I Believe In The BBC

Part of Murdoch Watch


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Click here for the Backing Blair campaign!

HISTORY: This page went live immediately after the release of the Hutton report and the harsh, opportunistic attacks on the BBC that followed. Since then, two months have gone by, and Michael Grade has been appointed BBC chairman. Mind you, in this same amount of time we've heard nothing about Lord Hutton's 'urgent' investigation into the leak of his report by Murdoch's Sun newspaper that so helpfully set the tone for a BBC lynching and blinded many to the almost criminal abuse of the word 'subconcious'. (The Sun said the BBC would be criticised in the report, and lo and behold it was; why bother with details?) The I Believe In The BBC page is now to be stored as a time capsule clearly showing how people felt when the corporation was seriously under threat, and as a reference point for anybody searching for information relating to Rupert Murdoch and why he is so hostile toward the BBC. I'd like to thank everybody who participated for their support and feedback during this short but intense online campaign.

Tim Ireland
  4th April, 2004

UPDATE: 196 days later and the 'urgent' Hutton leak inquiry "is yet another whitewash"... do try to contain your surprise.

I Believe In The BBC

January 29, 2004

BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies has resigned, as has BBC Director General Greg Dyke. Rest assured that this won't be enough for some people. As hard as it may be to believe, there are already people calling for the complete dismantling of the British Broadcasting Corporation because Lord Hutton has ruled that one aspect of it was flawed in one instance. (We all await with bated breath the announcement that the team from Blue Peter presented the Iraq conflict with a pronounced anti-war bias by not showing the kiddies how to build their own Mark 77 firebombs with some kerosene, a few pipe cleaners and an empty detergent bottle.)

The man who is sure to lead the angry mob will be the media magnate Rupert Murdoch. He has made no secret of his hatred for the BBC, and his plans for the void its absence, under-funding or effective castration would create should be obvious.

Through his newspaper The Times and 'news' paper The Sun, Murdoch's minions will no doubt reach millions with a barrage of negative messages intended to bring about the under-funding, over-regulation or complete destruction of a the most vital public institution in this country.

The BBC not only serves to inform us, educate us and entertain us; by its very existence it also serves to protect us from a level of commercial saturation that would destroy much of what we currently take for granted. If you've ever watched television anywhere else in the world, you'll know what I'm talking about...

In the face of what is sure to be a bitter and concerted attack (no doubt including claims of bias from people with a very clear agenda of their own), I'm proposing a simple show of solidarity and support that is also meant to spread valuable information to those who may not know exactly who is behind this attack and what their motives are.

To show your support:

1. Simply copy and paste the code below to show this button on your website or weblog. (If you wish, you can simply save this graphic to your own server and remove the link code.)

2. Make a statement of support for the BBC on your website or weblog and send in a link to the page or entry. I'll try to include as many as possible in a list below (I've posted a range of related articles to kick things off).

Note - Submitted links will not be posted at this site until Tuesday the 3rd of February.

Articles of Yore

WNYC Radio - Rupert and Tony (sitting in a tree…) 
New Statesman - BBC is better than Murdoch 
Common Dreams - Rupert vs. the BBC -- The 'Foxification' of Britain 
Morning Star - Reducing journalism to a branch of corporate and government PR 
Steve Gilliard - The War against the BBC 
Tim Gopsill - We should defend the BBC as we would the NHS

Articles from January-April 2004

John Hari - Why the BBC-bashers must not be allowed to destroy public service broadcasting 
Fergal Keane - These have been depressing days. But this is why I stand so proudly by the BBC (subscription) 
Michael Wolff - The real nemesis of the all-powerful British broadcasting institution is Murdoch. 
Will Wyatt - The BBC must dust itself down and move on 
London News Review - The price of freedom 
Timothy Garton Ash - The BBC is the world's best broadcaster and must be defended from politicians 

'Told You So'

The Sunday Times - BBC threatened with break-up (Feb 15 2004)
(Editor thingie: This piece from a Murdoch paper stinks of a controlled leak. You know the kind; where the government gets to air upcoming policy and gauge public reaction from a distance before moving on it.)

The Guardian - Tory-commissioned report calls for the dismantling of the BBC (Feb 25 2004)
(Editor thingie: The Sun, upon release of this report, restricted their coverage to an opinion piece by David Elstein, the man who wrote the report.)

Comments, Articles and General Bloggage

Added February 3, 2004

BigDaddyMerk: "Getting rid of the BBC would be a travesty on so many levels. I pay 40quid a month for SKY, and what do I end up watching? BBC Channels, BBC documentary on Discovery, BBC sitcoms on UK Gold. What do I listen to on the radio? lets see, Radio 4, Radio 2, Radio 1 and Five Live. Hmmmm - what did I listen to this morning to find out if the trains were running? BBC Radio Shropshire. Did my local GWR station have info? Unless it was between S Club and the commercials I didn't hear it. The BBC is there to inform, educate and entertain us, and I think it does a fantastic job. The licence costs just less than a tenner a month, A TENNER A MONTH! I spend more on bus fare, and what do I get for it? stinking buses full of rude, ignorant people, and that's just the drivers!"

Cyber-Satan: "OK, so sometimes it sticks in the old craw to have to shell out for a licence fee, but at the end of the day, it's our BBC and I'd still rather rely on the impartiality of Auntie Beeb than believe anything that the present government says."

None Of The Above: "We like the BBC. We need the BBC. In this case, the BBC made mistakes, and were right to apologise for them, but on the whole they are still a valuable broadcasting corporation whose reporting fully deserves the high esteem it is held in internationally. The government's battle with the BBC is not limited to the David Kelly and Andrew Gilligan debacle, but encompasses a much wider set of grievances. During the lead-up to the war, the war itself, and its aftermath, some of us were left with the very strong impression that Tony Blair wanted news media which would roll over and play dead at his command, having evidently spent too much time watching TV in America while visiting Dubya. The public would suffer if the BBC was replaced with a Fox News-type of organisation overnight, but the government wouldn't, and neither would Rupert Murdoch, whose anti-BBC and pro-Blair tabloid monstrosity The Sun published the leaked results of the Hutton enquiry."

NeoSoc: "The BBC is likely to face several concerted attacks by people with clearly their own agenda, whether it be to increase the readership of their newspaper or to ensure their total domination of the media. It's important that the public show their support for the BBC, our last bastion of commercial free TV."

Expats Against Bush: "This is one initiative I support fully. The BBC is a venerable institution providing a service to the world, and to have it crippled or eliminated on the basis of an increasingly-questionable government investigation would be a travesty."

Diamond Geezer: (Heh. Quoting in full here would ruin it. Follow the link to see Diamond Geezer's run-down of what the BBC schedules might look like in 2 years time.)

Planarchy: "I still believe that we'll get much closer to the truth and far more original 'entertainment' from the Beeb than we will ever get from Murdoch and Co who seek to replace it."

Blah Blah Flowers: "If we can't trust the Government in something as major as a war, we can't trust the Government when it comes to the renewal of the BBC's Charter. Check the BBC website here and be ready, when the time comes, to Fax Your MP to make sure that this episode isn't used to turn the BBC back into the propaganda wing of the current British administration."

aardvark.dj: "This is a critical time for the BBC. It is important that we retain it in its current, Licence Fee funded format without too many alterations. It's crucial to our country that we have a media organisation that is not driven by the ideology of shareholder or the necessity to generate advertising revenue. So please, show your support for the BBC. Maybe even feedback to the Charter Review."

Knipe.org: "Given that even Bushie is now admitting doubts over the claims of WMD in Iraq surely we should be continuing to support strong independent journalism? Admittedly there should also be incredibly strong rules and guidelines in place to prevent out-and-out untruths being printed and spun but we need to take a stand now otherwise the BBC will end up as just another Government spinning machine."

Lori Smith: "No other media network tries to cater to every need and wants to please all of us. Whether they succeed or fail is a matter of opinion, but no other company regards every UK resident as a valued ‘customer’ and that is certainly to be applauded."

Perawi's Prattle: "They are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. There have been a couple of times I've got annoyed by inaccurate and biased news reporting on the Beeb. Mainly because I have come to expect sensationalism from other news organisations but not the BBC - it stands out more. However, I'm impressed that throughout the flak the BBC have always been prepared to report the less flattering stories about themselves as well. I agree 100%... that the BBC would never be formed today - it is unique in its funding. Without it we would have far less broad content, there would be far few broadcasting corporations taking risks with programming. I too, feel like I 'own' the BBC and that it's something that I feel Britain should take pride in. If it started being the government's lapdog, if it allowed itself to be bullied into being insipid and dumbed down with charter renewal hanging over its head, if it started being afraid of speaking out then it would be a travesty of epic proportions. Leave my BBC alone."

Cage of Monkeys: "It's also worrying what the whole mess (Hutton) will do to the BBC. I love the BBC. People whinge about having to pay the license fee, but I'd rather pay a hundred quid a year for quality programming than have a commercial BBC which would end up like all the other shit on TV. During the Iraq war for example, who's news channel did everyone turn to whenever something significant happened? Sky News? With all their whooshing graphics, overbearing sound-effects, flashy lights and pretty presenters? Yeah right. Pure style over substance. I'd rather watch Fox News -- at least you can laugh at Fox."

Sore Eyes: "In the wake of the Hutton Report the debate over the future of the BBC is sure to become even more frenzied. At times like this, it's vital to keep a sense of perspective. Whatever your thoughts regarding the details of Andrew Gilligan's infamous 6.07am report on the Today programme, your position on the Iraqi invasion or even your thoughts on Tony Blair's style of government, ask yourself whether one instance of poor reporting truly justifies undermining the BBC's position as one of the peculiar successes of the British way of government."

dustbinman.com: "The result of the Hutton enquiry? That, in Britain, the establishment can bully someone into saying they lied about something without providing any documentary evidence to prove it."

BackBurner: "Those outside the UK probably don't understand why we love (the BBC) so much. But your cultural life, and certainly my cultural life, would be much poorer without it. From the mainstream to the slightly inaccessible, it sets out to try to please all of the people with something that it does. It generally succeeds. Young and old alike love it. It gives credibility not just to 'BBC English', but to many of our other cultures and languages. The UK at large needs it, and as an astute NTK pointed out on Friday, the UK Internet needs it too."

Gavin Gough: "I support the BBC and I'm certain that the majority of the British public do as well. The Government, Rupert Murdoch and anyone else who wishes to see the BBC lose its place in the affections of the British people might have a fight on their hands. I certainly hope so, for all our sakes."

Edwinek: "Just to be clear: the independence of the BBC is much more valuable than the British government (I think he means '*current* British government' - Ed.)... Anyway, who would believe Blair, since Iraq?"

Jef: "I don't like paying a TV licence any more than anyone else in the UK - it's expensive, having to pay £100+ per year, especially when several of the programmes produced are for other demographics and tastes than your own. But then I think of the alternatives. Then I realise that I don't mind paying for something I believe is the best. And then I quickly sign on the dotted line and send them my money. Because after all, I like good television."

katemOnkey: "Being from the US, I am continually amazed at how bloody brilliant the BBC is. Rupert Murdoch and Tony Blair, you can't ruin what is the best thing about the UK. Don't even begin to think you can, because we will grind you into dust."

gummitch: "I cannot claim that the BBC is perfect, but as an institution it is unique in the world. What I do passionately believe is that the standards, integrity and independence of the BBC must be defended at all costs."

jamjar: "I believe in the BBC. I believe in its contributions to the United Kingdom. I believe that the unbalanced attitude of the government towards this organisation is deeply terrifying and says something about the fear the government apparantly feels towards any public organisation it does not directly control. I believe that as an organisation with a goal of public good, rather than political or private, is necessary. Those whose interests are to protect their political position or their personal wealth view the BBC as a threat, because its aims are not their own."

Dan: "Yeah, the BBC may have made a mistake, just as Blair made a mistake when he said that Iraq can build WMDs in 45 minutes and Bush said that Sadaam Hussein 'bought uranium from Africa'. That doesn't change that fact that we need the BBC as an antidote to the flag-waving patriotism of CNN and Fox News."

Billyworld: "...is it me or does anyone else think they'd rather have gone to war over a "sexed up" document rather than a flawed document...I think I'd rather be led by people who were thinking rather than stupid - true I'd rather they were thinking "good" thoughts but for the moment I'd go with thinking... what I don't get... is one man is dead...and a lot of soldiers and civilians are dead...and this government are still in charge...and can anyone tell me who is going to be the next person to question the govenment's next decision?...."

Sturnidae.com: "I just do not trust any of Murdoch's empire, they only seem to be motivated by profit for themselves with little sense of duty. Neither do I trust government propaganda, they only want to force through their pet ideology with scant regard for public opinion."

isabellas: "I support the BBC despite them getting royally fucked over by the Hutton enquiry."

Blogiditty: "I would certainly agree that BBC has it's place and also think that BBC is an important part of our our media culture, both radio and TV. It also represents a different approach to broadcasting compared to some totally commercialized channels/media networks."

Mint Tea: "For some odd reason - reason leaves British governments. Inevitably half way through their first term and most definitely before they get to their second. Labour governments also tend to get slightly paranoid. Often this gets translated into 'its all the BBC's fault and if it weren't' for them then our rapidly deserting supporters would be rallying to our cause'. B******S! Rubbish ! They haven't got any policies, people have got poorer, they are racketing around the world making it more unstable, and hanging onto the coattails of power. The electorate isn't so stupid and they aren't influenced by a report on BBC Radio 4's Today programme at 6.06am. They are however influenced by the moral bankruptcy and water treading of the Blair government."

chandrasutra: "The BBC play a similar role to Canada's CBC in providing multidimensional news that serves the public (rather than private) interest."

James Casey: "The BBC made some big mistakes regarding the Today programme broadcast. It deserved to be criticized. It ought to have verified its 45 minute/Campbell single source*. But it doesn't deserve the flak it continually gets from some quarters with their own agenda(s). Quite often, the BBC provides the only real opposition to Government that we have." 
*Just as the Government should have verified its 45 minute source

And now, in the interests of remaining 'fair and balanced', some opposing views prompted by BrusselsBlog (UPDATE - now blogged by Instapundit) who gets down to the 'heart' of the issue with a 'BBC lied, Kelly Died' graphic and makes his case as follows: "Why did I do it? In the entire article behind the first graphic, there is not a word about the death of Dr. Kelly or the sloppy reporting by Andrew Gilligan."

Clue boy? Look up. My reference to it may have passed you by, but it gets a passing mention from others as well. Hope that's enough for you. Cheers.

Finally, for those with any lingering doubts today, here is the view from Fox News.

Added February 4, 2004

Musemistress (Mel): "I just want to add my little opinion here. I am an Australian living in Holland and with BBC being the only english speaking forms of news and entertainment in this entire country, I want to ask a question. Do I have to move to England now, wait three years for a permit then find an apartment before I can recieve my news again? Oh...right...thats okay, I'll just stay here in the dark and become dumb. (From one rather irritated, sarcastic and foreign-language dyslexic person ready to charge down those who are casting the first stone.)"

Ye Olde Plague Blogge: "I try to make an attempt each night to watch the BBC World News on PBS at 6 pm. It's part of my evening TV schedule, and really it's the only news I watch that has any good international reporting. More significantly, I tend to trust the BBC more than I trust domestic news organizations here in the States, even on national news like politics, elections, military crap, etc., than companies like NBC.... Long story short, I like the BBC, I believe a better chunk of their reporting than what I hear here, and they still have credibility in my eyes. The UK might do well to stop fretting over whether the Beeb is lying to them about their government, and wonder whether it's not the other way 'round. And of course they should take it for granted that Rupert Murdoch is lying through every pore in his liver-spotted body."

Some Public Thoughts: "OK, the BBC has made some mistakes. However, I count myself among those who want it to remain a similar institution as it is now. We don't want a US-style PBS, the BBC is something very special. It is likely to come under attack over the next few months, even years."

No Rock & Roll Fun (who noted '...it's not what we usually do, but some things are more important than the format'): "Actually, and just to step away from our usual remit here, the sacking of Greg Dyke (or enforced resignation or whatever you want to call it) is a mighty shame for anyone who cares about the BBC, quality broadcasting or independent journalism. I'm still not entirely sure how Lord Hutton could have sat through the same evidence as everyone else and come to the conclusion that all the blame was on the side of the BBC.... And, just to make it clear: We believe Tony Blair lied to the country and parliament to try and rally support for an unpopular war. We believe Alistair Campbell, as his director of communications, played a part in the deception. We believe Colin Powell lied to the UN. We believe the Labour front bench lied. We believe George Bush lied. Because the alternative - that they really believed the intelligence - would make them all very, very stupid indeed."

Liam O'Donnell: "This latest attack on the institution that many British lovingly (and venomously) call Auntie goes much deeper than misreported facts or the death of a renowned scientist. It is clearly another attack from private interests for control of the public airwaves..... what the private media cannot stand is the government funding given to these public broadcasters – 'unfair treatment' they cry, 'level playing field' they shriek. Viewers in the U.K. pay a 'TV License', which gives them the right to own and watch TV. This money is then given to the BBC who use the money to create some of the best programming in the world – all of it without a single advertisement for an SUV, a dishcloth filled with soap or a horse farting in a woman’s face. This must not change. Public broadcasting, like democracy, is not as secure as we like to think. It must be protected, fought for, decently funded, and remain commercial-free."

Denorios: "I'm showing my support, I am, I am. Because, you know, it's the BBC and where would we, the Great British Public, be without it? A lot less entertained and certainly a lot less well-informed.... I don't know whether the government did 'sex up' their dossier on Iraq and quite frankly I don't care. But I certainly don't think the BBC should be lambasted the way it has been."

badly dubbed boy: "... even with the latest drama, I don't quite believe the BBC is under total threat - except on the odd occasion like a war something - which, it can be argued, is when we need an independent BBC the most. But the last week has shown that the BBC's independence of the government is ultimately a mirage, and will always be so while we have the licence fee. But who's to say that market forces would create a better animal? The only people who are anti-BBC (IMHO) are right-wing fundamentalists who are determined that market forces are always right (when they're mostly not)."

One Man & His Blog: "I'm sorry to hear that Greg Dyke, the Director General of the BBC, has tendered his resignation. He was a good bloke whose most important contribution, I think, was to invest heavily in the BBC website and digital services. Now he's gone, his departure will usher in a new age of timidity at the Beeb, and perhaps even for the rest of the British media. Truth is the real casualty here."

heretic's linkblog of fun: "I live in Australia yet the BBC's effect on my life has been significant. It has allowed the creation of most of my favourite Britcom (not to mention Science Fiction) and provides an excellent source of news. The world needs the BBC."

Alex Bazin: "Sickened is what I am by this piece of Fox 'News' reporting. Now despite being American I find some of my countrymen hard to stomach, and it is this unintelligent, jingoistic bile that makes me ashamed of my nationality. The funniest thing is that lots of Americans think that by believing Fox they are being patriotic, when in actual fact they are being manipulated by an Australian The sooner Murdoch is dead and buried, and Bush is out of the Whitehouse, the sooner the thinking, liberal Americans can take back their country. Then maybe I won't feel like I must apologise for being an American. Just to make it clear: I believe in the BBC. I had never considered that part of the reason for trying to destroy the BBC could be to increase Murdoch's grip on the world's media; but given that the Sun keeps Blair in power it seems like a reasonable favour for Blair to give. Especially since Blair gains too."

Added February 5, 2004

Doctor Vee: "Alastair Campbell has got away with murder. If he hadn’t become so angry about one little badly-worded report which few people listened to and was never repeated then things definitely would not have got out of control. (I’ll repeat once again that the accusations made in the Andrew Gilligan’s report were mostly correct, and were reported in every reasonable media outlet. The story was very clearly in the public interest. Gilligan’s badly-chosen words were never repeated beyond that original 6:07am report. It was Campbell who blew this out of all proportion.) And once again, on last night’s Newsnight, he managed to turn a rather civil interview about the Hutton report into yet another adversarial the-BBC-versus-the-government argument. Yet again, Campbell has shown himself up. And Number 10 as well. Asking for an apology from the BBC even though Greg Dyke apologised very clearly last night was sickening. These are exactly the same aggressive tactics which the government used against the BBC last summer, and which ultimately led to the death of a very highly respected civil servant."

Mysterioso Land-O-Fun: "Here's what I find interesting about all of this: Andrew Gilligan screwed up, yes, but I really don't think he just made some random shit up because it sounded cute. He said that David Kelly had said something explicitly, when in fact Kelly had only said it implicitly.... If we want to talk about truly explicit yet still unfounded statements, let's talk about those "16 little words"--explicit enough for you? And to have Fox News reporting on 'lies'? Hey Pot, have you met Kettle?"

grinnin foole: "I lived in Exeter for a year around the first Gulf War. I know both that the BBC has its flaws, and that it is leaps and bounds better than any American news network (and remember, this was before Fox News had started its 24/7 propaganda operation). The BBC isn't perfect. I remember hearing Tony Benn on Fresh Air on NPR a few years ago, and him remarking that he's largely ignored by the BBC (in much the way that lefties are largely ignored here), so it was refreshing to be interviewed by someone who seemed genuinely interested in what he had to say. But, for me, it underscored what makes the BBC valuable to me, as an American: it may be distorting the news for political reasons, but since it's playing to a different audience, it's selling different bullshit than US networks. That can be very revealing, and frankly, I think that the reporters working there are largely successful in reporting important news in a manner that really is pretty fair and mostly balanced. That's not easy to do."

Sebastian: "Eigentlich gibt es an dieser Stelle nicht viele politische Statements. Aber die BBC ist die Radioinstitution meiner Jugend, als man sonst nur zwischen den Propagandasendern Ost- und Westberlins wählen konnte. Und Blair glaube ich nicht. Vom Irakkrieg will ich hier gar nicht erst sprechen"

(Babelfish translated this as follows: "Actually there are not many political statements here. But the BBC is the institution for radio of my youth, when one could select otherwise only between the propaganda transmitters of east and west Berlin. And I do not believe Blair. Of the Iraq war I do not here even want to speak.")

The Benblog: "I have to admit, the BBC isn't my favourite news source; I find Channel 4's offering at 7:00 to be more thorough. But the presence of the BBC forces everyone else to compete on its level. They do make mistakes, and that's both sad and something that should be corrected, but they shouldn't be influenced by government at all, let alone to this degree. Freedom of the press is absolutely integral to a democracy; the fact that we have a news organisation that doesn't answer to advertisers makes us one of the greatest democracies on Earth."

All That Jazz: "The BBC has been judged by one yardstick and the government by another. One aspect! One instance! We have more than enough leverage to dismantle the government if we want to judge by that criteria."

Biomekanic: "As an American who has to endure what passes for entertainment and journalism in the American media market, the BBC has always been a breath of fresh air. To allow a multinational corporation such as Murdoch's FOX, with its clear agenda to threaten such a venerable, and excellent institution as the BBC is criminal in my opinion. Perhaps he should be under investigation."

marenpaisley: "I may not live in the UK, but I think that I listen to enough BBC radio over the Internet to warrant my support. David Attenborough's presence in my living room when I was a child helped spark the interest I needed to become fascinated enough with the natural world to pursue science and education as my career choice. Also, it was BBC America which brought over the program As Time Goes By to our local PBS station, which has certainly brought my family closer together. Here's hoping that nothing else unfortunate happens to the BBC."

Added February 6, 2004

Missiedith: "The first thing to make clear is that I don't actually like the bbc. I don't have a TV license, they keep hassling me about that, I think most of their programming is utter tripe, and I refuse to pay for it.... But if the bbc needs to yank up its socks with both hands, then the government's pair need a thorough soapy bleaching. And if morals were socks, then the government's would need some severe patching as well, and preferably some nametapes to ensure they don't lose them entirely. The bbc is guilty of incompetence, the government of willful deceit."

The Super Nova Scotian: "The BBC rocks and the government sucks. Who you going to trust? The Corporation that brought you Katie Adie live from Libya in 1986, telling the world how many children the American and British governments had killed that night? Or honest Tony Blair's government, the government who failed to ban fox hunting and cigarette advertising in Formula 1, whose first act as a government was to introduce student tuition fees, who promised to take the national lottery away from blood sucking Camelot and instead renewed their franchise? Are you going to trust the man who inspired the largest protest in British history AGAINST him, the Labour leader who has got into bed with a far right christian fundamentalist president? Or the Corporation that brought you 'Last of the Summer Wine', 'Antiques Roadshow' and 'Andy Pandy'? I ask you, how can the BBC be harmful? It brought us John Noakes getting pulled over by that elephant, and 'Come Dancing'. It's hardly Bolshevism."

Nomad: "Because the royals are irrelevant, the government is temporary, and the BBC is very very necessary."

Added February 9, 2004

Chris Whitworth: "The BBC has made mistakes in the past; doubtless, it will make mistakes in the future, too. It should obviously be help accountable for these mistakes, apologise for them, and make the necessary changes to ensure that such mistakes don't happen again; however, it is important not to punish an entire organisation as huge and diverse as the BBC because of the actions of a few individuals - and, even more, it is utterly vital that the actions of these few do not mean that the independence and freedom of the corporation are compromised. I'm happy to pay my license fee. Even when there's nothing on the TV worth watching and when I'm complaining about the decline in the quality of the music on the radio, I will still continue to pay it; because the BBC is about more than just providing entertainment and some music whilst I drive to and from work. It's about providing a wide base of media and information for the public, free from corporate and government pressures and interventions. And less than 50p a day is a small price to pay for that. "

folk (a 'bespectacled British ex-public schoolboy'): "The BBC is perhaps the British institution in which I place the most faith. Worldwide, it's certainly the media outlet that I trust most for impartiality. The fact that it's unavailable in China (supposedly because it reported about human rights one time too many), and is the only international media outlet to be so blocked."

(Editor thingie: I'm sure that Murdoch being so chummy with the Chinese had nothing to do with this...)

IAmZero: "If Britain's chattering classes are the overwhelming majority of citizens who were disgusted at Blair's insistence on taking us into a war that we did not want, as a lapdog to a blinkered, arrogant superpower, on the basis of 'intelligence' which was clearly no such thing, then I am happy to be a member. What John Gibson seems unable to comprehend is that organisations like the BBC are something to be proud of, because of their willingness to challenge the official party line, and call the government into question. While the 'flag-wearing, US anchors' continue to blindly support the actions of the American government without even pausing to think for a second whether those actions may be questionable, the hope for any kind of balanced discussion fades further into the distance."

Added February 17, 2004

vgnwitch: "I rely on the BBC for news and entertainment, and I appreciate it more now that I live in America than I ever did before. I don't have TV, but I use the computer to get BBC radio and use the website for everything from news to boning up on history, science, health, etc. My friends here in America love BBC TV programmes and the Beeb is seen as one of the last bastions of real public service programming and journalism. The Beeb isn't just a couple of TV stations, it's a cultural phenomenon; it's the only source of news information for people in some countries, and the importance of the services it provides cannot be overstated."

Moosifer Jones: "Like pretty much anyone in this country, the BBC has always been there in the background. From my early memories of Radio 4 at Saturday lunchtime to my planning to put it on again as soon as I'm done writing this (it's almost time for Just a Minute, after all). Whatever has happened, whatever is going on, the BBC is there. Governments come and go. We either distrust them from the start or come to distrust them over the course of their governance. When Campbell tried to denigrate the BBC, he was asking the public to choose between something we may gripe about but have known our entire lives or government we no longer trust (in part because of Campbell and his ilk). There really can be no surprise that an awful lot of people prefer to believe in the BBC. "

Kelvin: "So, when faced with the choice, whom do I trust more, the BBC or the Labour Govenment? The BBC wins that question hands down. It is terribly sad that there should have been so much fallout from three words ('government probably knew') broadcast at six in the morning."

hergerbabe: "How many other broadcasting corporations are as free, how many educate us and inform us without commercial bunkum?"

bytheseashore: "Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that I support the BBC fully regarding the whole Today Programme/Gilligan thing. I think they should have been more careful as an organisation before making the claims they did, and that it's honourable for the leader of any organisation to resign if they feel an individual working under them has brought the organisation into disrepute. However, someone in government is quite clearly lying through their arse to save the careers of several people and riding roughshod over the BBC at the same time. And I voted for them. That really annoys me."

(Editor thingie - Please note that I have tried to include excerpts from as many blogged comments as possible. Some of them include valid elements of criticism, which should show you that we're not operating on blind faith here. Cheers all.)

Click here to play Alastair Campbell's Wheel of Retribution


© 2004

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