Former Murdoch hack James Harding will leave his post as director of BBC news at the end of the year.
Harding’s tenure at the BBC consisted of the implementation of two objectives he brought from The Times: Stupefaction and political bias.
Dumbing-down the news, both in content and in presentation, has always been a key component of any Murdoch newspaper or broadcaster. The Murdoch ethos is diametrically opposed to what the BBC is supposed to do as stated by former director-general John Reith: Inform, educate and entertain.
The effects of Harding’s anti-intelligence directives were visible throughout BBC news coverage. Some general examples:
- Focus on irrelevant side issues to restrict time spent on most important news
- False “balancing” of informed guests with complete idiots in spurious debates
- Deliberate lack of preparation by interviewers so that interviewees could spout nonsense with no fear of follow-up question to challenge their falsehoods
- A reliance on outside consultancy firms – with dubious reputations – to provide guests for on-air opinions, with no prior research done by the BBC into the integrity or knowledge of said guests or of the promotion behind them
- Circular conveyor belt of the same coterie of Screaming Heads And Professional Trolls on roundtable discussions and interviewed as “experts.”
- Recruitment policy that focused on which posh school a candidate attended rather than her or his ability
All of the above techniques were designed to stifle the flow of information to viewers or listeners and to distract. That is, all are techniques of Murdoch’s media.
Though not specifically right-wing, the bias that Harding enhanced (rather than introduced) at BBC news had the objective of shifting the BBC’s positioning of the Overton window further to the right.
This rightward drift was achieved by, among other tactics,
- Dedicated campaign to normalise UKIP via disproportionate airtime given to the party’s protagonists
- Equal and opposite (to above point) marginalisation of left-wing parties and campaign groups
- Marked difference in style (with same interviewer) between interview with a right-of-centre guest and one with a left-of-centre guest
- Use of members of various right-wing think-tanks as “independent” “experts” to provide “analysis.”
Harding was able to attain his two main objectives without too much internal opposition because the threat of interference in the BBC by the Tory government, with respect to charter renewal, was always a sinister presence.
The appointment of Harding was a bad appointment by the BBC. It was an appointment informed by fear, a fear that encouraged the BBC to try to please the Tories by appointing someone they thought the Tories would like.
Will the BBC regain any courage before appointing Harding’s successor?