Humble pie hard to swallow

A Daily Telegraph reader writes:

Re: Humble pie hard to swallow

Date: 24 January 2004
Sir – The BBC deserved to see its audience share fall away during the Panorama special, which amounted to a no-holds-barred internal examination of the role of the corporation (and others) in the matter that is the subject of the Hutton inquiry.

It was both disingenuous and discourteous to broadcast this piece, no matter how much humble pie and some would say well-timed self-criticism it included, only a week before Lord Hutton is due to report.

If a multi-million-pound independent inquiry has taken place, surely the BBC needs to be neither defiant nor apologetic in advance of Lord Hutton’s findings and must have strayed perilously close to impinging on his unfettered jurisdiction.

Had the Government proposed a prime ministerial broadcast of even a few minutes in the same vein in advance of the Hutton report, there would have been widespread outrage, and rightly so.

The BBC has further undermined its reputation by once again perceiving itself in some way to be above or outside the conventions that attach to the inquiry.

Ultimately, the corporation will have only itself to blame should it find its supposed impartiality further questioned – as well as the issue of whether it should continue to have unique financial and editorial status in its present form – after this ill-timed, ill-advised and heavy-handed pre-emptive strike.


Simon Coulter, Fuengirola, Spain

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3 Responses to Humble pie hard to swallow

  1. rob says:

    Top BBC journalist, John Simpson, writes his column in the Sunday Telegraph in support of BBC journalistic standards over the Gilligan affair.
    The BBC must regret banning newspaper columns written by their staff when they can get such free pro-BBC propaganda.
    Simpson is a member of the “Gilligan 95% right” club. The top management at the BBC still do not appreciate how outrageous was the 5% that Gillian invented.


  2. JohninLondon says:

    Yes, the BBC is not really backing away from the Gilligan claim.

    And Jonathan Dimbleby is one of the most persistent in supporting the BBC line, always trying to challenge those who put the government case and seldom challenging the others. His handling of BBC Radio 4 Any Questions and the subsequent phone-in always shows his personal bias. Which he continues over on ITV, as in this Sunday’s pre-Hutton show.


  3. Giles says:

    I think the argument can be seen in terms of jobs worth. The second in comand at the BBC would like to see Dyke go so she can get the job.

    As usual with the BBC its more about ego’s and civil service careers than any great principle.