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Discussion > Is the BBC approaching a tipping point?

Would people please avoid making personal comments about other commenters. This discussion is intended to about the BBC and whether it has reached a tipping point.

Nov 17, 2012 at 6:02 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Thanks Bish. I'd like to add that the whole of Dung's attack on me, in his latest post, section 1, is predicated on a falsehood. I'm perfectly happy with people using pseudonyms on Bishop Hill; my concern throughout has been the misuse of pseudonymity, the dangers of which have been graphically illustrated by the defaming of Lord McAlpine in anonymous blog comments and Twitter accounts in the last two weeks, all triggered by the BBC. Even in this thread someone calling themselves 'Anon' has made two contributions that have quickly been deleted, I presume because they were judged close to libelous. I applaud that decision - but that of course doesn't mean I tar every nym with the same brush. Some people need to get that simple fact in their heads.

There is one other oddity I would draw people's attention to, in addition to RKS's weird allusion, three times in a row, to me having objectionable political views, deducible from my posts, that he dare not actually spell out. That was what Chris M wrote yesterday here:

Why bother Dung? This thread is already way past its tipping point, a private conversation between two City types to the exclusion of others. If I were a UK resident I would be, like Delingpole, attempting to steer the Tories towards policies reflecting traditional middle class conservatism, not the clubby exclusivity of Mayfair. And Mr Ackroyd, this is entirely on topic; if you want to criticize the BBC you need to show that your fundamental mindset is different from theirs, something you have thus far failed to do.

Forget for the moment the crude attack on two individuals who were only doing their best, however limited that might be, and note the 'Mr Ackroyd'. Isn't that an attempt to provide a real name for Martin A, one that I have nowhere seen him ascribe to himself? Is that kind of mind game now judged fair play, just because you disagree with someone?

I would never do such a thing or argue for such a thing - and I'm sure I would be crucified if I tried. The irony seems to be that because Chris M does it, from pseudonymity itself, that somehow makes it ok. It doesn't. But, as usual, even as I point it out, the person concerned pays no reputation price for this breach of normal BH protocol.

It's clear to me by now that this thread has started to bother some people. They want it closed down, by fair means or foul. They shouldn't have bothered. It will continue, as the host says, to discuss whether the BBC has reached a tipping point - a very powerful and it seems prophetic term chosen by the originator.

Nov 17, 2012 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Following the post by the Bish I am unable to respond to the above comments.

Nov 17, 2012 at 7:28 PM | Registered CommenterDung

in addition to RKS's weird allusion, three times in a row, to me having objectionable political views, deducible from my posts, that he dare not actually spell out. Nov 17, 2012 at 6:44 PM | Richard Drake>>>>>

You seem to have difficulty with basic English comprehension.

Please quote verbatim where I said you had objectionable political views. In fact, I said I saw nothing wrong in having political ASPIRATIONS. You make the sort of deliberate misquotation normally to be expected from blog trolls.

If you must insist on attempting to dominate BH threads and pompously hector those you disagree with, you should expect to be responded to in kind. You have, through your argumentative tone and mass produced posts, turned the thread into a dead duck - have you not noticed the lack of interest in others lately?

I've made my comments about Tom Watson's conduct and I'm still awaiting the results of the BBC enquiries, although that'll soon be swept under the mat after the next big media frenzy.

Nov 17, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

RKS and any others
Please note my admonition at 4.41pm

Nov 17, 2012 at 7:38 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Following the post by the Bish I am unable to respond to the above comments.

Nov 17, 2012 at 7:28 PM | Dung>>>>>

To be honest Dung I'm tired of dealing with prima donnas who run whingeing to the moderator because nasty people have pricked their ego's, and who have shown little restraint in openly criticising other contributors in the past.

I've made my contribution to the general discussion in the thread so I think I'll go back to observer mode for a while.

Nov 17, 2012 at 7:47 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

RKS and any others
Please note my admonition at 4.41pm

Nov 17, 2012 at 7:38 PM | Bishop Hill>>>>

I'm sorry Bish but I do not like to have my words deliberately misquoted - what is your opinion on such a personal attack as that?

Nov 17, 2012 at 7:50 PM | Registered CommenterRKS

You're acting the part of the absurdist RKS - you won't spell out what you think my political aspirations are and want to deal in pettifoggery around this self-imposed non-disclosure.

I want to return to the fact that Tom Watson was being lumped in with George Monbiot and Sally Bercow by a past chairman of BBC governors. My political aspirations or views have nothing to do with my attitude to this, which is that it is wrong so to smear this MP. It would interesting to know why the mistake arose.

On the general matter of the challenges now facing the BBC I again felt a lot of common ground with Simon Jenkins in the Guardian on Tuesday on the grip bureaucracy now has on this and other publicly funded institutions. Nobody ready to take responsibility for any mistake. The same day the Spectator noted the irony of Matthew Freud being a key adviser of the new DG, given that he is Rupert Murdoch's son-in-law. But the forces sweeping through could initiate change that is bigger than either.

Nov 17, 2012 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

You guys. Grow up.

Nov 17, 2012 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

A facet of the BBC/Savile story that has not really hit the headlines in the UK is the former D-G Mark Thompson's appointment as Chief Executive Officer for the New York Times.

He had been appointed - but not started in his new job - when the story broke. Now, although started in his new job, his own staff are asking questions about what he knew. I think he's on a loser - even if he didn't know, he should have done.

The NYT is, I imagine, the US equivalent of the Guardian as the leading voice of Climate Change orthodoxy. It's possible to speculate that part of the reason he got the job would have been his claim (I imagine) to have led the BBC into its role as the UK's leading mouthpiece for CAGW.

I wonder if the BBC/Savile scandal's repercussions in the NYT will have an impact on CAGW advocacy on the other side of the Atlantic...


Mark Thompson, the BBC Scandal and the Future of The New York Times


Letter Raises Questions About When BBC Ex-Chief Learned of Abuse Cases!

Jimmy Savile Scandal: Net Tightens On New York Times CEO Mark Thompson

Nov 17, 2012 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Martin:

The NYT is, I imagine, the US equivalent of the Guardian as the leading voice of Climate Change orthodoxy. It's possible to speculate that part of the reason he got the job would have been his claim (I imagine) to have led the BBC into its role as the UK's leading mouthpiece for CAGW.

I wonder if the BBC/Savile scandal's repercussions in the NYT will have an impact on CAGW advocacy on the other side of the Atlantic...

I think Alistair McAlpine's view of the BBC, expressed on the World at One on Thursday, can help us with this. The BBC is trusted more than any other news outlet worldwide, he said, perhaps as the only one that tells the truth. This is why the warming mitigation ideologues and scammers have made such efforts to turn the BBC into their mouthpiece.

This makes the BBC much more important than the NYT or any other two-bit newspaper. And the scandals that have rocked it since 3rd October could I believe have devastating effect on its credibility over the most important of the deceptions it has taken into its bosom, in policy terms: uncritical acceptance of greenwash garbage.

Just sayin.

Nov 18, 2012 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Nick Pollard's report on the shelved Newsnight report on Savile has too many pages for me to read at present. But, given our analysis earlier (before the rude interruption on a subject I didn't want anywhere near here - and please desist now, Dung and friends, to be absolutely clear) this is classic misdirection:

An inquiry into Newsnight's shelving of a report into sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile has criticised BBC management but found no evidence of a cover-up.

It was not done to protect tribute shows to the late DJ and presenter, as some had claimed, said the report.

But the protection of the tribute programmes was always a straw man or red herring. There was pressure on Pater Rippon to shelve the report, as his emails to Liz MacKean show clearly. The most obvious explanations for this pressure were a desire to cover up past wrongdoing in the BBC and protect guilty parties still involved at the corporation. The tribute shows were never the issue but were made to appear so that the age-old message "nothing to see here, move on" could be delivered at this point. We know all about this kind of convenient re-definition of the problem from the Climategate inquiries. I for one am not having it.

But at the very same time an ex-BBCer - Michael Crick - has done a great thing in exposing Plebgate. The police conspiring to remove one of the PM's key aides so soon after Cameron had spoken so eloquently in the Commons about their shortcomings after the Hillsborough Inquiry? You read my thoughts about that on this thread too - or maybe you didn't. Either way, this I believe is very good news for the overturning of the deception at the heart of this nation. As I've always felt, Hillsborough will lead the way. The Beeb is a harder nut to crack - but it will be cracked.

Dec 19, 2012 at 1:11 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

The first thing I notice is that the document http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20782889 is posted in some unusual format (eg not .pdf) that is difficult to navigate and provides no search facility. I don't see any way of printing it to read as hard copy.

It is also downloadable as a .txt ascii file http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/541499/pollard-review.txt which is searchable and printable but is quite hard to read because of the loss of formatting.

Do I get a feeling that the beeb is not really eager for it to be widely read and analysed?

Dec 19, 2012 at 1:54 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

You may be right Martin. The other area that is woeful to me at the moment is giving proper space and attention to the two journalists at the centre of the story: Liz MacKean and Meirion Jones. Here's what they have to say:

Liz McKean, Newsnight reporter who worked on the axed Savile investigation

"The decision not to run the report was seriously flawed, but it was more than that. I think the decision to drop our story was a breach of our duty to the women who trusted us to reveal that Jimmy Savile was a paedophile.

"Many found it difficult to share their experiences as vulnerable girls. Our editor didn't watch the main interview with our witness. Nick Pollard did and found her credible and compelling, as did we. As for what he called the chaos caused by the inaccurate blog of October, I welcome the recommendation that the BBC should trust its journalists."

Meirion Jones, Newsnight producer involved in the axed Savile report

"Last Christmas, Newsnight knew - the BBC knew - that Jimmy Savile was a paedophile. We knew there'd been a police investigation, they'd taken it seriously. We'd interviewed a victim - a very good victim - on camera. We had corroboration, we had footage of victims with abusers on BBC premises, and yet the BBC decided to pull the investigation and run tributes to Jimmy Savile instead.

"I hope the BBC takes measures to make sure nothing like that will ever happen again. What I do feel confident about though is that the BBC has now taken measures to make sure that children are safe here."

Dignified and important points but far too low down the page for me. And there's no mention of those emails of Peter Rippon to MacKean about him not being willing to 'go to the wall' to run the Savile programme. What was that all about? Perhaps I will learn once you've tracked down a proper pdf of Pollard's report.

Dec 19, 2012 at 6:30 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

It seems to me that the BBC should be prosecuted, as a corporate body, for sexual crime - aiding and abetting sexual assault of women and children by Jimmy Savile and for procuring children for sexual assault.

It is as clear as anything that, for decades, BBC managers knew what he was up to, yet continued to organise programmes in such a way as to give him access to children. Even if the top management remained unaware of Savile's doings, such management failure in no way absolves the BBC.

What needs to be done to instigate such a prosecution? Write to the DPP? Make a complaint to the police?

Dec 19, 2012 at 6:55 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

More conspiracy theories Martin? "I don't see any way of printing it to read as hard copy."
If I were you I'd download the pdf where it says, "Or download and print the report here."

Dec 19, 2012 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Thank you BB. Charmingly put.

Since I posted that, the BBC page has been updated. Previously, all it invited you to download was an ascii file: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/541499/pollard-review.txt, with the .pdf nowhere to be seen.

Dec 19, 2012 at 7:42 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The BBC does not seem to get it. On the day following the Pollard Report hitting the fan...

BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten has called a report criticising the corporation's "cavalier" use of public money to pay off senior executives as "shabby"...


http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/dec/20/lord-patten-criticises-pac-report

Previously the Public Accounts Comittee chair had said:

"Public servants should not be rewarded for failure. But that was exactly what happened when the BBC Trust paid off the former Director General, George Entwistle. (...) The Comptroller and Auditor General offered to carry out an immediate and independent audit examination of the package, in time to inform the deliberations of this Committee. The BBC Trust refused to take that offer up.

This inhibited Parliament’s ability to hold the Trust to account for its use of public money."

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news/bbc-the-severence-payment-awarded-to-the-bbcs-former-director-general/

Dec 20, 2012 at 10:21 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

The BBC don't get it on a more fundamental thing that that:

They think this is an internal process problem, where one programme should or should not have pulled a programme, stopped or restarted an investigation etc etc. This is all about talking about talking about what happened.

What happened was a sexual predator was allowed to roam at will with the apparent cognizance of the BBC management. Who did or didn't make a programme about it is completely irrelevant.

THE BBC ARE ACTING AS IF THE POLLARD REPORT MEANS THEY DID NO WRONG. All it means is they were incompetent journalists, they still did a heinous wrong.

Dec 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

TBYIJ:

Yes indeed.

The Pollard report makes it clear that BBC management knew what Savile had been up to - it was not merely vague rumour. If middle management of a bank cause the bank to execute illegal transactions, it means that the bank has committed crime, even if the top management remained blissfully unaware of what theire subordinates were doing.

As I said before, I think the BBC should be prosecuted - at very least, for aiding and abetting Savile.

Dec 20, 2012 at 11:43 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Correct, Big Yin. The BBC is engaging right now in misdirection. It really does not matter whether Newsnight reported on this, the real problem is the culture which allowed the actual offences to go on unchecked for so long even to the extent of creating programmes which gave Savile his opportunites. What do we care if this that or the other apparatchik gets fired or moved or paid off? The big ship BBC will sail on regardless. The organisation as a whole should be punished. And the role of the Trust in assisting in the cover-ups should be examined too. Plainly the Trust has entirely too sympathetic a relationship with the BBC.

By statistical methods too complicated to reveal here I have determined to a 95% confidence level that the BBC will sail on regardless. Time after time I have seen that pathetic story of 'most-respected news organisation;' and 'high-quality programming' go unchallenged. Problems must be confronted, not ignored.

Dec 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM | Registered Commenterrhoda

Rhoda:

The BBC is engaging right now in misdirection.

I agree with you, TBYJ and Martin - that the issues of the shelved Newsnight programme can be used as misdirection and are being used as such, to try and deflect from the criminal behaviour of Savile and others having been tolerated for so long. But within the Newsnight area there is also misdirection. As Steve McIntyre said on 28gate it's important not to neglect the specific, even if it might seem small. It's also good that Pollard hasn't pulled his punches, within certain limits, by all accounts.

Dec 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

@rhoda: "Time after time I have seen that pathetic story of 'most-respected news organisation;' and 'high-quality programming' go unchallenged."

Yes.

A bit like "the NHS is the envy of the world". Oh yeah?

Dec 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

Perhaps there are a number of others at high levels in the BB hierarchy who are afraid that if Entwhistle doesn't get his unjustified money, and they later get the push, they won't either.

Dec 20, 2012 at 3:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger