I have not been with you from the start. I am sorry about that, but I was only born in 1955, not 1922. But I’ve been with you for most of my life so far. I know there’s a bit of fuss and bother on at the moment. But it seems to me that journalists love writing about themselves and creating big stories from small ones, and crises from big stories.
Are the two recent dropped balls in relation to Jimmy Saville and Newsnight damaging? Yes, but only in the short term. You have built up a reputation for top-notch reporting over these 90 years, and have an enviable reputation. You are probably the world’s best broadcasting company (or corporation as it is now) and the trouble with that is, there’s only one way to go. Down. That’s why when the BBC makes a mistake it’s like the Queen passing wind in public. It’s shocking, whereas really it should only be temporarily troubling. Yes, you fouled up twice in recent occasions, but I think that this will give you a focus and a purpose to reshape and reship the goods that we want. Fine quality programming and news reporting.
I do find it a little troubling that the you seem to be full of people who have been there from cradle to grave. You should bring in the best, allow them to give their best, and then move them on and out to other challenges. Short-term contracts and regularly hard-nosed assessments of those that you employ, and that the taxpayer pays for, should be the order of the day.
I think that the Today programme is one of the finest shows that you run. John Humphreys is superb. He puts politicians and scientists and lobbyists through their paces with intelligent common-sense questions. It was very strange hearing them over the last few weeks analysing your failings and misfortunes, but it was skilfully done. And the excellent interview with your then Director General, Entwistle exposed his weakness and lack of grip and leadership. It made certain he had to go. That was cruel but necessary. That showed a mettle and determination in interview that was sorely lacking in your higher echelons of management.
You will survive as you have survived these past 90 years. This didn’t kill you. It will make you stronger.
An Open Letter To The BBC (90 Years On)