: A great speech at the Edinburgh TV Festival attacks the creeping PCization of TV, popular culture, and the news — the oversensitivity to sensitivities that ends up adding up to a big lie:

The television industry is so in thrall to political correctness that soap and drama writers now routinely consult pressure groups for advice on what they consider offensive, the Edinburgh Television Festival heard yesterday.

In the annual Alternative MacTaggart Lecture, Rod Liddle, the former editor of Radio 4’s Today programme, called on producers to ignore attempts by organisations such as the Commission for Racial Equality, the mental health charity Mind and the anti-smoking group Ash to dictate what is broadcast.

“They hector and harry you into portraying society as they would like it to be, rather than as what it is,” Mr Liddle told an audience of broadcasters.

In many cases, the interference was done “with the connivance” of the Government and statutory bodies such as the Independent Television Commission and the BBC’s Editorial Policy Unit. The aim was to “bully programme makers into changing the nature of their news programmes, dramas and light entertainment in order to accord with the various agendas pursued by each group”….

He recounted how, before the Iraq war, BBC journalists were summoned to a meeting to discuss how they could cover the conflict without offending Muslims.

Later, he heard a BBC report about a British suicide bomber in Israel. The report concluded – “apropos of nothing at all” – that the vast majority of British Muslims were “utterly opposed” to suicide attacks against Israel.

“When we are forced into making these blithe and comfortable platitudinous asides we do everybody a disservice,” he said. In a desire to avoid inflaming religious antagonism, “we massage the truth in order to kid ourselves, and the audience, that that’s really the case”.

He gave warning that such “small incremental changes” to dramas or news may be well-intentioned, but “before you know it, we’re living in a sort of ghastly Sesame Street”, bearing no relation to reality.

Of course, this happens here, too: Special-interest pressure groups try to get art created by quota and agenda: don’t show smoking; have more of this kind of person or that; don’t say that even if people do say it. What it really means is: Be dishonest.

Somebody, please put up the entire text of the speech.