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back to article BBC's new bosses - the lawyers - strike out Savile probe testimony

What's the difference between the NHS and the BBC? You can't get fired from the NHS, and you can't get fired from the BBC. It's a trick question. As we know from the Mid Staffordshire hospitals scandal, despite "the terrible and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people" from poor care, nobody was sacked. The lowliest staff …

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I wish the BBC would stop the self-flagellation and get on with making some decent TV.

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Meh

The BBC used to be impartial, but now it is Officered by the socialist middle classes BBC News and opinion can be taken with a pinch of salt as you would do with news bulletins in South American banana republics and those of dictatorships in Africa.

They are pro socialist/communist and against anyone who would dare to expose their Empire.

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Anonymous Coward

So LarsG...

That's at least 3 people (downvotes on your comment so far) who want everyone taxed so they can hear their own Left/Greenie opinions broadcast back at them every day!

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I guess that kinds

depends on your standpoint

(bloody godwin)

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FAIL

Spoken like a true raving nutter

The problem with right wing nutters like you LarsG is that you condemn anything that doesn't serve up your jaundiced, paranoid twisted view of the world as left-wing-bias.

The UK broadcasters (BBC, ITV/N, Sky) do a damn fine job of informing the public without being too partisan. They even go out of their way to give a platform to people of your ilk to give a "balanced" point of view, whereas Joe public would put you in a padded cell!

If you actually analyse the BBC political output, it often tips towards the right in its contributors. For example

Question Time has far more people of right wing persuasion then left - do some research here, not the Daily Mail either look at how many and who is on the panel. Right wing journalists like (the awful) Peter Hitchens and (frankly bonkers) Melanie Philips outnumber left wing ones by 2:1.

Andrew Neil presents another flagship politics program, hardly a leftie or even establishment.

Funny how all politicians from Harold Wilson to the modern day have criticised the BBC and ITV/N as being biased, must mean it's doing its job fairly well if it gets under their skin.

It obviously gets under yours too, so you're in great company of the liars, cheats, war criminals and charlatans that have had power in the UK both political and economic.

Suggest you switch off your TV, read the Daily Heil and blog along with other muppets like Guido Fawkes

Muppet

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Re: Spoken like a true raving nutter

Having left Blighty in the footsteps of Columbus I can confirm that the BBC is sodding marvelous. Yes it has a slight left bias and there are areas of management that should be drowned, given CPR and drowned again, but it has a singular advantage which it occasionally brings to bear.

Due to how it is funded the BBC does not have to focus solely on whatever tat tv the dribbling, bargain madness bingo crowd are fixated with. Yes it pays attention to ratings to it will have some dross, but now and again they can sneak some decent TV under the radar that would never be given airtime on commercial stations, at least prior to cable \ sat TV made 1000 channels a reality and then quality suffers. The Life series and Wildlife on One spring immediately to mind. Take a moment to watch 'Africa', now compare it to some of the other wildlife TV. Africa sent a camera crew to the middle of god knows where for 6 weeks just to capture 1 minute of footage of two giraffes fighting. Rather than sticking together stock footage and making do, they make the effort to get whatever footage they need to tell the tale, be it giraffes fighting or whales giving birth and a huge pile of guano in a cave somewhere. Plenty of people will want to sit and watch a fly onthe wall doco about the green room on a dancing show for chefs, and theres shyte aplenty on the other channels for them, but for the love of god keep the beeb!

Another area where it mostly shines (there are glaring exceptions I admit) is news. The BBC's screwups stand out because they mostly get things right. What counts as a BBC screwup is SOP at FOX \ MSNBC etc, at the BBC it's incompetence, at FOX it's what they aim for.

The BBC is a popular target because people see it as funded by a 'tax' and we all hate taxes etc etc, and I agree the BBC needs to clean shop and stop screwing up with proto-simian management hires, but seriously cherish your BBC. Life could be a hell of a lot worse! I know it's hard to see unless you live with the alternatives, but they really are one of the best broadcasters out there, not perfect but easily one of the best.

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Anonymous Coward

@LarsG

Your understanding of the world is just too simplistic, perhaps a nice space to live in, but rather far from reality. I hope you will have time to travel more and read more. Never too late.

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Big Brother

Re: Spoken like a true raving nutter

@cocknee

I don't really think you could have done more to back up LarsG if you tried:-

He has an opinion different to yours, and he may be somewhat less left than you - you say "...right wing nutters like you LarsG..."

You go on to say "...you condemn anything that doesn't serve up your jaundiced, paranoid twisted view of the world as left-wing-bias..."

Your name-calling and insulting anyone who has the temerity to hold a viewpoint different to yours is moderate, thoughtful and sensible, is it? It does have all the hallmarks of the Left's tendency to hurl mud at all opponents.

If you query unlimited immigration - the Left says "You're a racist".

If you don't want to be in the EU - the Left says "You're a little Englander living in the 1950's"

And many other examples too numerous to mention... although I WOULD refer to the true socialist ideals of those such as Blair & Mandelson, both of whom have property/properties and bank balances which show they're true followers of Kier Hardie...

You allude to LarsG (who only repeatedly the widely held viewpoint that the BBC is middle-class left biased) being "..put in a padded cell"

More Joe Stalin than Libertarian, perhaps.

I will not insult you - or even call you names - but writing as a sixty-something year old, who is a postgraduate of the University of Life & Reality, I sincerely hope your views mature somewhat in the coming years...

Inevitably this will be very down voted, as anything vaguely political on El Reg is generally judged from the viewpoint of the Students' Union bar during a meeting held by Danny Cohn Bendit & Tariq Ali - neither of whom have grown up in the years since they first came to public attention.

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Would these be the SAME "sharp-elbow'd middle classes" we often hear derided on the BBC for "taking all the best schools"? despite the fact that without them these schools would probably get much less in the way of parental support and fund raising?

The hypocrisy in the BBC stuns me sometimes...

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Childcatcher

der?

That's rather the point, selecting schools allows the "best" (ie helpful to kids and school) parents to choose the "best" schools, you end up with very good and very bad schools not average schools. Pity the poor kids who have crap parents and are now guaranteed crap schools too.

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Anonymous Coward

How leftie is the Beeb

The News editor is a former Tory apparatchik

The main Political analysis is done under the control of Andrew Neil, hardly anyone's leftie, with a former Tory Cabinet Minister and a less than stellar token Labour person.

The head of the board of Governors, another former Tory Cabinet minister

The main public news/politics discussion, under control of an Old Etonian Bullingdon Boy

One of the main news readers on the rolling news, daughter of ANOTHER former Tory Cabinet Minister

I think your stereotype of the BBC doesn't hold up.

It is the voice of the ESTABLISHMENT, not the voiuce of the Left

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Re: Spoken like a true raving nutter

The BBC's editorial output is surprisingly balanced at times given the fact the its employees are overwhelmingly left wing in their politics.

There have been some noteable exceptions, such as the Middle Eastern correspondent blubbing over the death of the Palestinian terrorist leader Yasser Arafat. Not releasing the Balen Report really only compounds the perception of bias.

Your assertion about the BBC tipping to the right more than the left is a rather hilarious assertion however, which I've only ever encountered by rather left wing ex-colleagues at the BBC.

Radio 4 is really is home to the left, and yes wowser some ghastly right wingers (mainstream journalists, however) are allowed on their panels alongside irrelevant & unknown far-left loony types from Socialist Action or SWP and the like.

There are rather few right wingers at the BBC, however this is to be expected, it's a large publicly funded organisation, it's not going to attract many Thatcherites and will do many socialists. Surely noone can seriously disagree on this point?

Bonus points for mentioning Mel Philips & Andrew Neill however. I could have written that one for you.

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Facepalm

1970's tech, too

What they've done is to print off the various witness statements and then scan them back in. You can see photocopy blur/shadow marks at the edges of the pages.

This also means it is impossible to search them and it is impossible to simply cut and paste a quote from them.

Well done the BBC, another winner.

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Re: 1970's tech, too

Yeah, but would you trust them to redact an electronic version? In fact, would you trust anyone without technological knowledge to redact an electronic document?

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Re: 1970's tech, too

better than the hi-tech CIA method of using black text on a black background in Adobe ....

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Headmaster

Re: 1970's tech, too

Oh, is that why they've done it? That never occurred to me.

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Re: 1970's tech, too

remember the mclaren ferrari mole f1 screwup where the hearing transcript was released and you could read all the redacted text by copying it to notepad. I assume they decided to cover their arses. Props to them for getting it right.

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Anonymous Coward

The BBC is an awful organization.

If the UK government is short of a few bob, they could get a few billion pounds selling the decrepit, disgraced organization.

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Devil

Oh, wow! Rupert Murdoch is a subscriber ti The Register.

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Anonymous Coward

Suddenly

El reg appears to have been overtaking with lefties and commies in the last few months; And the BBC is shit.

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Pint

i disagree

I think the management (and those to whom they listen) are crap, but the rest, and their productions are fine.

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AC 16:52

Is that Rupert or James - reveal your name!

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Anonymous Coward

Then we'd be left with Rupert Murdoch and his gang...hmm...let me think about that one...nope!

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Anonymous Coward

You're an awful organisation.

And, unlike the BBC, you're worthless.

(See how I've added nothing to the discourse? Remind you of anything?)

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Happy

Re: Suddenly

I feel contributors here are not socialists or commies but, in the main anarchists, which isn't a bad thing.

More likely to be an open minded bunch of concerned individuals, excepting the trolls, and extremist nutters.

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Facepalm

Re: Suddenly

>> in the main anarchists

Any actual anarchists chiming in in support of the monumental bureaucracy of the BBC would be taking two-facedness to a ludicrous extreme.

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Public money...

I'd be concerned if potentially libellous comments in the transcripts were turned into a bean feast for lawyers. Yet more tax payers' money up in smoke (the license fee is, technically speaking, a hypothecated tax).

That's not to say that those responsible should be protected, but its not obvious that publishing the redacted bits would achieve that. It might just end up with yet more expensive legal fees.

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What Paxo shoud do

Is spend the next news night he does reading the un-redacted version.

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Paris Hilton

Re: What Paxo shoud do

And you just know those black rectangles are hiding some really good shit from Paxman. Bloody BBC bastards!

Paris because you don't have a Paxo icon but they both begin with a P so its kind of a redacted version of a Paxo icon in a sense, sort of!

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Devil

An ingrained fear of taking responsibility inhabits every large public sector organisation. That's why the BBC has become such an amorphous risk-averse blob of middlebrow mediocrity.

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Not just the BBC. Every public body is the same, all management being arse-covering followers of procedure and protocol to the absolute letter so they can hide behind it in their defence.

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Not just every public body...

... pretty much all large corporates are the same

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Damned whatever they did

Right from the beginning of this sorry saga, it was clear that someone (and I'm just paranoid enough to see the hand of the Tory government* and Murdoch-controlled interests fiddling quietly in the background) had ensured that, without exceptional management ,** they were damned whatever they did. If the BBC had run a programme saying that St Jimmy of Leeds (because that is how he was perceived prior to all this) was not a terribly nice man, and that they had sent files to the police for investigation, there would have been calls for the BBC to be disbanded, the management sacked, and a great new era of commercial TV to be established because the BBC are a bunch of untrustworthy bastards with no loyalty or respect. Only exceptional management could have dealt with that (which, as we know, didn't exist), and we would be in effectively the same situation as we are now. The same applies to every action the BBC takes over this now - if they hadn't redacted large parts of the report, then they would have been criticised for leaking information that might prejudice future prosecutions. Because they have so redacted information (perhaps a little over-zealously), they are clearly hiding things that the sensation-consuming public NEEEEEED to know. No win for the BBC again, and this is the way it is going to go throughout all this until the government decides a) that the BBC is too independent and needs to come into the fold, or b) that it needs to made more "independent" and effectively turned into another commercial broadcaster.

I hope I'm wrong, but I do not see a third option.

*The Tories have had an ideological problem with the BBC for some time.

**Which the BBC hasn't had for a while

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Holmes

It's not the BBC

Never mind the BBC and the NHS getting away with it. At least they do a bit of self-flagellation.

The teflon-shouldered masters are the CPS, who happily shrug off criticism that they refused to action police prosecutions because 'the witnesses weren't very reliable'.

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Coat

But Andrew, I thought you liked lawyers...

Now you see where this "sue 'em all" attitude gets you.

As for the fines, they should be paid by the people in charge, not the "licence payer".

I've left the summons in your coat pocket.

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Thumb Up

Re: But Andrew, I thought you liked lawyers...

"As for the fines, they should be paid by the people in charge, not the "licence payer"."

Can we expand on that one:-

Fines imposed on banks - split between the board in proportion to their pay.

Ditto fines on NHS bodies - split between management (same proportions)

Also fines on councils - ditto and ditto.

In face, fines imposed on ALL public and corporate bodies - make those running the show pay from their own pockets: with no 'bonuses' or pay rises permitted to cover the cost of fines.

I think they'd start behaving a little better then...

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Re: But Andrew, I thought you liked lawyers... @Ted Treen

If by "behaving a little better" you mean "never doing anything just in case I get punished". There should be a third way, but I can't think of one.

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It is partially off topic, but I believe the BBC called it correctly in not showing the original Savile Newsnight.

The ITV documentaries only showed you one side of the story. Had Savile faced a trial regarding some of the allegations - which he did not, albeit possibly incorrectly - I suspect some of the witnesses against him would have had trouble when facing a defense QC. The blogger who goes by the name of Anna Raccoon was at Duncroft School where many of the accusers in the ITV documentaries came from, and she has very different recollections from those in the documentaries. Read this: http://www.annaraccoon.com/annas-personal-stuff/trial-by-posthumous-innuendo/ along with other very interesting posts she made regarding Savile.

I believe that Savile may well be guilty of some sex offences (though I certainly don't know that), but I also believe that many accusations are exaggerated or totally unfounded. No lawyer has defended him. That is, I suspect, the difference between him and Chris Jefferies, who came in a for a similar onslaught and eventually showed the media told massive lies about him (read his evidence to the Leveson Inquiry online).

Though our libel laws may be flawed, they act to keep the media a lot more honest than they otherwise would be. Savile is dead, and the papers can legally say what they please about him. Indeed, they have said that he was a necrophiliac, a Satan worshiper and suggested he was the Yorkshire Ripper, in amongst more standard sex offences. A little pause for thought is required by the public.

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'xactly so

The BBC had recently been rightfully castigated in the McAlpine affair for publishing unsubstantiated allegations that turned out to be untrue. To go ahead and publish a whole lot more unsubstantiated allegations would scarcely have been sensible.

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Re: 'xactly so

As I wrote earlier - the BBC couldn't win. Circumspection got them hanged, but so would sensationalism.

It is a sad time we live in regarding press freedom and individual protection from being found guilty of modern witchcraft.*

*Allegations of sexual behaviour that someone doesn't find acceptable.

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Anonymous Coward

BBC

Barricaded

Bastion of

Conservatives

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transparency?

Where are wikileaks when you need them? ;-)

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Unhappy

that about sums it up I guess.

"In a bureaucratic culture, people are terrified of taking risks and defer to some technical authority to minimize exposure to themselves."

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Angel

As I understand it, the redactions were for legal reasons, i.e. someone saying things that some other third party might sue over.

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"As I understand it, the redactions were for legal reasons..."

No - it was the lawyers that pointed out that most of the redactions had no legal basis, were solely to save faces of BBC senior management and that these sections should not have been redacted.

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Better to redact too much and then release it later than to reveal too much and redact it later ...

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FAIL

"monstrous libel on a public figure based on the flimsiest hearsay"

This applies to Savile, too. No judicial authority has ever made a finding as to his culpability.

We have plenty of Plods proclaiming their thoughts, an ex-Plod holding himself out to be an expert on child abuse and we have a group of adults who saw fit to withhold their allegations until Savile was in no position to defend himself.

I make no judgement about what Savile may, or may not have, done but only of the wagon train that rolls out more and more accusations. There are legal procedures that could be implemented, should the government wants so to do.

If this is British Justice it sure has fallen pretty low.

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Paris Hilton

Publicly funded again...

... and publicly abused again.

Why do we in the UK have to suffer so much from the indulgences and overindulgences of our publicly funded overlords?

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Re: Publicly funded again...

Because you (the great british public, not you personally) keep rushing back for more bitch slapping.

My ex-girlfriend was also ex BBC, I think the BBC is old and lumbering and needs a big kick, perhaps along the lines of no more license fee, let it make it like any other company.

Her opinion was always that the BBC just went wrong somewhere and was really good inside.

Eventually, i convinced her that the people who think this are either : ex employees or people who only remember the better days of radio 4 playing the archers while they dig their garden (Midsummer Murders stylee).

People like me who have never seen a good reason why the BBC needs to be funded... just dont want the tax any more... I dont watch the BBC anymore, i dont like in the UK...

The impartiality that is claimed is clearly such a problem for Sky News, ITN, etc etc impartiality comes from many suppliers of the information, NOT from one state organisation that is run on tax, no matter how many boards or trusts there are.

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