Headlines do not make much more emphatic claims: “Crackdown On BBC Gore” thundered the increasingly threadbare and downmarket Sunday Express this morning. And no other paper – not even the Mail or Telegraph, famed for their routine trashing of anything Beeb related – had the story. So what was to be cracked down on, and when would it happen?
File under fiction (again)
The article was unequivocal: “Government to act on BBC screen violence in hits such as The Fall andRipper Street ... THE BBC has been told by the Government it must make it harder for children to watch disturbing ‘murder porn’ on their computers”. This was because “youngsters are using the BBC’s internet iPlayer service to watch scenes of appalling violence against women”.
They are? So do a lot of youngsters do this? Ah, but this is the Express,where the budget doesn’t stretch to proper investigative journalism. So all that readers are told is that “Latest figures show iPlayer gets an average of 7.9 million hits a day. January and March saw a record 272 million viewing requests”, which means that BBC iPlayer is very popular, but not with whom.
Still, the Coalition really is going to get tough with the Corporation, isn’t it? “A Government spokesman said: ‘Clearly we look to the BBC to set the bar on greater child protection from online scenes of graphic violence’” is about all the paper can muster on that one. But the Culture Secretary “is to meet internet providers on Tuesday to order bosses to weed out online child porn”.
Which is all fine and dandy, but irrelevant to anything broadcast in the UK. What is concerning Maria Miller on that front (considering the article is supposed to be about it)? “Senior sources say the Culture Secretary is also concerned about British shows aping a trend in US drama for extreme on-screen violence, as in Sky shows such as The Following and Hannibal”.
Right. So now we’re talking about broadcasters other than the BBC. And there is rather a lot of space given over to lobby group Mediawatch-uk, the successor to Mary Whitehouse’s National Viewers And Listeners Association of old. What does not appear – at least, not until the end of the article – is what the BBC is going to do, or be caused to do, about all the alleged “Gore”.
This may be because the answer does not match the headline: “Last night a BBC Trust spokeswoman said no changes were planned for controls on the iPlayer as the Trust felt current safeguards were adequate”. So the Government is not taking any action, there won’t be a “crackdown”, and the Beeb is changing nothing, thus demonstrating that the Express is peddling yet another pack of lies.
But it sells more papers, so that’ll be another Benchmark Of Excellence!