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Friday 13 May 2016

Whittingdale’s Busted BBC Flush

There is no more uplifting sight for those who love to see the boot boys of the Fourth Estate getting their comeuppance than the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker in full wailing-and-gnashing-of-teeth mode, as they are this morning. The Sun and its motley assemblage of not really very talented hacks and pundits is bereft, as news emerges that their great hero, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, is bust.
It was Rupert Murdoch’s Holy Grail: the prospect that the hated BBC, trusted by the public to the extent that its credibility dwarfed any and all of his media outlets, emasculated and perhaps even set on the road to final extinction at the hand of the Government he helped get into power. He, Don Rupioni, head of the Cosa Rupra, that most feared convocation of media mafiosi, had made the Tories an offer they couldn’t refuse.

But all the bluster - and hell, was there a lot of that in the past few weeks - was for nothing, as the promised White Paper on the future of the Corporation turned out to hold no big shocks for the Beeb. The licence fee would remain, and would even rise in line with inflation. There would be no revelation of how much its “talent” was paid, unless the annual sum exceeded £450,000 (not £150,000 as thought). No programs would be rescheduled.

The anguish of the Murdoch shilling-takers was laid bare: a furious editorialBeeb Bottlers” ranted “WHY was our Prime Minister, faced with a decision as important as the BBC’s future, intimidated into craven surrender by a bunch of ranting left-wing luvvies? For years the Tories have threatened to act over the corporation’s gargantuan waste, blatant left-wing bias and apparently unstoppable expansion …Yesterday they bottled it”.

Non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn admittedVIEWERS will still not be allowed to know exactly how much the BBC pays its fat cat stars, after ministers reveal a humiliating climb down … The BBC’s editorial independence from any government meddling will also be guaranteed in its new charter … Programme editors’ complete freedom will be enshrined in the corporation’s new rules”.

There was more: “Mr Whittingdale will also confirm a series of other climb downs today, such as not moving the 10 O’Clock News and leaving the BBC’s giant £3.7bn annual budget largely intact”. Faithful Murdoch retainer Trevor Kavanagh fumedLimp reforms in new BBC charter are white flag of surrender from Cameron to the march of smug Leftie luvvies” and talked of “the baked-in bias of the Guardianistas”.

So what happened? That the Sun is not willing to tell its readers, but fortunately all is set out in an article by Media Guardian’s highly sound Jane Martinson. The Government has a majority of just 12, there was the possibility of a Tory revolt featuring at least 20 MPs, Director General Lord Hall-Hall is well respected in Downing Street, and Young Dave personally intervened to curb Whittingdale’s enthusiasm. That is all.

Rupert Murdoch thought he had the Tories in his pocket, to the extent that they would hobble the BBC on his say so. He was wrong. The executive limo to Heathrow’s over there, Rupe. Don’t let the car door hit you on the way out.


Anonymous said...

Not entirely. Six government appointees and OFCOM oversight and who appoints OFCOM?

Andy McDonald said...

The Sun newsroom might want to contemplate that although they want the BBC reduced to a 24 hour news channel and not much else, their readership won't see things that way. They like Eastenders and Strictly. Half of them might have Sky but the rest'll get the sports results off Final Score. They wake up to Chris Evans on the radio, and the News at 10 will be their instinctive go-to place for what's going on.

There's another thing to consider - for all their bleating about how the BBC's website and local radio have driven local press and independent radio to the sea, that's rubbish. Local press went south due to underinvestment and a little thing called the Internet. Local radio pales in comparison to the BBC service for a simple reason - content vs adverts. If the BBC were to vanish overnight, would all those local papers and suchlike come back? Of course not.

But - and this is a big but - there will never be a shortage of detractors of the BBC in the media. This is for a fairly simple reason or two. First, many people in non-Beeb media will either have applied unsuccessfully for a job with Auntie, or have worked there once and not hacked it. That's a lot of resentment. Second, and this is according to a friend who has worked in both places, even a regional BBC radio station is a hell of a lot nicer, more supportive, more ethical working environment than the Sun newsroom. And better paid and with better job security (unless you're the likes of Kavanagh, McKenzie etc) too.

Anonymous said...

The Bullingdon pig's head boy might be "...our Prime Minister..." to the boot licking Nazi Murdoch jobsworths and propagandists.

But he's not my Prime Minister. I didn't vote for him.

So.....Not in my name. Not ever.

By the way, does anybody have a list of the salaries of Murdoch's hate-spitting racist fat cat employees?

savernake said...

Now he's of no more use to them, I expect the papers will quickly devour Whittingdale - as a lesson to those that fail them.

offpat @smile_of_decade said...

The poor wee sociopaths must be very confused -
having laid off his peccadilloes they thought they had a deal. Turns out Tory party is not quite so dumb as to hack off the Mail readers who love the Archers and Cuntryfile...

The wonderful piece of data I saw last week was that 99% of the TV watched by Sky subscribers is what is freely available from an ordinary arial via Freeview...
and most of that watched content is BBC commissioned or broadcast.

The cost per viewer of the licence fee is much cheaper than a sky subscription, yet somehow people have been fooled into buying the shitforcontent satellite system,
and as the Sun circulation slowly sets we can expect that ability to fool the masses to drop away...

Andy McDonald said...


All a Sky subscription buys you is exclusivity - the chance to watch something before Dave next door does. If there was no Sky, we'd be watching Game of Thrones all together on BBC2, and premiership football on BBC1 on Saturday afternoons. Instead, some pay to watch it now, others wait for the box set or the edited highlights.

IIRC it was Mark Thomas who calculated that even a basic Sky subscription would represent a significant portion of someone's JSA, money that could be better spent on food or fuel. So, he contemplated campaigning for a change in the law to make it illegal for unemployed people to have Sky. Mainly because it would force the Sun to run a counter-campaign for the right of unemployed people to sit on their arses all day watching TV.

DBC said...

Just remind me again how many Sky programes won Baftas this year, as apposed to those won by the BBC and Channel 4. They can actually be counted on 1 finger(the Ashes coverage)nothing else.

pete c said...

If only the 'smug left-wing luvvies' and the ' baked-in Guardianistas' had the instant power that these Murdoch muppets seem to think they have.

We'd have a differently complexioned world.

But no matter. How sweet to have them frothing and going purple at the gills. Perhaps they could work off that anger by scrubbing the pigeon shit off the baby-Shard glass.

Bob said...

From 2011: ‘News Corp's top five directors received $109m between them, including a $29m in cash bonuses. Chase Carey, chief operating officer, received $30.2m, including a $10m cash bonus.’
Which overpaid 'Luvvies' were we talking about again?

Anonymous said...

I speak as someone who doesn't have a Sky TV subscription, who doesn't buy any of Murdoch's "products."

Does that make me smug?

You bet your fucking life it does.

Anonymous said...

The battle is won but the war is not over! There are planty of tiny details that could still be used to derail Auntie if we're not careful. Putting Ofcom in cahrge of regulating the BBC has all sorts of potential for interference for a start and getting the NAO involved could also mean that it could say that particular budgets must be cut ("You're spending too much on referendum coverage, cut back" as an example). Keep vigilant, the devil is in the detail as has been shown by the "U-turn" (which isn't really)on academisation of schools!!

Neil said...

There are areas of the country such as where I live in West Wales where Freeview reception is crap as is the radio, especially DAB. Mobile signal? No chance either. We have no choice if we want to watch the telly other than to line Rupe's pockets.

BTW, we had a half-decent TV signal before the old analogue transmitters were closed down.

I'd love to feel smug.

DBC said...

You could use Freesat instead, same dish as Sky, but using a different receiver. with this setup can stay free(literally) of Rupe's clutches. Wide range of both TV and Radio channels.