Monday, January 17, 2005

The BBC "has no regrets"

There is no limit to the smug, self satisfaction of the BBC, even despite its lamentable coverage
of the tsunami. In fact, according to The Independent today, the BBC has "no regrets" over its approach to the disaster.

But this is not what you might think. It is merely an empty little spat between rival broadcasters as to why the BBC "failed to fully appreciate the significance of the story by not sending its best-known reporters", including its world affairs editor, John Simpson, to affected Indian Ocean countries.

Needless to say, the BBC's new director of news, Helen Boaden, has rejected these attacks, accusing in turn rival broadcasters of trying to make "heroes" out of their reporters.

Ms Boaden said: "There is always going to be criticism of the BBC, particularly in big stories and particularly from our commercial competitors. We were the first there and the coverage was excellent." The BBC was not as reliant as its rivals on big-name journalists and valued the reporters in its 40 overseas bureaux, she said. "We invest in that because we want that kind of expertise." Yea, right!

That is the nature of the problem – that the BBC is not even aware it has a problem. As Lord Pearson said, "We are up against a large, self-satisfied and introspective culture".

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