Murdoch’s war with the BBC escalates
In a leader article, The Sun has accused the corporation’s journalists of outright bias, claiming “the Beeb is today the pompous voice of defeated socialism.” In language, extreme even for the media mogul’s favourite attack dog, the paper claims that the BBC newsroom “broadcasts ludicrous warnings about cardboard cities, mass evacuations and Nazi style extremination of poor families as if they were fact.”
It warns the BBC that its public funding “must not become a licence for malicious and unscrupulous propaganda”.
The peg for this attack – extraordinary even by The Sun’s standards – is the use of a 22-year-old interviewee who the BBC claimed was a victim of benefit cuts. The Sun runs a story today claiming that the young man admitted he was “better off on benefits” than working. A headline stated: “Viewers conned by Beeb”.
Such blunt accusations of bias are no small thing, especially when the BBC has just had its wings clipped by the Government, with the corporation’s licence fee frozen for six years and an effective cut of 16% in its budget.
This war of words is also part of a commercial battle, with Rupert Murdoch wanting to take full control of BSkyB (his company is the largest shareholder in the satellite broadcaster). The plan, which would enable all sorts of opportunities in bundling TV, press and online content across the News Corp empire, is being fought by media rivals. The BBC’s director general Mark Thompson has been an outspoken critic of the growth of Sky. Meanwhile BSkyB is on a charm offensive over Thompson’s claims that it fails to make its fair share of original shows.
The News Corp takeover of BSkyB would require the approval of the competition authorities. The Sun’s leader, attempting to inhibit BBC criticism of the new government, has probably provoked rounds of high fives in the Downing Street press office this morning.
Picture: EPATagged in: bbc, BskyB, mark thompson, media, politics, the sun
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