Sunday, 9 November 2008

Better late than never

I must apologise for the lack of entries over the last month. 

A combination of an autumnal cold, followed by a mountain bike fall, which left me with a broken rib, have stopped me posting.

However, that hasn't stopped me tagging numerous events, about which I'll write now, nor of course has it stopped the world of the media doing what it does best - educating, informing, and re-presenting the world around us.

I'll start with the whole Russell Brand / Jonathon Ross debacle. Today Brand has been interviewed by the Observer newspaper and in it he reveals how he meant no malice in insulting the actor Andrew Sachs and his grand-daughter; the 25 year old producer had thought Sachs had given his permission for transmission; and since it was a pre-recorded show Brand and Ross felt they could be more free with their tongues, safe in the knowledge that someone else would edit the content.

For my money's worth, based on my own experiences in the media, based on what I see and hear working now with young people, this is what I think ought to have happened:

  1. Resignation of both presenters, or sacking if they refused to jump. Brand has at least been honourable. Ross has yet to reveal his position, as he is suspended for threee months. He might return but personally I think he should quit, go into a media exile, reflect on what influence the media has on its audience, ponder whether his actions are appropriate for a man in his late 40s, and then re-build his reputation. Let's be honest, at £16,000 a day he can afford the time to review his life.
  2. A swift response from the BBC. Why it took them days for senior brass to offer a half-hearted response is beyond me.

The broadcast apology that was made on Radio 2 yesterday seemed too little too late. The damage is done, and the insults have been hurled. Several weeks after the event and the BBC continues to be silent on who authorised what, and how far up the chain of command the approval to broadcast went. The BBC should stop hiding its failures, come clean, and make sweeping changes. 

The hard earnt reputation of the BBC, which is maintained by the many decent employees it possesses, is being eroded by the self-interest of the over-paid few. That, at least, is how it seems from the outside. 

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