Sunday 9 August 2020

The battle continues

The Battle of the BBC goes on.

Thankfully-departing BBC DG Tony Hall has once again stepped in to overrule the older, traditional BBC hands who are trying to cleave to the old Charter-bound concept of BBC impartiality by siding with the 'woke' mob on Twitter [update: and, as Charlie notes below, doubtless with the 'woke' mob within the BBC itself].

After previously vetoing their ruling against Naga Munchetty for going against BBC norms and openly venting her personal distaste for Donald Trump's 'racism' on BBC Breakfast, Lord Hall has now overruled his editorial colleagues again. 

They had originally defended a white, female BBC News Channel/Points West reporter for using the n-word in connection to a vicious racist attack on a black man on the grounds that the (black) victim's family wanted the word used in the report to highlight the racism behind the attack. They'd also noted that the report had flagged up the use of offensive language.

Regardless of that, over 18,000 people complained - after an online campaign encouraged them to - and Lord Hall evidently decided to play to the 'Twitter mob' gallery by apologising and saying they were right that the taboo word should never have been used because of the "distress" it causes - regardless, it seems, of any context. 

With Lord Hall going, what's next? Will his 'woke', Blairite protégé James Purnell keep on pushing in the same 'woke' direction, or will Tim Davie step in and restore sense?


Update (10/6): There was a further twist to this tale when BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Sideman (aka David Whitely) resigned after calling both the initial report and the BBC's defence of it "a slap in the face of our community". 

(Wonder who appointed him to speak for "his community"?).

"The BBC sanctioning the n-word being broadcast on national television by a white person is something I can't rock with," Sideman said. 

The BBC's online report about this contained an 'analysis' by the BBC's media and arts correspondent David Sillito. In it Mr Sillito said that Sideman wasn't just "echoing the views of large parts of the audience" but "also many within the BBC".

Now I'd strongly question whether Mr Whitely was truly echoing the views of "large parts of the the audience", as I suspect he was merely echoing the views of a small but extremely noisy part of the audience, but that he will have been speaking for "many within the BBC" I don't doubt at all. That's increasingly where the BBC is these days.

So the onward march of the 'woke' battalions at the BBC proceeds apace. And with the sitting DG giving them his backing, that march will doubtless go on for a while yet, leading the BBC ever further from its increasingly disgruntled, licence fee-paying core audience.

Such victories for the 'woke' BBC battalions may prove pyrrhic. If Mr Davie doesn't get a grip and their bosses' pandering alienates vast numbers of older people who pay for the BBC in favour of a younger audience that seems ever more indifferent to the BBC, then their 'progressive' hopes of using the BBC to bring about the kind of world they want to see will very probably go in up in smoke, along with the licence fee. 

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