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Another own goal from BBC

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7 February 2011 12:45

A footnote to Alex Oliver's post about budget cuts the BBC World Service.

Some of you will be aware of the furore over comments made recently by the hosts of the BBC's motoring show Top Gear, which led to a complaint from the Mexican Embassy in London and an apology from the BBC. Now British comedian Steve Coogan has dumped on Top Gear's hosts, and in the process put the work of the World Service into context:

The BBC's initial mealy-mouthed apology was pitiful. It cited the more benign rivalry that exists between European nations (ah, those arrogant French, over-organised Germans), and in doing so neatly sidestepped one hugely important fact – ethnicity. All the examples it uses to legitimise this hateful rubbish are relatively prosperous countries full of white people. How about if the Lads had described Africans as lazy, feckless etc' Or Pakistanis'

What's more, this was all spouted by the presenters on one of the BBC's most successful programmes, with ratings that could only fail to impress Simon Cowell (very fast lap time). Forget the World Service; overseas, Top Gear is more frequently the public face of the BBC.

The Beeb's hand-wringing suggested tolerance of casual racism, arguably the most sinister kind. It's easy to spot the ones with the burning crosses. Besides, there is not a shred of truth in Top Gear's "comic" stereotype. I can tell you from my own experience, living in the US, Mexicans work themselves to the bone doing all the dirty thankless jobs that the white middle-class natives won't do.

In case you're wondering who Steve Coogan is, here's his most memorable character.

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