A succession of scandals over phone-ins, reality shows and less-than-honest editing meant the whole industry, as well as his employer the BBC, needed to rediscover a sense of purpose, he said.
The print media, which had to face the challenges posed by the internet and digital media, agreed with him and praised him for asking wide-ranging and tough questions of his industry.
The Observer leader, however, said that public trust in the BBC was still high and praised the organisation for engaging in ‘extraordinary self-criticism’ (26 August).
Paxman’s most widely reported jibe was that the licence fee was an outdated ‘tax on television ownership’ (rapidtvnews.com 25 August). The speech in full (reprinted in The Herald, 28 August) was a ‘deeply personal cri de coeur about the current state of television from a master practitioner’, said Maggie Brown (mediaguardian.co.uk, 27 August).
Less widely reported was C4 boss Andy Duncan’s call to the heads of the BBC and ITV for a crisis summit in September to find ways to raise standards.