Tag Archives: huw edwards

Why we should defend the BBC

The ‘Huw Edwards affair’ has been another round in the long-running Murdoch press campaign against the BBC.  The exact details behind the charges against him as published in the Sun remain unclear; the Sun has now retreated from its initial story, and the police have said that there is nothing to justify pressing charges.  The Times fired off shots in support, listing the highest salaries of BBC presenters with a disapproving commentary – not noting the remarkably high fees that Talk News, owned by the Murdoch press and promoted ad nausea in the pages of the Times, pays to right-wing MPs and chat-show hosts for doing a few hours’ work a week.  Other papers have hinted at the not so defensible private behaviour of Dan Wootton, a former Sun journalist now with GB News and Mail Online, on which the Murdoch press has remained silent.

 The BBC attempts to hold together debates within the British national community.  The Murdoch press, from its first incursion into British media nearly 50 years ago, ha been a disrupter and divider.  Rupert Murdoch has also seen himself as a political player, expecting political leaders in Australia, Britain and the USA to court him for his support – or, at least, to moderate his opposition.  Tony Blair travelled to Australia to meet him; Keir Starmer has reportedly met him twice this year.  The aggressive style of the Murdoch media has made British politics more raucous.  But it’s in the USA, without a well-funded public broadcasting network, that it has had the deepest impact.  Fox News has given voice and encouragement to the populist right, to climate change deniers, conspiracy theorists and closet racists, preparing the ground for Donald Trump to make a successful run for the Presidency while dismissing as ‘fake news’ the evidence-based policies he was rubbishing.

While all active and fit Liberal Democrats were out delivering leaflets or knocking on doors in Somerton and Frome the BBC showed its quality in the underlying message of the opening concert of the summer Proms.  Dalia Stasevska, Finnish but born in Kyiv, conducted a concert of mainly Nordic patriotic music, Sibelius and Grieg, as well as a new commission from a Ukrainian composer.  It carried a strong implicit message of British solidarity with Ukraine and of the links we have with countries on Russia’s western border.

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