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Wednesday 4 July 2012

Beeb Appointment Already Wrong Shock

[Update at end of post]

After all the frothing from the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre when they thought the BBC’s new Director General (DG) might be Ofcom head man Ed Richards, those same hacks and their opposite numbers at the Maily Telegraph are finding themselves stuck for material today, as Richards has not got the post, which instead has gone to insider George Entwistle.

Broadcasting House, London

So there can be no calling out the new man for not having ever made a programme, because Entwistle is a former Newsnight editor and has more recently been head of BBC Vision. And nor can there be accusations of bias, as Entwistle keeps his focus on his job, not on raising his public profile. So the best that the Mail hacks have so far come up with is that his name got spelt wrong on the lunchtime news.

The Dacre attack poodles do manage a little more in their attempt to put the new DG under the cosh from the off, and that is to associate him with BBC Trust head man Chris Patten, already a hate figure at the Mail for being, er, Chris Patten. This is achieved by inventing another of those “insiders”, who is, by the happiest of coincidences, “close to Lord Patten”. Yeah, right.

So what intimate secret does the “insider” divulge? “They get on very well and share values. George has been described some as the ‘son Patten never had’”. Come off it. “They share values”? What kind of excuse for journalism is that? And the son he never had? Christ on a bike, that is lame even by the routinely low standards of the Mail’s resident Beeb-kicker Paul “au” Revoir.

Does anyone else have a credible offering on the subject? Well, it’s not exactly a crowded field, but the Telegraph’s leader writer David Hughes chips in with a rhetorical question in the style of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse): “Does George Entwistle's appointment as BBC director general mark a shift away from its Lefty mindset?” he asks, which freely translated means he doesn’t know.

Hughes bases his attempt on the false assumption that both Ed Richards and BBC insider Caroline Thomson were “overtly lefty candidates”, which just shows why Telegraph editorials are such complete crap nowadays. So Richards once worked for Tone. Er, hello David? I once worked for a rabidly right wing boss. It does not make me rabidly right wing. Are you receiving me?

There is a more thoughtful piece at Media Guardian which points out that Patten has resisted pressure from the right to appoint someone from outside, but also that Entwistle is untried in the area of public presentation. He will be the first DG to have worked his passage through the ranks at the Corporation since Alasdair Milne 25 years ago. And any more than that is just speculation.

This, of course, won’t be enough for the ranters. No change there, then.

[UPDATE 5 July 1640 hours: an especially sour intervention has come from the normally level-headed Peter Oborne at the Telegraph, who summons the spirit of Lord Reith in his support. Quite how he imagines that citing an appallingly moralistic man, who was at the same time indulging in a practice which was at the time illegal, is going to progress his cause is unclear.

Perhaps Oborne's rant is not unconnected with his inability to get the BBC to give him houseroom, other than to appear in what seemed to be a state of advanced tiredness on Newsnight, where he was so abusive to a guest appearing from Brussels that the latter walked out. And calling Mark Thompson a "failure" really is coming it. The outgoing DG has steered the Beeb through the recently populated minefields rather more adroitly that many had envisaged]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If his views have not shifted from when I worked with him, then George is non-political. I would suggest he's a liberal conservative without strong opinions. He cares deeply about 'BBC values', which probably puts him at odds with both the Guardian and the Mail. In other words, a kind of 'son of Patten', but without Mr Patten's ability to wind people up.