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    Britainís BBC Capitulates To a Very American Problem

    Britain’s BBC Capitulates To a Very American Problem
    The increasingly strident tone of CNN and the New York Times has crossed the Atlantic
    August 1, 2020
    James Jeffrey

    The BBC’s famous America correspondent Alistair Cooke perceptively observed that the trends and habits embraced by the US almost inevitably migrate over the water to the UK. Admittedly he gave a time lag of about 10 years, but he can be forgiven for not foreseeing how the Internet age would wipe out that interval; nor could he have foreseen how the fabled institution he devoted much of his life to would itself succumb to the rule in the worst way possible by aping the ills that plague the modern American media landscape.

    “A battle is under way for the future of the BBC News,” Roger Mosey, former head of BBC TV News, wrote in a recent article, “Bowing to Twitter culture is bad news for the BBC“ for the London-based Sunday Times.

    The BBC remains, arguably, the UK’s most effective bastion of soft power and an institution that the UK and its people should be grateful for. Working as a freelance journalist in the Horn of Africa, wherever I went, as soon as I mentioned I was a journalist people would ask if I was with the BBC (I wasn’t) or say how much they appreciated the BBC.

    The scope of the BBC’s worldwide coverage is indeed phenomenal. The production quality and creative and intellectual range of its radio productions alone are a wonder. During the COVID-19 outbreak, just as during World War II, the BBC’s radio and television broadcasts have been on hand to help the British public get through another crisis, and I can vouch that many a recent broadcast—or from the past and accessed via the BBC’s astonishingly large and varied online repository—has served as a source of morale and inspiration.

    In short, I write this as an enormous fan, user and admirer of the BBC—hence after I got into freelancing, which often included doing work for the BBC, when I knew I had an article coming out on the BBC’s main website the next day, I would never sleep well the night before due to a mixture of nerves and excitement that I could never fully explain to myself.

    Among the myriad media organizations and editors I have worked with as a freelancer since 2012, I learned the hard way how the BBC and its staff were usually head and shoulders above most others in terms of professionalism and basic decency.

    But, as they say, the times are a changing, and the BBC and its relationship with the British public is under severe strain and increasingly vulnerable—perhaps more so now than ever before.

    Mosey warns that the BBC risks being drawn into the culture wars that are being fought in UK national life with, if not quite as much vigour as with which they are being fought in the U.S., an increasing amount of shrillness and bombast as per Alistair Cooke’s law.

    Mosey notes a July appearance by the corporation’s director of editorial policy and standards before a governmental committee, during which the director discussed the risks of too many BBC staff enthusiastically adopting a work culture that succumbs to the darker side of Twitter and is “adversarial, more argumentative, more combative, more polarised and sometimes toxic.”

    * * *

    Source: Britain‚€™s BBC Capitulates To a Very American Problem | The American Conservative
    Last edited by Oceander; 08-01-2020 at 07:46 AM.
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