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BBC in turmoil as George Entwistle quits as director-general

10 November 2012

After his Today Programme interview this morning, it seemed almost inevitable that George Entwistle would have to resign as director general of the BBC and this evening, in a dignified statement, he has. I suspect that Entwistle’s won’t be the last resignation before this saga ends.

Chris Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, appears on the Andrew Marr show this morning and he will have to show grip. The time is fast approaching when Patten will have to pick between his BBC job and his various other roles, including being Chancellor of Oxford.

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  • Mike Waller

    I am amazed at the sheer gall of our gutter press in going for the BBC over this. First, in respect of Savile, several newspapers had investigated him over the years but hit the usual snag of his victim’s understandabale reluctance to testify. Did that stop them treating the appaling creature as a secular saint? I don’t think so!

    As for Entwistle, finding himself out of his depth in the context of a perfect storm, he has done the decent thing and resigned. Members of the press seem only to go when collared by the law or as a direct result of falling out of favour with the potentates (mainly foreigners and ex-pats) who own the titles. There is no comparison. [Try doing a web search for a Humphrys’ style grilling given by the Times to dear old Rupert!]

    I have no objection to a good purge at the BBC to get rid of incompetents and time-servers; but it remains a national treasure and largely earns the annoyance of the press because of the high standards to which it usually works. Regarding my own bete noir, “The Daily Mail” (like, Fletcher on Porridge, I don’t consider “The Sun” a newspaper) an hour or so reading that makes me reach for the aspirins; a day listening to Radio 4 – bliss!

  • Wilhelm

    Had a look at Kirsty Squawk’s Twitter page, God it was hard work reading that pretentious, egotistical, up her own arse, inane, garbage. She really does love herself.

    But not a word about Newsnight , funny that, isn’t it ?

  • Wilhelm

    ”The BBC is hideously white;; as Greg Dyke so infamously said. Time to have a black in charge. How about Robert Mugabe.

    • Kevin

      Black is not the opposite of white. Let an Oriental person do it.

      • Thick as two Plancks

        The Onion (America’s finest news source) reported, two or three years ago, that it had been bought by Chinese interests. A week later the Chinese bailed out. claiming they had been deceived about the true nature of The Onion.

        I could imagine that happening with the BBC.

  • HooksLaw

    its a few lefty producers who need to resign

  • ScepticalThinker

    Chris Patten reads this blog does he? Then perhaps he’d like to say why he never spoke out against the paedophiles running his former school, St Benedict’s in Ealing (where I was also a pupil) when he was a Governor there, when he MUST have known that David Pearce at the very least was a serial sexual abuser because everyone connected with St Benedict’s knew that he was a paedophile; not to mention John Maestrie and Laurence Soper, currently on the run from the police in Europe (Maestrie and Pearce are both convicted paedophiles, so don’t worry about the legal consequences of naming them here). I repeat, a man who MUST have know for decades that paedophiles were running his former school – because everyone knew – and was in a position to challenge them never did so, making him quite unfit to hold a position of trust at the BBC which involves investigating allegations about the sexual abuse of minors (the Savile affair).

  • chudsmania

    The Beeb has tried to divert attention from Savile to the Tory party , and has spectacularly backfired. Now lets get onto their views on climate change and the eu……Totally outdated leftist bull……Reap what you sow as they say. I bet Rupert is laughing his head off

  • Robert_Eve

    Time to scrap the licence fee.

    • eeore

      Why are you paying the licence fee?

      Isn’t that what the iplayer is for?

    • Daniel Maris


    • Baron

      Robert, sir, you have the solution in just half a dozen words.

      It beggars belief that in the 21st century when ranting about rights drowns everything else, one is forced to buy something one doesn’t want. A criminal record awaits those who refuse. The Red Menace, the British version of.

  • James Randall

    It appears the DG went because he didn’t ask the right questions when he was, in passing, told about something (Savile) and not knowing what was going on because of a lack of referring up (Welsh abuse). Clearly this shows that all levels of the management structure are not performing their duties correctly and that the processes are not in place to prevent mistakes such as these from happening. It also shows that the next DG should be someone from outside of the BBC.

    • eeore

      Given the regulation imposed by Bliar over the Iraq war, further regulation isn’t the answer.

      An outsider was brought in following that affair, Greg Dyke (remember him, ‘hideously white’ and all that), and that made no difference. Add into the mix the semi-autonomous producing companies.

      Who says it was a mistake?

      The whole affair looks like pretty standard use of the new media.

      • James Randall

        Greg Dyke left as a result of the Iraq issues, not brought in because of them.

        I didn’t suggest further regulation, merely suggested that the management was not doing its job and the processes in place to stop these issues taking place hadn’t worked. Review processes, make sure they’re fit for purpose and then look at whether the management structure and those in it are fit for purpose.

        • McRobbie

          And who is going to review the processes? Other BBC managers? they are tarred with the same BBC brush as Entwistle… he was the best of the best of the BBC management but a complete failure as a crisis manager.
          The BBC cannot be reviewed internally, however it is impossible to believe that someone from the outside would get the support to do the massive restructuring job needed from the jobsworths in the BBC, so the only answer is to break it up into manageable pieces.

          • James Randall

            Most definitely not existing BBC management, in line with my original comment that the next DG should not come from inside the BBC. As for the restructuring that appears to be necessary, as DG you bring your own team in to produce the new structure and everyone has to reapply for a job.

        • eeore

          My bad, but the point remains that outsiders are not necessarily the panacea.

          The real question is what gets on the news, why and who benefits.

          For instance the BBC report of 9/11 that reported WTC7 had collapsed twenty minutes before it did. Or Orgreave, or the Keighley peadophile ring. Or you could widen it further to phone in shows in which supposedly ordinary people call in and quote word for word from daily briefing sheets issued by the political parties.

          There are a couple of possibilities for this current debacle.

          The first is that it demonstrates the failure of the current way the news is generated via surfing the net. Looking at the content produced by the British Institute of Journalism working out of City University, it is reasonable to assume that other stories – on non-contentious issues, such as drone strikes (non contentious in the sense that the people involved are unlikely to sue for millions due to issues of mistaken identity) – have been used without comment. It is not difficult to get a job with one of these news hubs, and they are less interested in the factual accuracy of the content than the keywords get hit, in order that they rise up the search rankings, get their stories picked up elsewhere and drive up their advertising revenue. If you pick these sites apart essentially it is people pulling content from twitter, padding it out and claiming it is news.

          The other is that this is a higher level political event, in which the initial story is planted to feed the chimps in the comments sections on news sites.

          The fact remains the bureaucracy at the BBC is set up to count seconds of speaking time to ‘ensure’ balance, trade three ‘bloody’ for one ‘bastard’ and count various other metrics relating to race, gender, sex, etc. It is not and never was intended to deal with the realities of news making, fact checking, consideration of ethical issues – and it is certainly not intended to do so in an era of ’24 hour news’.

          • Baron

            eeore has it in one: “The real question is what gets on the news, why and who benefits”.

            And that’s exactly what the core of the problem is. The left leaning pseudo-liberal tossers will never give up, will turn around any outsider who may try to inject common sense into the organisation. The only solution that will do it is breaking the behemoth, letting it to find a place under the sun in the world where one has to give the punters what they want rather than force feed them what they should want.

            Look at the Guardian, roughly the printed version of the BBC, the paper cannot be that far from bankruptcy what with readership in the dozens. That would be BBC’s fate, too, if they didn’t have the licence fee. It’s that, the £3.5bn, that allows them to completely ignore the views of the hoi polloi, engage in soul engineering.

    • Baron

      Nope, it ain’t even a solution, THE solution is to scrap the licence fee, break up the monstrosity, sell the chunks to the private sector.

  • Swiss Bob

    Helen Boaden next please, followed by the Newsnight staff.

  • Swiss Bob

    Helen Boaden next please, followed by the Newsnight staff.

    • Salisbury

      That’s close to the knuckle. The Newsnight staff you wish to see eviscerated include presumably the programme’s political editor, who also happens to be the wife of the author of the above post. A declaration of interest might be in order James next time you write on this topic.

      • Swiss Bob

        Newsnight ran a politically motivated smear and they’ve been caught red handed.

        They tried to destroy people.

        As a once small time blog hoster I received a pornographic photograph that appeared to be related to a World leader, much as I disagree with that person’s politics running that photograph would have had nothing to do with anything relevant, it was a smear, whether the photo was true or photoshopped.

      • Daniel Maris


        Thanks for the heads up on that Salisbury. :)

        Whoever said there was something call “the metropolitan elite”?

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