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BBC Vanity

I'm sick to death of hearing and watching endless hand-wringing and contrition exhibited by countless minions from the Beeb. Is there no other news? Do the journalists and editors at the BBC really think the British public's interest in Newsnightgate, Levesongate, Savilegate, DGpensiongate and all the other ICan'tBelieveItgates is proportional to the amount of air time the Beeb is forcing us to yawn through? A full half hour of a recent Today programme was Humphreys berating some BBC bigwig or other about stuff we're completely and utterly bored about, but which is clearly of immense importance to... Humphreys and the Bigwig. Period. Yesterday it was wall to wall Charlotte Green retiring. Who the hell is Charlotte Green, I hear you read? Exactly. You'll recognise her voice perhaps, as an announcer on Radio 4 (and for a very long time... remember Listen with Mother in the 1960s?), but does it require a whole day of endless numbers of sycophantic journalists and newsreaders almost in tears as the 'wonderful', 'legendary', 'inimitable', 'irreplaceable' Charlotte heads for a no doubt well earned retirement. Has nothing else happened in the world what might interest everyone outside Radioland?

Well in this case, I've got news for you. You and your employers are not as important to your listeners as you think you/they are, or that you think you/they ought to be. Sure, not checking facts is important before you wreck someone's life. Equally brushing illegal acts by celebrities under the carpet in order not to upset the apple cart (entertaining mix of metaphors, don't you think) is to be avoided. Instead of endless blood-letting and revelling in exposures of broadcast evil, why can't we just lighten up, make the perps take note (or pop them in prison if Savilesque), change how they operate in future so you catch them earlier next time, but then most importantly... move on. No deep enquiries costing squillions and taking up endless amounts of TV. No pull-out supplements where journalists berate other journalists and politicians. We've quickly lost interest and by raking over the same coals again and again you're not going to create fire, you're going to disappear behind a load of smoke and ashes. In other words, if you persist in guessing wrongly what we're interested in hearing and watching, we'll stop listening and watching you and resort to Google for 'selectable' news. They already provide customisable newspapers, radio and TV. The difference is whether we want personalities telling us what's going on (like the elders sitting around the camp fire telling us stories and explaining the world to us), or whether we prefer to manage our own time and form our own judgements as to whether we trust the story teller or not.

You and your chums are not the most important people in this country. In fact a little less of you constantly demanding scalps and encouraging witch hunts, might enable the people who really are important to start making decisions without having to constantly think you're going to smirk like vultures (do vultures smirk? You know what I mean) when you catch them making a mistake. If our leaders make more decisions, more mistakes will certainly result. Learning will then take place, and better decisions will emerge in future. Of course if really dangerous mistakes are made (going to war and the like) or they make decisions that ride roughshod over minority interests, then we need good journalists and strongly enforced government processes to call them to account (and hopefully stop them doing it in the first place, Mr Blair...). But these are different types of issues compared to the media and personal life ones our media obsesses about. We need to back the people we empowered in the first place, and who then made mistakes, instead of endorsing smarmy self-righteous journalists to annihilate them, forcing them to disappear (or be disappeared by their equally scared bosses) along with all the fantastic experience they will have acquired. We then appoint someone new to either run scared of ever making mistakes, or simply make the same ones again because s/he doesn't have the experience of their predecessor. Always bet on the gladiators with the most scars.

In the good old days before rapacious journalists felt they reflected the justice and retribution of the nation on their universally unqualified shoulders, people in power made decisions and when caught out, had their knuckles rapped. But they were allowed to learn. The only way out of trial-by-journalist is to avoid the bastards and resign. They've made us a nation led by scaredy cats. Does the Beeb really want to go the way of newspapers and force the thinking man to only use Google and Twitter?


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