Where Has The BBC Gone?
The British were educated to be proud of the BBC as the world's most trusted news channel, widely respected for speaking objectively and free of political control and commercial interests. With shock and deep disappointment, we have witnessed the regrettable and accelerating decline in standards over the past two decades. As a leading independent broadcaster, it has fallen to the level of a second-rate commercial operator who is no longer proud and in danger of becoming a cause of shame. Why was this allowed?
There was a time when the British were the best and the British took it for granted, but never said it. Now the BBC prides itself on being the world leader in news distribution. Do not you notice that nobody trusts self-promotion? Earlier it was said, self-praise is not a recommendation. If the BBC was really number one, it would not have to say that. And what is special about breaking news? Is accurate reporting and mature reflection not more important? Surely it is better to tell a story well than to hurry to tell it first.
Then there are the endless ads, even self-ads. The same dreary presentations recurred over and over again, each sending half-truths to millions who had the misfortune of not switching off or changing channels. Does anyone sound these ridiculous flap tones? Why has the formerly known BBC become the mouthpiece of the multinational economic brotherhood, which supports and promotes the exploitation of the poor and the fraud of national governments?
There was a time when a radio program stretched for almost the entire allocated time. Now, not only is there time to advertise, but there are also long introductions and long scene changes with musical accompaniment that slow down the presentation of current news to a record pace. In an age in which reverences accelerate the speed at which actual factual information is delivered, Aesop's turtle is shameful. The goal is, of course, always to hold back the publication of the really important or interesting until after the next commercial break. The interests of the audience are subordinated to the interests of business enterprises.
There must be a large department within the BBC dedicated to wasting time, or maybe they call it time-filling. The presentation of programs gives the impression that it is difficult for them to send 24 hours a day, and therefore different strategies have to be used to fill in the gaps. Of course, there is always time for advertising, and undoubtedly more would be welcome. How strange that there is seldom time to deepen a topic or to conduct an interview.
And why are interviewers so incompetent now? They ask a question and either do not listen to the answer as they mentally rehearse their next skilful interjection, or they cut off their poor victim in full tide and just want to tell the viewer what he wants to know. There is no time for anyone to give a correct answer before the next dreary commercial needs to be broadcast for the umpteenth time. It is never time for us to sustain what Winston Churchill called "thoughtful opinion." It has to be called "hard talk" because it makes it so difficult for the interviewee to speak his word.
In recent years it has become apparent that bankers run banks for the benefit of bankers and broadcasters who seem to share the same aspirations. We are told what clever clogs they are in self-promotion that seem to repeat more often than their commercial counterparts. There was a time when talented news reporters became celebrities for a long time due to the consistently high quality of their work, but now they are gaining fame based solely on the endless repetition of a seemingly successful assignment.
The BBC World Service solves on a case-by-case basis, for example, in the expanded coverage of May's UK parliamentary elections in May 2015, but these are rare oases in a sprawling desert. They only serve to remind us how Aunt was in her prime. But institutions, unlike humans, can be restored to something like the glory of their youth. Is that just a dream? Or is there a young energy producer somewhere in the bowels of New Broadcasting House who has the ambition to make the British again?