The BBC legitimizes truth

A goodly number of people, complaining about the lack of Daniel Hannan's prescient and historic speech to the Prime Minister have complained about not only the BBC's lack of coverage of the event, but the failure of two chief correspondents, Nick Robinson and Mark Mardell, to even give it a mention. I wondered why?

What is it about the BBC that has us all in thrall to it, in a manner that speaks of the kind of faith you normally associate with a religious cult? What makes us all rush to bbc.co.uk in times of national crisis?

Let's roll back a bit, to my old friend, recent history. Years ago, at the height of the Cold War, the USSR regularly blocked BBC transmissions. They did this because they realised that the Corporation was a powerful threat to control of their particular narrative. After the wall came down, BBC transmissions were not only allowed in Russia, but the were relayed on FM by Russian Stations. This practice continued until recently, when Putin ordered FM transmissions of BBC programmes to be dropped.

When I was training to be a broadcaster it was acknowledged that the world sought to find out, not only the truth, but the unbiased truth, by tuning in on their scratchy, medium and short wave transistor radios to the BBC's World Service. The BBC was the benchmark in truth; a drawn sword parting the darkness of ignorance, as it was characterised by it's first Director General, Lord Reith.

Before that, news of the War with Germany was sent straight to those valve radios from Alexandra Palace. We may not have heard the whole truth then, but it was a pretty good rendition of it. The fact that the BBC's wartime output was propagandistic, is not in itself a bad thing as this was mitigated by the fact that it was on the side of the people and on the side of right. It was also a reflection of the patrician stance the Corporation took in patrician times.

The value of a media organisation, or indeed an individual, is other peoples' opinion of it. Vaclav Havel, former President of Czechoslovakia, wrote a play called "Largo Desolato" The hero of the play, Leopold, is a hero/dissident professor who fears being sent to prison for his outspoken attacks on the regime. He is visited by two "secret police" in what is, artistically a sort of homage to Beckett. Leopold finds that his identity is vested in his actions; his profile as a dissident. It comes as a shock to him at the end of the play that the secret police are no longer interested in him because he is no longer important, no longer a threat.

The lesson, I suppose you can learn from this is that the value of an organisation is also predicated upon the importance people place on it. In the case of the BBC, it has been venerated, apotheosed, as the fount of truth and knowledge. Perhaps that goes some way to explaining the outrage evinced by those who believe it is no longer these things. It has legitimized the true reporting of facts because it once, scrupulously did. It it now like a defunct religion, relying upon a rump of fanatics to prop it up.

If the BBC continues to be so out of touch, so malign in it's intent to prop up a wicked regime, I hope that people will not only lose interest in it, but cease to worship at it's hallowed portals.

9 comments:

Theresa said...

I have to admit that I have a kind of schizophrenic attitude to the Beeb. I trust it on some things, but not on others. Really the problem with journalism is that it's lazy. They no longer take the time to examine the whole argument and all the viewpoints of it and so articles end up skewed, not always through malice, but because the journalist simply does not know the subject as well as they should.

John of Enfield said...

The Beeb has detached itself from reality & it is no longer important to British society. Its centrally driven agenda cannot survive in the internet world - even though they rush to dominate it.

I just love the injunction on their web site that I need a TV license to watch PMQs live! Sod off!

Oldrightie said...

If the BBC continues to be so out of touch, so malign in it's intent to prop up a wicked regime, I hope that people will not only lose interest in it, but cease to worship at it's hallowed portals.

Over 80,000 hits on Hannan's speech, world wide makes the BBC look very out of touch!

Scary Biscuits said...

The BBC is a great idea ruined by the people who work for it.

They cannot be a news service for the whole country if they only recruit from one part of it. They must broaden their horizons and recruit Tories as well as Socialists; Libertarians as well as Fabians.

At the moment they try not to be biassed but they have lost their frame of reference. Most of the people who work for the Beeb have never even met a Tory let alone worked with one. Even when they're trying to be even handed they often get it wrong. Their bias is visceral not deliberate. And actually that's much worse.

jockster said...

The Hannan demolition of Gordon Brown is finally the damning evidence we've needed of BBC bias - all over the blogosphere yet not a word about it on the Beeb. Pravda would be proud.

To Mardell, Robinson, Marr, Naughtie, Wark and others. If you cannot be impartial and even handed and present both sides of the case and interview Labour and Tory alike with equal vigour on behalf of us the licence payers, then resign and make way for some one who is willing to do the job impartially. Today Goodwin's windows. tomorrow, who knows?....

Anonymous said...

Recall the Countryside alliance march in London some years ago. The bbc did not report it.

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

Hannan's speech has even made the blogs of Yorkshire-born 'Pommiekiwis' like myself and that of one of our major bloggers Whale Oil.
Hannan truly has glained global attention.

David Vance said...

May I commend Biased BBC as a site worth visiting if you seek further evidence of the dangers the modern BBC represents.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest we all await the Toady Programme tomorrow and if they fail to mention it we all send in complaints.
Last I heard it was 260,000hits on YouTube.