Archive for November, 2012

BBC bashing

Posted in Current Affairs with tags on November 12, 2012 by richardhowle

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a fantastic country and its people are amongst the finest in the world. It is a country and a people that have contributed so much to humanity and that have achieved so much. Yet to talk like this is distinctly un British

For of course we aren’t brilliant or the best all the time. Quite often we are distinctly average. But what annoys me is the way that when we are good at something we always talk it down and try to destroy it.

Take the BBC, probably the finest broadcaster in the world – we should be immensely proud of it. Yet, whenever it makes an error, displays a misjudgement we give it a disproportionate kicking. I am not saying that it should be untouchable and that it should have some sort of saintly status, but we are much less forgiving of it than we are any other media organisation.

And, actually, perhaps that’s the key. Is it really the British people who turn on the BBC or is it other media organisations? Do they take the lead when it comes to BBC bashing which everyone follows, or do they just reflect the prevailing mood?

I suspect it is the former. I think our news media is, on the whole, really good – travelling around the world and seeing how insipid other nations news reporting is, makes you realise how lucky that we are to have such strong journalism in this country. But they do have this distasteful habit of building something or someone up only to knock them down. There is a desperation to create their own stories, rather than just report what happens. In the case of the BBC, such is the vilification of their treatment one can only think that there are other motives. Jealousy perhaps?

The worst thing is that, so cowed has the BBC become, it now tends to lead the criticism of itself in a kind of masochist self flagellation. In doing so it only seems to make the problem worse.

There are three things that have struck me in the recent scandal / crisis.

1. This whole affair has meant that we the viewer/listener/reader have now been subjected to weeks of the media’s favourite subject – The Media. There is nothing more that journalists like talking about than themselves. On Saturday, BBC Radio 5 live they announced a special extended bulletin at lunchtime – had there been a terrorist attack? Had peace broken out in Afghanistan? No, the BBC Director General had spoken to one of the corporations journalists. Complete self indulgence. Do the public REALLY care? Surely there are more important things going on in the world

2. The DG eventually had to resign later that day because, as Editor in Chief, he had to take responsibility for his journalists making false accusations against someone. Yet I don’t remember any newspaper editors resigning when they falsely accused Christopher Jeffries of murder Story here

3. So busy has the media been talking about itself,that the real issue – child abuse – and the real victims seem to have been totally forgotten about.

I really hope that the British public are intelligent enough to see through it all. To recognise that, although the BBC has made some serious errors, it remains a fantastic institution that we should all be immensely proud of. This country would be a poorer place without it.