Herald columnist, Iain Bell, has a compelling piece in today’s [7th September] edition of the national newspaper, effectively stripping the BBC to the underpants Jeremy Paxman admitted were no longer up to standard.
In summary, Iain Brown castigates the national public service broadcaster for:
- incessantly lifting stories from the press – and of making news from ‘a vox pop in Arbroath’;
- filling airtime by having ‘hacks’ interviewing each other;
- failing to interrogate its culture of going easy on Labour;
- having a craven attitude to government;
- embedding an ‘institutionalised elitism’;
- being complacent and patronising;
- ignoring the issues around Scottish independence;
- failing on each one of its historic purposes, to ‘educate, inform and entertain’.
Bell describes the BBC, with precision, as ‘spayed during the Iraq dodgy dossier row’.
He questions the calibre of its journalism. He mocks its reliance on appearance over substance.
He defends with vigour the BBC’s comfortable certainty that ‘print is dead’ and in a blazing final paragraph he says: ‘Print is liable to outlive public service broadcasting for a simple reason. Those of us who still gum things to a dead tree gloop do not take the world, or our wages for granted. We are not entitled. It’s a thought to remember. My BBC chums can lift that too, if they like’.
This his been the most invigorating read for ages – a scorchingly dismissive rant at an outfit and a service overdue for dismissal.
Iain Bell doesn’t like Sky – but there we would differ.
Other addicts of Sky News’ late press reviews each evening will be as respectful as we are of the calibre of ‘presenters’ like Anna Botting – hugely well informed across the spectrum, able to engage with the news and with the guests reviewers on the hoof as the front pages come in. Steve Dixon is another first class news presenter [now on Sunrise], as are pretty well all of the late team.
Men or women, they pay no attention to what they look like on air. They focus on the job they have to do and on doing it well – not performing it but delivering it.
The BBC – nowhere in its programming – has anyone to match these guys. Fiona Bruce smirking at the camera and posing for it is a narcissistic girl guide on placement.
When big stories break, Sky is where to go. And although online is the only place to be today, nothing can replace the newspaper and its analogue format where a straying eye is as well fed as a focused one.
The heart of Iain Bells diatribe is in its title: ‘Losing our trust will bring about the BBC’s downfall’. It has already done that.
It lost our trust back there on the spaying table Bell describes so aptly. All it has done since then is scatter what was left.
Watching lazy self-regarding bullies like Chris Patten expecting, as of right, not to be questioned in his meandering evasions and deceptions is indicative.
Looking at the people they appoint as their senior executives has for a long time now been the measure of how adrift the institution has become.
Then there was Savile.
And they never did change that dreadfully uninformative and worse – confusing weather map. They knew it was good, you see.