The media, unedifyingly, is like a dog chewing on a bone even when all the nourishment is gone as it obsesses about the failings of the BBC and its senior management. There is, of course, no excuse for two episodes of poor journalism by Newsnight which exemplified timidity on the one hand and possibly criminal carelessness on the other, but these in themselves do not justify the frenzied speculation and accusations of some rivals of the BBC, and nor do they justify the vitriol directed at George Entwistle and Chris Patten both of whom seem decent people wanting to do a difficult job well. There is little perspective or balance in the reporting, rather, much judgment and some hysteria.
The inevitable resignation of Mr Entwistle and its circumstances have brought to light much about the BBC – ironically celebrating 90 years of broadcasting –which has hitherto been hidden or taken for granted. We know now that it is bureaucratic and top-heavy with management many members of which shy from responsibility, initiative and decisive decision-making, and seem also in their self-service to be lacking in loyalty. It is amazing that the broadcasting output of the BBC is generally of such a high standard in light of these pressures.
Hopefully, now that a major problem to do with organisation and structure has been identified, Lord Patten and his team will be allowed to address the key task of simplifying the institution to enable a higher priority on quality journalism and production and far less on multiple management systems, with the best people in place to deliver what is needed. If the emphasis is on transparency, simplicity, quality and value for money, the BBC will succeed magnificently in its purpose of public service broadcasting as it plans for its next 90 years. It is a model which would serve all of us well.]]>