, former BBC Business Editor in today’s Daily Telegraph. Here are some highlights, first, Randall on the culture of the BBC:
In a commercial organisation, these undesirables would be driven out by market forces. The yardstick of success and failure provided by profit and loss is a visible reminder of whether you are winning or losing. When results are poor, or mistakes are made, heads roll. A line is drawn and the business moves on.
This rarely happens at the BBC. Instead of the boil being lanced, the poison stays in the system. And so a drama is turned into a crisis, made worse by an unusual capacity for self-flagellation.
A reporter, feeling sorry for himself, once told me, “the trouble with the BBC is that it’s run by fear”. As you have no doubt guessed, he had never worked anywhere else.
The BBC’s real problem is a lack of fear. It’s almost impossible to sack anyone. Indeed, any manager brave enough to give an errant colleague a rollicking runs the risk of being reprimanded for “bullying”.
Next, Randall on the tellytax and value for our dragooned money:
Every January, come rain or shine, a large truck with £3 billion of licence-fee money turns up at Television Centre. Too much of it is spent on administration, too little on output. A senior BBC executive, someone with real affection for the place, admitted to me: “Yes, the management’s too soft. It’s just how we are.”
And finally, Randall on the lack of rolling heads following recent scandalous BBC revelations, in contrast with commercial broadcasters:
Meanwhile, at the BBC, where flagrant breaches of editorial standards occurred at six of its best-known shows, including Comic Relief and Children in Need, who has gone? Nobody.
So far, a handful of executives have been suspended on full pay, pending an internal investigation – a bit of summer gardening leave. Nice work if you can get it.
Randall also mentions the death of Sky News reporter James Furlong, 44, who was driven to suicide after it was revealed that a report of his from on board a Royal Navy submarine firing missiles during the Iraq invasion was actually a test firing demonstration, presented as the real thing. And who was it that revealed and revelled in the embarrassment of Sky News and James Furlong? Why yes, it was good old feather-bedded unaccountable BBC News.
Do read the rest.
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