Friday, July 13, 2007

A Matter of Probity

In the Victorian era there must have been few citizens who would have questioned the honesty of a Disraeli or a Gladstone, however much they may have disagreed with their politics.
Similarly, it would have been safe to assume that whatever The Times or Illustrated London News were to report would be factual.
How times have changed!
No politician seems to be able to open his mouth without the assistance of a spin doctor to ensure that his fibs are presented as facts and even the more squeaky clean looking ones, such as the blonde bombshell, Boris Johnson, may be viewed with suspicion. After all, he rides a bicycle and so, I believe, did Dr. Crippen.
The Daily Mail, formerly for Queen and Commonwealth, is now all for celebrity trivia, scandal and circulation with news running a poor last.
It's always a disappointment to find that our idols, if not having feet of clay, are wobbling on plinths of plasticine and to learn that a former icon of reliability and truth such as the British Broadcasting Corporation, an institution paid for by the taxpayer, seems to be mounted on a base of probity as insubstantial as jelly, is a shock.
Fooling the kids who look up to Blue Peter was heinous enough but doctoring a film of the Queen strikes me as being grounds for “off with their heads.” The pathetic denial by the director was so clearly specious in view of his earlier remarks promoting the programme that any of his future actions become questionable.
And, if the BBC is unable to report such a simple matter without distortion, what of the rest of their broadcasts?
John Reith, that monumentally gloomy piece of granite, who laid the foundations for the respect with which the corporation was viewed up until recent years, was probably right.
They should never have let the news readers get away with not wearing dinner jackets!

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