Joining The Dots

Joining the dots

Following Brand’s resignation, a couple of the papers are now tentatively drawing the connection between this affair and the wider problem of the Beeb’s bias. Trevor Kavanagh in the Sun hits out again this morning:

BBC chiefs still don’t get it, do they? While Director-General Mark Thompson was reluctantly grovelling last night, senior Beeb executives were still trying to blame everyone else but themselves, he begins, and goes onto discuss the corporation’s arrogance and its “lofty contempt” for its viewers.

Instead of reflecting their opinions it exudes a smug corporate view on the major issues affecting Britain.

The Telegraph also sees a connection: The depressing aspect of this grubby affair is that it is all of a piece with its arrogant belief that it cannot possibly be wrong on anything. Accountable to no one, and with a guaranteed income of £3.2?billion a year, its own Andrew Marr has described its mindset thus: “The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It’s a publicly funded, urban organisation with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities and gay people. It has a liberal bias.” In short, it has become dangerously divorced from the majority of people in this country.

UPDATE: Incidentally, the Beeb story almost manages a clean sweep of the front pages today.

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16 Responses to Joining The Dots

  1. George R says:

    Stephen Glover, ‘Daily Mail’, writing about BBC’s Mark Thompson:

    “How could a man of such morals preside over the BBC’s descent into the gutter?”


    “Both the director-general of the BBC and the Archbishop of Canterbury would be utterly incomprehensible figures to their predecessors of 50 years ago, let alone a hundred.
    Timid leaders are the curse of our national life. But the events of the past few days may indicate that the general public are not so timid, and they at least have strong standards. ”


  2. Chuffer says:

    Magnificent start to last night’s Ten O’Clock News, which opened with the Brand ‘resignation’ (sounds very dignified!): the autocue broke down. George ‘Help me,I’m stuck on a Spacehopper’ Aligyer (sp?) was left looking distinctly lost.

    Remind me: how many billions does the BBC get?


  3. George R says:

    ‘Daily Express’:

    “The joke’s on us – Ross suspended on £16,000 a day of taxpayers’ money”


  4. George R says:


    “After 27,000 complaints, it was time to act”


  5. Huh? says:

    This is the kind of crap that happens when a semi-democracy like ours compounds its control-freak mentality and continues to foist a state-run broadcasting system on citizens. It’s comparable to forcing us all to pay for the Queen’s supply of corgi food!


  6. Peter says:

    Popped over to the Newsnight blog, as we are in the realms of editorial objectivity.

    So now we are in an era of ‘defence by reason of excessive tabloid coverage’? Sod the issues… the wrong sort have taken an interest! Nicely ‘them ‘n us’.

    After yesterday’s great ‘washed’ (most of us are not if they don’t agree with bearded chatterati, apparently) advocate on such as Breakfast News, I’m getting a bit fed up with the notion, as espoused by various no-name ‘comedic spokesperson’s’ diversionary efforts that a) news can only be reacted to if you see it live and b) if you haven’t you are in the thrall of the tabloids and have no brain if you hear about an event subsequently and develop a negative opinion of the protagonists.

    Much as some might like to think that. Harold Shipman… Those tinkers at Nuremberg (I know it’s ‘different’, but the principle is the same).

    Careful what you wish for. The ‘But that’s different’ caveat can often prove wanting, quickly. And some telling others that their thinking is only at the hands of others can often prove… ‘counter-productive’. Especially when the presumption is that they should instead be thinking the ‘right’ way.

    So we now have a bit of a mess. I’m not too concerned about Beavis and his mate (who actually has at last proven quite dignified) as they do have talent and will survive.

    And as one who has said a few things in the studio that were not for broadcast I think what is meant to stay in the can stays in the can. But the kids will, I am sure, have plenty to get excited about their fallen hero now, and I’ll agree with some.

    However, my thoughts turn to a 25 year old producer who is currently staring at a glass of whiskey and a loaded Webley. While all his bosses seem to have acquired collective amnesia, locked themselves in the loo or pulled a sickie. Ah, unique market rate talent indeed.

    Nice to know they are in charge of the rest of the news I co-fund, too.

    No responsibility without accountability


  7. Pete says:

    Rather than let the BBC die an slow, self-inflicted death while we pay up billions every year for its dumbed down products, wouldn’t it be kinder and cheaper just to remove its funding and kill it off quickly?


  8. knacker says:

    Pete — Yes, but in this age of Little Britain, nothing will happen. Letters to the Editor don’t do it. The BBC will grind on and on, unscathed as usual, aside from a mild and passing singeing.
    They know that and they are right.


  9. sawtooth says:

    The Telegraph hits the nail on the head when it points out that the BBC’s guaranteed annual income of £3.4 billion, from a forced tax contribution, makes it indifferent to the opinion of the general public.

    Like the former GLC, the BBC cannot be reformed. It can only either be endured or abolished.


  10. Martin says:

    Anyone listen to the BBC 5 live phone in this moring? The debate was “what do you want from the BBC?”

    Almost every caller was supportive of the BBC as were all the texts and emails. One guy who didn’t like the BBC got on and had a go about the political bias of the BBC such asNick Robinson admitting the BBC didn’t want to go after Mandelson but did go after Osbourne, the fact that at the Labour party conference no Tories were there but at the Tory party conference they had several Labour politicians.

    Great call but the female beeboid was not impressed.

    I managed to send an email but I was in the car most of the time so I don’t think it got read out.

    The BBC are pathetic.


  11. John Bosworth says:

    Let’s step back and see the wood for the trees…

    The BBC is no longer a dignified, quality brand (forgive the pun) leader in British broadcasting. In its high profile programmes, it displays not the best, but the grubby, sleezy side of the UK. It’s cultural face is now a mask of smirking wide-boys from the druggged up hooker screwing Angus Dayton (remember him?) to Jonathan Ross who has sneered and smirked his way to millions.

    If these are the kind of presenters who are held up for our admiration, what on earth are the producers and execs who bring them before us really like?

    Ross and Brand are simply the tip of the melting iceberg that is the BBC. Behind the scenes I’m sure people are not trying to reform the organisation, to examine and correct it and to cure it of its arrogance. They’re huddling together and waiting till the storm blows over.

    And who in the end is to blame?

    THE BRITISH PUBLIC. Who by their silence and apathy are getting the BBC they deserve.


  12. mister ed says:

    well i’ve done my bit – in our house Eastenders is banned.. and never watched.

    i simply cannot understand why people would watch that depressing shit.


  13. Crabtree says:

    Peter: I noticed that tactic used on Newsnight: that because of the technology many more people were able to listen to the offending recording than, say, 10 years ago.

    Well guess what BBC? That’s the same technology you use to declare fantastic “Reach” and “Viewing Figures” – yes your very own iPlayer allows people to watch and listen at times of their choosing.

    Your own petard, hoist etc.


  14. Cassandrina says:

    Interesting that the Sun rep. on the Today programme this morning did not mention bias or inept management, though he was not impressed with bbc responses. A previous bbc Director General was also on, and showed why he is an ex, though he also felt the bbc showed a poor and late response but of course blamed the media.

    Now the bbc are stating that Thompson reacted swiftly to the problem and left his holiday in Italy – sounds very Brownite to me.

    After a 2.5 hours meeting the Trust came to the bleedingly obvious conclusion that checks and balances were not in place. They appear to have spent most of this time formulating and typing their response report to the bbc – another sign of inept quango bureaucracy.

    So the controller fell on her sword and states it was her decision – perhaps – but Thompson is now shown to be a very weak “leader” – he may know the technical side but the managerial and leadership aspects of running such a large public body is now revealed to be well beyond his capabilities.

    All in all British management at its best remeniscent of the film “I’m All Right Jack” – good job the unions were not involved.


  15. Andy says:

    I notice Wossy looking decidedly puffy-eyed underneath those dark glasses! The gutless shit!


  16. The Hum says:

    The whole argument regarding comedy being “edgy” is false economy and really exposes BBC’s mindset regarding attitudes to their audiences.

    I know it’s a matter of taste, but even those who like black comedy (as I do) often find BBC comedy stale and boring.

    Good comedy should be able to transcend age, race or gender, I can think of a few examples that appealed to broad sections of the population AND managed to stay relevant.

    The most obvious programme is Only Fools and Horses. It satirised life on a South London Estate with well rounded characters like Del Boy, Rodney, Granddad, Uncle Albert, and it often touched issues which ordinary folk could identify with, like divorce, unemployment or dealing with local beaurcracy, while having a warmth and humanity which turned it into a much loved institution.

    Another is the Office (before they flogged it to death); anybody who has worked in an office can immediately identify with many of the characters and situations. Blackadder and to a lesser extent the Young Ones obviously had plenty of toilet jokes in it, but again you could laugh at its absurd nature. I’m sure we could all think of other examples.

    Today BBC comedy is lazy, formulaic, cruel and crude. Little Britain and Catherine Tate’s portrayal of various aspects of British (and now American) life is banal and demeaning, with its use of stupid catchphrases and depictions of people which are crass, to get its share of laughs. Thursday night seems to rely on the same formulaic “game show” style (Mock the week, Have I Got News for You, Never Mind the Buzz cocks) that they have become interchangeable and are often boring with its re-heated jokes, Deadringers and Harry and Paul are so patchy that you have to sit through dross before you find a funny sketch, and as for the likes of Two Pints or those dreadful Jonny Diamond “comedies”, they are just pale imitations of Peep Show and other C4 shows…..IMVHO the only BBC comedy that has been worthy of watching in the last few years is The Thick of It, Look Around You and QI.

    In short the BBC has developed a school bully sense of humour, better suited to the playground than the TV.

    By appealing to the lowest common denominator (juvenile pre-pubescent boys its seems), and by segregating the audience into some kind of tick-box groups, the BBC has failed to live up to past successes as well as showing a distinct lack of creativity .

    This leads me to think that not only is the BBC morally bankrupt, but also a barren cultural desert as well…….