Dianne Abbott revisited

by Harry on November 6, 2003

An update on Dianne Abbott: her choice was the topic of this week’s The Moral Maze which you can hear on the web till next Tuesday. Worth a listen, even if you’re not particularly interested in the topic, for an insight into the workings (or otherwise) of the journalistic mind.



Ophelia Benson 11.06.03 at 5:48 pm

So the Moral Maze doesn’t archive their shows? You can only listen to one at a time? I’m a bit confused by the BBC system, where some shows are archived, to the great benefit of us Yanks, who get to ditch horrible dreary tame mindless bland boring NPR for ‘Start the Week’ and ‘Thinking Allowed’ and ‘In Our Time’ and ‘Saturday Review’ etc. But only one Moral Maze…odd.


harry 11.06.03 at 6:23 pm

If it makes you feel better the Moral Maze is nowhere near the quality of those others.

I have only been able to listen to any of the ones you mention, though, for 7 days after they are broadcast. Are you saying that you can listen to the back-catalogue of those shows? I know that some of the science and nature, and history, programmes archive individual shows for a very long time, but I’ve not found that with the news and current affairs ones.


jdsm 11.06.03 at 6:48 pm

I’ve just suffered the moral maze on the basis of this link and what a waste of time. They take the time to get someone like Adam Swift on the show and then completely fail to understand his arguments. They bicker and twitter as if being abrasive and contrarian is the only way they can get paid and the genuine argument, which is an interesting one, gets lost. I’m so irritated.

It was clear where the argument was going when Melanie Phillips said that this was a non issue on the basis that Sweden and the Netherlands have totally uncontroversial private school systems. Such nonsense.


Jimmy Doyle 11.06.03 at 11:50 pm

I’m in the US for a year and so have exchanged R3 and R4 for NPR, and would like to amplify Ophelia’s comment about NPR. It’s SO SHITE! Even their flasgship news programs, All Things Considered and Morning Edition, are presented in an unbelievably boring and pointy-headed way. And their idea of classical music is basically classical muzak: massive weighting toward early romanticism, occasional twentieth-century work so long as it broadly conforms to nineteenth-century canons — eg some Shostkovich and Debussy, but I’ve yet to hear a single piece by Berg or Bartok.


Ophelia Benson 11.07.03 at 1:51 am

I know, isn’t NPR just awful? And everyone here thinks it’s good, which is even more maddening!

It does make me feel better that Moral Maze is worse. And yes, you can listen to archives of all those, if you go to the webpage of the individual show. They go back several months anyway, and I think In Our Time goes back more than a year. The Radio 4 home page has the whole list so you can just click on the website of each show and find the archive – for the ones that have them. It was a major joy for me when they started doing that, which was quite recently.


dave heasman 11.07.03 at 12:30 pm

I suppose NPR is awful, but there are gems.
Rob Bamberger’s “Hot Jazz Saturday Night” via WAMU last week had a 2-hour overview of Ladd’s Black Aces that was…ace.


Ophelia Benson 11.07.03 at 4:45 pm

Well, that’s good, but there’s room for a lot more gems and a lot, lot fewer duds.

Boy, everybody was right about that Moral Maze, though – that was awful! That ridiculous Melanie Philips interrupted Adam Swift not once but twice, as he was in the very act of explaining why private schools harm people in state schools, he was in mid-sentence explaining about positional goods, when she loudly and rudely interrupted to shout at him a demand that he explain what he meant – that he do what he was doing when she interrupted to stop him doing it in order to demand that he do it. What a moron! And then the other guy who loudly accused him of saying equality of opportunity is all, when he (as he pointed out, heatedly) had explicitly said that he did *not* mean that, that there are other values that have to be taken into account too.

Mind you, the equivalent show would have been even worse on US radio, because clogged with idiots phoning in to say even sillier things than the actual panel said. But still.

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