The BBC’s self-declared flagship of so-called quality journalism, Panorama,has been found seriously lacking by the BBC Trust. In short, it fabricated evidence disgracefully in order to attack Primark, a store which the boys and girls at the BBC no doubt view with horror because it provides cheap, affordable clothes for the masses.
I know from personal experience that the BBC Trust will normally go to the ends of the earth to support BBC journalists, so this is an earthquake of sorts. But note the way the BBC website has handled the story. Nice Roy Greenslade – so old fashionedly left-wing that by his own admission he makes Arthur Scargill look moderate – of the Guardian has been wheeled out to defend the offending piece. The intro is also mealy-mouthed and begrudging – there’s no direct acknowledgement that Panorama got it wrong, only that the BBC must say sorry. And as the icing of the cake of the denial, news boss Helen Boaden says that this is wholly exceptional and everything else that the BBC does is beyond reproach, always, always, always….
In fact, the ruling is among the strongest upoholdings of a journalistic complaint that I have ever seen and the corporation should be utterly ashamed that it used such cowboy, slipshod methodology. Although that’s par for the course.