BBC At War…With BBC

I am not sure what the current chaos in the BBC proves. No news organisation likes being the story. Sky News looked at times………extremely uncomfortable …when reporting on the Phone Hacking Scandal.

And the BBC has at times looked uncomfortable with the way the BBC has handled the Savile Story.

This culminated last night with “Panorama” (BBC1 10.35pm) investigating the decision by “Newsnight” to spike the Jimmy Savile investigation in November 2011. Meanwhile “Newsnight” (BBC2 10.30pm) was leading on the “Panorama” story………with a very unhappy looking Jeremy Paxman (who volunteered the information that not all “Newsnight” people had even been aware of the “Savile” story.

I do not really want to re-hash the current state of play in the “Savile” story……….in this Blog I am really trying to get at whats going on in the BBC.

We get a little insight into how a “newsroom” works. November 2011….The reporter is Liz McKean. Her producer is Merrion Jones. They are working on a story that Jimmy Savile, recently deceased was a paedophile. Its explosive stuff. One of the BBCs stars in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s. A harmless but self-publicising eccentric ….Britain’s favourite uncle.

The Newsnight Editor is Peter Rippon. He gives the go ahead to transmit. But then re-considers. He himself has seemingly reported to his own bosses the Deputy Director of News and the Director of News. He spikes the story.

Meanwhile the Director of News has a ten second conversation with George Entwistle Head of BBC1 and tells him Newsnight are investigating Savile and he might want to re-consider a series of gushing tributes in the Christmas schedules. Entwistle asks no questions. The “Newsnight” story is spiked and the tributes go ahead.

And all is blown apart by the exposure of Savile by……….ITV. This creates a firestorm and a blog by Peter Rippon explains the decision was based on editorial reasons. And the BBC Director General goes with this version of events. Unfortunately the new BBC Director General is the same George Entwistle who asked nothing back in November last year. But the information in Rippon’s blog was lacking in “accuracy and honesty” (as Entwistle told the House of Commons Select Committee today). But the BBC held the “Rippon line for two weeks.

It looks bad……very bad. But yet the BBC deserves a lot of credit for investigating itself. Liz McKean and Merrion Jones were interviewees on “Panorama”……whistle-blowing their own employer “Newsnight”. And BBC News presenters (like Jon Sopel and correspondents like Norman Smith and Nick Higham)  casually talk about “Peter”, “George” and the rest of the cast. Indeed Jon Sopel made the point that the Director of BBC News (her name is Helen Boaden) should perhaps make a statement clarifying what she knew in November last year.

Yes BBC deserves credit for how it is dealing with the NEWS aspect……..but there is an uncomfortable feeling that these are people who know each other and have in some cases (good and bad) “History”.


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10 Responses to BBC At War…With BBC

  1. hoboroad says:

    Did you notice Jon Snow on Channel 4 News saying he never worked for the BBC?

  2. sammymcnally says:

    I think the whole saga is blown out of all proportion – I wonder if deliberately so by some – tactically good to talk up the issue so Joe Public will get fed up. In every organisation under the sun where there will be a few people chancing at least their arm and far worse if and when the opportunity presents itself.

    There must be a few people in ITV and RTE hoping the spotlight stays on the BBC.

    • Yes thats true.
      And when lawyers get involved saying “no amount of money could possibly compensate my client….” the narrative changes.

    • Mark. says:

      How goes it Sammy ?? …..

      I don’t know about the whole thing been blown out of all proportion …. or whether we as a society have become desensitized to the ” next big shock ” . Having watched Sky News this evening …they’re going to go to town on the beeb . It has already started with suggestions on their press preview segment of an alleged peodophile ring amoungst the ” BBC 9 ” ( no chance of a miscarriage here ) ……

      What are the chances of the licence fee going up ? As Fitz notes , those lawyers will have to be paid …

  3. Rob says:

    The BBC keeps employing masons. It’s bound to blow up in their faces from time to time. It’s so obviously a risky policy: having a workforce who think (probably correctly) that they’re beyond the reach of the law.

    • Its not just the BBC.
      And I agree that the influence of “secret shakers” extends into Journalism, Police, Judiciary and beyond.
      I am never totally relaxed about Masons. Nor am I paranoid.
      They do exert a lot of influence.

  4. sammymcnally says:

    Yo Mark, I just think there is not much point in the BBC tearing itself apart over what is first and foremost an individual and then secondly a societal problem – I suspect many organisations have the same problem (although unlikley to be on the scale of Saville).

    ps Leinster may welll be heading out at the pool stages this year – (though I said that last year) with Drizza skinned last week for Scarelts try I fear the worst aginast Clermont.

  5. hoboroad says:

    I see freemason and Tory party supporter Jim Davidson has come out and said he knows the name of the next big name in showbiz to be exposed as a child molester. I wonder who Jim is deflecting for?

    • I thought Jim Davidson had moved to UKIP.
      I think there will be some scores settled.
      Jim Davidson had a penchant for dancing girls and possibly knows more women in the biblical sense than his four ex-wives.
      In the 1970s Davidson was a diamond geezer (almost from the same manufacturer as those Confessions of a Window Cleaner wide-boy image).
      And thankfully a victim of “political correctness gone maaaaaad” so he might be able to tell a few stories about BBC in the 1970s and 1980s before he lost the “Snooker” thing and his brand of “humour” was sidelined to playing for the troops in the Malvinas and Camp Bastian.
      People WILL dish the dirt on others.
      Ironically about three months ago BBC4 put out a programme on Television Centre… has closed down and jokingly suggested that there was much sexual and drug activity in the dressing room and office corridors.
      It doesnt seem so hilarious now.

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