Thursday, 25 October 2012

Death of the Beeb?

Probably not, but the Saville scandal will, I think, rock a lot of their rather cozy little cliques and expose quite a few things the supposedly 'unbiased,' 'national' and 'apolitical' broadcaster would rather not have aired. It seems incredible that this sexual abuse could take place in the dressing rooms of the studios without, at the very least, the knowledge of the supporting crew. And, if they knew what was happening, it is inconceivable that the production staff and their managers didn't know. However, it does appear that this is merely the tip of a rather large and extremely nasty iceberg.

For a long time now there have been complaints that the BBC is biased toward a particular political party and ideology. "Internal' enquiries in response to complaints have always delivered a whitewash, though the last one I read actually did level a number of criticisms - which where airbrushed out of the news reports and discussions. It has long been known that the "discussion" programmes they air use a carefully vetted list to 'select' audiences, with a strong bias in the selection. Some presenters have dared to speak out against this - and paid the price of seeing their shows axed or their contracts 'renegotiated.'

The bias becomes most obvious whenever there is any report on anything to do with "climate change" or the Middle East. One could be forgiven, if one watched only the BBC's reports, for believing that Israel is the perpetrator of all attacks taking place within its own borders. The BBC seldom reports the daily rocket and missle attacks from Gaza into Istaeli territory - but any response is given front page headlines. Likewise the reporting of anything that can be punted as "climate change for the worst" is repeated ad nauseum, but anything which suggests a different pattern is played down or ignored. Watching any so-called 'interview' of a politician reveals most clearly which way the BBC leans politically now as well. Anyone from the 'right' of the political spectrum can expect a rough ride. The questions are loaded, the audience, if it is a 'debate,' loaded with people selected for their 'left' views. Anyone from the 'left' gets a noticeably different reception. The questions are obviously designed to be less confrontational, the interview much more chummy, with less interruption of any answer and a sympathetic 'audience' in the studio. On the rare occassions they permit someone from the 'skeptic' position onto a panel in any debate on 'climate change' you can see the same loaded bias.

It is alleged that the BBC in London takes over 17,000 copies of the Guardian newspaper daily and that news 'editors' instruct 'reporters' to follow the Guardian leads. I learned, from a BBC news reporter I know, that often their reports are little more than a paraphrasing of whatever the Guardian published. Another source informs me that the Guardian's reported 'public' circulation is around 30,000 from news agents and news stands with a total of 250,000 on 'subscription.' The bulk of these apparently going to the Civil Service Departments, the NHS and Unions. That rather suggests that the BBC alone is subsidising one newspaper at the taxpayers (or should that be Licence Payers) expense.

What this does suggest is that the BBC has, for far too long, been 'managed' and controlled by a small group from the political left. It does not live up to its much vaunted standards, it is not unbiased and it is certainly not 'apolitical.' Once it was a model for accuracy, integrity and truthful reporting. Sadly it is now exposed as no longer fulfilling any of those ideals. Don't get me wrong. I do believe that there are a lot of good reporters trying to do a good job, delivering real reports and trying to present an accurate picture of what is happening. Sadly, it is how that material is presented and used and finally aired that is the problem - and that leads straight back to the BBC HQ in Broadcasting House. It is there that the 'slant' is determined, the choice of 'story' to be presented and the 'editing' of clips into 'sound bites' which give the 'right' narrative are fitted together.

The Saville affair is the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot wrong at the BBC and it is high time the whole management, the whole internal ethos of chums looking after chums, looking after celebrities looking after each other was examined, perhaps broken up, and certainly changed and restored to its original ideals.

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