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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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  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @02:49PM (#41950889)

    What did the BBC do wrong? They just reported that someone's name was being quoted by other people. This was entirely true

    Repeating such a serious allegation without hard proof is highly irresponsible, and probably libellous.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @03:02PM (#41950981)

    The BBC institutionalised paedophilia. Most celebrities of the time are admitting they were aware of what was going on but chose to protect their careers. The BBC deservedly came under flak. They tried to deflect by outing a senior (former) politician.They got the surname correct, they got the family correct, but they got the wrong guy.

    Now the witness claims mistaken identity and believes the perp died some years ago. Lord McAlpines brother, who died in 1991, lived in the area where the abuse is alleged to have taken place.

    Newsnight gets shutdown for a false (and very serious) allegation. But notice there was no pressure for dropping a report into Savile and his pedo activities when they had two witnesses prepared to go on camera.

    Note: this comes about a year after the reputation of Rupert Murdoch was destroyed. Rumors suggested he maintained his grip on power and was untouchable because he had some damning information on the most powerful in society. Now we're seeing the BBC under pressure. Watchout for a Murdoch comeback.

    There are many facets to this story. It touches on many powerful people, household names, and I suspect will become a very dirty war.

  • by BenJury (977929) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @03:09PM (#41951041)
    As far as I'm aware the BBC didn't actually name him. He was named on Twitter. I'm still at a bit of a loss why the BBC is catching the flack.
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Sunday November 11, 2012 @04:49PM (#41951673) Homepage

    The BBC made out the evidence was stronger than it was. In fact they had failed to do basic journalistic checks before publicising the allegation. They gave enough away that it was only a simple case of eliminating a small number of potential suspects to come up with a name, hence the internet rumours.

  • Resignation Genius (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nick_davison (217681) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @08:13PM (#41952857)

    Resigning is the RightThingToDo(TM), it's the ultimate apology

    His payoff is equal to one year's pay of £450,000 [bbc.co.uk] (approaching $700,000).

    Which he gets to claim for 54 days of work that he's also already been paid for. By quitting now, he's made just a hair under £10,000/day ($16,000/day), including weekends.

    If he'd stayed for five years plus a final year's payoff, he'd have been paid a fifth of that rate.

    I wish I could fail that hard.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:10PM (#41953715)

    Upping the number of pro-war media corporations that fall in line to support the state unconditionally would not make the world better:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_coverage_of_the_Iraq_War

    As bad as many other government organizations may be, I doubt their problems on average are worse than those of the BBC. Except for those who like sending soldiers out to kill a bunch of people and have no one question the justifications for millions of Iraqis slaughtered, starved, displaced and maimed, we'd find things are worse if all such organizations behaved in a similar fashion. Sure, some are even more wholly corrupt, but plenty are far closer to some semblance of humanity.

    I think the most evil part about BBCs bias of that war was after the US got a democrat ruler. The narrative immediately switched from 'defensive first strike to keep the scary Iraqi terrorists from coming to the US' to 'the poor savages in Iraq need us to protect them from themselves'. The strategy of fear used by the conservatives and the strategy of guilt by liberals is such a timeless emotional appeal used by warmongers. I'd be impressed by how refined the method has become if it weren't so vile. The BBC played its part in this story telling well; regardless of the fact that it was the military occupation causing the chaos and death, the BBC continually pushed the message that the sunnis and shias were bent on genocide. They lied outright to turn the anti war left into new supporters of the military murder machine as a means of 'protecting Iraqis'. The reason I think this was the most disgusting part of BBCs behavior regarding the war is that it perpetuated not only a factual lie about the conflict, but it also reinforced a false moral proposition which is that it is morally good and right to inflict violence against innocent people as a means to achieve the end of protecting them.

    To be fair, most all MSM made this narrative switch after the 2008 election. However unlike other mainstream media corporations, the BBC tends to be overlooked as a supporter of evil. We can see in this very thread a number of people that look favorably upon the BBC, while eagerly condemning and mocking FOX. However, the only difference between the two is a degree of subtlety and accent.

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