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Director General of BBC Resigns Over "Poor Journalism" 214

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-fact-checkers dept.
dryriver writes "George Entwistle, the new Director General of the BBC who had been on the job for a mere 54 days, has voluntarily resigned over a BBC program that featured 'poor journalism'. The program in question was 'Newsnight', which typically features hard-hitting investigative journalism similar to American programs like '60 Minutes'. On Friday night, Newsnight accused a prominent Conservative MP and former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, Lord Alistair McAlpine, of having sexually abused a number of young boys at Bryn Estyn Children's Home in the 70s and 80s. Only after Newsnight aired with the allegations in the UK did the BBC realize that 'the wrong photographs were shown' to the alleged sexual abuse victims, who are now adults, and that Lord Alistair McAlpine had nothing whatsoever to do with the abuses committed. Newsnight's 'poor journalism' caused George Entwistle, the Director General of the British Broadcasting Corporation, to resign voluntarily over the scandal caused by the erroneous allegations. This example of an important media chief 'resigning voluntarily due to bad journalism' is interesting, because many TV, Web and Print journalists make 'serious mistakes' in their coverage at some point or the other, and quite often no heads roll whatsoever as a result."
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Director General of BBC Resigns Over "Poor Journalism"

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  • Slashdot? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dan East (318230) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @02:29PM (#41950759) Homepage Journal

    At first I thought I clicked on the wrong bookmark, but the style and appearance sure looks like Slashdot, however to content is apparently completely random international news.

  • by Stephen Williams (23750) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @02:32PM (#41950779) Journal

    There's been a load of blah on Slashdot recently about some election in the colonies; turnabout is fair play :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @02:40PM (#41950825)

    Imagine what it'd be like if Slashdot editors had to reign over "bad journalism". Nothing would ever be the same again.

    They already do 'reign' over bad journalism...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @02:57PM (#41950951)

    This example of an important media chief 'resigning voluntarily due to bad journalism' is interesting, because many TV, Web and Print journalists make 'serious mistakes' in their coverage at some point or the other, and quite often no heads roll whatsoever as a result."

    This is not in any way uncommon in the UK. Whenever something goes wrong and catches the media's attention, which is inevitable in any big organisation given that the employees are only human, a frenzy will be worked up until one of the higher-up heads roll. Given intensive media coverage that lays blame wherever it can, many will chose to step down to avoid becoming the main ring event of the coming circus. Sensationalism triumphs regardless of reason. This is not unique by any means to the UK, but it is very distinctive here and you will usually hear of someone stepping down or getting sacked every few weeks. It even affects football coaches who fail to bring their teams to the finals, as though the coach could control the ability of all other teams and all luck involved in the sport.

    Somehow it has come to be expected that the head of any organisation can micromanage every single employee in the organisation ever single second of the day.*

    All that said, in this case it is reasonable to expect that the director general of the would be aware of this given the potential impact and that there were concerns several days before the program aired. If nothing else he failed to make himself accessible for important information.

    * It goes even deeper than that. Negative sensationalism sells and most things are framed just that way even when they do not deserve it. Just watch the "investigative" journalism of prominent presenters such as Kay Burley or Steven Sackur (in particular "Hard Talk"). They clearly ask questions that are intended to come across as incisive but which are often nothing but vapid, thinly veiled strawman arguments designed to make them appear insightful and clever. They completely ignore any answers given to them and continue to pursue this tainted image that they are trying to create in order to sensationalise the issue.

    It's no wonder that politicians and others stick to carefully engineered sound bites. Even the rare honest few who would like to explain intricate issues and other matters know that their words will be twisted to sell some scandalous headlines. /rant

  • by Genda (560240) <mariet@nOSpAM.got.net> on Sunday November 11, 2012 @03:20PM (#41951107) Journal

    ...Why not start that trend at the Huffington Post? Or Fox News?

    Because in those organizations we'd be down to janitors providing the news in about a week?

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