Not everyone may have noticed, but Pope Benedict XVI has dropped in on the UK for a state visit. Fair play for the nation’s Roman Catholics, one might think. But there are opportunities here for the Fourth Estate too, whether Catholic or Protestant. The kind of opportunities being taken by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hacks at the Daily Mail generally involve proclaiming the universal good of Christianity, while kicking the BBC.
And there is no more obedient Mail hack than the appalling Amanda Platell, although her distaste for the Beeb was put aside this morning so she could once again feature on the Andy Marr Show paper review. La Platell, in her latest and customarily mediocre column, paints the BBC as some kind of enabler in a great anti-Christian conspiracy.
This was not merely the view of one overmonied hack: the Mail’s “comment” on 16 September told of “the increasingly ugly and strident secularism being promoted by the BBC ...”, while another editorial yesterday described “... the strident voices of secularism, cheered on by the BBC, which seek to exclude religious values from national discourse”.
Leaving aside the inconvenient fact that the Mail’s website is full of slebs, glamour models and adverts (which might qualify as secularism), whether the Beeb really is anti-Christian might be easily deduced from the lack of coverage they are giving the Papal visit. So I checked it out, and this is what I found:
Thursday 16 September: BBC2, 2 hours 30 minutes
Friday 17 September: BBC2, 2 hours
Saturday 18 September: BBC2, 2 hours 35 minutes
Sunday 19 September: BBC2, 3 hours 10 minutes.
In addition to these timings are the programmes made to fit in with the visit, and chunks of news bulletins dedicated to it. That’s a lot of airtime for such a secular and anti-Christian organisation. Plus right now the Pope is top story on the Beeb website.
But not on that of the Mail. Pass the sick bag.