Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chuka Adviser Agreed Entwistle Pay Off…While Watching Strictly

£110,000-a-year part-timer Lord Patten has hardly endeared himself to critics by signing off George Entwistle’s £450,000 golden goodbye. But who were the other guilty men and women who helped make the decision?

During this weekend’s episode of Strictly Come Dancing Patten held a conference call with lawyers and two members of the BBC Trust’s remuneration committee, Anthony Fry and Diane Coyle.

Taking a leaf out of her boss’ book, Coyle is paid £70,610-a-year of license fee payers’ cash to work just two and a half days a week for the BBC. And what does she do in her spare time, other than watching Strictly with a glass of red that is? Last year Coyle was an unpaid adviser to none other than Chuka Umunna, helping the two-faced shadow business secretary with his policy review.

Chuka was quick to criticise Phillip Schofield but has been oddly quiet about the former BBC DG…

UPDATE: Coyle has got in touch to clarify that she was actually drinking white wine, not red.

UPDATE II: And here’s the proof:

The List of Names the BBC Did Not Want You to See
Scientist Exposed by Climategate Set BBC Policy

Last month Guido reported that the BBC were refusing to respond to a Freedom of Information request asking for the names of scientists who attended the now infamous climate change seminar in 2006, that was convened to decide BBC climate change policy. The BBC Trust admitted that the evidence given at the seminar led to an unprecedented editorial decision to no longer give equal airtime to opponents of the climate change . At the time Guido wondered why the BBC was spending a six-figure sum to keep the names of the specialists who dictated their editorial policy secret? So who was there?

Well if the BBC had their way we would never know, they are still trying to fight the publication of this list, however what is believed to be the complete who’s who has now been acquired by legitimate sleuthing by Maurizio Morabito:

Specialists:
Robert May, Oxford University and Imperial College London
Mike Hulme, Director, Tyndall Centre, UEA
Blake Lee-Harwood, Head of Campaigns, Greenpeace
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
Michael Bravo, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
Andrew Dlugolecki, Insurance industry consultant
Trevor Evans, US Embassy
Colin Challen MP, Chair, All Party Group on Climate Change
Anuradha Vittachi, Director, Oneworld.net
Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
Claire Foster, Church of England
Saleemul Huq, IIED
Poshendra Satyal Pravat, Open University
Li Moxuan, Climate campaigner, Greenpeace China
Tadesse Dadi, Tearfund Ethiopia
Iain Wright, CO2 Project Manager, BP International
Ashok Sinha, Stop Climate Chaos
Andy Atkins, Advocacy Director, Tearfund
Matthew Farrow, CBI
Rafael Hidalgo, TV/multimedia producer
Cheryl Campbell, Executive Director, Television for the Environment
Kevin McCullough, Director, Npower Renewables
Richard D North, Institute of Economic Affairs
Steve Widdicombe, Plymouth Marine Labs
Joe Smith, The Open University
Mark Galloway, Director, IBT
Anita Neville, E3G
Eleni Andreadis, Harvard University
Jos Wheatley, Global Environment Assets Team, DFID
Tessa Tennant, Chair, AsRia

BBC attendees:
Jana Bennett, Director of Television
Sacha Baveystock, Executive Producer, Science
Helen Boaden, Director of News
Andrew Lane, Manager, Weather, TV News
Anne Gilchrist, Executive Editor Indies & Events, CBBC
Dominic Vallely, Executive Editor, Entertainment
Eleanor Moran, Development Executive, Drama Commissioning
Elizabeth McKay, Project Executive, Education
Emma Swain, Commissioning Editor, Specialist Factual
Fergal Keane, (Chair), Foreign Affairs Correspondent
Fran Unsworth, Head of Newsgathering
George Entwistle, Head of TV Current Affairs
Glenwyn Benson, Controller, Factual TV
John Lynch, Creative Director, Specialist Factual
Jon Plowman, Head of Comedy
Jon Williams, TV Editor Newsgathering
Karen O’Connor, Editor, This World, Current Affairs
Catriona McKenzie, Tightrope Pictures
Liz Molyneux, Editorial Executive, Factual Commissioning
Matt Morris, Head of News, Radio Five Live
Neil Nightingale, Head of Natural History Unit
Paul Brannan, Deputy Head of News Interactive
Peter Horrocks, Head of Television News
Peter Rippon, Duty Editor, World at One/PM/The World this Weekend
Phil Harding, Director, English Networks & Nations
Steve Mitchell, Head Of Radio News
Sue Inglish, Head Of Political Programmes
Frances Weil, Editor of News Special Events

What you might call fair and balanced: the conference was billed as bringing together “the best scientific experts”. Scientists, “scientists” and hippy campaigners, but what the Beeb will be most embarrassed by is the representative from the disgraced Climatic Research Unit who were exposed three years later for manipulating data to fit their arguments.

Emails from Mike Hulme, second on that list, were at the heart of the Climategate scandal.

No wonder the BBC are wasting your money hiding this…

See also: Andrew Montford’s “Conspiracy of Green” for background and Andrew Orlowski’s recent article “FOlA judges: Secret 28 who made the BBC Green will not be named“.

Exclusive: Lord Patten’s Two Day Weeks

Guido can reveal that during the first six months of this year Lord Patten turned up to his BBC office on average just two days a week. Between January and July £110,000-a-year Patten attended his Great Portland Street office on just 56 days. The BBC have told Guido that Patten is expected to work on Beeb business for three to four days a week, and is required to be on call seven days a week. Overall twelve-job Patten was recorded as working for just 78 days during the period, with the BBC noting that 22 of those were merely attending the odd meeting or answering phone calls from home.

You can bet he’s putting in a lot more hours in now…

Monday, November 12, 2012

BBC Director General Runners and Riders

Given that George Entwistle effectively pocketed almost £8,500 for each of his 53 days as Director General, there will be no shortage of candidates for the job. Guido gives you his own take on the runners and riders:

  • Craig Oliver – The former BBC man turned embattled Downing Street comms chief is under pressure in his current job after a seemingly endless series of media foul-ups from the PM. Last week’s This Morning debacle will hardly have helped. This solution will work well for all concerned.
  • Andrew Neil - Experience running Sky as their founding boss. One of the Beeb’s finest  inquisitors, Brillo would surely get to the bottom of all that has been going on. Would need to remain on screen though.
  • Andrew Marr – Handy Andy is a BBC stalwart and earned praise for his grilling of Lord Patten over the weekend. Is expected to rule himself out over alleged indiscretions in a Soho bar.
  • David Dimbleby – A legend at Broadcasting House, Dimbers has graced our screens for decades. Making the step up would mean hanging up his Question Time boots. He certainly made the case for himself on Today this morning.
  • Kelvin MacKenzie – It could be argued that more 90s-style tabloid hackery is just what the BBC needs. There would be none better for the job than Kelvin. Understands popular journalism.
  • Piers Morgan – The CNN host might soon be out of job if his US election coverage was anything to go by. Certainly has the experience in the media, though a future court date is the last thing the BBC needs. 
  • James Murdoch – An outside bet but one that would certainly stir things up. Has a proven track record of successfully running major media corporations and dealing with scandal. They could hardly do worse…

Let battle commence.

Patten Defends Indefensible Entwistle Pay-Off
Government Stand-Off Brewing

The BBC chairman defending the indefensible – Entwistle’s huge pay-off despite only being contracted for less:

So far Downing Street have said this is “hard to justify”. Any upping in that rhetoric and this will be a full blown stand-off…

The BBC News Website Eats Itself

The entire top half of the BBC News website is devoted to BBC news:

The BBC sources understand, but the BBC will not confirm, that the BBC is losing it.

Iain Overton Resigns From the Bureau of Smears

The man who sent that now infamous tweet on the morning of the Newsnight McAlpine report has resigned from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Their Managing Editor Iain Overton’s name no longer appears on the BIJ website. Another stunning success for the operation that before this had revealed that Bell Pottinger broke Wikipedia’s terms of use and smeared Help for Heroes. Supporters are running for the hills…

UPDATE:

Nicely forgetting the fact that the BIJ’s Angus Stickler didn’t even show Steve Messham a picture of Lord McAlpine and that it was his misjudged and premature tweet that started this whole sorry mess.

UPDATE: TBIJ have released another statement. The word missing is ‘sorry’…

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Full Jeremy Paxman Statement on Entwistle Resignation

Statement from Jeremy Paxman:

“George Entwistle’s departure is a great shame. He has been brought low by cowards and incompetents.

The real problem here is the BBC’s decision, in the wake of the Hutton Inquiry, to play safe by appointing biddable people.

They then compounded the problem by enforcing a series of cuts on programme budgets, while bloating the management

That is how you arrive at the current mess on Newsnight. I very much doubt the problem is unique to that programme.

I had hoped that George might stay to sort this out.It is a great pity that a talented man has been sacrificed. While time-servers prosper.

I shall not be issuing any further statements or doing any interviews.”

Right, so who is next for the chop?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ofcom Issue BBC Warning

As if two internal inquiries, a select committee grilling and a police investigation were not enough, the BBC are now facing interest from another quarter: Ofcom are sniffing around. Guido understands that Ofcom are keeping a close eye on ongoing developments with a view to launching their own action. While they do not have the power to make the Beeb undergo a full fit and proper person test, Ofcom boss Ed Richard explains in a letter to Tory MP Philip Davies:

“We licence a number of BBC companies and we will have regard to any relevant findings of the ongoing BBC inquiry, the police and the select committee in relation to these.”

Their interest will hardly be welcome at Great Portland Street…

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Video: Election 2012 Funnies

Via BBC

Seen Elsewhere

Harriet Harman Offers Less Than the Living Wage | Owen Bennett
Fallon’s Red Arrow Spin Unravels | Wings Over Scotland
What is the LibDems’ Problem With “The Jews” | Speccie
Image is the Least of Ed’s Worries | Speccie
The Most Politically Cynical Speech I Have Ever Seen | Dan Hodges
Full Sunday Sport Style Guide Email | MediaGuido
What if a Hamas Rocket Hit a BA Plane? | Richard Littlejohn
Sunday Sport Swearing Style Guide | Popbitch
Tory MP’s Love of Astrology | BBC
No.10 Shouldn’t Get Excited at Growth Figures | Mark Wallace
Feminist Lobby Killing Meritocracy | Kathy Gyngell


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New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Christie Malry @fcablog

Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops


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