Sunday 6 January 2019

Owen Bennett-Jones on unsackable BBC managers

BBC managers are unsackable. In the recent judgment on the Cliff Richard case, besides criticising the rationale behind broadcasting the story in the first place (which, typically enough, was in part to avoid criticism for not broadcasting it), the judge found that the UK news editor was not a reliable witness and that the head of newsgathering had ‘almost wilfully’ failed to ‘acknowledge inconsistencies’ in the BBC case. Both still hold senior positions. Had named executives in the Murdoch empire faced such sharp judicial criticism, BBC presenters would have been asking why there had been no resignations. There was a similar failure of accountability after Newsnight’s decision to drop its investigation into Jimmy Savile’s child abuse, and then not to cover the ITV exposé of the case, after which the editors responsible for the debacle remained employed while the journalists who had tried to publish the story were pushed out.


  1. Too true...look at Mark Thompson - nothing bad happened to him despite two credible allegations of arm biting (yes, arm biting - real arm biting) of staff when he was a senior manager. He's now happily esconced at the New York Times.

  2. Owen goals are entertaining, and the unsackability aspect is nice to have reconfirmed.

    Jasmine Lawrence shows just how much beyond rationality this unique state HR practice can take you.


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