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BBC: Bloated Broadcasting Corporation

October 7th, 2011 Posted in BBC by

With much wailing and gnashing of teeth the BBC announced today exactly how it intends to find the £670million a year savings by 2016/17. Everywhere it turns out. The earlier insistence from BBC  Trust to BBC management that salami slicing would not be in the interests of licence fee payers has, well, been ignored frankly. Faced with disgruntled viewers losing their favourite shows/sports/channels or disgruntled unions losing their members, Auntie has chosen to take on the unions.

The morning news rang with warnings that the nation was waiting to hear which of their favourite programmes would be cut. I was actually stuck in a  traffic jam wondering why the traffic bulletin was late – but I am sure there were millions, thousands, hundreds, several people who were waiting to see which programmes were for the chop.  Would the most popular drama (Downtown Abbey), or the most watched LE show (X Factor) or the BAFTA winning news programme (News At Ten) all disappear from our screens?… Oh no sorry they are all ITV programmes. Well we were certainly assured that some people were waiting to see if their favourite BBC shows were to escape the axe anyway.

I was amused to note that much of the analysis, on Radio Five at least, seemed to be on the cuts to the news budgets. Dire warnings (almost  exclusively from senior ex-staffers) that the BBC’s reputation as the best news broadcaster in the world may be in jeopardy – that quality would fall –  that journalism itself would suffer because of the cuts – came thick and fast.

Really? Did I not mention that it was the ITV’s News (on a shoe-string) At Ten that won this year’s Bafta for Best News Programme of the Year? OK I am being unfair – at the considerably more serious RTS Journalism Awards earlier in the year the Best News Programme award went to ..oh that went to ITV News At Ten too. Damn.. sorry – never mind…. I am certain that BBC won RTS Best News Channel of the Year… oh bugger Sky News won that (again – what is that 8 out of 10 times Sky has won it now?). Hmmm your were saying something about BBC news journalism?

OK OK I suppose we can forgive the BBC for somewhat overstating its own brilliance at news. And whilst we have established that it isn’t actually the best news provider – it is surely the most balanced. Hmmm… Not today it would seem. In the six hours of news I listened to Radio Five Live (and it did cover the BBC cuts quite a lot)  I didn’t actually hear one interviewee agree with any of the proposed cuts or suggest that the cuts to news could be accommodated without loss of quality if only they would get off their lazy backsides. Maybe I just missed them – and I am reliably informed that at least by the time we got to 2230 or so, at least some dissenting voices were allowed onto the airwaves.

(And I haven’t heard a word anywhere on how much of a dent it has made into the £65m it paid out last year to just 274 members of its ‘talent’).

Next up is the fun of the  “public consultation“. Now that is what I call entertainment –  With some 800 news jobs being axed (about 15% of its eye-watering 5000 total), General secretary of the NUJ Michelle Stanistreet has already said that

“.. If the BBC presses ahead with these changes, strike action across the corporation seems inevitable”.

Some good news for Rupert Murdoch at last!

PS: The BBC’s Director-General Mark Thompson will be a guest, taking calls about the cuts, on Victoria Derbyshire’s programme on Friday 7 October from 10am.


5 Responses to “BBC: Bloated Broadcasting Corporation”

  1. Jack Hughes Says:

    The BBC reports everything from a left-wing point of view.

    Just one example. Jeff Randall – one-time BBC business editor – was always an outsider there:

    “On the whole, they treated business as if it was a criminal activity.”

    He continues…

    There are certain issues the BBC regards as basic truths.’

    The NHS is one example, he says. ‘Most people at the BBC would think it’s a good thing for the government to spend more money on the NHS and it goes unchallenged. There’s a section of opinion out there who think it’s throwing money down the drain.’ But surely the BBC’s journalists give the government a hard time? ‘They attack Labour ministers, but usually for not being sufficiently left-wing.’

    The BBC has a house opinion on everything from the EU (good) to plastic bags (evil).

    Read about how they faked up Obamas speech about “climate” – except that it wasn’t.

    “Obama did say those words but not together and not even in that order. The ‘quotation’ only exists in the digital file of a BBC sound engineer.

  2. Jack Hughes Says:

    The BBC should be broken up and sold off. Reform is impossible.

  3. Chris Says:

    I know longer have any confidence in BBC news reporting. As a science graduate who has worked with medical research professionals for 25 years I am often disappointed by the BBCs coverage of health. The corporation seems to have an agenda that requires it to publish any public health press release irrespective of honesty, accuracy or quality provided that it is “on message”. The result is that the health news we are presented is actually a warped and twisted version of reality as seen through the eyes of pressure groups, charities and politically motivated medics who might do us all a favour by practicing what they actually trained in.

    The anti-alcohol campaigners currently faced with a review of “safe” drinking limits are conducting a campaign based on a “no safe level “ message and an attempt to play down the inconvenient truth that moderate consumption seems to be beneficial. Inevitably the BBC via an obviously clueless journalist gives us a contender for junk journalism of the year award. In places this does not even make sense.

    Today we get the anti-alcohol message this time wrapped in sugary sweetness and light from yet another charity “expert” who is pushing a zero tolerance policy for drink driving

    Midweek it was the turn of tobacco control. A theoretical exercise involving a computer model based on a dubious meta-analysis based on some equally dubious epidemiology produced shock horror headlines on the front page:

    Rather than hyping up the impact of smoking on TB any halfway decent journalist might pause to wonder why so many people are dying from a disease that for which there is a cheap and reliable vaccine and wonder what the WHO are doing about it. You certainly won’t hear a bad word about the WHO or the medical establishment on the BBC because they are sacred cows and it is so much easier to cosy up to your mates at The British Lung Foundation and bash “Big Tobacco” again.

  4. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Thanks for commenting guys – great obversations. I note that Mark Thompson failed to turn up on the Victoria Dernyshire show because he was “in meetings” with staff and unions. Trouble at mill methinks.

  5. Chris Snowdon Says:

    Five Live’s coverage of this yesterday was hilariously self-congratulatory. A BBC presenter interviewed a former BBC employee on a BBC radio station and decided that the BBC is the very foundation of a democratic society.

    1.12 minutes in: