Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

The Hastened Demise of the News of The World: What If It Had Been The BBC?

So farewell – or good riddance – the News of the Screws. While it initially seemed to be a victory for the anti-Murdoch hordes on Twitter and rival media empires, it seems that the closure re-branding of the NOTW was pre-planned. Even so, it is clear that the plans have had to be drastically accelerated by the phone hacking storm.

Yet consider this thought experiment: suppose that a branch of another powerful media organisation had been guilty of such criminal and unethical practices. Suppose they had been found guilty of exploiting the vulnerable for a good story. If a bad apple hack or rogue investigator at, say, the BBC had done this sort of thing, what could we expect to happen?

BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place at the ...

Thank Goodness for Auntie

One would expect a storm from the rest of the media, debates in Parliament calling for heads or demands for major reform or even closure of the guilty channel or of BBC itself – including veiled gloating from the likes of Sky. One would expect an apology, maybe a resignation, then … errm, what?

Could a significant number of subscribers to the BBC cancel their direct debits in protest? They could, but they would risk, ultimately, imprisonment.

Could other market forces be brought to bear in the form of advertisers pulling their business from the Beeb? Apart from the BBC itself running irritating adverts for itself or the licence fee, there are of course no advertisements anyway. This non-commercialism, as we know, is a Good Thing because it preserves the BBC’s arrogance independence and protects it from the voice of its customers evil free market.

So, in other words, apart from some sideways shuffling or early retirements of token scapegoats, we would see little else apart from going through the usual motions of reviews and enquiries.

Of course, the BBC’s ethical credentials are impeccable so this is all purely academic. Even so, thanks to the special way the BBC is funded, we can be sure that there will always be one media behemoth that will continue to trample the opposition and apparently be the envy of the world.


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