Readers have their say on reports of a Tory war on the BBC.
Peter York and Liz Gerard are very informative about the battle for the BBC (“The war on the BBC is real and organised”, “Blue sky blogs have BBC in their sights”, TNE #213). However, they did not touch on two aspects of the changes that have taken place in the Corporation’s news programmes.
David Cameron, whose non-response to the Leveson report and close friendships inside the Murdoch press speak volumes, made changes in the governance of the BBC in 2012, with two Tory/government appointees to its board.
This has led to a long, slow disappearing of excellent editors and their replacement with Tory-directed ‘salarymen’ (and women) loyal to the organisation but not necessarily to the seeking of truth.
These moves resulted in a new era, especially in the sphere of the political interview, where the editing rule of balance now means giving the impression that the truth lies halfway between the real truth and a blatant lie. In other words, BBC news programmes have now become routine purveyors of half-truths.
But, the right and the Tory press barons are still not satisfied. They now want the sacking of the BBC and to cut its money as well.
This may be greed and hubris that undermines their long-term strategy of their own hegemony. The BBC has become a relatively subtle and very cheap propaganda tool for the government and party.
A rare bit of good news that Charles Moore will not become chairman of the BBC board. My fear is that Johnson will just now cut out the middleman and give the job straight to Dominic Cummings.
I read Alastair Campbell’s opening paragraph (“Dominic Cummings will never escape from Barnard Castle”, TNE #213), saying that he has deliberately kept out of the Cummings story, with a wry grin. But at least you knew where you were with Alastair. What a contrast with the infamous advisor whose apparent omnipotent hold over the prime minister beggars all sane and sensible belief.
For the leader of a country, to be so ultra-reliant on one advisor is untenable and extremely concerning. This is a whole different ball game from Campbell and Tony Blair.
Cummings appears to rule by stealth and anarchy, upending traditional norms wherever he lays his laptop, spreading fear and divisiveness in the corridors of Whitehall.
If Boris Johnson is not careful his tenure as prime minister will be defined by his dependence on an advisor, rather than anything he actually achieves in this all important role.
Judith A. Daniels
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