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Sunday 30 August 2020

Robbie Gibb - BBC Wrecker Redux

Hardly had the deeply unpleasant former Sun editor Kelvin McFilth let the world know that a new 24-hour news broadcaster, a supposed rival to the BBC and Sky News, was in preparation than the story broke properly: there were two such beasts, and both would soon be ready to air. One had the backing of the Murdoch mafiosi; the other, GB News, was likely to have links with Discovery. But who was behind it?

Now, thanks to his inability to avoid the promotion of Himself, we know that The Man Who Would Trash The Beeb is, er, the man who when he was at the Beeb did plenty of the groundwork. Through his contacts at Associated Newspapers - for whom he has written several comment pieces recently - Robbie Gibb has let it be known that it is he.

So it was that the increasingly wayward Mail on Sunday put the story, such as it was, on its front page today, thundering “TOP TORY LAUNCHES TV RIVAL TO ‘WOKE, WET’ BBC … Murdoch also plans news channel in wake of Rule Britannia [sic] debacle”. That Gibb is the most likely source for the story - and probably the “TV Source” mentioned within it - is confirmed by his being undeservedly described as a “Top Tory”.

As the saying goes, “Where MacGregor sits, that is the head of the table”. Robbie Gibb is a proper pound shop MacGregor. The MoS tells readers “Sir Robbie Gibb - who was a senior BBC executive before becoming Theresa May’s director of communications at No 10 - is spearheading a drive to raise funds for GB News”. Tell us, Robs, just how brilliantly you performed in spinning for Treeza? Maybe not, eh? So what’s the GB News deal?

Last night a source close to GB News [R Gibb (no relation)] said: ‘The channel will be a truly impartial source of news, unlike the woke, wet BBC. It will deliver the facts, not opinion dressed up as news. Everyone who works for GB News will have total commitment to quality journalism, to factual reporting and to impartiality.’” Ri-i-i-ight.

Robbie Gibb

There’s just one problem here: when Gibb spent all that time at the BBC, imposing his own particular brand of being “truly impartial” and delivering “facts, not opinion dressed up as news”, it set the Corporation on a long, downward slope. The false balancing of expert analysis with someone, anyone prepared to gainsay what had been put forward can be traced back to his tenure. Here’s an expert, and here’s Darren Grimes.

Robbie Gibb’s BBC legacy is programmes like the Daily and Sunday Politics, where Andrew Neil could use the BBC’s name as cover for pushing climate change denialism, where Neil could tag-team with political editor Laura Kuenssberg to have a junior shadow minister resign live on air in order to give the Tories an advantage at PMQs, and where Ms Kuenssberg effectively took dictation from Matthew Elliott on Vote Leave’s lawbreaking.

A legacy where the discovery of data manipulation by the likes of Cambridge Analytica could be shouted down by mercenary hack Isabel Oakeshott. A legacy that has enabled a succession of bad faith actors to burnish their non-existent credentials by being invited to provide more of that faux balance, say the unsayable, be a little different, a little “edgy”.

And having set BBC News and Current Affairs on the downward slope, there is Robbie Gibb waiting to be given licence to return and finish it off. Which his pals in the right-wing press will conveniently blame on, er, the Beeb itself. Nice work if you can get it.

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Anonymous said...

"Top" or "bottom" tory.....it makes no difference.

They'd kick a blind beggar to death and steal his rags.

And the only difference between them and Bliarites is the latter would instruct Alastair Campbell to explain why it was "necessary".

grim northerner said...

If 'woke' is 'wet', then surely it's weak and ineffective and no threat to anyone or anything. On the other hand, 'woke Marxists' are a threat to democracy, which implies strength, which is it? My guess is neither.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Blowhard Broadcasting Corporation.

Up next Gammon time.

Anonymous said...

Re: Grim Northerner's comment - obligatory Umberto Eco piece...


" The followers must feel humiliated by the ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies. When I was a boy I was taught to think of Englishmen as the five-meal people. They ate more frequently than the poor but sober Italians. Jews are rich and help each other through a secret web of mutual assistance. However, the followers must be convinced that they can overwhelm the enemies. Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak. Fascist governments are condemned to lose wars because they are constitutionally incapable of objectively evaluating the force of the enemy."

Anonymous said...

Note to Conservatives - if your ideology can only gain popularity by throwing billions into propaganda networks, then perhaps your ideology has a problem.

Reminds me of a thing I read in ye olden days on marketing and it mentioned that there's a sort of rule that the more useless a product is, the more is spent on marketing to sell it. Hence TV infomercials for iffy fitness machines, glamorous ads for £100 face cream, paying celebrities a fortune to wear your latest made-by-poor-kids tat.

Same applies to current Conservatism. There's no actual solutions or optimism, its basically all reactive hatred of the other and worship of the monied classes mixed in with regurgitated 1950s flag-waving drivel.

grim northerner said...

Eco's take on qanon would have been an interesting read.

Nick S said...

I wonder whether they'll be cautiously neutral at first, our whether they'll be all-out Wootton/Grimes/Harwood from the start. Either way, I predict a slide towards the Farage/Hopkins/Yaxley-Lennon/Fransen end of the spectrum before long. Where we are likely to find Laurence Fox on this spectrum once he's finished his transition to greatness is anybody's guess, but he'll be a regular, I'm sure.