12 November 2012

BBC journalism needs radical shake up

With the news that the BBC's DG has quit - with an unneccessarily large pay-off - the focus of attention is on how the corporation continues to report the fall out of the Savile case.

But the risk is if the focus is solely on child protection the underlying weakness of some of the BBC's day-to-day journalism will escape the attention it deserves.  Attention that so far none of the 124 senior managers who are paid well over £100k each has spotted.

The BBC newsroom is the political wing of the Labour Party.  It has a metropolitan elitist bias that finds it inconceivable that the left can do no wrong.  After all the Beeb once employed Polly Toynbee as a serious journalist.  And the fact that Newsnight is produced by BBC Scotland - a place where the right is even more frowned upon - might explain the alacrity with which they published untrue (and unchecked) allegations of child abuse about a Tory peer. 

And it's not just in the political world where the BBC (and particularly BBC Scotland) falls down on the job of basic journalism.  The inbuilt BBC bias to Labour is mirrored with their inbuilt old firm bias in Scottish football.

BBC Scotland Sport continues to employ people like Jim Traynor and Billy Dodds - people who compromised themselves completely over the collapse of Rangers.  Traynor was fingered by Alex Thomson of channel 4 as one of the reporters who simply regurgitated what they were told over lunch (but hopefully not their actual lunch) with senior Rangers execs.  Dodds was employed by Rangers and benefitted from their illegal tax-evading employee benefit trust (EBT). 

And today the BBC website's match report of Hibs v Dundee Utd contained the following opening sentence: "Hibernian moved temporarily back to the top of the Scottish Premier League after their first victory over Dundee United in seven attempts ..."

The word 'temporarily' was later removed during the succeeding Celtic v St Johnstone game - but the expectation was clear that Celtic would win.  Happily they didn't and now are two points behind leaders Hibs.

You would have thought with hundreds of senior managers and editors that they might actually do their job of employing people who are actually good journalists and casting an editorial eye over their output.  One can live in hope that whatever happens to the BBC as a result of this shambles they use it as an opportunity to have a truly radical shake up of their organisation - but I won't hold my breath.

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