BBC: When Toffs Attack

The jackals are out for the BBC.

All the usual suspects are crawling over the media, trying to haul down the broadcaster in order to devour it and make a financial as well as a corporate killing.

Charles Moore, a long time Tory hack who edited the Daily Telegraph, said this morning on the Today programme on Radio 4, that the BBC was a corporation which complained of fake news whilst itself faking the news. This was not true and a gross calumny.

If you have missed the thrashings of the rats tearing at one of the few (only?) politically neutral news agencies in the UK, if not the world, you may be forgiven for thinking this was about  the BBC making up a story that led to a war at the very least; it wasn’t (they leave that to politicians – WMD anyone?).

What we are actually talking about is Martin Bashir mocking up a couple of bank statements in order to get Earl Spencer on board with journalistic access to his sister, Princess Diana. The resulting interview Bashir did with her was one she said she wanted to do. After its airing on BBC she wrote that Bashir had not shown her any documents, was not pressured to do the interview and she had no regrets at having given it.

Now if Charles Moore reckons the BBC was peddling fake news it seems he is saying that Princess Diana was the one lying, doesn’t it? Bashir may have used a dubious method to get close enough to her to suggest the interview, but he didn’t make any news up. Charles was having an affair with his now wife, Diana had had an affair with another man and she was desperately unhappy in the marriage. Prince William saying that the interview worsened his parents relationship hardly seems tenable in this light, it was already doomed.

Spencer has claimed this interview led directly to her death two years later, which seems to stretch the laws of causality beyond reason. But this whole affair has nothing to do with reason, it has all to do with establishment payback melding with a long term commercial media hatred of the BBC born of greed.

This opportunistic attack on the BBC comes on the back of 11 years of swingeing financial cuts on the Corporation by an ideologically opposed party in power. And the BBC hadn’t been in favour with New Labour before that, given its part in exposing the lies about WMD and the government exposure of the man who helped the BBC, Dr David Kelly, who subsequently died in mysterious circumstances.

Should Bashir have had the documents mocked up? Probably not. Is it a hanging offence? No. Was the interview faked? No. Did it reveal the truth about the state of the marriage of the heir to the throne and say something about his fitness to govern? Yes.

Did the interview lead directly to her death? In the same way as being born inevitably leads to our death. The choices all parties made after that took her to that terrible end. The fact that it was commercial journalists and paparazzi hounding her into that Paris tunnel, make the baying for BBC blood now all the more sickening.