Saturday, 8 February 2014

Through the fraying bandage of impartiality



As ever, there's some brilliant (and funny) writing about the BBC from former Today editor Rod Liddle over at the Spectator - and I couldn't agree more with his sentiments.

On the tragic fall of Baroness Sally Morgan:
Can someone please explain to me why the BBC newsreaders were not wearing black armbands last weekend when reporting the tragic story of Sally Morgan being given the boot from Ofsted? In all other manners the coverage was adequately respectful and the reporters, rightly, allowed their anguish to bleed through the fraying bandage of impartiality. Not enough, mind – I could have done with some real weeping and tearing at the hair: how could this brilliant and exciting woman be so traduced? The Tories are trying to take over everything! You’d have thought they’d won an election, or something. How dare they.
And on the BBC's reporting of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman:
Aside from the shocking news of Sally Morgan’s defenestration, the other story to dominate the headlines was the death of an actor familiar, I would have thought, to a very small minority of viewers and listeners. Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his apartment with a syringe of skag hanging out of his arm. This is undoubtedly very sad, but the coverage afforded his rather sordid demise was out of all proportion to his popularity. 
But I do not think that either of these films are why Hoffman was afforded such a send-off from the British media, and in particular from the BBC. We were told, at every available moment, that he was the ‘finest character actor’ of his generation — and what this means, I suspect, is that he was in the sort of films that people who work for the BBC like to watch. Dialogue-heavy, slightly off-kilter films, such as those directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and Paul Thomas Anderson. Films which do not do terribly good business at the box office but which with-it middle-class people who wear black and work in the media rather enjoy.
Can you imagine the BBC going overboard if Jean-Claude van Damme suddenly died, or even Will Ferrell? I’m telling you, if the Coen brothers suddenly peg out it’ll be like Mandela all over again.
Don't forget to check out Rod's new game, Six Degrees of Shami Chakrabarti. It's fun for all the family. Almost as much fun as Radio 4 Comedians Bingo

All you have to do "is pick a quango or public institution at random, and then pick a name from the board of that institution at random and see how many moves it takes to get you to Shami Chakrabarti. It’s usually a lowish number, like one or two."

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