Sunday, 4 December 2016

The avoidable death of the BBC

There is a rotten stench about the BBC at the moment.  In a febrile world, when previous national calamities and divisions have been at the forefront of people's concerns, the national broadcaster has maintained a scrupulous impartiality.  Nowadays it is populated by a timorous brigade of nonentities whose agenda is both informed by the tabloids and the desire to become lickspittles to an illegitimate and seditious government.

Thatcher always regarded the broadcast media as representing the enemy within.  They still do, but they are now enemies of informing and empowering citizens.  I suspect that the proliferation of channels and the constant desire to set the agenda rather than report it lies at the base of the BBC's decline.  24-hour rolling news, and the wish for journalists and alleged personalities to have their name plastered over competitors' websites, makes a mockery of explanation and analysis.

Added to this is the Westminster-centric reporting of the entire world.  You would get the impression that the emasculated "Newsnight" is now a playground for chinless wonders waiting for the call for a B-list Tory seat, from the attention or the depth of informative analysis that it provides.  From the general tone of reporting the risible Ruth Davidson is not the unpopular leader of the Scottish Tory opposition, but a Governor-General appointed by the right's tribunes to frustrate the will of the Scottish electorate.  News is not investigated, it is recycled press releases and the victim of spin culture.  There is not more of it around, but it takes a great deal longer to provide feeble excuses of interpretation.

Given the credulity with which the BBC's presenters are treated, it is unsurprising that the right-wing pre-senile dribble of David Dimbleby and Andrew Neil goes unchecked.  Yet they constantly give airtime, unchallenged, to the neo-Nazis of UKIP - and the "balance" of their programmes is suspect.  The BBC cannot adapt to either a devolved, federalising nation, or to the plurality of opinion and the validity of voices who do not assent to the trivialising and the sloganeering agenda.

The BBC is now treating news as entertainment, not as part of the commitment to lead and shape the intellectual and political information of the nation.  Personalities, from Andrew Marr to Eddie Mair, do not have any intrinsic authority or right to express their views - and the constant parade of minor figures such as the fascists Farage and Nuttall does not endear their coverage.  In the meantime, sanity is best preserved from finding out about the moral turpitude at second hand rather than endure the drivel and propaganda.

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