To thine own self be true

BBC News continues downhill

Posted by Polonius on 21 September, 2006

BBC News’s Web site is currently leading on the story of yesterday’s car crash involving Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond.

Let me say at the outset that I have no doubt this has been a terrible experience for Mr Hammond and his family. I am pleased to hear that his condition is improving and wish him and his family, friends and colleagues all the best for the future. But is this really the biggest news story of the day? It was the lead story on BBC1’s Breakfast Time this morning and featured prominently on Today on Radio 4.

Choosing and ranking the day’s news stories obviously involves weighing up a number of factors. If most of the readers/viewers/listeners are in the UK, then they are likely to be more interested in events close to home than, say, a military coup in Thailand. A story involving a familiar face (even if it’s only from TV), will attract even more interest. I can even understand that colleagues at the BBC, who may know Mr Hammond personally, may allow their personal feelings to influence their judgement as to the significance of the story.

But I’m conscious that too many stories about BBC programmes feature in the BBC News. I can’t be the only person who has noticed the preposterous number of “news” stories about Doctor Who over the past year or two. And I can’t be the only person who suspects the prominence given to this story is partly down to a particularly cynical attempt to plug Top Gear.


5 Responses to “BBC News continues downhill”

  1. ElizaF said

    oh aye and I suppose the recent coverage of Steve Irwin’s death was merely a shallow attempt by the Aussie press to promote Australia?

  2. Edward the Bonobo said

    And then there’s the lazy journalism of simply copying a campaign group’s press release.

    Example: The other day, R4 featured a story about five seals, two of them pregnant, being washed up in Shetland. They rightly pointed out that no licence is required to shoot seals. So the news item appears to be that a campaign group that thinks shooting seals should be illegal has latched on to these five unfortunate pinnipeds. Of course, seals being shot by fishermen is – like it or not – a fairly common occurence. It may well be a valid campaigning issue – but news it ain’t.

    And Steve Irwin…I don’t watch most of the cable TV channels myself (although The Sopranos – the best TV show ever is on E4 tonight)so I didn’t know who the guy was. Manufactured hysteria? Remember when Diane Windsor died. Few people cared about her beforehand. Then suddenly the media were playing it as ‘a tragedy’. Result…maybe 20% of the population went insane while 80% stared aghast. I well remember being in Glasgow on the day of the funeral. All the shops were closed. Near opening time, doorways were crowded with disgruntled customers. Anyway…I never voted for her!

  3. Polonius said


    I was in Portsmouth on the day of Di’s funeral. The streets were deserted. I suspect the media’s hyping of the story was much more effective in stoking public hysteria in southern England than in central Scotland. Of course the BBC played a large part in that. On the day she died, I thought they over-reacted by devoting both their free-to-air channels to non-stop rolling news. Did we really need to be told every ten minutes that she was still dead?

    Come to think of it, maybe BBC News isn’t going downhill; it’s been crap for a long time.

  4. Shaastra said

    curse words (1) Thamesportal body, health (1)

  5. Sorry said

    Hey, My sincere apologies to all those whom I spammed. Wont do it in future. This is the last spam.

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