Friday 21 August 2015

Shot to smithereens

David Keighley at The Conservative Woman has rightly described Rona Fairhead's complacent Independent piece as a "protectionist pro-BBC polemic" which essentially proclaims "that the Corporation is damned near perfect":
The core message is that the splendiferous, fabulous, marvellous BBC knows what the public wants and is delivering it in spades. Auntie might be a tad bureaucratic and may need a slightly different form of governance,  but hey!....anyone who does not believe it is the pinnacle of national achievement is deluded, unpatriotic, and blind to the multi-layered £8 billion bonanza the Corporation brings to the country.
David highlights one quote from the article that had my jaw dropping too, and which bears repeating:
"We have set – and effectively policed – the highest editorial standards in broadcasting, putting complainants and the BBC on an entirely equal footing in the hearing of appeals". 
As he says,
Excuse me?  These scrutiny processes are set by the BBC to favour blatantly the BBC. Every aspect of the BBC complaints process is set in the BBC’s favour. The claim is risible even by Fairhead’s gone-totally-native standards. 
Well, yes. And don't most of us know it!

He also relates Rona Fairhead's "smug defence of the BBC" to Ofcom's rulings against the BBC this week (the rulings the BBC downplayed) - and the BBC's attempts to wriggle out of those criticisms. 

The details are fascinating and well worth reading, showing the BBC "using exactly the same lame defences" with Ofcom that they deploy with us (ordinary licence fee payers):
The BBC’s defence against the charge in a section about one of the TVE programmes shows how bull-headed, bigoted and closeted the Corporation’s ‘high editorial standards’ actually are... 
Ofcom most certainly did not agree. Its frustration that the BBC did not understand such elementary journalistic principles – and defended its actions in this way - is evident in every word of its damning verdicts. 
Fairhead’s claims about those ‘high editorial standards’ are shot to smithereens. So is her claim that the BBC complaints procedure is fair. The reality is that, because of how the Trustees interpret their role and issues such as balance, huge swathes of BBC output (In controversial fields such as climate change) are just as untrustworthy and biased as TVE’s programming was judged to be by Ofcom. 


  1. Completely agree about Fairhead's pathetic propaganda speech. I had a look at the Ofcom report, and Keighley failed to mention that the BBC programmes in breach of the rules were apparently all paid advertisements disguised as travel documentaries. Sounds a lot like all those shows about the awesomeness of China in the run up to the Beijing Olympics. I bet there's more to this as well.

  2. The FT had a piece today referring to the BBC's dedicated regulator in glowing terms. It was only on reading on I realised they meant its in-house self-regulator, headed by our Rona. Must say I brushed away a tear.


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