For those of us with years of familiarity with the BBC under our belts, it is perhaps difficult to envisage any other scenario than the one in which the persona which is Alice Walker is revered by members of that organisation as an almost divine font of unchallengeable sound bite wisdoms.
Indeed, one only has to look at the frequency of Walker’s various BBC appearances to appreciate how many ‘right on’ boxes she ticks for so-called ‘progressives’.
Lyse Doucet’s March 2013 World Service radio interview with Walker was conducted in reverential tones under the banner of ‘truth’, even when her guest came out with stereotypical racist and sexist remarks about white European women which – had they been uttered by Betty Walker from Bolton in relation to a supposed unsuitability of African or Asian women for leadership due to some centuries-old collective trauma – would rightly have resulted in wall-to-wall raised eyebrows at the BBC.
In the May 24th 2013 edition of Radio 4’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ Alice Walker selected former BBC presenter and conspiracy theorist David Icke’s off-the-wall tome as her book of choice, with presenter Kirsty Young unable to bat an eyelid and Walker predictably unchallenged by anything which could be called journalism.
The programme is available on iPlayer here and for those outside the UK, in the video below.
Having spent fifty-three puffery-saturated minutes idealising and idolising Walker, her work and her activism, the pseudo-documentary then turns to the subject of her anti-Israel campaigning – although of course it is not presented in that way.
“You go in the book from Rwanda to Eastern Congo, to Palestine, Israel. It was your first trip?”
Walker answers: “To Palestine? Yes.” After which the film cuts to images of Walker in the Gaza Strip, with her saying in the voice-over:
“It’s easy to make the connection between the Freedom Rides of fifty years ago to the South that helped to bring down apartheid USA and what is happening there in Palestine with the wall and with the abuse of the Palestinian people. It’s very similar. I mean it’s more intense in Palestine.”
“My name is Alice Walker and I am with the US boat to Gaza.”
“This is a fine tradition of going to people who need us, wherever they exist on the planet. This is our responsibility.”
Despite the fact that the BBC’s editorial guidelines – including of course those on accuracy and impartiality – apply to commissioned programmes as well as to BBC-produced content, absolutely no attempt is made in this film to balance Walker’s vicious fictions concerning “Palestine” with facts or to make audiences aware of the significance of the practical consequences of the ideologies to which she subscribes, such as the boycotting of a language or the collaboration with Hamas and its supporters in the flotilla stunt.
Instead, in this programme as in others, the untouchable Alice Walker is yet again permitted to spout her often offensive opinions as though they were fact, with editorial standards apparently an optional extra for patron deities of the BBC Parthenon.