BBC Criticized for Portraying Irish Stereotypes in Debt Crisis Reporting

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The BBC's report on Chancellor Osbourne featured "Book of Kells" font, traditional Irish music, and "postcard" background images. (Credit: BBC)

A BBC nightly news program has been criticized for portraying Ireland stereotypically, the Journal reported.

Viewers took to Facebook and Twitter to complain about the program, the Journal explained.

The program, “Newsnight,” reported on  recent comments made by a British chancellor about Ireland’s debt crisis and “was bookended by sequences which appeared to show Ireland in a stereotypical light,” according to the Journal.

The sequences show an image of the chancellor, George Osbourne, in front of a whiskey bar, on top of Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge, and in front of the Irish countryside – all “stereotypical,” “postcard” images of Ireland, the Journal explained.   Osbourne is the chancellor of the Exchequer under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government.

Osbourne was “apparently Irish dancing his way across sepia-tinted postcard representations of a bog-and-mountain landscape, over the Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin and – at the end of the report – outside a shebeen house.”

The “stereotypical” sequences included background music described as “Irish traditional,” by the Journal. And, the font used in overlay type was “written in clunky Book of Kells-type font” with “Celtic swirls.”

The segment is available on the Journal’s site here.

Irish Central collected a series of tweets criticizing the program including:

“BB2. VT of possible British bailout of Ireland replete with ‘Celtic’ script, diddly-aye music and shebeen cartoon. You can keep your money.”

Another Irish Central report criticized the reporting of the Irish financial crisis for using dated references. The blog writer, Niall O’Dowd, explained that “it would be nice not to be viewed eternally through some Celtic twilight haze.”

iMediaEthics has written to the BBC asking for comment, if it intends to apologize for the segment, how many complaints it has received and why it chose to create the segment with those images and music. We will update with any response.

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BBC Criticized for Portraying Irish Stereotypes in Debt Crisis Reporting

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