If you have seen the film, ‘Brexit: An uncivil war’, you will share the frustrations of the director of the Remain campaign when he phones the BBC, livid with their reporting. I will not repeat the age-old arguments, but the way the organisation has disintegrated will bring a tear to any eye.
Andrew Neil’s behaviour yesterday marked a strikingly different tone to the usual delirium on BBC Politics programmes. No longer are the most concerning arguments about how the BBC confuses impartiality with balance, but are now about suppression of debate. When Owen Jones presses Andrew Neil on the role the Spectator has played in inciting violence against minorities in the U.K., Andrew talks over him, he is visibly flustered. He says that he won’t allow Owen to hijack the programme and starts to raise his voice. See for yourselves below.
‘I won’t let your smears and lies about me are not going to be dealt with tonight.’
These are the articles Owen is referring to.
How does the Chairman of such organisations come to present flagship politics programmes on the BBC? There has been a systematic decay in principles and processes at the BBC, and Andrew, being self-employed, does not have to abide by impartiality rules on social media and in his public-life that otherwise governs employees. Yet, he has continually undermined everything the BBC is supposed to stand for.
When he called Carole Cadwalladr a ‘Crazy Cat Woman’, not only did he fail to apologise, but when the BBC investigated after several referrals from Senior Female Officials at the BBC, the Director General – Tony Hall later commented that he had apologised. Had he? Of course not.
The ill culture that exists within the BBC is evidenced in other senior figures such as Rob Burley, the Editor of BBC Live Political Programmes. Recently he tweeted the following, ‘Just a reminder, once again, that people you disagree with will sometimes be on TV.’ Editors battling with the public over social media, as they fling criticism into the long-grass is now commonplace, and is evidence of the BBC’s inability to implement valid feedback. Its inability to assess its failings is questionable at best, completely inadequate at worst.
Editors continually miss the point – lots of people still watch the BBC and whether Sebastian Gorka has an opinion on Donald Trump as he had links to his campaign is irrelevant. How can a former Breitbart director be given a platform to speak on British National Television, where’s the rationale? Similarly, when Arron Banks was interviewed on the Marr show, even if you agree that he was rigorously questioned on live television, it gives Mr Banks a platform to spew complete nonsense. The BBC fails to realise, even if its presenters can disregard many of the things coming out of these people’s mouths, that people at home often do not apply the same rigour. They take Arron’s words as facts and use them on social media, worse still they allow it to influence how they vote.
Either the BBC have misunderstood their role to inform the public, or they have an agenda. I would tend to side with the latter. There is complete disregard for any notion of principle, and there is now a culture of misinformation that is becoming accepted with the BBC and by its viewers. The organisation is on the brink, and rightly so. I have on many occasion stood up for the need to have such an institution as it is a part of British culture, but this… this deserves to fail; only then will their be reform.