The news department at the BBC is shrinking, has been subject to vicious cuts for much of the past decade. The corporation in particular has been laying off scores of their staff, who actually report the news and put it all together. This seems to have been in line with the way the rest of the BBC has been by changed by its management. The people, who actually produce programmes have been progressively sacked, while management has inflated, with the upper management enjoying commensurately bloated salaries. Of course, the BBC isn’t alone in this. It’s part of what’s been happening in industry generally, as industry has shed jobs on the factory floor, while management have rewarded themselves with vast pay rises and bonuses. The BBC’s management shares the same attitudes of management generally, which is decidedly pro-Tory, and so definitely doesn’t want to see anyone even as remotely left-wing as Corbyn enter Ten Downing Street.
And I also think there’s more than a touch of class bias towards their listeners as well. Audiences for some of the Beeb’s news programmes have shrunk. Private Eye has been wondering for months, if not years now, how long Newsnight can stagger on without Paxman. You can tell that Beeb’s news department has been affected by the odd pieces that appear in the Radio Times, complaining about how fragmented audiences are due to the internet. People, they say, are taking their news now from different sources, largely those which confirm their existing political views. As a result, they warn, society is also fragmenting and overarching consensus views, held by the mass of the population, are being shattered.
It’s hard not to see this as simply sour grapes, at least in part. Yes, people are getting more information from a wider variety of sources, including the Net. Yes, this has challenged the power of the mainstream news to form a consensus of opinion. And this is clearly worrying old style print and broadcasting journalists. There’s clearly resentment in these types of editorials, one of which appeared in the Radio Times a few months ago, about the way the BBC and its broadcasters can no longer wield the massive ideological or social clout they once had. People are turning off, not least because of an increasing awareness of bias in the Beeb’s reporting.
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