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  1. #1
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    Ok, so someone in the UK explain to me what's going on with the BBC?

    From the limited info i have from the outside, it seems like a totally media generated storm in a teacup. Yet we're getting resignations and people saying "the bbc must change or die".

    Am i wrong in thinking that basically what's happened is that some bad stuff went down 30 years ago, a newsnight editor decided not to run a story mildly connected to that, and now a guy who told newsnight that he was abused by a guy (that they didn't name) has said that he had the wrong guy. Is that all?

    To be saying that a world respected media outlet that's been making overall pretty great news reporting and investigative journalism (not to mention drama, comedy, etc..) for decades must change or die because of 2 vaguely (and i'm not even sure they were) bad reporting decisions on newsnight seems bizarre. To have people who just started working there resignig over them is even more bizarre.

    Is it just a case of the usual media fishbowl and everybody piling on? Or did i miss the part where the modern BBC did something bad?

  2. #2
    Lesser Hivemind Node Labbes's Avatar
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    Apparently the deceased BBC star Jimmy Savile is suspected of molesting children, and a report on that was replaced with a report on how great he was. So now the BBC is accused of trying to cover it up, and whether or not that's true doesn't really matter any more, I think.
    This is what I read on spiegel.de, which is a big and competent news outlet of one of the major German newspapers.

    Edit: I doubt that the newsnight thing would have made a splash otherwise, mistakes can and will happen. Seen in the above context though, it just adds fuel to the fire.
    Editedit: Also I can recommend this post http://botherer.org/2012/11/10/the-b...-is/#more-3125 on Mr. Walkers homepage.
    Last edited by Labbes; 12-11-2012 at 02:08 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Labbes View Post
    Apparently the deceased BBC star Jimmy Savile is suspected of molesting children, and a report on that was replaced with a report on how great he was.
    This is bloody hilarious.

  4. #4
    Network Hub LaunchJC's Avatar
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    Well the Tories naturally want it gone, so that'd be part of the reason people are lining up to slate the BBC.

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    The knives have been out for BBC for a long time. Rupert Murdoch hates the BBC, so he usually gets his cabal of tabloid papers to jump on any and all mistakes that the BBC make to try and weaken it. And because David Cameron and the Tories are basically in Murdoch's pocket, you'll find them sneering at the BBC from behind his back.

    Edit: Just to add, there is one thing I hate about the BBC, and that's the fact they seem incapable of appointing a Director General with the backbone to tell Murdoch to fuck off, and the ability to deal with these problems. They shouldn't be appointed to stare at the floor and meekly apologise for everything. They should be able to fight the BBC's corner when it's needed and deal with serious issues when they happen.

    As much as I detest the Tories and Rupert Murdoch, the BBC do themselves no favours by being so bloody inept sometimes.
    Last edited by DiamondDog; 12-11-2012 at 03:07 PM.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiamondDog View Post
    The knives have been out for BBC for a long time. Rupert Murdoch hates the BBC, so he usually gets his cabal of tabloid papers to jump on any and all mistakes that the BBC make to try and weaken it. And because David Cameron and the Tories are basically in Murdoch's pocket, you'll find them sneering at the BBC from behind his back.
    You'd think the sheer number of things you can blame NewsCorp for - like the phone hacking scandals this and last year - would hurt their cache when they'd attempt to turn around and attack other broadcasting companies.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    You'd think the sheer number of things you can blame NewsCorp for - like the phone hacking scandals this and last year - would hurt their cache when they'd attempt to turn around and attack other broadcasting companies.
    There's no one in the media to call them out on their hypocrisy, the privately owned media companies like to gang up on the BBC whenever they get the chance.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    You'd think the sheer number of things you can blame NewsCorp for - like the phone hacking scandals this and last year - would hurt their cache when they'd attempt to turn around and attack other broadcasting companies.
    Aye you'd think so, Nalano, but as soon as the word 'paedophile' is used the British toss common sense and reasoned thought out the window and rush for the pitchforks. We like our righteous indignation over here.

    Piers Morgan and Rupert Murdoch attacking the BBC over journalistic standards. Depressing and hilarious.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillButNotBen View Post
    To be saying that a world respected media outlet that's been making overall pretty great news reporting and investigative journalism (not to mention drama, comedy, etc..) for decades must change or die because of 2 vaguely (and i'm not even sure they were) bad reporting decisions on newsnight seems bizarre. To have people who just started working there resignig over them is even more bizarre.

    Is it just a case of the usual media fishbowl and everybody piling on? Or did i miss the part where the modern BBC did something bad?
    The problem is mainly that they accused someone of being a pedophile while said person was not.
    As pedophilia/child rape is one of the worst crimes one can commit, even the accusation of one is enough to destroy one's entire career and life, especially when it is broadcasted by the BBC, one of the most trustworthy broadcasters in the world.

    So a false accusation is a big mistake.

    ... Which is why I can understand that they replaced the earlier report. Don't know what the problem is with that one.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    You'll likely find some better timelines out there, but this has been my reading of the situation...

    Last Christmas, Newsnight (one of the BBC's flagship current/political affair shows) shelved a documentary on Jimmy Savile, alleging he was a child molester. Exactly why this was done is still unclear... either they didn't want to 'rock the boat', or it clashed with another BBC documentary about how saintly Savile was, or they didn't want to air allegations against a dead man.

    Skip to 6 or so weeks ago, and the accusations against Savile hit pretty much ALL of the British media. Questions were asked of the BBC, not just about why they shelved the documentary about Savile, but about how a figurehead of the BBC could have gotten away with what he got away with for ~50 years without anyone cottoning on. It turns out they didn't... multiple times concerns about Savile were raised, and they were dismissed (note that the BBC were not alone in dismissing/ignoring these allegations, they were also raised with the Police, and it's a pretty safe bet that other news media would have caught wind of the allegations). Along with these Savile revelations, there were other stories about other BBC figures (Leonard Rossiter, John Peel for example) being involved in some unsavoury practices during their time with the BBC. A lot of British media took this as an opportunity to attack the BBC for having a 'culture of silence' that allowed these things to occur.

    Then, last Friday (2nd of November) NewsNight aired a documentary accusing a 'senior Tory figure' of being responsible for abuse of children at care homes in North Wales throughout the 1970s. The figure was NOT identified by name on the show (but the accuser/victim did confirm to the shows producers who the figure was, off screen) but it could be argued it was a case of Jigsaw identification... enough information was given for the accused individual to be identified, if the pieces were all put together. Within a few minutes of the show airing, several names were flying around on Twitter and other parts of the net. The most prominent of these names was Lord McAlpine, and the accuser and Newsnight have since confirmed that he WAS the individual they were referring to in the show.

    Cut to Friday just been (9th November)... It started with the Guardian breaking a story that Lord McAlpine may have been ID'd mistakenly (that a different member of the McAlpine family who lived locally to North Wales may have been mistaken for Lord McAlpine), and that he had been exonerated of the same accusations twice before. Along with this, a Channel 4 reporter showed that, with the merest of actual journalism, the accusations against Lord McAlpine would have been shown to be false. Also at this time, Lord McAlpine took the decision to release a statement declaring his innocence, and threatening libel against those who identified him as a child molester. That afternoon, the accuser came forward to say that Lord McAlpine was NOT the individual responsible for the abuse... that he had originally been shown a photo of his abuser, by Police, and the Police ID'd the person in the photo as Lord McAlpine.

    Several other things came to light from the ensuing shit storm. Firstly, the standards of journalism around the show were appalling. No one thought to check the accusers story, perhaps by showing him a photo of Lord McAlpine (when he was shown one he immediately said "that's not the guy"). In addition, very few of the reporters, police, lawyers etc. involved in the original enquiries were approached (if they had been, the spurious rumour about Lord McAlpine would have been shot down as well). Secondly, McAlpine was given no right to reply. Thirdly, George Entwhistle was unaware of the contents of the show, until after it had aired, and generally there was little in the way of editorial oversight.

    tl:dr
    BBC shelved documentary about a (almost definite) child molester. BBC aired a documentary impugning an innocent man, using 15 year old rumours which had already been proven false. Some feel the 2nd documentary was rushed/pushed through to 'save face' over the previous failings.

    I have to run off to teach a class just now, so I might have missed some things. Here's a decent run down of the situation, but focussing on something called the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, who were the ones ultimately responsible for the documentary, and who were founded/funded by a Labour donor.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/gree...lism-newsnight
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  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiamondDog View Post
    Piers Morgan and Rupert Murdoch attacking the BBC over journalistic standards. Depressing and hilarious.
    Shit, Fox News actually showing news is newsworthy in this day and age.

    Anyway, this kinda sounds like the Penn State case, except entirely situated on the whistleblowers rather than the culprit (or both).
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  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    I'd like to point out that despite the Tories being more inclined to aim at the BBC other politicians are just as quick to attack if they need to cover their own backs. Although this set of stories particularly the shoddy journalism evident in the second (there's still not enough info on the reasons for shelving the Savile Newsnight for me to feel like I have an informed opinion on) are damaging they don't on the face of it seem as bad a time for the BBC as the whitewash of the Hutton report when the Labour government went on the offensive to try and quell the problems of the "sexed-up" Iraq dossier and suicide of David Kelly. Although I guess on that occasion despite the forced resignations and damning criticisms there wasn't such a backlash from the media, with even the usually vehemently anti-BBC Daily Mail seeing the enquiry as flawed.

    It is, though, as the initial poster points out, a bit of a media storm in a teacup. Like the majority of gamers reading about "Doritos-gate" they'll think "oh that's not so good is it" and promptly forget about it with their trust/lack of trust in the BBC barely changed.

    Have to say I always find it hilarious watching the BBC attempt to report on itself. It's a cringey, awkward exercise for everyone involved made more so by the fact they are painfully aware of just how awkward it is. Though I can't help but feel this whole barrage of reporting deflects somewhat from what really matters; namely ensuring that any victims of abuse feel like they can come forward, talk to the police and hopefully at least see the people who have committed these horrible crimes brought to justice.

  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node Timofee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchops View Post
    Have to say I always find it hilarious watching the BBC attempt to report on itself. It's a cringey, awkward exercise for everyone involved made more so by the fact they are painfully aware of just how awkward it is.
    I did find it bizarre watching a BBC reporter stood outside the BBC reporting on the BBC - I mean the fact that its about themselves surely they could at least come in out of the cold!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchops View Post
    Though I can't help but feel this whole barrage of reporting deflects somewhat from what really matters; namely ensuring that any victims of abuse feel like they can come forward, talk to the police and hopefully at least see the people who have committed these horrible crimes brought to justice.
    This. I could perhaps understand the furor more if the BBC had cancelled a documentary back at the time when it could have had major impact and perhaps prevented countless instances of abuse. Which is what makes the following all the more disturbing...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-20302198

    To quote the key bits: "Copies of a shelved report into abuse at north Wales care homes in the 1970s and 80s have been found in local council archives."

    "...report was not published because council insurers felt it could lead to the authority being sued, and after taking legal advice it was considered the report was not suitable for publication."

    EDIT: rereading I see the report was only in 1994 so questionable if it could have prevented any abuse but still, their reason for not publishing is awful

    Really?! REALLY!? They didn't think they should publish a report about numerous serious crimes being committed because they might get sued?

    While I can understand the twisted thought process behind it, its a poor reflection on the depressing state of humanity.



    In terms of the whole BBC thing being a storm in a teacup I'm inclined to agree, is it also just me or does this seem like a depressing extension of the blame culture that has always been present in this country but in recent years seems to have become that much more vitriolic and bloodthirsty. I guess social media has had an impact - and is accentuated by politicians and journalists desire to comment on it to seem 'in touch' - but all too often you see people instantly claiming such and such should be fired and that person should have their title revoked or their pension slashed or benefits withdrawn after (sometimes pretty forgivable) mistakes which are often only evident retrospectively?


    Off topic but since I'm writing about things that depress me I was glad someone pointed out this travesty of a daily mail article, mentioning how it was so offensive the Daily Mail had to print numerous pictures and a video just so you could be suitably outraged

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...l-uniform.html
    Last edited by Timofee; 12-11-2012 at 07:32 PM.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchops View Post
    I'd like to point out that despite the Tories being more inclined to aim at the BBC other politicians are just as quick to attack if they need to cover their own backs.
    (Some of) Those on the Right, will claim the BBC is a left-leaning, socialist/communist institution, dangerously biased towards Marxist ideals etc.

    (Some of) Those on the Left, will claim the BBC is a right-leaning, fascist, elitist institution, a propaganda outlet for the 'old boys network' and the 'Establishment' etc.

    So, yeah... I think that means they're just doing a good job, most of the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timofee View Post
    I did find it bizarre watching a BBC reporter stood outside the BBC reporting on the BBC - I mean the fact that its about themselves surely they could at least come in out of the cold!
    I find the BBC is pretty good, as far as reporting on themselves... because they do it, and they aren't afraid to do it, a lot. I don't think you'd get another News outlet leading their own broadcasts, every (half)hour, with the story about themselves as the #1 story. For example, look at how Murdoch's outlets reported on the phone hacking stuff. Or, rather, didn't report on it. BBC have been pretty good with reporting on this... they haven't backed off it.
    Last edited by Unaco; 12-11-2012 at 07:42 PM.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grizzly View Post
    The problem is mainly that they accused someone of being a pedophile while said person was not.
    As pedophilia/child rape is one of the worst crimes one can commit, even the accusation of one is enough to destroy one's entire career and life, especially when it is broadcasted by the BBC, one of the most trustworthy broadcasters in the world.

    So a false accusation is a big mistake.
    It really is. Ask Mr Jefferies how it feels to have eight different newspapers writing 40 articles of bullshit about you. Tabloids have to be taken to court to be held accountable. And the Sun wants to talk about slurs? It's pure hypocrisy. I don't even think it's a lack of self awareness, they just couldn't give a fuck.

    All the while a serious issue, which should involve more questions being asked of the BBC, is being used in another round of point scoring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timofee View Post
    Off topic but since I'm writing about things that depress me I was glad someone pointed out this travesty of a daily mail article, mentioning how it was so offensive the Daily Mail had to print numerous pictures and a video just so you could be suitably outraged

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...l-uniform.html
    Yup. Hypocrisy.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timofee View Post
    Off topic but since I'm writing about things that depress me I was glad someone pointed out this travesty of a daily mail article, mentioning how it was so offensive the Daily Mail had to print numerous pictures and a video just so you could be suitably outraged

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...l-uniform.html
    Daily Mail online is an elaborate troll site. The genius about it is that it's usually trolling everyone. They probably have a checklist for every article. Will this make lefties angry? Will this make righties angry? Will this make foreigners angry? Will this make Nick Griffin angry? And so on. Anyone with an interest in trolling as an art form can't fail to be impressed.

    As for the current furore, just another example of journalists trying to make the news rather than report it.
    Last edited by NathanH; 12-11-2012 at 08:03 PM.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiamondDog View Post
    I was just about to link to the same things. Ludicrous.

    A much more entertaining and less disturbing article that I always like to point out when pointing out how ridiculous Mail Online is is this 'un (the article on the website appears to no longer work so via Tabloid Watch) - http://tabloid-watch.blogspot.co.uk/...ailonline.html
    Last edited by Lambchops; 12-11-2012 at 08:22 PM. Reason: Closing a pesky bracket

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Here's pretty decent, if brief, summary, from the BBC itself. that's just come out. It's the summary of the McQuarrie report, that the head of BBC Scotland has prepared over the weekend, and as such it's bereft of any comment, opinion, etc., it is 'just the facts'. Also, the background should include the whole Jimmy Savile clusterf*ck

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20306096
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  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus ColOfNature's Avatar
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    Surprised, with this talk of how detestable the Daily Mail is, that no-one's posted this yet. However bad you think the Mail is, it's probably worse.


  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    You'll likely find some better timelines out there, but this has been my reading of the situation...

    Last Christmas, Newsnight (one of the BBC's flagship current/political affair shows) shelved a documentary on Jimmy Savile, alleging he was a child molester. Exactly why this was done is still unclear... either they didn't want to 'rock the boat', or it clashed with another BBC documentary about how saintly Savile was, or they didn't want to air allegations against a dead man.
    Or there wasn't sufficient evidence in the report to make it morally correct to run (no issue of libel, if he's dead, but you still shouldn't be mud-slinging).

    As for the false accusation, it happens, it should be dealt with, the BBC should settle with the person concerned and move on. No need to dismantle the entire BBC.

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