There is one relationship that has of late been rekindled, with the turbulence of the MPs’ expenses scandal forgiven, and that is the again unshakeable bond between the Telegraph titles and the Tory Party. Thus it has come as no surprise to see the ruckus caused by Paul Dacre’s personal attack on the memory of Mil The Younger’s late father expertly converted into an attack on the BBC today.
What the hated Beeb has done, in addition to its being insufficiently conservative, is to report the Ralph Miliband row. This is a bad thing? Ah well. It’s all about the amount of coverage, which the Tel has deemed to have been excessive, which may bring a wry smile to those who recall the attempts by this paper, and others, not to mention Phonehackgate and make it go away.
So first comes the flagrantly dishonest headline “BBC accused of becoming Ed Miliband's mouthpiece” (no such accusation has been made), followed by the sub-heading “The BBC is facing calls for an inquiry into the extensive coverage it has given to Ed Miliband’s dispute with a newspaper”, which would more accurately be described as call singular, as only one MP has made it.
And the Tel, for some reason, takes its time even pitching the name, but asserts confidently “One MP has written to the BBC Trust, the governing body, to ask it to consider whether the corporation, led by Lord Hall, the new director-general, has breached editorial guidelines with the quantity and tone of its broadcasts”. And that is the basis for a front-page lead? You betcha, says Sarah.
“Mr Miliband has been given extensive personal coverage ... Labour figures also featured prominently on the BBC, giving the party huge amounts of publicity ... an analysis by The Telegraph found the story took up almost 49 minutes of the 12 hours of broadcasting by Today, BBC Radio 4’s flagship current affairs programme, over the four editions between Wednesday and Saturday” it drones on.
And how much for the Tory Party conference? We don’t get to know about that, but there are the usual anti-BBC talking heads lined up to carp and whinge to order. Then there is a grotesque rant from Bruce “Brute” Anderson, who declares “The BBC has come to loathe those it serves ... A great organisation has grown too Leftie and too big”. Yes, if only they had listened to Himself Personally Now.
Then he lets slip the real agenda by whingeing about climate change coverage, and then press regulation, although the latter has hardly been mentioned by the Beeb of late. Anderson claims that it is the BBC that is trying to embarrass the Daily Mail, thus making the Corporation a player rather than a reporter. But this is just another lame attempt to drag the Beeb down to the gutter where the Tel now resides.
And, with the Royal Charter coming closer, there’ll be more. No change there, then.