In his new online magazine The Commentator, Robin Shepherd writes about the BBC in the light of the recent observations about the BBC by Michael Buerk and Peter Sissons. He concludes:
“Three possible strategies come to mind: work to reform it; work around it by pressing for a freeing up of the regulatory environment so that a robust competitor can be established in the private sector; or work to abolish it.”
The first has been tried. That is no reason not to try again. But the rot runs so deep that we may have to face the prospect that the BBC is simply unreformable.”
I’m not certain who has tried to reform the BBC. I understand it has been tinkered with from time to time; a new appointee here and there, a few MPs have grumbled. Then there’s this website as well as frequent references on other websites where the BBC’s bias is taken as read. (Or should that be red.) But this hardly constitute a *strategy*.
The second is a good idea regardless of what the BBC does. In an open society it is deplorable that the state should dictate who can say what in the public domain. The airwaves should be free.
Whatever regulatory restrictions there are that prevent robust competition, the BBC will always have the upper hand, as the residual effect of its reputation for excellence and impartiality still lingers in the public’s perception, despite its own suicidal efforts to squander the lot.
Look at the way everyone sneers at Fox Sky CNN etc. The only one they praise is Al-Jazeera.
“Looking to the long term, the third (Working to abolish it)
is a less remote possibility than it might currently appear. While today’s political establishment is largely supportive of the BBC, there are significant strands of opinion taking shape within it that have grave misgivings about the way things have been going.”
We are ‘a strand with grave misgivings’, but so what? Where’s the motivation for a parliamentary decision to scrap the licence fee, or whatever it would take? Politicians and the BBC need each other, so MPs are hardly likely to be so radical.
I must say I regret the disappearance of the BBC spokespersons who used to engage with us here on B-BBC. One of them implied that doing so was frowned upon by the powers that be, so a fatwa of some sort might have been decreed. On the other hand, they might have dismissed us as a bunch of right-wing mouth-frothers unworthy of whatever credibility any of their precious attention might bestow upon us.
People complain that we don’t want unbias, only our kind of bias. As has been noted, true impartiality is strictly for inanimate objects. There is one kind of bias that we should embrace, bias towards ’good’ and against ‘bad.’ We certainly differ over what constitutes good and bad, but meddling with omissions, emotive language, selectivity and disproportionate emphases in news reporting is irresponsible and dangerous.
Finally, I saw some comments on Guido’s blog, and I’ve seen similar here too, to the effect that some people don’t see why they should care about the Middle East. About The Commentator:
“Israel, arentcha sick of hearing about it? It’s alright in small doses to keep informed about what’s going on, but it’s tedious having it front and centre on a new centre right site. Boring.”
“ The reast of the world would be happy if the whole bloody middle-east were just to fuck off and die, quietly please.”
People boast about their own ignorance when they haven’t got the brains to see that they should be ashamed of it. We can’t all be interested in everything, I know, and it takes all sorts etc., and no doubt such people have opinions about something or other, otherwise they wouldn’t bother to comment on a blog. But I wonder what has made them think that displaying perverse bravado is a good idea, rather than a gigantic embarrassment.