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The BBC: clinging to the edge, on purpose

Posted by Richard D North in Interrogating the Media / Society on 13 December 2008

Why we posted this: The BBC has no idea how to be a respectable broadcaster, and not much desire either. How could it? Its biggest fear is that it won’t hit its numbers. 

The original stories:
When did bullying become acceptable?

Terence Blacker

The Independent

29 October 2008

Summary of the stories:

Terence Blacker reached for a larger point behind the Brand/Ross fiasco. Cruetly, he notes, has been outlawed nearly everywhere except the media, where it is the new guarantor of success.

livingissues comment:

The BBC has a horror of not being popular. Bad taste is in. But the BBC isn’t awfully good at expensive bad taste (X Factor’s early rounds, Big Brother throughout). So it tries to be more creatively edgy, and with some success (Have I got News For You).

In this race to the edge, it will sometimes fall over. Thus the latest fiasco.

As Blakcer says, the irony is that the mass culture is simultaneously outlawing saying boo to any gooses on, say, the playground whilst monstering celebrities on air and in print all the time.

That’s weird. But we should not be surprised that Brand and Ross are motor-mouths: they’re paid to be so.

Arguably, we should not be surprised that the BBC quite oten crosses the line. It is run be very hard headed pragmatists who believe that getting attention matters more than almost everything else.

It is not likely that any BBC executives have made a bad career move in giving Brand and Ross too much freedom. Such producers will thrive in or out of the BBC, and even after the BBC, and even if they help destroy it. And they may have helped ensure its survival.

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