By Nick James
Not surprisingly the Murdoch press is enjoying the opportunity to give the BBC a kicking following the resignation of Director General George Entwistle:
The Sun on Sunday says:
"The BBC's journalism is in the gutter and Director General George Entwistle is humiliatingly torn to shreds by his own staff. Ruthlessly interrogated by Radio 4's John Humphrys about Newsnight's false paedophile claims, a squirming Entwistle – salary £450,000 a year – portrayed himself as the man who knew nuffin about the much-trumpeted programme everyone else was talking about."
The BBC Trust chairman, Chris Patten, thinks he is also going to get a beating from the media now that Entwistle has gone — he told the Andrew Marr programme: "It's bound to be under question (his future) from Rupert Murdoch’s papers, let's be clear about that.”
There is however a big difference in the way the BBC has reacted to this crisis compared to the way the Murdoch empire reacted to the allegations of phone hacking.
The Murdoch press closed ranks; they didn't write or broadcast anything that criticised the scandal that has now seen arrests galore and jail sentences, no-one fell on their sword.
It took a massive public backlash and the withdrawal of advertising for Murdoch himself to react.
How can the Sun on Sunday say in the same paragraph that the ‘BBC’s journalism is in the gutter’ and that the DG was, ‘Ruthlessly interrogated by Radio 4's John Humphrys’?
Was Murdoch ever ‘ruthlessly interrogated’ by Sky?
In his resignation statement George Entwistle said:
“In the light of the fact that the Director-General is also the Editor-in-Chief and ultimately responsible for all content; and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2nd November; I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of Director-General.”
It has long been known that Rupert Murdoch is effectively the ‘Editor-in-Chief’ of his media empire — otherwise why would politicians of all parties relentlessly ‘court’ him?
Actor, Hugh Bonneville said on Twitter: “BBC journalism is the best in the world. Usually. Entwistle resigned where other leaders would not. Let's not forget either of these things.”
Dr Evan Harris @DrEvanHarris summed it up for me on Twitter saying "BBC demonstrates proper accountability by ed in chief resigning over *bad* journalism. Unlike newspapers editors over *criminal* journalism"