumer and i am proud of
    that…..

    Thanks,
    Dennis
    Madrid, United States of America


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