Archive for the ‘BBC business’ tag

BBC does the business

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How can the BBC overcome the perception that it’s biased against business? Sir Alan Budd’s report, ‘On Impartiality of BBC Coverage’, published last Friday, made it clear that this perception wasn’t accurate. The BBC’s coverage ‘meets the required standards of impartiality’ Sir Alan said, and the BBC takes the genre seriously.
His only two substantive criticisms were that when the BBC interviewed ‘doyens of industry’ it tended to veer from scathing to sycophantic, and that BBC news coverage was too prone to present business stories only from the view of the consumer (rather than the employee, the shareholder, the investor etc.).
However, if you look at the submissions from industry a different picture emerges. The British Retail Consortium, for example, accuses the BBC of bias against large retailers, of a failure to balance stories, of a willingness to accept NGO claims as fact, and in some cases of deliberate misrepresentation (they cite a piece on Countryfile last December). C John Brady submits that the BBC sees business as ‘big, bad and nasty’. And the CBI suggests the BBC has an ‘in-built bias against business’.
Why should business think this, especially since Sir Alan’s report found it to be untrue?
Well, the BBC partly has itself to blame. When it first appointed Jeff Randall as business editor it told people in industry that the BBC was reversing its previously hostile attitude. Profits would no longer be reported ‘as if a murder has been committed’ (according to the British Retail Consortium). Having confessed to being ‘anti-business’ the BBC dug itself a hole which it’s been climbing out of ever since.
Indeed, there is just as convincing an argument that the BBC is now not ‘anti-business’ enough, and that, given its non-commercial status, it is one of the only UK organisations that can scrutinise commerce free from conflict of interest. Especially since in this country, as John Cole remarks in a later submission, ‘regulation of business, including competitiveness rules’ seems much less rigorous than in the US.

Written by Martin Moore

May 29th, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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