Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Labour Is Right: The BBC Is Wrong

Labour has every right to complain to the BBC tonight. I can hardly believe that the BBC would offer its journalists a bonus of £100 if they got a fresh angle on the Cash for Peerages scandal, but it seems it's true. Remember, £100 is two thirds of a BBC licence fee. This is the Press Association report...

The [Labour] Party's general secretary, Peter Watt, wrote to BBC director general Mark Thompson warning that the offer could distort reporters' news judgments and called into question the impartiality of the corporation's coverage. The scheme was withdrawn by the BBC soon after its existence was reported in London's Evening Standard today. A spokeswoman tonight said no bounty payments had been made. An email to BBC political staff and producers from the head of the BBC's political news operation, Gary Smith, promised £100 for a fresh angle on the cash-for-honours affair, the Standard reported.

Can you imagine the outcry within the BBC if Sky News had been caught doing such a thing?

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

And no doubt tomorrow there will be much sanctimonious crowing from the Murdoch press, who have just had to withdraw their journalistic search for the truth into the trial of OJ Simpson....

Get real, folks...

Anonymous said...

Bloody typical BBC, you get the scoop of the decade, and they come up with a measly hundred quid, stingy bastards.

Chuck Unsworth said...

Fine management principles here - Payment by Result. Any chance of that being applied universally? It might lead to some interesting revisions of payscales at senior levels.

Anyway, only £100? Wouldn't even go anywhere near the cost of a decent lunch for some of them.

Typical of the parsimonious BBC...

no longer anonymous said...

Did Labour ever complain when the BBC was biased against the Tories?

verity said...

That is what struck me as odd about the story. Let's face it, there's nothing sleazy and underhand the Beeb wouldn't do. But it was the amount of £100 that amazed me. I mean, the scoop of the century so far and £100?

What very strange reasoning.

Chris Doidge said...

If this had happened in relation to a Tory scandal you'd be crying "BIAS" from the top of Snowdon.

Johnny Norfolk said...

What do you expect from the BBC.

No wonder the background colour of its news web site is red.

Its the colour of a tabloid newspaper.

When is the BBC going to be taken to task over the way it has dumbed down.

MayorWatch said...

It wasn't "the BBC" but a manager within a department of the BBC.

When those higher up were alerted to the offer they ensured it was withdrawn.

Claiming it was a decision by "the BBC" would be like suggesting the decision by two Labour MP's to sell copies of the Hutton report represented the considered view of the entire party.

People in large organisations make errors and the measure of the organisation is how those in charge respond.

By making it clear the offer was unacceptable the BBC managers did the right thing.

Praguetory said...

£100 is peanuts. that's an hours work. What are you talking about?

Expat said...

No mention of this story on the BBC website. I tried calling them and offering them the story for GBP 100 but nobody would take the call.

Anonymous said...

I have often wondered what is the Conservatives view of the monarchy. Are modern Conservatives still monarchists or are they now all republicans? The Prime Minister has this dilemma on his website. If you are a republican vote here: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/republic/.
If you are a monarchist vote here: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/keepthemonarchy/.

verity said...

Expat - that's funny!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the 'fresh angle' is for proving Blair and the gang are in the clear. It seems more likely - the BBC's intention I mean.

Voyager said...

Time to get rid of salaries at the BBC and introduce pure performance pay..............how about making them pay their own TV licence too ?

Pascal said...

The sky news example is a joke right ?

Or is Murdoch a much misunderstood paragon of virtue ?

raincoaster said...

Journalists get paid to find fresh angles on existing stories (so few of them can come up with entirely new stories that it no longer seems to be a job requirement). I don't see the point of offering a bonus for something that's a key part of the job.

In fairness, a comparison to what the Tories used to charge is a fresh angle, so it's not automatically anti-Labour. Too bad I only learned about this after the offer was withdrawn. I could use some cash.

machiavelli said...

"The [Labour] Party's general secretary, Peter Watt, wrote to BBC director general Mark Thompson warning that the offer could distort reporters' news judgments"

So that's an admission that the Labour Party are the only crooks flogging peerages, then?

Ralph said...

All broadcasters do this sort of thing just the BBC were stupid enough to get caught.

the ghost of john trenchard said...

anon@2.05am
"I have often wondered what is the Conservatives view of the monarchy. Are modern Conservatives still monarchists or are they now all republicans? "

i'm a republican, and a member of the Conservative party. Haven't said it to any local Conservative party yet though. Well, i only signed up recently, so i thought it might have been a tad impolite, since I gather that the vast majority of them are monarchists.

And i mean republican in the American revolution sense of the word, rather than the IRA or the U.S. Republican "pork barrel" Party or French system - Cato Letters , Thomas Jefferson, Paine, rights of man, U.S constitution - all that sort of freedom loving liberty stuff...

maybe being a "republican" will become the new "gay" - might we see headlines in the future with "Tory MP outed as a republican!" or something like that?

Dont get me wrong - i love Liz , god bless her - she does a fine job, but we have to move on before King Charles "I love Islam" the Third takes to the throne. Time to move on I think...

Anonymous said...

Iain asks: "Can you imagine the outcry within the BBC if Sky News had been caught doing such a thing?"

Er, are you foolish enough to believe that hacks at Murdoch Inc. aren't already offered cash for scoops?

So let me get this straight - the BBC are accused of cosying up to the Labour party but then at the same time they're being criticised for trying to embarrass the party by lobbing mud at the leader.

I'm not following this logic...

I think this is a case of no-one really knows what's wrong offering cash for scoops (it's legal as opposed to cash for peerages), but because it's the BBC, everyone sees it as a perfect oppotunity to just play Bash-the-Beeb.

Anonymous said...

The real question is why only that story?
Either the BBC is introducing performance related pay (despite all the benefits of job security and pensions etc that they already enjoy) or it is on a obsessional hunt for something to besmirch this government.
It is a sign that BBC Westminster is getting a bit frantic...