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Saturday 26 September 2020

Andrew Neil Leaves BBC With Heavy Wallet

Just three weeks ago, Zelo Street asked if the Beeb had binned Brillo. Now we have the answer: Andrew Neil is to leave the BBC later this year, staying to anchor coverage of the US Presidential Election in early November. Did he jump? Was he pushed? Does it matter? What does matter is that his next berth is already being shamelessly promoted by those out there on the right, and discussed widely elsewhere.

But why? Neil is 71. He already has a range of other calls on his time, not least overseeing the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine. He has made his name, and indeed his fortune, and could happily retire to France (residency permit permitting). Write another volume of memoirs, walk round to the cash desk, job done. But that would be to reckon without Brillo’s vanity, and his faux pretence to be an outsider.

There had to be another big payday, whether he needed the money or not. He had to show that he was still strong. He citessterling efforts by new DG to come up with other programming opportunities”, but this has a hollow ring about it. More likely is that someone else waved a bigger wad of dosh at him than the Beeb was prepared to yield.

So, as the Guardian reported yesterday evening, “Andrew Neil is launching a 24-hour, TV channel to rival rolling news from the BBC and Sky. The broadcaster will be the face and chairman of GB News … As well as being appointed chairman, the 71-year-old broadcaster and former Sunday Times editor will host a flagship evening programme”.

And GB News is already familiar to those who look in regularly on Zelo Street: as I noted last month, banging the gong for this new enterprise has been Robbie Gibb, whose tenure at the BBC did so much of the damage. A source that sounded rather like him told the Mail on SundayThe 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”. Ho ho ho.

The nuances of Brillo's new deal are explained

How impartial will that be? Consider Brillo’s track record: using Sunday Politics as cover for pushing climate change denial, engineering a shadow cabinet resignation live on air and thereby giving the Tories an advantage at PMQs, that sort of thing. The Speccy becoming a publication committed to making racist bigotry respectable.

Go back to Neil’s time as editor of the Murdoch Sunday Times: the ineptitude that caused the paper to lose Mordechai Vanunu, their key source for the story about Israel’s nuclear weapons capability. The insistence that HIV had no link to AIDS. The trashing of the Insight team’s reputation in an (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to discredit Thames Television’s documentary Death on the Rock, and its key witness Carmen Proetta.

All that is left is Brillo’s reputation as an interviewer. But for the foreseeable future, GB News will be such an insignificant presence that it will have to rely on its pals in the media talking up its content and packaging up video clips to garner interest in its product. Who is going to stop by and be interviewed if hardly anyone is watching?

The new entrant will burn money at some rate - as Sky News has done - with its USP that it’s fronted by an ageing media insider whose industry pals think is some kind of star.

But Brillo will have his wallet well stuffed in the process, so that’s all right, then.

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Steve Woods said...

The Grauniad describing Neil as the face of GB News is inaccurate.

More appropriate parts of the anatomy are available about 1 metre below the face and round the back.

Sigil said...

Tim, I guess that Gibb Brillo News (its full title) will have plenty money thrown at it to get it through the lean first months, and enough friendship with the powerful to have lots of exclusive interviews which will then spread on thinternet and pop up in all the rest of the mainstream news, in exactly the same way that those on Russia Today and Al Jazeera don't.

Anonymous said...

“The channel will be a truly impartial source of news, unlike the woke, wet BBC."
In other words, it's DerStürmer24 for idiots.

Anonymous said...

Can someone give me an actual definition of 'woke'? I guess its supposed to mean political correctness/left wing/gay/feminist/minorities on the TV/left wing entertainers? Is woke only something our illustrious conservative press can define, like Justice Stewart with 'I know it when I see it?' when defining obscenity?

So growing up in the 80s, which am guessing was 'non woke', we had black entertainers/journalists on the TV, women in high powered jobs (including Medusa herself Mrs T), telly shows like Friday/Saturday night live/New Statesman/Spitting Image where sometimes 'Lefty' comedians shredded the establishment, the music industry was full of LGBT people and mainstream TV shows often featured the unemployed in a sympathetic way. Tho I do recall the Tory press spent most of the decade whining about Channel 4, gays on Eastenders and kids turning into serial killers after watching Video Nasties. Oddly the Conservative press were completely fine with semi-nude 16/17 yr old Page three girls which would have literally got the editors & photographers arrested and thrown in jail today.

The same holds true with 90s culture. Imagine the frothing now if they read a pitch of Red Dwarf - "Well there's this scouser in outer space played by a black lad and the only other person about is a humanoid cat creature who is also played by a black lad. Oh, and there's a hologram bloke who's a bit of a knob, and he's white. By the way, the rest of humanity is dead and the computer changes sex sometimes"....


Anonymous said...

So there's to be yet another Gammon Bullshit TV "news" channel.

Can't think why. We've already got umpteen of those fronted by assorted bought-and-paid-for gammons and gammonettes.

Unless, of course, it's intended as an even further right version of Murdoch/Rothermere propaganda to rival the worst of Fox Crackpottery....