Two down…

Two down…
: BBC honcho Greg Dyke resigns. This is the same sanctimonious prig who lectured U.S. media: “For any news organisation to act as a cheerleader for government is to undermine your credibility. They should be… balancing their coverage, not banging the drum for one side or the other.” Mr. Dykes, for any news organization to act as a cheerleader against government is to undermind your credibility, wouldn’t you say?

Next: Bring us the head of Andrew Gilligan.

: UPDATE: The BBC apologizes to Blair.

  • Giles Ward

    “They should be… balancing their coverage”
    Greg Dyke balanced the BBC’s Iraq war coverage on needle. He got a prick – Gilligan!
    I think the deeper issue though is the idiocy of his analysis. He sincerely believed that Blair was so stupid that he would call an inquiry on an issue that he might loose.
    Blair unsurprisingly was adamant on this issue because he knew he was right.
    Dyke by contrast is bitter because over the last years there were hundreds of manifesto pledges and promises made by the Blair government that were broken, yet the “independent” BBC never picked him up on them. Why, because at that time he was Blair personal friend. Greg Dyke story is likely to be in journalism 101 as a lesson on the importance of thinking independently as opposed to merely pretending to.

  • Mike

    We call for the head of a man whose news organization cheerleaded against the government. That’s fine. But then let us call for the heads of those news organizations who cheerlead for the government, too. Please?!

  • Dyke just stood up for the BBC’s independence – he has done a bloody good job at the BBC e.g. developing their broadband plans which will kickstart the market in the UK. I dont think it’s sanctimoneous to raise concern about the likes of Fox News at all – most right thinking people are concerned about it – sanctimonous bloggers included.

  • Carl H.

    Bring us the head of Andrew Gilligan, three beers and a platter of nachos.
    Seriously, if the BBC honcho’s take one for the team how long can ‘sexed up’ Andrew duck & cover?

  • Sandy P.

    –Mr Byford said he hoped the BBC would “emerge from this difficult time as a strong, independent, and vibrant organisation which would build on Mr Dyke’s legacy”. —
    Is this really what they want to do? Part of Mr. Dyke’s vision is what got them into this mess in the first place.

    As to FoxNews – please, a little cable station which averages barely domestic 3m viewers a day and people have to pay primo to get it and isn’t on basic channels is such a threat. Free ABC/CBS/NBC viewers average 25 million and the BBC has basically a captive audience who is taxed for the privilege. Plus – BBC radio averages 110 million listeners. And we wonder why the world is biased.
    Most “right-thinking people” can raise concerns about FoxNews all they want, but the numbers and history of influence is on BBC’s side.
    Think about it, kingpin tax-supported BBC out of Europe is threatened by PPV FoxNews? And frankly, with the ‘net allowing us to actually read what the BBC’s written and cable and bloggers allowing us to see how they report the news, I don’t think it’s sanctimonious to raise concern about the likes of the BBC at all.

  • peter

    Fox News is a private company that can do or report whatever the hell it wants. The BBC, however, is a a publically-funded media monopoly that by its mission should be even handed. And, as such, doesn’t own up to laughably obvious bias.
    These are people who live in a serious fantasy land. It should be fun to watch their world fall apart.

  • Off with his head! But at least he resigned. More Bush/ US gov’t folk, who make mistakes, should be axed, too.
    And yes, Gilligan needs a new employer, too. I’m surprised there’s not good news about who could fire Dyke, and how that process would work, if his “bosses” wanted it to. The Hutton report talked about a board — who are they? Why didn’t they push more balance, sooner?

  • billg

    “Cheerleading” for or against government merits no condemnation if it is confined to commentary. What the BBC did is different: It broadcast a false news report (not a commentary) that damaged the government position. By itself, this would quite likely not have caused months of acrimony and anger. However, when seen against the backdrop of BBC’s selection and treatment of Iraq war stories, the Gilligan piece was convincing evidence that BBC was altering its news content to oppose the Blair government. If the alterations and the slant were directed by BBC managers, then they deserve to lose their jobs. If, as I suspect, the alterations resulted from the unchecked biases of news staffers slanting their story selection and treatment, then BBC management is equally culpable for failing to end those abuses.

  • BigFire

    Re: Coopz
    What’re you talking about. iBBC is still a bottomless pit of fiscal mismanagement with no viable plan and end in sight. And you call that a good plan?

  • Blue Eyed Devil

    The BBC threw the dice hopeing to bring down a duly elected government (or two). They lost. But the sneering egomaniacs at “The Corporation” have decided to act as cheer leaders for the “Whitewash” crowd instead of offering the abject apology that the Hutton verdict requires. They would like to “draw a line” under the issue by which they mean (viva the revolution) they want to get on with the business of harping on the WMD issue. It’s scary to think what the BBC would have demanded had the “whitewash” gone the other way.

  • Giles Ward

    The BBC

  • >The BBC threw the dice hopeing to bring down a duly elected government (or two).
    Look up the meaning of the word “hyperbole”. Since when does one reporter represent the entire organization he works for?
    Clearly you have no idea what any of this was about, so why you would spout off as though you do is a mystery to many, I’m sure.

  • HH

    Let’s see that evil Fox News puts out two of its stars on radio to “tout the government line.” – Bill O’Reilly who today said Bush MUST level with the American people on WMDs, and Alan Colmes who’s as anti-war as they come without being out and out pacifist. Yeah, real government toadies those guys.

  • Steve in Houston

    Robert’s in full-froth mode today…

  • Wolf O’Witz

    The BBC has an international reputation for journalistic authority and integrity. FoxNews, a byword for biased hackwork, is laughed at around the world.
    Greg Dyke talked about the contrast between them.
    Poor Jeff Jarvis is still smarting.

  • capt joe

    Robbie McClelland
    oh puleez, one reporter. yeah right.
    The BBC took this “one reporter’s” BS and ran a whole fleet of programming around it. They made their made, and now they balk at laying it.
    Give us a break, even the CBC (left wing piece of crap cut from the same mold as the BBC) is trying to spin this as a whitewash.
    Go back and re-read your chomskite propaganda, maybe you can come up with a better rebuttal.

  • capt joe

    well, that rep is disappearing fast.

  • >The BBC took this “one reporter’s” BS and ran a whole fleet of programming around it.
    No they didn’t. You should really become familiar with the actual details of this yourself instead of just relying on the frothed up reports of right wing bloggers like Instapundit.
    > is trying to spin this as a whitewash.
    The Hutton report was a whitewash. Apparently what we’ve learned from it is that the BBC is responsible for there not being any WMDs in Iraq.

  • capt joe

    Oh puleez, follow your on advice. Take a hike out of that conspiracy swamp you are stuck in and read something besides DemocraticUndergood.
    The BBC rather lots of reports on Channel 4 and Today examining, extending and extrapolating form Gilligan’s premise. Do you think this story ran once and was never covered. Yeah right. Oh I I can sell you the CN tower for 10 bucks. ;)
    While in Europe (UK and continental) this fall, I saw endless commenntary on this.
    The Hutton enquiry is not a whitewash for the simple reason that the result was entirely unexpected for reporters at the BBC. The BBC expected to be vindicated up until the leaked report to the times the day before. Take a long at the BBC reporters blog as that day unfolded. many media commentators expected that Hutton, who had a reputation for fairness and independence, was expected to get to the bottom of everuthing. Too bad for the BBC, it wasn’t them.
    Your ignorance is showing. Check out what he wrote, he said the terms of reference did not include the intelligence.
    I see you are really interested in the facts, just being an asshole.

  • onecent

    The BBC has an international reputation for journalistic authority and integrity.
    Had. Or you not reading the news?
    FoxNews, a byword for biased hackwork, is laughed at around the world.
    Fox’s ratings have surpassed CNN. Or are you just not up on the news?

  • PJF

    Oh dear, Robert McClelland, lecturing on becoming familiar with details and then laughably demonstrating that you clearly haven’t bothered, is not a good tactic.
    As regards Gilligan and the wider BBC, you should be aware (having paid attention to the details) that his editor (Kevin Marsh), his head of department (Richard Sambrook), his editor in chief (Greg Dyke), and his overall governor (Gavyn Davies) chose to not even bother checking his (lack of) evidence for his claims – not even after extremely stern and formal protest from the democratically elected government of the UK.
    All those men in the direct line of supervision of Andrew Gilligan failed in their managerial, executive and constitutional duty. It isn’t unreasonable to suggest that they represent the BBC as a whole.

  • capt joe

    Yeah, it wouldn’t be the first time. Robbie-boy seems to spend a lot of his time haranging and baiting the iraqi bloggers. He obviously knows more that they do about Iraq, living in Ontario Canada.

  • PJF

    Just in case poor Robert insists that I am allowing myself to be informed by raving ‘right wingers’ like Instapundit, here’s what the Guardian says about Greg Dyke’s failure:
    “His failure to do his homework and check Andrew Gilligan’s notes before firing off a letter rejecting Alastair Campbell’s complaints reflects his impulsive personality. But his decision to blindly back Gilligan has proved his downfall.”,7521,1134511,00.html
    Another insightful little snippet (without irony from the Guardian, of course):
    “But according to friends, over the last few years, Mr Dyke hated what Labour had become and thought power had left them bereft of the socialist vision they all held during the days of opposition. One close friend revealed that he even joked about setting up a breakaway party.”
    Perhaps the name of his party was to be the “British Broadcasting Corporation”.
    You have to laugh.

  • onecent

    Since when does one reporter represent the entire organization he works for?
    Using your premise then is it safe to infer that O’Reilly is really a maverick conservative at a very liberal FOX News? Yeah. Right.
    Jason Blair, Paul Krugman, Andrew Gilligan are the useful idiots of the culture they inhabit.
    It’s one thing to isolate the behavior of a bad waitress, but another to be so naive about the motives of high profile reporters and their employer’s clean hands.

  • Ken Hahn

    I read the resignation statements and the announcements of those still at the BBC. Somehow it all comes down to excuses. “I take full responsibility and I’ve done a wonderful job” just won’t do it. I see no change in the BBC’s bias and its continued decline. If it was not a tax supported monopoly, it would be in free fall.
    Like the major US networks, the BBC is committing suicide. Protection from competition will not save it, it will just prolong the process.Certainly Fox has a bias, but it is the bias of the future. The BBC is the bias of the past.

  • capt joe

    Another interesting piece of information is provided by Scott Burgess at
    where he describes the BBC’s attempts to quash alternative reports that showed Gilligan was wrong. In all, it shows an instutional effort to push the story even with misgivings. Listen to the audio segment he has, very interesting.

  • >You have to laugh.
    Indeed I am at the thought that you Yanks actually think you understand what is going on over there.

  • PJF

    Thank you, Robert McClelland, for mistaking me for a ‘Yank’. I consider the association an honour, and only wish there was an opportunity to make it real.
    As a Briton, I can assure you that I take the time to understand what is going on here. It has been an interesting day.

  • abe b

    amazing your fury and celebration at the apology for the news organization acting as a cheerleader against government.
    the day the detective, left with not choice but to say, can’t find a damn WMD; amazing your silence at news organisation continuing to act as a cheerleader for government – truthful or not.
    Keep moving, nobody with an agenda here, for sure.

  • onecent

    “You have to laugh”……..Indeed I am at the thought that you Yanks actually think you understand what is going on over there.
    It is not that complicated. An inquiry was held. A reporter lied with no checks or balances from above. The BBC stands discredited. Resignations followed.
    Or, perhaps, there is some private universe, known only to you, where the public facts are different?

  • The fix is in: and I understand the gloating on the pro-war side.
    But an uncritical acceptance of Hutton as gospel is not going to persuade anyone. (Because there’s never been a judicial whitewash in Britain. Ever. Honest.) Nor is an analysis that ignores the media facts of life in Britain, in which there is one enormous elephant in the room.
    (Not to mention – and some seem reluctant to do so – the prodigious Blair track record in deception for political gain, which is well understood in Britain, even by the people who vote for him.)
    But, if all you guys are just interested in having a party, that’s fine.

  • onecent

    The link to your blog with your vacuous ranting isn’t exactly what providing a link is all about. Usually, a link is provided to a public paper-of-record as a source for collaborating facts.
    The “fix” remains a figment of your imagination until you can link to a fact.
    The facts of today’s BBC events are the focus here.

  • PJF

    “I regret that on these two occasions I didn’t report entirely carefully and accurately what he said. My error was to ascribe that statement to him when it was actually a conclusion of mine.”
    – Andrew Gilligan, explaining to the Hutton Inquiry the origin of his ‘dossier transformation’ notion that is now forever associated with Dr Kelly.
    John Smith, if you’d spent as much time investigating the rather pathetic standard of Gilligan journalism as you did slagging off Jeff Jarvis, you might not be so unaware of it. It’s usually best to look with your eyes rather than your mouth.

  • Angus Jung

    “the day the detective, left with not choice but to say, can’t find a damn WMD; amazing your silence at news organisation continuing to act as a cheerleader for government – truthful or not.”
    I have no idea what this is supposed to mean, but I can’t help but admire its rough charm.

  • capt joe

    Hey, Robert, I spend half my time in Europe, I have a pretty good idea what people I work with think.
    Why should we think you do?

  • Sandy P.

    Edge of England’s Sword’s linked to a walkout by BBC staff.

  • kkl

    Folks, this thread has turned into competing rants. I’d like to read what everyone has written, but I can’t. I generally like to read the comments, but I am sick of these threads getting hijacked by SCREAMERS. If you scream, I’m not reading. It is a New Year’s resolution.

  • Bill

    It is most interesting to note the ungracious and unrepentant air to the resignation statements. Sort of a “I know I have to fall on my sword now, but we were really right.”
    Having spent nearly forty years in broadcast management, I know full well the difficulty of dealing with irresponsible reporting; what the BBC is facing is not an isolated incident, but a pretty much failed corporate ethic.
    Note that on this side of the Atlantic that PBS is pretty well infected with the same disease, it is just a bit milder since they are not totally isolated from responsibility by total tax funding.
    The time when one could turn to the BBC for impartial news is long in the past. Reference has been made to their audience, but how much of this would remain if the tax revenue went away?
    Their audience might follow their credibility in vanishing into thin air.

  • Blue Eyed Devil

    Sorry I’m late Robert. I heard a snippet of Dykes testimony read on the BBC this morning. He clamed that he wasn’t aware of Gilligan’s exact phrasing from the early morning report until 2 weeks after the event. What kind of incompetent nincompoop would risk his job and reputation and the reputation (such as it is) of the BBC without listening to or reading the transcript of the report in question. Wow. Talk about “attention to details”. Was he lying? If he was lying he must have assumed that he could bluff the Blair government into folding. Tony called his bet. And all Dyke and Davies and Sambrook and Marsh had were each other and a Gilligan in the hole. These guys are ideologues of the worst kind. Hyperbole you say? I don’t think so. Third World dyketators get the royal treatment while Blair and Bush are given the third degree and hammered unmercifully on a daily basis. The subject of WMD is probed from every conceivable angle. The purpose of this daily screed is to discredit the Coalition because they refused to bow to the one, true, holy and apocryphal, world government in the form of the UN.
    The BBC radio presenters today were wringing their hand and bemoaning the death of investigative reporting at “The Corporation” Are these guys WACK or what??
    Investigative journalism??? Is that what the BBC calls baseless accusations and Minister baiting? It’s not necessary to totally change the BBC. I’m sure they can just dust off the rule concerning multiple sources for stories that have the potential of bringing down a government. While they’re at it they should stop the presenters from turning every story into a mini editorial. (Oh and could WE please drop the sneer) Forget about getting Gilligan to resign and admit he was wrong. I’ll settle for his admission that the coalition troops have indeed reached and are in control of Baghdad.

  • mike

    The problem is NOT that the BBC slanted the news to further its anti-war agenda; Newspapers do that all the time (it

  • TIme for some comic relief !!!
    Carton here…

  • yankinlondon

    The white wash doesn’t seem to have taken hold with the public. Polls in the morning papers indicate that 3 times as many people trust the Beeb as compared to the government.
    The result of this enquiry was certain once Blair said he would resign if it was found that he lied. A conservative, establishment judge like Hutton was never going to be the one to bring a government down.
    I suggest that all of you take some time and read the reported conclusions AND the evidence to see if there appears to be any correation between the two.
    I have lived in Britain for 11 years and the BBC provides excellent and generally unbiased news coverage. I confess I am appalled when I return to the states to see the depths to which American journalism, especially TV journalism, has fallen.
    America could use, but will not get, a network of the stature of the BBC.

  • Blue Eyed Devil

    I agree the “REPORTED” evidence generally disagrees with Hutton. It’s clear the BBC folks lied through their teeth. One would think with all the practice they get on air every day that their lies would be more convincing. The slow switch to attack Journalism on the part of the BBC over the last several years has affected and infected “The Corporation”. They believe that a lie in furtherance of the revolution is better than the truth. The BBC IS better than 85% of US broadcast journalism. But one must increasingly ignore more and more agenda setting lefty propaganda. The BBC makes NPR look like FOX in comparison!! There is no longer any pretense to objectivity. Even now, at their darkest hour, they insist on twisting the facts to suit their pleasure. If you’ve listened over the last few days, even if you’re a rabid BBC defender, you have to notice that they dutifully report the Hutton verdict at the top of the hour then they proceed to whitewash their guilt by interviewing Journalist X from some far flung corner of the EMPIRE. Journalist X then reads his defiant script and off we go to interview another hack. Hour after hour of Alice in BBC Land. Every now and then some poor smuck is called in to defend and he has to listen to a 2 minute leading question. As I type a BBC broadcast has begun over the local NPR station. The Whitewash continues. The sneer machine is turned up to high.
    I see the filthy Americans are at it again. ‘Preemption is not justified’ unless one has a note of intent to incinerate from the “Freedom Fighters”. Get it? Got it? Good!

  • onecent

    America could use, but will not get, a network of the stature of the BBC.
    Americans aren’t that stupid. Why would we want to fund with our tax dollars a totally monopolistic government news agency? The news belongs in as many competitve private hands as possible. Profit is a better motive to stay honest than funding from the public trough. Or is that not the lesson the Brits are learning with the sorry demise of the BBC?
    I put little faith is polls. Too much depends on the wording and how representative the sampling was.

  • Blue Eyed Devil

    Polls. Very clever lies. Who answers the phone these days. Telemarketers have caused all but the lonely and insane to use an answering machine. Who has the half hour or so to pick through slanted questions. I have to call my customers to tell them when their artwork is framed and I almost never get to talk to a human being. I have to laugh when I see +/- 3% error factor. This hasn’t changed in years yet the pollsters are increasingly wrong. Dare I mention Iowa.

  • APM

    Posted by CERDIP at January 30, 2004 02:22 AM
    The white wash doesn’t seem to have taken hold with the public. Polls in the morning papers indicate that 3 times as many people trust the Beeb as compared to the government.
    You seem to have got the “b**b” bug there don’t you? Only telling the part of the polls that fit what you want to say!
    Did you not see the part that said 49% don’t trust either the b**b or the government

  • Anonymous
  • PJF

    yankinlondon wrote:
    “America could use, but will not get, a network of the stature of the BBC.”
    Poor old (US of) America, burdened as it is with that pesky Constitution thing and its ridiculous insistence that Congress can’t pass any laws abridging the freedom of the press. Why, that outmoded nonsense means they can’t charge people for watching private television broadcasts in order to fund state television broadcasts.
    We’re really lucky in the UK. Our government makes us pay a licence to watch any television. That tax, a fixed amount for everyone (dustman or duke), is used exclusively to fund the BBC (it is also collected by the BBC). If you should watch television without the proper authorisation from the state (granted via the BBC) – it is a criminal offence and you are subject to a fine of