Sunday 9 March 2014

What lies behind the paywall this morning?

Today's newspapers have a fair bit about the BBC in them, especially The Sunday Times (£).

They tell us, for example, that James Naughtie has been told off by an internal BBC inquiry for allowing a friend to plug a commercial company and give inaccurate information during an interview. Fraser Steel, head of editorial complaints, criticised the Today presenter's... 
...failure to dispel the idea that BritainsDNA was not a business and his allowing Moffat to read out its website address, giving “undue prominence [to] a commercial organisation”.
Naughty, naughty Jim!

We then hear about plans emanating from a BBC-established panel of the 'great and the good' to "scrap the licence fee and switch to a subscription service from 2020"... which calls for a 'Wow!' of some sort: 
The radical plan has been recommended by some of the country’s most influential economists, consultants and academics and comes as the corporation faces swingeing cuts ahead of its charter renewal at the end of 2016.
If introduced, it would be the greatest change to the BBC since its creation in 1922.
Will they really recommend that? Will it ever happen even if they do? 

The BBC's world does seem to be spinning a bit at the moment. At long last.

For comment, of course, Rod Liddle is usually great value for money. This week he's having a go at Danny Cohen, the BBC's Director of Television:
Danny last week took to Twitter to take questions from some of these grateful licence-fee payers — and yet very few people took this generous attempt at genuflecting before hoi polloi terribly seriously. Among the tweets posted to Danny were: “Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?” This sort of flippancy must have discombobulated Danny.
Cohen is, in a sense, what’s wrong with the BBC. A public school, liberal, white middle-class male with an unending sense of entitlement to your money and a deluded impression of his own abilities — not quite a unique creature within the corporation.
Usually great value for money, indeed, and well worth subscribing too. (No, Jim, I'm not a friend of his!)


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  2. Here is my comment on the James Naughtie/Alistair Moffat/BBC saga that I posted on The Sunday Times website behind the paywall:

    Readers can read the full story behind this case on the University College London website were there are links to all the correspondence with the BBC:

    As you will see from Fraser Steel's letter Naughtie actually claimed to be unaware of the commercial nature of his friend's business, and the BBC have not yet concluded the investigation into James Naughtie's conflict of interest.

    For further background see this blog post:

    The BBC continues to provide a platform for Alistair Moffat to advertise his business as can be seen from this radio interview on BBC local radio news on Thursday:

    1. Thank you so much, Debbie, for sharing this. I'm a bit taken aback by it all. I'll prepare a post about it over the coming days.

      I've just listened to James Naughtie three interviews with Alistair Moffat now. (I vaguely remembering hearing the 2012 one when it was broadcast.) The chumminess is so clear to hear.

      I'd be very interested to hear where this leads though. What will the BBC's public statement be like (due in a couple of weeks?)?) And what will they eventually do about James Naughtie?

    2. I don't know what the BBC's public statement will be like as I have no prior experience of such affairs. I think something should eventually appear on the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit website ( about the upholding of the current complaint. All we can do is wait and see how they respond about James Naughtie's conflict of interest. We still can't understand why the BBC keep giving Moffat free licence to talk about genetics and advertise his company when he is not a geneticist and the commercial nature of his company is disguised. They go out of the way to provide balance on other subjects (eg, climate change, animal rights), sometimes giving disproportionate coverage to minority viewpoints. Their response to complaints has previously been abysmal as you can see from the correspondence on the UCL website.


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