Auntie Beeb in crisis.
The current furore surrounding the venerable BBC and it's 'entertainers' Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand has seen the venerable institution brought very low indeed.
From being the doyen of public broadcasting, the organisation is now fighting for its reputation under a welter of criticism from all sides of the social and political spectrum; with even the Prime Minister and David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative party throwing in their views.
Whatever penalties are inflicted on those deemed to be responsible (the situation is changing by the minute) the repercussions will likely be a reflection of a crime considered, by BBC bosses, much worse than that of broadcasting with extremely bad taste and judgment.
Whilst the BBC's grandees are rounding on (or mildly scolding) the miscreants for the outrageous attacks on actor Andrew Sachs and his grand-daughter, there is a sense that the real consternation felt within Auntie Beeb stems from the fact that the two comedians (aka programme presenters) have inflicted severe damage on the hallowed institution itself — a benevolent host which has employed and vastly enriched the pair with public monies; given them air time and exposure, only then to be brought low by way of thanks.
The catastrophic collapse of standards
And yet the current storm is - at one level - just another example of the catastrophic fall in standards evidenced across the media as a whole. (Channel 4 recently broadcast a series of 50-minute programmes starting at 8.00pm, and included full frontal nudity and shots of male and female genitalia.)
The BBC's web site outlines its "purpose" as being: "To enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain." Set against the background to the present crisis the discrepancy is enormous.
Anti-Christian and anti-Jewish bias
The broadcaster's vision statement affirms that "trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest" and yet the record shows that the BBC has, and continues to display a self-confessed and overt bias against the Christian faith. (Recent examples being the spy serial Spooks, the quiz programme Mastermind and the BBC's blacklisting of a Christian best-selling author.) News coverage of the Middle East has also been deemed, allegedly by an internal BBC report, as being anti-semitic. Prize-winning journalist Melanie Philips shares the view, commenting: "The BBC, despite its claims of fairness and honesty, is .... marked by hatred of Israel." Meanwhile, other evidence tends to support the allegation.
At a deeper level....
As part of its 'six main ways of creating public values' the BBC sees its role as "sustaining citizenship and civil society" whilst also "stimulating cultural excellence". Need more be said?
However, the view all of this from a spiritual perspective, it could well be that the seismic shock which has devasted the global financial sector including London's 'square mile', is now manifesting in different forms and serving to undermine the foundations of Broadcasting House—and perhaps more besides.
At a deeper level (no pun intended) it may well be that God - whether in Treadneedle Street or Langham Place is exposing the greed, corruption and lack of ethical and moral values in what were once, most-respected institutions. The enemy of God is a past master at over-stepping the mark, and it has often been remarked 'give the devil enough rope and he will hang himself'. (A dictum with which Judas would probably now agree.)
So let's not get too much concerned when we see these things happen. In fact the message from the Bible invites us to "Look up".
Pray that the economic and moral implosion which is now becoming more and more evident, will serve as a wake up call to all the ordinary members of our society who, whilst dutifully paying their BBC licence fees and placing their savings with the banks, nevertheless sense that there is a sickness abroad in our nation which is eroding the foundations necessary for healthy and decent living.
The more that the darkness in our society and institutions is exposed, the greater is the opportunity for the light to shine "before men so that they will glorify your Father in heaven."
Editor's footnote: The BBC has a Complaints page on its web site. But if airing concerns, it is always good to commend those programmes which are wholesome.
For any who might wish to write to the policy makers:-
Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust, BBC Trust Unit, Room 211, 35 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4AA and
Rt. Hon Andy Burnham MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Culture Media & Sport, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London, SW1Y 5DHE
Trumpet Call (part of the Maranatha Community) has published a paper entitled 'Broadcasting Standards in the United Kingdom'.
In a current newsletter Trumpet Call summarises some facts as follows:
- Television and radio broadcasts are the most widespread and pervasive influences on the life of our national community. The BBC is compulsorily funded by the general public. There is therefore an overriding duty upon the BBC to act responsibly, and in the best interests of our national life.
- That duty is not served by the steadily increasing sleazy content of programmes that pander to the worst in human nature. This serves only to feed depravity and to foster disrespect for authorityand good order – evil and destructive influences that are a far cry from the intentions of the BBC’s founders and the requirements of the Corporation’s Charter.
- The blistering public criticism prompted by recent events demonstrates incontrovertibly that there is now widespread public loss of confidence in the oversight and governance of the BBC, and corresponding demand for the Corporation to put its house in order. That requires responsible use of licence-payers’ money and a return to proper standards of decency and ethical conduct.
- We recognise that broadcasters should explore and report upon controversial aspects of life, and commend the good work that is often done by investigative programmes. We recognise that on occasion this will involve broadcasting unpleasant material, within reasonable limits. But that is a world apart from offering a flood of obscenities, filth and anarchic conduct as 'entertainment'.