Friday, October 07, 2005

Beeb Watch

I think it's fairly obvious that the government has attempted to restrict the BBC's ability to report legitimate criticisms of Neo-Labour activities. Just ask Andrew Gilligan. To me, Gilligan's infamous report has been shown to be almost entirely accurate. Did the government "sex up" the intelligence on Saddam's WMD? Of course they did. Lord Hutton agreed, although his use of mandarin speak seems to have obscured that fact to some extent. The only contentious issue was Gilligan's use of the word "deliberately". Hutton concluded that there was no evidence to support this. That doesn't mean it wasn't true though. (You've got no evidence that my hair is receeding, but I'm afraid it's doing just that and at quite an alarming rate.) I doubt there are many people in the country who believe that the government did not intentionally exaggerate the evidence of WMD to try to gain public support for the war. And yet, the only people to have resigned over this were two BBC employees. Those who were responsible for the dossier, a dossier which was, let's be kind, totally and utterly false for some unknown reason, are high and dry. Even if this was down to incompetance rather than conspiracy, the outcome seems more than a little unfair.

Anyway, today I read that Mark Thompson is alleged to have wanted to sack John Humphrys for the remarks he made about Gilligan's report and for reportedly saying that all government ministers are liars. Mr Thompson denies this. The BBC did issue a totally unnecessary apology when Humphrys' remarks were published in the Times. As I said at the time, that was just stupid. The vast majority of people read Humphrys remarks and thought "he's got a point, I certainly wouldn't trust the two-faced scumbags". But the BBC issued an apology anyway, presumably because they are still feeling the pressure after Hutton. Unfortunately, I believe that the government has sucessfully got the BBC running scared. As such, it wouldn't surprise me if Thompson had wanted to sack Humphrys.

Well, it's a good thing it hasn't happened. I, for one, don't want supine, gullible, unquestioning, brown nosed journalists pretending to hold this government to account. We need all the aggressive sceptical journalists we can get, especially with the Tories still absent without leave on the opposition benches. Of course, Neo-Labour would rather not face any opposition at all wand that's really what this is all about.

So come on BBC, don't lie down and play dead. Grow some guts, get up, and smack the government round the head, preferably twice as hard as ever before. They clearly deserve it.

Btw, say it isn't so. Nooooooooo! Don't leave us Peter. Election nights will never be the same again.

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