BBC has become a laughing stock

The BBC's PR teams earnestly stress the key messages of restoring public trust and confidence in the fallout from the Savile scandal, shockingly careless insinuations of child abuse and standards of journalism that would have discredited The Beano.

Ian Monk: 'Have I Got News For You has become redundant as daily news bulletins take the viewer beyond satire.'
Ian Monk: 'Have I Got News For You has become redundant as daily news bulletins take the viewer beyond satire.'

As heads continue to roll, their task is unenviable. An almost wholly hostile print media revel in the corporation’s discomfort, ready to caricature its every utterance in seeking to deflect the impact of its own potential Armageddon in the shape of the impending Leveson Report.

Broadcast rivals, envious of the BBC’s vast non-performance-related, charter-protected revenues, just about manage to keep straight faces as they report on the fall of rivals who neither saw, heard nor imagined the depths of their own incompetence.

Even The Thick of It would have been hard pressed to conjure up the scenes the BBC has presented its audiences with in reporting its own shortcomings.

On Saturday evening, Kate Silverton, a visage of concerned compassion that other news readers might have adopted for the death of a sovereign, intoned the breaking news of the resignation of the director-general. ITV had broken the same story an hour earlier.

A fortnight earlier, we had the bizarrely Stalinist spectre of the BBC’s Panorama programme turning its full investigative wrath on investigating Newsnight’s decision to drop a Savile investigation.

Then there was the circus cruelty of John Humphrys putting his own boss to the sword in a Today interview that sealed George Entwistle’s resignation.

Meanwhile directors, editors and heads of news programmes recuse themselves from all editorial decision-making as the investigations continue into the reasons for the BBC’s hopeless failures of news judgement. And a former soft-drinks marketeer is made acting editor-in-chief of the BBC’s news output.

Have I Got News For You has become redundant as daily news bulletins take the viewer beyond satire.

Never mind restoring trust; the main PR challenge is to stop the BBC dying from laughter.

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun

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