In the early days of Sky, when Rupert Murdoch had more or less bet the house on the new broadcaster succeeding, the Super Soaraway Currant Bun carried so many “news” items that were blatant plugs for Sky that Private Eye magazine ran a series called “I-Sky” (geddit?!?). There was no shortage of material. And the Eye might want to resurrect the feature, after Tony Parsons’ latest column.
“WATCH OUT BEEB Sky’s Sophy Ridge bagging the PM’s New Year interview isn’t just girl power – it’s a snub to the Brexit-bashing BBC … The interview would once have routinely gone to Andrew Marr at the BBC” is the headline, followed by “THERE is a new sofa in town from today, occupied by Sky’s rising star Sophy Ridge and her new politics show”. This is not just an opinion column, is it, Murdoch goons?
Parsons pretends that he is making a point about attitudes to the EU. He isn’t. After the obligatory “As we negotiate our difficult divorce from Brussels, this is a healthy development for our national debate … Marr, Peston and Ridge are all fine broadcasters and highly accomplished inter-viewers … Any one of them would have given the PM a good grilling”, comes the cheap and evidence-free BBC bashing.
“May has also chosen Sky above the BBC, a decision that has reportedly resulted in mouth-foaming fury within Broadcasting House”. It’s New Broadcasting House, Tone, and you just made that up. But do go on. “The BBC has had this snub coming to them for the corporation now reeks with an undisguised, unapologetic and increasingly hysterical bias against Brexit”. You just made that up, too. Habit forming, isn’t it?
“I have many friends at the BBC”. Are some of them brown or black? Any migrants? “None of them voted for Brexit”. Ah, THOSE kinds of friends. “I doubt if there is even one person within the BBC who voted for our country to leave the European Union”. Who was banging on about others being “hysterical”? And then comes another blatant Sky plug.
“Andrew Marr - a good guy, a fine journalist [and damned with faint praise] - is paying the price for the BBC’s grotesque bigotry against Brexit … But good luck to Sky’s Sophy Ridge … I have no doubt she will ask the PM all the hard questions she would have been asked at the BBC … The question that 17.4million of us should ask is this - why do we continue to pay a licence fee of £145.50 to the BBC when the corporation openly despises us?”
Is a Corporation capable of despising all those people? Is it bigoted? QTWTAIN. Parsons is, as so often, writing to the order of his masters, and inventing the abuse to suit. The editorial line is clear: the BBC getting it in the neck is routine, but now Sky must be talked up. Shun those who despise you, come to the Murdoch mafiosi’s cash cow. After all, it’s only £264 a year - plus all the potential add-ons. Ker-ching!
Tony Parsons’ column should be reclassified as “advertorial”. And have the HMV logo included in its heading. After all, that originally stood for His Master’s Voice.
[And a word in your shell-like, Tone: you could try harder with your press regulation item than recycle what Rod Liddle already wrote. You are getting paid for it, remember]