Tuesday 7 December 2021

Support for the BBC as ''a Waitrose bag for life''

Writing about this year's Reith Lectures [Professor Stuart Russell on artificial intelligence], the Daily Telegraph's Andrew Orlowski raises an interesting question about why the man whose name those lectures still bears - the founder of the BBC John Reith - hasn't been 'cancelled' yet. His Nazi sympathies aren't exactly unknown:
In an age when so many historical figures have been cancelled, it’s curious that the first director general of the BBC has so far escaped the mob’s attention. But today, blissfully ignorant of history, self-proclaimed “Reithians” wear their label with pride in their Twitter bios. Like a Waitrose bag for life, this is a signifier of their own good taste and superior moral virtues.
In passing, Mr Orlowski also talks of ''the corporation’s golden age of the 1970s, on which its laurels rest'' - which, if you think about it, has more than a grain of truth to it.

Update - One story about Lord Reith's attitude towards the Nazis is told in Tim Bouverie's Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill and the Road to War. The then DG of the BBC was at a party with German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop: 
One of the few people to seem genuinely sad that Ribbentrop was leaving, Reith asked the German Foreign Minister to assure Hitler that ''the BBC was not anti-Nazi'' and that if they were to send his German opposite number over for a visit he would fly the swastika from the top of Broadcasting House. 

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