I used to admire the BBC. It’s role during WWII was stellar. In the 1960s, it brought us Monty Python and other cutting edge, very silly comedies. In the 1970s, it began making a series of marvelous historic dramas, many of which still represent the finest viewing TV has offered. But it’s been downhill lately. Some of us, of course, believe that the BBC is reprehensibly biased in its coverage about Israel, and that it is anti-Semitic and anti-American. You can see my short series of posts cataloging the BBC’s integrity-free conduct here.
But don’t just take my word for it. The BBC itself has acknowledged that it’s a left-wing, biased entity (although it refuses, irrationally, to believe that the bias that permeates it from top to bottom might, just might, leak into its news coverage).
And just the other day, the BBC got into trouble for insulting the Queen (how dare they?!), an insult that proved to be based, not on fact, but on media manipulation. (Hmmm . . . I wonder where they got the idea that media manipulation was a workable tool?)
You’d think the BBC’s travails would have bottomed out about now, but new depths of corruption just keep emerging. The latest report is that the BBC has had to stop phone-in competitions because of rampant institutional dishonesty:
The BBC is to suspend all its phone-in competitions after the Corporation’s Trust expressed concerns about “significant failures of control and compliance”.
Mark Thompson, the BBC director-general, said the failures within the corporation and by its suppliers, have “compromised the BBC’s values of accuracy and honesty”.
“There is no excuse for deception,” he said.
“I know the idea of deceiving the public would simply never occur to most people in the BBC.
“It is far better to accept a production problem and make a clean breast to the public than to deceive.”
The Trust said the additional editorial failings showed “further deeply disappointing evidence of insufficient understanding amongst certain staff of the standards of accuracy and honesty expected, and inadequate editorial controls to ensure compliance with those standards.”
It added: “We have made clear that we regard any deception or breach of faith with our audiences as being utterly unacceptable.”
All phone-related competitions on BBC TV and radio will cease from midnight tonight, while interactive and online competitions will be taken down as soon as possible.
(You can read the rest of the story here.)
I wonder if Britain’s famous betting shops are making book on the specific date of the Beeb’s ultimate demise. If I were a betting woman, I’d put my money on an early date.
Incidentally, it’s worth keeping in mind the rampant bias and dishonesty you see at the Beeb the next time you hear someone trumpeting a renewal of the Fairness Doctrine. I know that the Left has always loved the BBC: to them, it’s so pure, uncorrupted by those nasty market forces. And it’s true, as I noted at the beginning of this post, that the ability to ignore the market meant that the BBC could broadcast wacky, experimental comedy, and that it could create historical costume dramas that appealed to the elite, rather than the masses. Certainly when I lived in Britain, on the rare occasions I had access to a TV, I was charmed by the complete absence of commercials, and did appreciate that there were certain high quality shows that would not then have found an outlet in America other than taxpayer funded PBS. There was also a lot of drek on British TV, but I was so delighted by the “British-ness” of it all, that I let it pass.
But those silly comedies and high dramas come at a high price. Without serious competition, and without the need to respond to the public needs, the BBC has had no restraints on it. This is quite different from what happened in America, where the free market revealed that Americans were hungry for conservative commentary. And while it’s true that American network television has hewed to the Left, the nagging fear of the conservative market has kept network TV from becoming quite as biased and unhinged as the BBC. Insert a Fairness Doctrine, though, and we’ll be BBC’d all over here, with all the bias and corruption that flows from a powerful organization having a stranglehold on the marketplace of ideas.