It is interesting what current affairs stories the BBC is sending in our direction today. The airliner shot down in Iran, the return of Stormont, the turmoil at the Palace, the interminable soap opera that is the Labour Party, and so on.
Two are missing. The first is obvious: why would they want to publicise the fact that a judge decided the glint in Jeremy Vine’s eye from the light of an autocue did not require any particular skill or experience and was certainly not worth paying him seven and a half times more than an equivalent journalist – oh, and the every-so-slightly-connected historic tribunal win for Samira Ahmed? The second is not so obvious, and equates to censorship.
It is difficult to understand how a media organisation that, over the last few years, has consistently failed to correctly predict major election results can believe it retains any credibility. Yet that’s what we have from a BBC statistics department that now has to go into full spin mode to cover its embarrassment even during a live results programme.
Such was the case on Sunday when it became immediately obvious that the Brexit Party were absolutely creaming the opposition, as if that hadn’t been widely predicted from the point, just six weeks ago, when Nigel Farage launched it. But this article is not about the politics of these elections, it’s about whether our national broadcaster is fit for purpose in the field of political analysis.
“It’s all gone a bit flat here.” These were the words of BBC 5-Live’s chief football correspondent George Riley in his report from Rio this morning, following England’s rapid exit from the World Cup at the hands, or should that be feet, of Costa Rica – before we had even played them! As might be expected, his report was heavily cliché-ridden, focussing particularly on the need for facing uncomfortable Truths.
Last night’s message from the Costa Rica fans
He was making his comments from the comfort of the massive World Cup Media Centre in Rio de Janeiro, but was he reflecting the mood of England fans in Brazil, or the atmosphere among the thousands of two-bit Fleet Street hacks whose long summer holiday watching the Girl from Ipanema had just been cut drastically short? Because the greatest Truth to be faced here is that, were world cup success for our soccer team measured purely in back-page column-inches, then we would have won more trophies than Brazil and Germany put together. Continue Reading