Alonso wants Hamilton to win in 2008?

There was an article surfaced on the BBC News site recently with the following title and surfaced summary:

F1: Prost backs Hamilton
Fernando Alonso tells the BBC that his former McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton could win the title in 2008.

I read the article twice to confirm that Alonso wasn’t bigging up (a phrase used purely to prompt comment from Rob) the chances of his bitter rival for the 2008 Championship. Very odd to read, and a strange mistake to make.

A fuckin’ fairytale, I tell ya

A story about the BBC’s decision (and subsequent reversal) to silence out slut and faggot from the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s fabulous track Fairy Tale of New York.

And they’re perhaps the most fabulous set of Christmas lyrics on offer, from what is perhaps the most wonderful Christmas song:

You’re a bum
You’re a punk
You’re an old slut on junk
Lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed
You scumbag, you maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy christmas your arse
I pray God it’s our last

May the track rocket to number one in the Hit Parade as a result of the controversy. (It’s currently number two in the iTunes download chart behind Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, both of which have been boosted by my good self.)

The BBC’s favicon

Where’d it go? It used to be a little BBC icon. Now, just a little white square.

Thank God

I echo Rob’s view that the release of Alan Johnston is a blessing.

After 114 days, or at least after the momentousness of Johnston’s release has died down, the BBC will finally be compelled to return to its objective media remit.

I can’t help but feel that his captivity has attracted a much greater focus than other captives’ plights might attract simply because of the BBC’s position as arbiter of news. The BBC’s role as a journalistic organisation has been blurred with its role as employer, to its detriment.

Would Johnston have been released safely if the BBC had not kept up its relentless focus? We will never know. And this is where the argument gets difficult. Nonetheless, the BBC has lost a degree of credibility as a result of the elevated status the story has received.

I do of course share Rob’s delight for the fella himself, along with his family.

Hansel and Gretel part 2

The only way to do a search from pages within the BBC News site (including the homepage) is to use the search box at the top right. This takes me to a set of results from across the entire BBC web presence. I didn’t want this did I? I searched from BBC News, so I wanted search results from BBC News. (It reminds me of the dilemma on Directgov and its predecessor, ukonline.gov.uk, of whether to serve results from the site itself or from the whole of government. Technology limitations meant that my preference of serving site-specific results won.)

OK, so now I’m frustrated, but at least I can use the tabs at the top to refine my results. I click on the BBC News & Sport tab and get the results I’m after. Unfortunately, I can’t find what I was looking for, so I decide I want to go back to the homepage and navigate for the page myself. Unfortunately, the BBC hasn’t left a trail of crumbs for me to do so. Indeed I am at least two steps from the homepage. I can either click the Back button twice (inelegant to say the least), or I can click on a random result and then use the left-hand navigation to take me back to the homepage.

Getting back home from the search results page is a fundamental requirement, and leaving it out is a major faux pas for the BBC.

(As an aside, here is Hansel and Gretel part 1. Again, about perceived difficulties in getting home.)

Extras: season 2

I’ve watched all five episodes to date, many of them online, as I’ve often forgotten that they’ve been on.

I have to say, I’m thoroughly disappointed. Apart from the awards episode two weeks ago (rightly pointed out by Nicola), it’s been mediocre comedy at best, living off the success and genius of the first season.

Last week’s episode (Sir Ian McKellen) was purely shameful. Cringeworthy excuse for comedy that didn’t warrant BBC’s airtime. I’ve filed this under BBC blunders,as I feel it is one.

Ruth Kelly joins the fray

The BBC’s story summary for Ruth Kelly’s imminent speech to local councils could be read in either of two ways:

All communities should battle extremism, not just Muslims, minister Ruth Kelly is due to tell local councils.

It would be favourable to put the not just Muslims clause after the word communities to save confusion, particularly given the political climate in this area. Otherwise, she could be construed as suggesting that everyone should battle both extremism and Muslims.

Also, is it just me, or does Ruth Kelly look awfully like the Sunday Show’s Paul Tonkinson?

Short headlines can be misleading

As I’ve mentioned before, the BBC often shortens an article’s title when surfacing so that it fits neatly into its allotted space on the section homepage. In this example however, the surfaced title and the actual title are the same:

US denies terror suspect torture

Was he asking to be tortured, with the US withholding this right?

The layout over content argument isn’t the reason here; it’s merely a case of shoddy journalism.

Chelsea’s succesful season

More proof-reading woes at the BBC in the surfacing of this page:

Pictures from Chelsea’s succesful title defence

BBC: its or it’s?

This time a surfacing of this article on the UK homepage, with the following teaser:

My autistic children keep me up all night and its taking its toll

One its is right, the other is lacking, as is the BBC’s grammar police.

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