BBC

Up the Auntie?

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While we do not know yet who will win the May election, it is already clear that among the biggest losers will surely be the BBC. Whatever government we have, it is certain that the BBC will be mangled and probably dismembered. When a disease-carrying rat like Jeremy Clarkson abandons the Good Ship BBC (and please do not tell me that the “fracas” was anything but a stage-managed exit strategy), it is clear that we are in a Titanic and iceberg moment.

Crisis at the BBC - should we care?

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After the appalling revelations about child abuse by Jimmy Savile and others the BBC has been plunged into crisis. Yet some of those attacking the BBC are media magnates and newspapers who would profit from its demise. Sue Sparks asks, should socialists defend the BBC as a public service broadcaster?

The BBC is facing one of the most serious crises in its history. This article is not about the facts or causes of this particular crisis; rather I want to look at the response of socialists to the attack on the BBC.

Regenerating profits

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"We must never include a product or service in sound or vision in return for cash, services or any consideration in kind," says the BBC's website. "This is product placement."

But there are other ways to ensure that editorial content is profitable, especially important at a time of recession and managerial hotel expenses.

Cue the return of Doctor Who. According to Private Eye magazine, BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial wing, suggested that there might be extra, vitally needed funding for the show in return for new merchandising opportunities.

James Murdoch's Darwin

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Last month James Murdoch, son of Rupert and CEO of News Corporation, gave a keynote lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Say what you like about him, anyone who quotes George Orwell and Leo Tolstoy, and sources Charles Darwin, Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman, the genetic development of the modern banana, and the Levellers (the political movement, not the band) is clearly a man of much gravitas. Or so you'd think.

The BBC bows to Zionist pressure

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The Zionist lobby has been deeply damaged by Israel's assault on Gaza in January. It is now trying to claw back some of the ground it lost - with the help of its friends in high places, namely in the senior management of the BBC.

Last month the BBC Trust censured the corporation's Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, for breaches of the BBC's guidelines on impartiality in his coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The complaints concerned an article by Bowen on the BBC website two years ago, and a radio broadcast in January 2008.

BBC: Whose side are you on?

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The refusal of the BBC's top management to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Gaza aid appeal focused public anger over media coverage of the Israeli assault.

The BBC Board's position had nothing to do with "impartiality". When a dog savages a child, it is not impartial to stand back and watch the child bleed - that is siding with the dog. Hiding behind the shibboleth of impartiality in reality meant that the BBC sided with Israel.

The BBC and public service broadcasting

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By the time you read this, "Sachsgate" - the events that culminated in the suspension of two of the BBC's highest-profile presenters and the resignation of a senior radio executive - will have, in all likelihood, disappeared from the front pages of those newspapers that used it to paint a picture of moral decay with the BBC at its epicentre.

When Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross left smutty messages on the answerphone of actor Andrew Sachs, this was seen as merely the latest example of the alleged collapse of BBC editorial standards, following the discovery of faked phone-ins, the re-editing of a documentary of the Queen in 2007 and the Hutton Inquiry into BBC newsgathering in 2004.

Iraq: The BBC at War

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The resignations at the BBC following the Hutton report caused a storm. Colin Sparks looks at the role of public broadcasting in a time of crisis.

The struggle between the BBC and the government is evidence of the deep divisions inside the ruling class over the war in Iraq and the wider issues of strategy that lie behind it. The publication of the Hutton report and the subsequent resignations of the chairman of the board of governors, Gavyn Davies, and the director general, Greg Dyke, should have been a victory for the government.

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