Standard: 'BBC is horrendous institution that happens to make rather good programmes'

The Evening Standard investigation into the BBC continued yesterday with an article headlined “How the BBC survives.”

In part two Stephen Robinson writes about “how much [the BBC] feels like a government department and how little like a news operation”.

An unnamed BBC source said: “Everything shuts down at six o’clock, and Television Centre is deserted at the weekend, which is amazing when you think that it’s part of one of the biggest media organisations in the world.”

He says: “As details have emerged of the enormous salaries of the executives and the on-screen ‘talent’, old-school journalists who believe in the public broadcasting ethos seethe at top management’s failure to appreciate the damage done to their beloved institution.”

A well-known TV presenter told Robinson: “I call it Kremlinitis. Those at the top spend their whole time talking to each other, so they are genuinely surprised by outside criticism.”

Robinson goes on to criticise director general Mark Thompson saying: “More revealing is Thompson’s assumption that only the BBC’s rivals have motives, while the corporation itself is driven solely by a post-Reithian altruism.”

But Robinson does admit “that the BBC may not get enough credit for its commitment to quality programming and good journalism”.

One presenter told Robinson: “”I’ve always said the BBC is a horrendous institution that happens to make rather good programmes,” but “the institution has got worse, and the programmes rather less good in recent years”.

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