Friday, 4 July 2014

BBC needs transforming too!

Not too long ago , the BBC was affectionally called "Auntie" by many, and it was highly regarded and revered in a similar way to the way the NHS is today.There were many reasons to justify this, and, of course, everyone willingly forked out for the licence fee.
   It may have only had two television channels but the Beeb`s quality of production and programming was the envy of the world. Drama, politics, and investigation were the standard fayre for adults, plenty of educational and entertaining programmes for children, with even TOTP for teenagers and Whistle Test for the more discerning music fan. Sports coverage focussed on all the major and popular events, from Grand National to the Open championship, the Cup Final to cricket tests. Radio had played its part in the second world war and was trusted by the nation to report news accurately, and give us the truth.  
   And it was for its news production which made the BBC stand out as the prime broadcaster in the world, with its full coverage and unbiased opinion. Admittedly, it wasn`t perfect, as it often was the voice of the Establishment, but nevertheless, better than everyone else`s television and radio by miles.Even when its popular music presentation was ridiculed by pirate radio stations, its response was to develop the highly popular Radio One and Two channels.
    How things have changed! Now, with massive failure to deal with the Savile matter, followed by revelations regarding an over-layered management structure, excessive pay-offs and obscene amounts paid to prevent the so-called "stars" being lured away by rival channels, and even concerns raised in some media outlets over arrangements facilitating tax avoidance, the BBC allure is beginning to look tarnished. Even worse, the sports broadcasting now is dominated by other channels, and much of its live action has more limited appeal. Many other programmes have been made simply to entice viewers away from other channels, with results often failing to match previous high standards. Occasionally, brilliant programmes are still made, live coverage can still excel, but overall quality has diminished.
   What is most disconcerting is the fact that the BBC is no longer the unbiased corporation it once was. It, more than ever, appears to have a pro-monarchist slant, and perhaps, even more worryingly, an anti-left wing bias. Its political and economic commentators all seem very Conservative in their views, with Jeremy Paxman now confessing his essentially Tory views, and Nick Robinson the ex-president of the Oxford university Conservative union.The recent anti-austerity march did not begin at BBC headquarters for no reason, whilst the BBC`s scant coverage of the demonstration itself attracted much criticism on the social network sites, and over 6000 complaints to the Corporation itself! How many times do we see or hear left-wing views expressed? How rare it is for a trade union leader to be heard on the much-vaunted Today programme on Radio Four; in fact, research at Cardiff University has revealed that on the Six-o-clock News there is 19x more chance of hearing the views of business representatives than those of the workers` representatives. Recently, there was more concern shown by the BBC`s outrageous publicity given to the right-wing party with no MPs, Ukip, and its leader, in the build-up to the May elections, with far too many appearances by Farage on popular discussion programmes like Newsnight and Question Time. To cap it all, the recent developments:  the wording of the job description of the vacant Chairmanship of the BBC Trust has recently been altered to suit the preferred candidate, the ex-Tory MP, Sebastian Coe, as if the Corporation was not sufficiently right-wing already; the use of secretly taped Cruddas comments to embarrass Ed Balls on Newsnight.

     It is clearly time for change, with either the licence fee being removed, or its political stance restored to one of neutrality, with views from all sides of the political spectrum given an equal airing. The last thing the country needs now is for the taxpayers to be funding a pro-Tory propaganda device!

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