Posted in BBC at 20:56 on 11 November 2012
George Entwistle has resigned as Director-General of the BBC.
He wasn’t personally responsible for the output of any news programmes which the BBC has broadcast. And nor should he have been. It is not the Director-General’s job to second guess every jot and tittle of the BBC’s output.
The BBC (or more particularly Newsnight) has now been damned for not broadcasting allegations of sexual abuse (in the Jimmy Savile case) and now for broadcasting such allegations (against a Senior Tory.)
What message does this send to the BBC news outlets? Keep your head down. Which I believe is precisely the point. No-one in government likes the BBC poking its nose into their business. This is true for governments of either stamp. It was Greg Dyke of the BBC, not anyone in government, who resigned over the David Kelly affair.
And so again. How come in all this saga has the only person to go been at the BBC?
And do you see any other news organisations beating themselves up over mistakes they have made (News International I’m thinking of you) as the BBC does?
David Cameron (aka Mr Irresponsible) said on ITV’s This Morning last week that he didn’t want a witch hunt (of people who happen to be gay.) I agree that witch hunts are unedifying. But a witch hunt of the BBC has been exactly what has occurred since the Savile allegations broke.
When he appointed Andy Coulson to his staff at Number Ten Cameron himself made a much greater error than any George Entwistle might have. This put Mr Cameron in the frame of a scandal that reached into the heart of British society as it involved the possible (nay, probable) suborning of the police by news editors and journalists – possibly the most egregious of activities in a democracy. I have yet to see Mr Cameron resign over his association with that.
To the BBC I say; stop going along with the news agenda of those who have it in for you. To those who attack it I say; you may not miss it when it’s gone, but plenty will.