The Blog

The BBC's Crisis Isn't One Of Trust

Watching all the news on the 'BBC Crisis' these last few days, the famous philosopher Bart Simpson comes to mind when he poetically stated on 'Deep Deep Trouble' that 'You're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't.' Its an incredible state of affairs for an organisation when you can be so criticised for withholding allegations and accusations on a few weeks previously, to then suddenly be lambasted for hinting at revealing names a week or so later. Names they didn't actually reveal but still apologised for, which, as far as I'm concerned, proves they are the very British Broadcasting Corporation. Never have I felt a television service upholds the sheer weirdness that we hold as a society in the UK whereby someone bumps into you and we regretfully say sorry. They didn't say the name of a man who they alleged may have abused children. A man who's name was already over social media, a man who I can't imagine how this false accusation and then redaction of such would really affect him at his now quite elderly age, in his B&B in South Italy. Perhaps slightly less family bookings in the summer maybe? No one has been in this much trouble for not talking outside of some of the inmates of Guantanamo Bay.

As I'm writing this, Ian Overton from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has just resigned too. That means four members of the BBC have had to leave their jobs over this. Over doing investigative journalism. For a show that is about investigative journalism. Sure, Newsnight could've handled it better, but people make mistakes. That's how people work. Only earlier today I put my cup of tea in a fridge instead of the milk. Admittedly, it didn't make a Tory peer want to sue me, but it definitely ruined my tea. However, I won't be resigning from making tea in the future. This BBC mishap is human error and oversight far more than say, phone hacking that continues for months, nay years and is known about throughout a corporation. But hey, let's not forget that during all that fiasco, no one didn't ever nearly mention someone's name but didn't.

Around the world the BBC is loved as one of the best television companies there is. So many BBC produced shows have either been shown abroad, or the ideas bought and copied. It is widely renowned as making some of the world's best comedy, documentaries, soap operas, thrillers, dramas and, most importantly at the moment, news. Yet whilst the globe applauds it, back at home it's being taken apart, mostly by MPs who don't make as much money from it as they would if it was privatised. Its critics in the last few days include Boris Johnson, a man who has constantly criticised the BBC as being left wing due to it being state funded. A man whose job as mayor of London is state funded. David Mellor who, aside from the heinous comment that a victim of abuse was a 'weirdo', said he loved the BBC but was also part of Thatcher's government. A government who made the UK the only country where the national television station has to pay Sky to be included on its roster of channels. The BBC have to pay Sky £10m a year so it can show the sort of programs it should be paying at least £10m for. Edwina Currie criticised the BBC despite it being revealed these last few weeks that she handed the keys for Broadmoor to Jimmy Saville himself, where he allegedly went on to abuse the patients in there.

It was a bold, and honourable move for Entwhistle to resign - regardless of his leaving fee, which whilst I don't defend, could be justified as paying for the extreme amount of pressure and stress he suffered in such a short space of time. Or you know, the 23 years that he worked there. While I don't believe he needed to leave, it's another great example of how the BBC works. George doesn't believe he did his job properly, so he left. Yet MPs who are currently berating the corporation for definitely not saying a name, didn't demand their colleagues resign when they abused a quasi-judicial position on a huge television deal, or called a policeman a 'fucking pleb'. Or admitting to relaxing passport checks. All of which, where you to place them in a Themed Top Trumps game of Devoid Morals, would kick 'not saying a name' to the ground, tenfold.

I have heard various 'experts' these last few days say that the BBC needs to regain the public's trust. I'm not sure they ever lost it. I think they made an open target for their enemies to aim at, but ultimately I don't know anyone in the 'general public' that is angry that they investigated a case of child abuse. I know people that are more angry when it appeared a few weeks back that they hadn't. I'm no expert on televisual procedures and the do's and don'ts of legal issues, but I am a big fan of the BBC and have been throughout my life. Judging by the amount of people I've seen across online social media saying the same, I think they are still pretty well favoured amongst the UK people. In my opinion if the BBC want to ensure that trust is kept what they need to do is stop pandering to a government that doesn't support them, and the fear that unless they get ratings Murdoch and Co will eclipse them. They should continue to do what they do very well and that's create television. Television that wouldn't exist in the way it does now without the BBC launching the world's first ever television service live from Alexandra Palace in 1936.

Boris Johnson stated in the Telegraph that the biggest tragedy of all this is 'the smearing of an innocent man's name.' No, the biggest tragedy is that in an attempt to destroy a highly admired and respected national service, hundreds, thousands or possibly more, abuse victims' cases are being ignored because someone made an error in trying to expose those crimes. Surely the exploitation of children is far more important than a Tory peer's solicitors getting a hefty sum? If anything, this combined with the rather horrific treatment of Stephen Messham by the press surely just aides perpetrators of such crimes by diverting importance away from catching them. Secondary to this, is that once again the BBC has come up against a lambasting, knocking them a further step down the ladder towards News Corp having his way with British television. But hey, its ok, because they are an honourable trustworthy company aren't they? I mean, they'd never not say anyone's name on television, would they?