I encountered this rather good twitter feed on the gradual changes to the News offering from the BBC and their consequences from a certain Niall Fleming, who writes as though he has some inside knowledge. Whether he does or not, his conclusions, I feel are worthy of note. I offer the piece completely unedited as I think speaks for itself – the link is here:
News bulletins as read by Dougall, Baker, Whitmore, Kendall etc gave no impression of political opinion. As bulletins were extended into “programmes”, initially a reaction to News at Ten, interpretive content entered opening the BBC News to accusations of bias from both sides.
Senior reporters and correspondents became “editors” bringing in their own content. These editors were and are frequently “interviewed” by the news reader. So gradually the “news” takes second place to the on screen “editor” opinion.
Those same “editors” frequently appear on current affairs programmes, such as the Daily Politics, Newsnight etc, further “shaping” News into opinion.
The make up of current affairs programmes, presenters and production teams, does not reflect any political balance. In fact it is worse because it has become “celebrity” driven, where for some bizarre reason a second rate right winger with odd hair is considered a heavyweight.
Take Today. Redhead, Timpson and Hobday reflected the three main U.K. parties. It was very rare for a politician to be interviewed by a natural sympathiser. So a form of balance was maintained. Once Humphreys and Naughtie came in intellect and balance were jettisoned.
Question Time is “celebrity” culture and outsourcing gone mad. This allows skewed audience selection, manipulation in editing and the ability to disguise right wing panellists as representing an “independent” perspective. The Taxpayers Alliance being one example.
HIGNFY and Mock the Week have lost their edge through contract pressure from the BBC trust. HIGNFY after the move to BBC1 and MTW after the departures of Parsons and Boyle. You can’t get more dissimilar people than Ann Widdecombe, Will Self and Stephen Fry. All boycott HIGNFY.
So a new broadcasting act must restore the requirement for political balance across MSM, separate News and Current Affairs in the BBC, and insist that BBC Current Affairs programmes are produced in house and not outsourced.
So now I’ve really discovered why I don’t watch BBC news and listen less and less to its radio…