- - | 12.05.2005 10:35 | Workers' Movements
News and live broadcasts are expected to be badly hit by any industrial action with the BBC itself worriedly reporting that "it could hit events such as the FA Cup Final, on 21 May."
Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, is reported to have said, "The cuts package will do irreparable damage to quality and standards and has been soundly rejected by staff."
So, as the Beeb plummets towards programming more porn, voyeurism, sadism, racism and jingoism, we should be concerned. Or should we?
The BBC's competitor, the corporate media, provides an ever more degrading version of news and entertainment output which, between the cleavages, the laughs and the half truths, channels a conservative (in the sense of conserving existing power interests) consumer ideology of greedy self-interest and hate. This agenda is no different from the BBC except that, with no public service remit, corporate media product has found depths to which BBC managers can only aspire.
While it is impossible to applaud the onward march of the free-market at the BBC, the idea that it has “quality and standards” worth saving, especially in reporting news, is an old lie.
The BBC represents that essential point in any modern national propaganda machine, namely, the benign-seeming, 'impartial' and trustworthy voice of reason in a confusing world. It has performed this job for over 80 years and generations of people have been brought up to believe it is true. In fact, the BBC functions as the ultra-conservative and demonstrably biased (deceiving) voice of successive Labour and Conservative governments.
BBC news may be ‘impartial’ about which of these parties it supports (because, like NewsCorporation, it really supports both), but it is very partial about criticism of the existing power base and any alternatives people might have to it. In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, interviews with people critical of going to war were fewer on the BBC than on any other major broadcaster, including right-wing US channels. That makes for not many.*
In presenting itself as the embodiment of decent values and as an alternative to the degradation of the openly right-wing, pimping media, the values carried by BBC output become a conceptual standard past which few people venture. It is precisely this unquestioning faith in the flawed fundamentals of our national culture which allowed the Iraq war to happen.