When I was growing up, the staple "watchdog"-type expose was a show called Watchdog. It would encapsulate scandals from stupid overpaid working class builders, to scandals in the government, to scandals in other tv shows... a mindfuck I tell you. The thing about Watchdog, as much as a badly timed Michael Moore documentary or a particularly balanced Louis Theroux edition, is that it lacks a certain (testicular) kick. It's transatlantic cousin, To Catch A Predator, is surely about child molesters and this seats it high in the hierarchy of scaremongering that, well, simply is American television. A touch of evil, it would seem. Yes that's what our pansy quaint shows are missing; especially the docile old BBC-Theroux was probably as sexy as it got after Fiona Bruce.
Now, the staple watchdog tv show is said British Broadcasting Corporation's Panorama. An indefinitely more balanced, paced and ergo more dull and boring version of channel 4's racy Dispatches. Expecting a recent edition that I want to base this post on to be uniformly middle-management, I was poked into seeing it by a family member who had worked in the field of caring for the mentally disabled for a long time. Winterbourne Wood is a care home about twenty minutes drive from where I live in which, as Panorama dutifully revealed, the residents are tortured. I first heard the use of that word by the resident "let's blow so much smoke that no one informed or otherwise knows what the fuck's going on" expert, drafted in to analyse footage taken by an undercover reporter who's been knocked so far off the kilter he's fucked over into the uncanny valley. People with odd shaped faces making lots of noise, people with less severe handicaps being absolutely bored out of their fucking minds and the incompetent staff mirroring this response, all sure looked like a care home my relative would work in. In that place-and it was a strange and frenetically eventful place- no one was pulled out of bed, suffocated, showered in clothes and then put outside to catch a cold prompting a further shower to clean them off. All before being pinned down again and acutely drowned. The lions share of the abuse was focused on an autistic girl my age who had been living at the home rather than living with her elderly parents. Subversively, a lot is made of how this undercover reporter must undergo watching this. Despite the merited advantages of oberservationalism in documentary creating complete immersion, an informed member of the audience can still ward off suspended disbelief and begin stroking their chin. Just. What does it all mean? Actually that's something that is genuinely quite unsettling. Why the complete disregard for her well-being? Well yes these staff were met with no consequences but if these bastards are so much better than, you'd better believe it retards, why the fuck are they (apart form the alpha male types) interested in harming anyone? Think about it, they weren't annoying this girl, they were hurting her. In a developed society this is an objective wrong.
I'm not getting up in arms about this, my question is why the bullshit over exaggerating "expert" and why not the police? No really, it's not a case of the timing of the filming or of the rights of these dickheads, it's a case of assault. This is a proven crime and yet in their summary the Panorama crew gave us some more bleak shots of the outside of the place, made one victim upset by bringing it up again and then up and left. This is the BBC in action, apparently. Call me obnoxious but on To Catch A Predator, after the interview is over and only much more superficial evidence has been acquired (MSN conversations of all things) the men walk outside and are forcibly arrested.
I think this will be the first piece I want to a follow up article about; I need some research and a few more local news reports though. I know the whole point of that show was to get a rise in the withered, stumpy penis that is my moralism but the last time I checked, crime was met with punishment.