The obedient Murdoch doggies at the Baby Shard bunker are never one to let a good crisis go to waste, even when it isn’t a crisis at all. So when embattled Culture Secretary John Whittingdale - or someone acting with his nod and wink - let the Sunday papers know that some kind of constraint on the BBC’s best rated shows was being contemplated, this was instantly turned into a matter of the greatest importance.under the headline “BBC Baloney”, which sums up rather well what is about to be served up, tells “IT’S been a tough few weeks for Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, but his rumoured plans for the BBC are spot on … It’s a nonsense that the national broadcaster goes head-to-head with ITV for viewers when the Beeb’s cash comes from the licence fee”.
Perhaps the corporation should go off air for most of the day, then? It is precisely because We The People pay the licence fee that the Beeb should provide programming to appeal to a wide range of tastes throughout the day, and why there should be middle-brow shows in the “family entertainment” category of a Saturday evening (for instance). This contributes to our being given a choice. It helps to raise and maintain standards.
But having delivered this steaming pile of false logic, the Sun then says “Through silly scheduling and its over-mighty website, the BBC uses its taxpayer-funded heft to force competitors out of business”. What is “silly” about the BBC’s scheduling? We don’t find that out, because it’s another “look over there” tactic. And what of the idea that the Corporation is using its power “to force competitors out of business”?
And after that, the competition posed by ONDigital, which rebranded itself as ITVDigital, was crushed under the weight of a dirty tricks campaign that involved widespread hacking of its security, killing its revenue and yes, forcing it out of business. The Murdoch mafiosi maintain they had nothing to do with the hacking of ONDigital, but the hacking trail allegedly led back to NDS - a News Corporation subsidiary.
In print, the Murdoch Times entered into an aggressive price-cutting war in order to damage the Independent, something that finally succeeded when that paper ceased to exist in print earlier this year. Yet here is the Sun telling its readers - in a blatant slice of dishonesty - that the BBC is the one that puts others out of business. Well, if you’re going to pull a lie out of the bag, make sure it’s a big enough one.
The Murdoch mafiosi have no room to call on the BBC. No change there, then.