After alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson said very loudly and very slowly that the BBC should “cough up” the payment for TV licences for the over-75s, it was inevitable, with the certainty of night following day, that the Murdoch press would be baying for the Beeb’s blood. The opportunity to call for the break-up of the hated BBC was an opportunity that the Murdoch mafiosi could not possibly pass up.
All they needed was a suitably pliable patsy, someone out there on the right desperate enough for a paycheque and a little name recognition, who would be shameless enough to put their name to a hit piece stuffed full of disinformation. Someone who they could call a credible journalist, even though he isn’t. Yes, step forward the loathsome Toby Young
Tobes (for it is he) has proclaimed, beneath the headline “It’s time for the BBC to become Beebflix and get rid of the licence fee for everyone”, that “BORIS Johnson’s insistence that the BBC should ‘cough up’ for TV licences for the over-75s is welcome … But I’m afraid it isn’t enough - not nearly enough”. Of course not. The inmates of the Baby shard bunker want blood, dismemberment, the total and final demise of the hated Corporation.
How dare the rotten BBC be allowed to present news as news, when, as any fule kno, news is what the Murdoch mafiosi deem it to be? Tobes manages to miss that, but does tell us “This year has been an annus horribilis for the Beeb”, backed up by citations that come only from the Sun. Propaganda backed up by propaganda? Er, no.
Then comes the TV licences for over-75s, which Tobes claims is a cut-and-dried promise from the Beeb, but which the Corporation disputes. But he does make sure the salaries paid to presenters are trowelled on: “Anti-Brexit activist and Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker is on £1,750,000”. Presenters are not permitted to have opinions, right?
It gets worse: “Lineker’s salary alone would pay for more than 11,000 TV licences”. Stuff all use when there are 3.7 million to pay for, by your own reckoning, Tobes. And here’s the false equivalence prize: “As if that wasn’t bad enough, earlier this month the Beeb said it intends to spend £100million on an advertising campaign to attract young viewers and listeners. That’s more than the annual budget of Radio 4”.
The false equivalence being that the £100 million is over four years, so it isn’t. But do go on. “Are we really supposed to believe that the BBC cannot afford to pay for pensioners’ TV licences, but can fritter away £100million on Facebook adverts?” Remember, Tobes, it’s actually £25 million, and the over-75s’ licences (not all “pensioners” - unless that’s one of those inadvertent giveaways) costs £745 million. A year. Every year.
But eventually, after more of the “look over there”, this time at youth programming, Tobes gets to the point. “It’s time to do away with the licence fee - for everyone, not just the over-75s. That would mean stripping down the state-funded parts of the BBC to its core news and current affairs output and funding that out of general taxation”.
The BBC is not funded by the state. But when you’re prepared to claim that £25 million is really £100 million, and that sacking Gary Lineker will magic up £745 million out of nowhere, a little lying won’t come amiss, will it? Now he’s in real drooling mode.
“It should sell off its profitable private divisions - such as BBC Studios, which has annual revenues of more than £1billion - and plough the money into creating its own subscription service”. Break-up! Dismemberment! Blood on the DG’s carpet! No more of that pesky proper news! More opportunities for Murdoch propaganda! Fox News UK here we come!
And then comes the peroration. “Promising to scrap the licence fee would surely be a vote-winner for Boris Johnson”. Yes, this alleged article is nothing more than a thinly veiled, but very strong, hint to Bozo The Clown that Rupe and Rebekah would very much like him to promise gutting the Beeb. For that, they will back him to the hilt.
Toby Young is merely the patsy who gets a pat on the head and a paycheque for putting his name to this weapons grade drivel. And who expects the BBC, after he’s called for it to be trashed for the Murdochs’ advantage, to keep inviting him on, to give viewers the benefit of his wisdom. Or, on the basis of this article, the lack of it.
The BBC is not a thing of perfection. But it is infinitely preferable to Murdoch propaganda.
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