Just over a month ago, a massive demonstration took place in central London. More than 100,000 people travelled from all corners of Britain to protest our illegal invasion and continued occupation of Iraq.
It wasn’t even mentioned on BBC broadcasts apart from giving New Labour’s Tebbit John Reid the opportunity to slag it off.
Today, 40,000 people are running round London. There has been non-stop coverage on BBC1 from 8.30am. The coverage won’t be interrupted till 1.50pm. That’s over five hours of national TV coverage.
So, the massed-marching of millions of Britons means fuck-all to the BBC but some bloke dressing up like a chicken and running around, that deserves an outside broadcast and personal interview.
This is all very, very old:
Bread and circuses is a derogatory phrase which can describe either government policies to pacify the citizenry, or the shallow, decadent desires of that same citizenry. In both cases, it refers to low-cost, low-quality, high-availability food and entertainment, and to the exclusion of things which the speaker considers more important, such as art, public works projects, democracy, or human rights.
It originated as the Latin phrase “panem et circenses” (literally “bread and circuses”), and is thought to have been coined by Juvenal, a Roman satiric poet of the 1st century AD, to describe the practice of Roman Emperors who gave unlimited free wheat to the poor and costly circus games as a means of pacifying the populace with food and entertainment.
When questioned about its lack of coverage, the BBC claimed that an annual anti-war demo is dull, it’s not newsworthy because it’s happening every year.
If that’s true, what makes a mere 40,000 running round London so fucking riveting?
The BBC’s reason for lack of coverage is a bare-faced lie. They cover annual sporting events lavishly, splashing out money from our licence fees without a moment’s hesitation. Sport is always in favour.
Mass antiwar marches are not.
Clearly, the BBC values circuses, it prioritises fripperies and distractions from the meat of world events and immense global movements. I’m sure if the BBC had been in charge of US TV in the 1960s it would have avoided shots of the Watts Riots or civil rights marches and pushed out extended baseball coverage instead. Maybe it would have called Martin Luther King’s speeches ‘boring’ as well.
The millions of us who’ve been on British antiwar demos know the truth about the BBC now. We know that we can gather in our hundreds of thousands and shut London down with our marching and the BBC will deem this “not newsworthy.” But any sporting event, no matter how unpopular and marginal, will get coverage.
Perhaps next time we should all dress up as fucking chickens?