After years of plaguing its enemies, former BBC journalist and producer Patrick Howes thinks the destruction of the BBC from within has been brilliantly exposed.
sign up for weekly magazine back of headline send an email free copy of signing time posted to you
While it may seem like the BBC went head-to-head with Gary Lineker this week, what the BBC really did was tussle with itself over a twisted version of what the BBC likes to call “fairness.” is.
To see this, instead of starting from the beginning, today’s game (MOTD), but with Fiona Bruce, who chairs the company’s flagship discussion program. question time (QT).
in the QT In the third edition, which aired on March 9, one of the topics considered by the committee was former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempt to knight his father, Stanley Johnson.
During this process, journalist Yasmin Alibi Brown called Stanley Johnson a “wife-beater” and spoke of an incident in which he punched his wife in the face, broke her nose, and required hospital treatment. Bruce interrupted her with a clearly scripted and rehearsed form of the words, concluding, “It happened, it was a one-time thing.”
Aside from not being able to know if it was a one-time thing (or if that matters), the BBC has taken a ‘fair’ stand between the man and the woman who broke his wife’s nose. A fact that I felt needed to be taken. Anyone with a Broken Nose will tell you everything you need to know about how skewed and ridiculous this notion is.
The BBC’s fundamentally dishonest and logically absurd version of impartiality has been exposed. If you give equal weight to the lie and the truth, you are on the side of the lie.
I have written extensively on these pages about how the BBC has pursued the illusion of ‘balance’ and ‘fairness’ in recent years. The reason is fear of the government and the right-wing media and their oligarch owners. In other words, “fairness” was seized as a mechanism to help the BBC appease its enemies.
These are relentless and irreconcilable enemies. They want it to die, fall apart, fall apart. Until it dies, they want to be obedient and obedient. And the BBC is in their hands.
First, it is the nature of such people to never be content with concessions. Their hatred never diminishes.
I have said before that truth is not the middle ground between fact and lie.However, the BBC gives the impression that there should be a legitimate debate about subjects on which one side deals with facts, knowledge and peer review. I discovered that I needed to build a “He says this, she says that” story that leaves a lasting impression. Science, the other side evokes opinions without facts.
All this was very painfully evident in the Brexit campaign and its aftermath. And of course, during the pandemic, guests of the caliber of Darren Grimes and Toby Young were invited to the program so their opinions could be “balanced” with the evidence-based science of doctors and researchers.
But perhaps the most infamous example was the decision made by Radio 4 (in a highly competitive field). today The 2017 program aims to balance the evidence-based, peer-reviewed factual knowledge of global climate scientists with the opinion of former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Nigel Lawson.
And climate change was brought up again as a theme. Even when all the fuss over Lineker was raging, Guardian Sir David Attenborough’s new (and final) series of episodes wild isles, only available on BBC iPlayer. The report, citing “insiders”, said the BBC had “succumbed to pressure from ‘Dinosaur Way’ lobbying groups” for fear the show’s message was too “political”. Reading between the lines, he feared a backlash from the right-wing press and Conservative MPs.
The BBC denied the story, pointing to a press release last August saying: wild isles has always been a five-part series, and the sixth episode is “another film inspired by the series commissioned by the RSPB and WWF. Acquired for iPlayer.
There are obviously “insiders” who don’t like that decision, but I have no direct knowledge of it. Whatever happened, the BBC seemed determined to challenge the more respected Sir David Attenborough than anyone else I could think of. Treasure, Gary Lineker.
of MOTD The presenter enraged some of the usual suspects in the right-wing press and the Conservative Party by criticizing the language used by Home Secretary Suella Braverman in a tweet while talking about the illegal immigration bill. . of Post, limited express, Telegraph and Suncheered by commentators such as Julia Hartley Brewer and Carol Malone, ran articles on their front page for days, but eventually the BBC said Lineker had “backed off” from the presentation. I gave in. MOTD (Sources close to Lineker say Lineker didn’t decline and was pulled from the air because he didn’t want to apologize for the tweet).
Lineker was immediately supported MOTD Critics Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, and other freelancers. In the end, the BBC ended up showing a humiliating no-comment highlight compilation of the match for 20 minutes instead of their usual Saturday night show.
This was all because the BBC “provides impartiality”, in the words of Executive Director Tim Davie (a former Conservative politician).
But Lineker’s tweet didn’t actually break the rules. As Rory Bremner pointed out, referring to the BBC’s ‘Presenter Guidelines’, ‘the risk is lower when an individual is publicly expressing an opinion in an unrelated field. expresses an opinion on politics or the arts.”
Even more embarrassing, other freelance BBC presenters, such as Andrew Neal and Sir Alan Sugar, have previously voiced right-wing views and no action has been taken from the company’s management.
Lord Sugar, long-time host apprenticea frequent critic of then-Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said he would “leave the country” if Corbyn won the general election. I posted a mockup image showing Corbin.
Neil, on the other hand, who was one of the BBC’s leading political interviewers at the time, actually ran a right-wing magazine. audience, frequently attacking center-left politicians and policies. The only time Neil left his BBC airwaves was when he quit to help find him. GBNews – He was never televised by BBC management. In response to complaints about Neil’s off-screen opinions, the BBC clarifies that Neil is a freelancer and that the BBC is not responsible for the views he personally expresses on his Twitter account in an official and regular corresponded to
But conservative Neil’s goose sauce doesn’t seem to be liberal Lineker’s sauce for Gander. Fairness should mean fairness, if that means anything. But it’s not the way the BBC has implemented it in recent years, no matter how important it has been touted.
The BBC has been drawn into this mess because it fears the right-wing press and the Conservative government, and has stooped to an unprecedented degree of cowardice to appease them. Critics on the right don’t give the company any credit.
All this appeasement has achieved is the alienation and disappointment of those who actually believe and value public service broadcasting, the BBC’s original constituency. Someone who likes to be treated like an intelligent audience.
And, of course, the problem of BBC Chairman Richard Sharp continues.
‘Fairness’ is not a word that can be applied to Sharpe, who donated £400,000 to the Conservative Party. It helped facilitate his £800,000 loan to his personal friend Boris Johnson, who was about to appoint him chairman. signing time has revealed that he personally gave tens of thousands of pounds to a group funding criticism of the BBC.
Sharpe may be president of the BBC, but he is not a friend of the BBC.
Also, had another prime minister made the choice, the fact that Sharp donated to an organization hostile to the very existence of the BBC would have hampered his work. In , Boris Johnson, who was unhealthily close to sharp, chose him knowing his hostility to the BBC – and he chose him not in spite of those views, but because of them.
Sharp interfered with the editing and even accused the BBC of “liberal bigotry” in an interview. Sunday Times in December. It’s hard to draw the conclusion that Sharp was brought in to help bring down the company.
He obviously has to go, as does Tim Davey. The BBC’s leadership (if you can call it that) has tarnished the BBC’s reputation for its handling of the crisis it has caused itself. Ironically, doing so violates its own guidelines. That would mean the resignation of the Speaker, Secretary-General and others elected for right-wing credentials, including Sir Robbie Gibb (then Prime Minister Theresa May’s Communications Director).
They need to be replaced by truly independent people whose sole purpose is to rebuild a dynamic and truly independent public broadcaster. This is essential for the restoration of the British democratic system.
The BBC must also return to fair and honest factual reporting and the pursuit of the truth, rather than yielding to spreading the views of charlatans in the quest for ‘fairness’. To fairly report liars and lies, we have to remind ourselves again that we need to call them liars and liars.
In the long run, the damage to the BBC’s reputation caused by its failure (for no other words) to account for a string of the most dishonest and incompetent British governments in modern history will be enormous. prize.
The BBC has been hit very hard with each round of spending cuts over the years. Licensing fees are insufficient to ensure a thriving and truly independent public broadcaster (by comparison, German licensing fees are around €220 a year, supplemented by advertising revenue). Proponents will have a harder time advocating for safer funding.
And it was all done for the benefit of the enemy who wanted it dead.
Our journalism depends on you
signing time Funded by subscribers. Receive a monthly print edition and support fearless and independent journalism.
new signing time? Learn more about us
Subscribe to print
A new type of newspaper – independent, fearless, out of the system. Fund better media.
Don’t miss the story! Sign up for our newsletter (free version will be posted)
Our major research includes empires and culture wars, Brexit, crony deals, Russian interference, the coronavirus pandemic, the crisis of democracy and the crisis of British journalism. We also introduce new voices of color in Our Lives Matter.