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Rebuilding trust

Helen Boaden | 10:44 UK time, Monday, 31 December 2007

Several years ago when I was controller of Radio 4, I commissioned the Reith Lectures from the philosopher and ethicist, Onora O’Neill. She took as her subject the issue of trust and argued that the so-called “revolution in accountability” of the last decade, with its ever increasing micro-performance measures, had singularly failed. This revolution had not reduced mistrust in institutions. Rather, she argued, it had actually reinforced a culture of suspicion and disappointment.

Onora O’Neill’s lectures struck a nerve with a huge number of listeners as well as The Sun which ran a glowing editorial on them – definitely a first for the Reith Lectures!

We have a lot of performance measures at the BBC and I daresay we can look forward to more. Many of them are valuable – they connect us with the attitudes of our audiences for example and give us insight into our weaknesses. But as the events of the summer demonstrated with horrible clarity, you need a lot more than performance measures to build trust between your organisation and the people who use your services.

The shaming revelation that some of our competitions had been codded and some of our winners didn’t actually exist was a shock to many inside and outside the BBC. A few tried to shrug it off. Others took comfort from the fact that no-one at the BBC made a bean from these incidents - unlike some of our commercial competitors whose faked competitions made millions. But the vast majority of BBC people know that if you take the public for a ride – whatever your motivation - you will not be readily forgiven. It’s fundamentally disrespectful to the audience which pays for you.

So 2008 will be an important year for rebuilding a battered trust with our audiences. Some of it will include performance measures: everyone involved with content must do the Safeguarding Trust course for example and the BBC Trust will be counting to make sure they do. Parts of the press have depicted this training as a kind of Maoist re-education camp where we learn to tell the truth. I’ve done the course and they’re wrong: it’s a rigorous seminar about artifice and truth in production techniques with lots of discussion and debate. And yes, there are some right and wrong answers and yes, people understand and accept them.

But training is only part of what we must do next year. The real challenge in 2008 is the same as it is every year. It’s about good old fashioned integrity. It’s about living up to our values on a daily basis and being confident enough to own up when we fall short. In News, that means accuracy, impartiality, independence, fairness and open mindedness remain at an absolute premium.

Recently I was talking to a group of very bright and thoughtful senior journalists at Radio 5Live. One of them said that in the current climate, people are now fearful about making mistakes. Might we be in danger of killing creativity?

I don’t think so. I want people to be imaginative and take calculated creative risks and there’s absolutely no sign of this waning in the organisation. But I think that we should be alarmed about getting things wrong and making mistakes for a very simple reason: people in overwhelming numbers believe what we tell them. We must never take that lightly. It’s a huge responsibility and privilege. Indeed, it’s what trust in BBC News is all about.

As 2008 begins, we shall endeavour to continue to earn that trust. And I know that you will keep us on our toes as we do it.

Comments

As the interactive window to the world the BBC obviously thrives on criticism. At the same time it keeps pace with the leading-edge of technology. Using the services of courageous and competent journalsts the BBC does not rest on its laurels, raising the bar all the time by not losing the constancy nor objectivity. That explains why it is a cut above the rest catering to different interests and groups with the ever growing audience irrespective of age or region of the world.Keep up the good work: just think of the millions across the globe who are educating themselves and developing the critical sense through your balanced coverage. The BBC undoubtedly is a broadcaster dedicated to excellence.

  • 2.
  • At 12:16 PM on 31 Dec 2007,
  • James wrote:

Yes, you are right that trust in the BBc is at an all-time low. It is, however, a smokescreen to claim this loss of trust is down to competitions on how to name the Blue Peter cat.

The main reason the BBC is no longer trusted is because it is has become a culturally and politically (with a small p) partisan organisation, whose ideological "group-think" is not shared by the majority of this country's population.

Sadly, while past and present Political, Business and Science Editors (including Andrew Marr, Jeff Randall and at times Paxman along with many others) have publicly admitted that the BBC is effectively a monoculture, Helen Boaden has steadfastly and mulishly refused to ever accept this is an issue.

It is attitudes like hers that need to change or be sidelined if the BBC is ever to recapture the respect, love and, yes, trust that it had for so long.

At least she has now accepted there is a real and very serious problem with trust. I hope it will not take another several years for her to understand and publicly accept the real reason for it.

  • 3.
  • At 01:48 PM on 31 Dec 2007,
  • frank hanson wrote:

Helen Boaden´s comments are very thoughtful and expressed with a refreshing degree of humility.I just wish she would have a chat with the presenters of the Today Programme.What is often ignored is how bias/failure to be impartial, is conveyed through tone of voice - even a curt ´thankyou´at the end is enough to show disapproval.[and this is where for example Ed Stourton and James Naughtie betray the public´s trust] This is in marked contrast with the 5 o´clock PM programme where the good humour and objectivity of the presenters is in keeping with the values of the BBC Helen so rightly cherishes.

  • 4.
  • At 04:23 PM on 31 Dec 2007,
  • Ben wrote:

When you say you need to connect with the attitudes of your audiances is this a tacit admission that you have not been doing so in the past?

This is not news. You have been attempting to lead opinion for years - always questioning governments of either hue from the left.

Your coverage of the anti war protest compared with that of the countryside alliance march was instructive. The countryside march was almost invisible on the BBC because it did not fit your chosen narrative.

You were a monopoly and so powerful for so long you thought you could do whatever you wanted without any accountability at all. For a long time you were right. Not it seems any longer.

Now you have real competition in terms of output and hopefully soon you will also have to compete with other broadcasters for the licence fee.

It was amusing and apt that you slipped up over crowngate. Why apt? It is all too plausible that the BBC would have a pop at the Queen. It is public knowledge that the BBC is chock full of republicans.

Any suggestions from me on how to turn this around?

First question: do you really want it to change?

Is all this increased scrutiny just a real pain that will blow over eventually and let you quietly get back to setting the agenda?

Sorry, now that you have been caught with your hands in the till there is the obvious concern that any changes you make are only because you got found out rather than due to any real concerns about your own integrity.

You have to make some real changes in you editorial policy to reset the balance and regain trust. A few more individuals like Janet Daley on the airwaves would be a start. Currently you only put charactes like McKenzie and Littlejohn on to put forward libertarian ideas - I can only assume this choice of deliberately unattractive right wingers is policy.

Recruiting only through the Guardian is also bound to effect the culture of the organisation. The liberal worldveiw for which that paper is famous is now so ingrained in the way the BBC thinks that you are no longer in tune with the rest of the country. Which paper do you take Helen?

Dispite their problems this year, the BBC still think they are 'better' than the rest of us and we are all in need of their guidance. How ungrateful we all are for resenting paying their wages.

  • 5.
  • At 07:02 PM on 31 Dec 2007,
  • William B Hammond wrote:

Lack of respect for the BBC declines when it does not stick rigidly to its own committment to impartiality.

For example, figures published by the Home Office on domestic violence and put up on the BBC website are gender biased against males. The BBC's response, that they did not compile the figures does not excuse them of gender bias. Every meaningful study that has been carried out on DV shows that it is perpetrated by both sexes in roughly equal amounts. The Home Office figures depend upon actual reported cases, and since males do not tend to report, the figures are wildly incorrect.

  • 6.
  • At 07:13 PM on 31 Dec 2007,
  • Steve wrote:

One of the less than honest tricks being played by the BBC News on Freeview is to display the 'Press i' graphic all the way through the news programmes and not inform people that they can remove this screen burning menace by pressing the green button on the remote.

Obviously the BBC should promote new services, a few seconds would be quite acceptable but not for up to an hour or more.

  • 7.
  • At 08:34 PM on 31 Dec 2007,
  • SAGI wrote:

BBC and CNN are perpetrating the violence in KENYA.Which is really a bad thing.

  • 8.
  • At 04:58 AM on 01 Jan 2008,
  • hugh hunter wrote:

I like the idea of "strictly the truth" but I stoped for a second when I saw "our" values. I want to think that the BBC like the Civil Service,leave there own feelings and jugements aside, and report the "colourless and odourless" facts. The rest of the world think "BBC" stands for "truth"> I like that a lot. Your forefathers did a grand job. Dont let them down.

  • 9.
  • At 09:35 AM on 01 Jan 2008,
  • Andrew Kewell wrote:

I would trust the BBC more if it would stop the mindless parroting by all it's presenters of the 'man-made climate change' theory. A theory which is based on computer models, a failed politician's flawed film and the IPCC's suppositions which are drenched in self-interest, alarmism and biased research.
The opposing view, that we are just in a natural warming period which is based on actual proven evidence going back through hundreds of thousands of years of the geological record, is wholly ignored, or worse, treated with ridicule.

  • 10.
  • At 10:49 AM on 01 Jan 2008,
  • John O'Donnell wrote:

"accuracy, impartiality, independence, fairness and open mindedness" - you can't be serious.

The BBC reports every statement by an establishment figure as if it was fact and it avoids asking awkward questions (the only decent TV coverage on Iraq has been from Channel 4's Dispatches).

Also there is nothing admirable in striking a "balance" between the oppressor and the oppressed, although the BBC has been doing it since reporting on pre war Nazi Germany.

  • 11.
  • At 10:51 AM on 01 Jan 2008,
  • Rob Bruce wrote:

You say:

"In News, that means accuracy, impartiality, independence, fairness and open mindedness remain at an absolute premium."

So what happened to your coverage of global warming?

  • 12.
  • At 12:22 PM on 01 Jan 2008,
  • fnusnuank wrote:

Ms Boaden,

As revealed by 'the' poster 'John Reith' on Biased BBC in the last couple of days, the pseudonym John Reith is apparently used by a number of different people at the BBC when posting on BBBC.

Now I have no problem with your press office refuting untruths, 'JR' however, or a number of 'JRs' seem to spend an inordinate amount of time slagging people off.

Is this a good use of taxpayers' money?

Add to this the beeb facebook community and I ask to what end are your staff allowed to spend so much time surfing the net, in any private corporation this sort of behaviour results in dismissal.

Haven't they got anything to do? Perhaps you could get rid of a few and spend the money on decent programmes or reducing the £3,500,000,000 tax that everyone under pain of imprisonment has to pay.

  • 13.
  • At 01:16 PM on 01 Jan 2008,
  • Mario Ferretti wrote:

Trust in the integrity of the BBC used to have an important international dimension: in my view, it was British Whig culture still helping to civilize world history, long after the age of Hume. I think it started during WW2 in Nazi-occupied Europe, when listening to BBC radio was a dangerous but invaluable way to keep in contact with events, in the teeth of the attempts at manipulation by all-powerful Fascist regimes. The link between honest information and liberty was then obvious to all, and thus the BBC became a source of hope and courage for thousands risking their life in the pursuit of freedom. I actually saw it happen within my own family, in Nazi-occupied Italy when I was just five, and that is how I grew up with a special emotional tie to the BBC. So it was with dismay that I witnessed its slow relentless loss of standards. Believe me, it's not the codded competitions, bad though these were. It's the manipulative management of the news, by self-styled journalists who consider their mission to influence people's political views, rather than provide them with the available facts on which to base their own judgement.

The attempted manipulation of viewers signals a lack of trust in people, which in turn reveals a basic lack of faith in freedom. Hence, my own conclusion is that at the root of the problem is the BBC's recruiting policy. You cannot really hope to change an authoritarian frame of mind with any "Safeguarding Trust course". Rather, the enemies of freedom should be weeded out at the entrance gate. Ideally, that should be through self-selection, once the proper standards have been clearly (re-)established both in principle and in practice. How the latter can happen, starting from present conditions, is not at all obvious. But at least one should see the problem, which is that people will not trust the BBC until the BBC does not trust the people again.

  • 14.
  • At 05:09 PM on 01 Jan 2008,
  • Jim Conway wrote:

I dont agree with frank.
I enjoy today and find good impartial stories. My real worry is that the BBC will lose courage and be afraid to report

I no longer live in the UK, and don't watch BBC programmes, but I do use the BBC web page most days for news. Helen Boaden writes about trust, and uses an an example the shaming revelations in regard to game shows and competitions, but I am sure this is not the main issue.

Whilst such shenanigans do reflect badly on the BBC, much more important than this trivia is the way that the really important issues in our society are covered, and how our political and economic masters are taken to account by the BBC in the way they wish to shape the world, rather than the way that the populace would wish them to. Much the most shameful abuse of trust that the BBC has taken part in was the uncritical acceptance of the need for war on Iraq, and their craven back-down in the face of the Hutton enquiry.

We are facing a new year with the possibility of the complete meltdown of the world's financial institutions, a nasty recession, and increasing economic difficulties related to oil depletion. In the UK the deplorable divisions between the haves and have-nots will greatly add to social stress, and could be the cause of a dangerous mistrust of leadership, and that would include the BBC. Add to this our need to deal urgently with global warming, and societies both in the UK and everywhere else in the world face challenges of a degree and difficulty that humanity has never faced previously.

There needs to be an urgent and self-critical examination of the BBC's role in promoting the destructive monetarist, neo-conservative economics that have blighted many societies, but especially the Anglo-Saxon ones, with its consequent unbridled consumerism and its immoral economic disparities both national and international, and are the cause, in large measure, of many of the problems we now all face. We might not have realised this, but our journey through the early part of this new millennium is just the start of a fraught journey to a very different world. The inability of so many of our powerful organisations, whether political, economic or in the media, including the BBC, to understand this revolutionary change is lamentable, but probably not surprising. Trust will not be earned until you do come to understand all this, but I suspect it will be just a bit too late.

  • 16.
  • At 09:46 AM on 02 Jan 2008,
  • Martin wrote:


Fine ideals from Helen and from someone with a long history of listening, reading and watching the BBC I would say most of her concerns for the bond of trust between the corporation and its customers is illfounded. Being caught running phoney competitions is hardly going to dent the brand Helen.

Perhaps a more worthy observation in relation to the quality of the trust bond (brand) would be to look more closely at the dated attitudes within the corporation to editorial censorship and control.

On any given day one can read a torrent of protest on the BBC HYS website about the censorship of readers comments. This appears to be particularly acute in relation to people's desires to express strong views on immigration and Islam. Indeed I recall one particular morning in 2007 when Radio 4 was quite happy to let some mullah sound off (live) about how we were all going die because we weren't muslims and yet on the same day on HYS several of my own posts referring to the mullah's outburst got rejected.

I do think the bbc can itself a bit too seriously at times!

  • 17.
  • At 11:30 AM on 02 Jan 2008,
  • Arthur Simmonds wrote:

But Helen, none -- NONE -- of these "breaches of trust" were made by BBC News staff. They were made by under-paid and under pressure workers in other parts of the BBC. Workers in departments who have already suffered cuts like those you are about to impose on BBC News.

Having fewer journalists doing more work is only going to increase pressure and lead to more mistakes, isn't it?

  • 18.
  • At 03:05 PM on 02 Jan 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

Pancha Chandra #1
"...At the same time it keeps pace with the leading-edge of technology."

You must be joking. BBC can't even operate blog sites without major software problems perpetually preventing uploads and downloads. This from a government organization in a country which had delusions of sending a space probe to land on Mars. They were going to show NASA how to do it for 1/8 the price. Instead all they showed us was a dead Beagle which crash landed.

BBC has become a government financed mouthpiece for continental Eurosocialist politics subtly woven into its reporting of the news. That's why it has so little credibility and trust even among much of its own domestic population. And that I must now subsidize it in part only galls me to the point of perpetually pointing out their endless journalistic shortcomings. In fact, I am for the first time in my life starting to get a real dislike for the British. Nice going BBC, between you and George Galloway you are doing what I once thought was impossible. Small wonder 10% of your indiginous population has left England if BBC is representitive of what English society has become. The only question is what is taking the other 90% so long to do the same.

Helen Boaden says: "So 2008 will be an important year for rebuilding a battered trust with our audiences."

There's no such thing as "battered trust" when it comes to media. Do you really think audiences feel let down by the BBC? So you rigged a poll or two; did anyone get hurt? "Battered trust" is when your wife has an affair for several years; and that can be forgiven in a heartbeat if the result is a continued marriage with someone you love.

Audiences aren't looking for "truth and honour" they're wanting entertainment, lively television, enthusiastic investigation and as much honesty as you can get away with.

So please, Miss Boaden, stop the hand-wrangling and the truth bootcamps, start living in the NOW and get some damn good fearless reporting out there in 2008.

Individual wrongdoers (eg fake documentarists, pollsters and brown-envelope reporters) should be publicly shamed on a monthly programme hosted by Anne Robinson and let's leave it at that.

San lin fai lok (happy new year) from Hong Kong!

  • 20.
  • At 08:32 PM on 02 Jan 2008,
  • Tom King wrote:

How will we overcome the schools that through jealousy etc refuse to recognise 'Gifted Students'? In my experience it takes a very special teacher to recognise that some pupils are brighter than oneself. In my case they all where!

  • 21.
  • At 09:23 PM on 02 Jan 2008,
  • Jake Metcalfe wrote:

As one reader has stated, this is hardly about a few rigged competitions. The problem of trust goes very much deeper.

While the BBC certainly does have some excellent reporting and programmes, it still doesn't give the public the real information that goes to the heart of the issue - and there are some crucial issues that urgently need some objective reporting. And I'm afraid there is precious little of that on the issues that count.

If you look at the responses given by BBC editors such as Richard Porter and Steve Herrmann regarding the issues of September 11th, it is not an exaggeration to say that they mirrored the appalling research demonstrated by the original programme in question. Their responses were both insulting and patronizing to any serious journalist and researcher.

I think Helen, you vastly underestimate the level of self-censorship and basic lack of awareness of world politics presently manifesting at the BBC. Yes, there are highly developed specialisations yet there is also a persistent lack of "connecting the dots" between these domains and the current new stories that surface. One can only assume that it is "stockholm syndrome" going on or a most pervasive form of denial.

The geo-political situation is given thorough analyses through various high quality Blogs and independent news websites which leave the BBC by the wayside for sheer depth and impartiality - and most certainly independence.

The current issues surrounding for example, 9/11; the roots of al-Qaeda; the phony "war on Terror"; the erosion of civil liberties, corporate power; Establishment links to narcotics; weapons manufacturing; human trafficking and high level paedophilia and various other subjects are still not being given the in-depth analysis they so desperately need.

Take for example, the recent assassination of Benazir Bhutto. I don't believe that top journalists at the BBC are ignorant of the facts that the Pakistani ISI plays a major role in maintaing the illusion that Al-Qaeda is a the global terrorist group. Are you also unaware that the ISI maintains close links to the CIA?
The ISI is actually like a subsidiary of the CIA – outsourcing if you will.

And let us not forget that Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA with ISI happily providing covert support while acting on behalf of US intelligence.

"it's about good old fashioned integrity." And "...accuracy, impartiality, independence, fairness and open mindedness."

Quite so. Yet when do we ever see any statements like the above which would actually allow the public to be nourished with information that reveals the true workings of the world in which we live?

Answer: because the BBC is part of that process which seeks to normalize the very real and serious threats to democracy in the Western world and beyond.

Most of the editors and employees of the BBC are probably as conditioned as the rest of us to think that they are actually providing news and we are actually receiving it. In fact, on the whole, it is largely the same as Fox news albeit more civillised and subtle in the forms of propaganda on show. The BBC is failing miserably to report on the issues that matter which means on the integrity scale the arrow is absent.

Leaving out the obvious remit of those leaning on BBC controllers to slant the news in a particular direction so that news coverage never quite lets get to the core REASONS for unrest and turmoil, at a basic level, those soaring qualities you mention are all governed by certain beliefs and pre-dispositions. These will dictate how far down the track of truth the BBC is willing to go. Not much of a “conspiracy” is needed when those employed by the BBC are dumping rigorous journalism in favour of peer group conformity and fear.

Or so it seems.

Adam Curtis' excellent documentaries sometimes come close to revealing the "Magician behind the curtain" but his naivete never quite allows him to go beyond the systems of political idealism he so cherishes. Thus he is deemed "safe." However, even he has had accusations of being a conspiracy theorist leveled at him! How effective that word “conspiracy” truly is in making sure that
"...accuracy, impartiality, independence, fairness and open mindedness" remain platitudes in a juvenile exposition of reality.

So, if you mean that this "integrity" is REALLY going to produce some analysis that gives the independent websites a run for their money then I fear that you would be in imminent danger of losing your job. That is the level we are dealing with here.

  • 22.
  • At 10:30 PM on 02 Jan 2008,
  • bigfatgirl wrote:

It is surprising that BBC still moderates audience responses. In the Communist controlled media in China, people post their response straight away. Although the posts the government dislikes will be removed, they are already read by many people. In most cases, these messages will be posted abroad. However, if politically incorrect messages were sent to BBC, it wouldn't even be published.

  • 23.
  • At 12:37 AM on 03 Jan 2008,
  • Dale Whitaker wrote:

A lot of good, thoughtful stuff here. But I'm somewhat bemused by the idea that journalists have to be creative. Being creative means making things up. Surely that's the last thing we want of responsible, trustworthy journalism.

  • 24.
  • At 05:53 AM on 03 Jan 2008,
  • Gerri Michalska wrote:

I have been following the news on the presidential elections in Kenya. I have noticed that a number of media are inaccurate writing things like "Kibaki's re-election" or the BBC's "Odinga, the defeated opposition leader," yet no proof or evidence has been proffered by the BBC or any other medium as to who really won the election.

When i confronted the other very big name media about their statements they immediately became aware that they had NO PROOF and had to redress the issue and retract such assertions, i.e. They had no evidence.

So, I am asking you, the BBC, what evidence do you have that Odinga lost the election or Kibaki won it (as so far no one else has any evidence to that effect). YOU all are guilty of sloppy and totally wrong, inaccurate journalism. What is going on these days?

  • 25.
  • At 12:02 PM on 03 Jan 2008,
  • BenM wrote:

The BBC remains by far and away the most respected and trusted broadcaster on the planet.

It has a formidable reputation for accuracy and impartiality. That should never change.

However, hare-brained phone-ins will begin to erode that trust. Look at the dire consequences of deliberately fleecing the public has had for ITV and GMTV.

Ignore the witterings of obsessive and biased rightwingers to this site. They are out to skew BBC coverage towards their own prejudices. The fact that the BBC steamrollers all newspaper opposition in the public's mind shows that partisanship is not a major issue for a broadcaster providing hundreds of thousands of hours of output every year.

  • 26.
  • At 12:13 PM on 03 Jan 2008,
  • Andrew wrote:

"The real challenge in 2008 is the same as it is every year. It's about good old fashioned integrity. It's about living up to our values on a daily basis and being confident enough to own up when we fall short. In News, that means accuracy, impartiality, independence, fairness and open mindedness remain at an absolute premium. "

That all sounds great Helen, but I will believe it when I see it in practice. Please start with the many questions and issues which the BBC has refused to respond to on the http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2007/02/part_of_the_conspiracy.html and http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2007/03/part_of_the_conspiracy_2.html blogs.

Until the BBC seriously investigates and exposes the truth about the who was really behind the 9/11 attacks, any claims on it makes on integrity and trust are just Orwellian double-speak.

  • 27.
  • At 01:34 PM on 03 Jan 2008,
  • elizabeth wrote:

You will earn our trust when you start treating the news seriously.

What on earth were you up to yesterday promoting the film career of Julia Roberts? There was no news in this lazy package.

"others took comfort from the fact that no-one at the BBC made a bean from these incidents"

Can you be absolutely sure of that?

  • 29.
  • At 10:00 AM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Alex Swanson wrote:

"In News, that means accuracy, impartiality, independence, fairness and open mindedness remain at an absolute premium. "

Except, obviously, when these things conflict with the BBC's own left-wing ideology.

"They are out to skew BBC coverage towards their own prejudices. "

No, we're out to skew the BBC towards telling the truth. I could quote you two recent examples where the BBC website has deceived readers and where that deceit continues even though it has been pointed out to them.

  • 30.
  • At 11:49 AM on 04 Jan 2008,
  • Ynda wrote:

Trust in the BBC would increase if the comments entered into the blog actually appeared! :-)

I'm always confused when the summary log says something like (26) meaning 26 comments and the actual number of comments is 19...

  • 31.
  • At 03:43 PM on 07 Jan 2008,
  • Gordon wrote:

To earn the trust of the people, commission Adam Curtis to produce documentaries on;

1. The science and facts of 9/11.

2. The science and facts of the JFK assassination.

3. How international banking families own the world and their plans for us.

4. How business runs British politics. Who does the government represent?

5. How the Euro is just another debt-based money system but on a bigger scale.

6. Most importantly. The nature of banking and why usury is the true evil as it can only lead to more overall debt and debt-slavery for our children.

Happy New Year!

  • 32.
  • At 04:14 PM on 07 Jan 2008,
  • Alastair wrote:

How can the BBC regain the trust of the public when the entire organisation is at the beck and call of the Government. The BBC is pro Government, Pro Labour and overtly biased in favour of the EU (which the majority of the British public are now opposed to). I have just been trying to find out why the entire BBC has decided to go metric (where they used to, at least, offer us both units) and come across the following;

"The love of our traditional measures is rooted deep in our culture. So what causes the inexplicable craving to abolish them? The real reason for the BBC's arrogant attitude is revealed in a quote by Jonathan Amos of BBC News Online, "We are now in the bosom of Brussels." The BBC has decided to collaborate with Brussels and force-feed the population with metric measures. The opinion survey shows how out of touch it is with the listening and viewing public.

This loathing of our customary measures goes against the earlier policy set out by the BBC Chairman, Sir Christopher Bland, who wrote to the British Weights & Measures Association saying, "We are not in the business of imposing anything on the public..."

It is time the BBC, and weather forecasters in general, took notice of what the public wants and give renewed priority to our traditional imperial measures."

Need I say more

  • 33.
  • At 09:58 AM on 13 Jan 2008,
  • merle wrote:

It's good to read that BBC journalists are going to be unpacking the concept of 'artifice and truth' in news production. The recent Iranian boat 'provocation' would serve as a good case study as the disembodied vocal threats turn out to be artificially spliced. The way the BBC deals with these incidents (or fails to deal with them) affects trust levels. Questions about the audio-visual authenticity of certain Bin Laden tapes have been raised for years, too. It would be heartening to see BBC journalists - re-energised by their 'truth and artifice' module - investigating audio-visual 'events' and separating the wheat from the chaff on behalf of increasingly sceptical audiences.

  • 34.
  • At 06:51 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • Michael Toner wrote:

I applaud the general gist of your 'earning back trust' theme. One of the main reasons I enjoy BBC Radio (Four) is the absence of adverts. Please don't spoil this by advertising BBC TV programmmes on Radio.
Not all change is necessarily good.

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