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Friday 18 March 2011

Daily Mail – Gratuitous Beeb Bashing

The obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre never pass up an opportunity to kick the BBC, and it is now clear that not even an exercise in giving staff information about their new home in Manchester is off limits. In this story, under the by-line of Paul Revoir (who he?), all the customary smears are deployed, with the easily predictable comment from supposedly Tory MP Philip Davies, who achieves the near impossible by making me nostalgic for Marcus Fox.

The Mail kicks off as it means to go on, with BBC Childrens’ and Sports staff described as “globe-trotting”: see, they’re spending lots of your money! The Beeb is “happy to dispatch staff to far-flung corners of the globe at the drop of a hat”, to which most of those concerned might well respond “I wish”.

What is this sin that the BBC has committed? They have organised sessions for those moving to MediaCity UK on Salford Quays, to give them information on car parking, walking and cycling routes, and the workings of the city’s bus and Metrolink services. Speakers at these events are not being paid.

Thus the opportunity for the Mail to go overboard: “In a move that was yesterday greeted with incredulity” it thunders, although nobody given the facts would be incredulous. After all, Television Centre has two Underground stations right outside, buses pass the front gate, and folks know and understand the ubiquitous Oyster card.

Manchester – or indeed anywhere outside London – is a very different proposition when it comes to public transport. Metrolink doesn’t yet have such a wide range of destinations (and at some times of day doesn’t run to MediaCity), bus services may run less frequently after 1800 hours (or not at all), the nearest “heavy rail” station is not exactly next door, and the whole area will be unfamiliar. And don’t even ask about ticketing.

So why not give those staff information on how to get around? Instead, the piece goes on about “gold plated” relocation packages (although it manages not to give any comparison with other industries), that those moving get “expenses” (ditto), and allowances for stamp duty (ditto).

On top of this is rent-a-quote Philip Davies laying in to the Beeb: one might hope that all this punditry does not detract from his duties as MP for the unfortunate town of Shipley. Why does Paul Dacre have a problem with the BBC? Did the corporation once turn him down? Did they not reply to his letter?

None of the above: the Beeb is trusted, Dacre is not, and so the Beeb has to be kicked. Regularly. Ad infinitum, and in this case, ad nauseam.

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