Am hearing that Tony Hall, chief exec Royal Opera House, has been appointed as new DG of BBC. Announcement soon
— Robert Peston (@Peston) November 22, 2012
UPDATE: BBC have confirmed.
This afternoon Tory MP Alun Cairns will ask the House “that leave be given to bring in a Bill to require the British Broadcasting Corporation to publish all invoices for amounts in excess of £500 each quarter; to allow unrestricted access to the Corporation’s accounts by the National Audit Office; and for connected purposes”. The Beeb have been busy pre-emptively briefing ahead of the Ten Minute Rule Bill. Here is the briefing document in full:
That’s a no then…
Questions about what former BBC Director General Mark Thompson knew about Savile, and when, are piling up on both sides of the pond. Even the New York Times is gunning for their new boss. Thompson left his £834,000 BBC gig on 16 September and started the $4M NYT job on 12 November. On 23 October – five weeks after quitting the BBC – Thompson wrote a letter to Tory MP Rob Wilson stating:
“During my time as director general of the BBC, I never heard any allegations or received any complaints about Jimmy Savile.”
Yet, it is now clear, thanks to freelance journalist Miles Goslett who has been investigating the Savile/BBC story for almost a year, and the Sunday Times, that on 6 September – 10 days before he quit the BBC – Thompson engaged lawyers Mills & Reeve to write a letter threatening to sue the Sunday Times if it published certain allegations about Thompson’s knowledge of the Savile scandal dating back to December 2011. This letter was published on the Sunday Times website yesterday.
Thompson now claims that he did not know exactly what Mills & Reeve’s letter contained and was not shown a copy of it before it was sent. This woeful explanation – the latest in a long line of laughable excuses – has been met with mockery in New York. The New Yorker’s John Cassidy wrote over the weekend:
“For his sake, I hope that Mark Thompson, the former BBC bigwig who recently took over as chief executive of the New York Times Company, rented an apartment rather than buying one. The way things are going, he could well be back in London pretty soon.”
Thompson – and the New York Times’ owners – must be getting worried. How long can they maintain their position when their own reporters are covering this story prominently in the newsroom just a couple of floors below Thompson’s own office? Meanwhile, there is only silence on this story from the place that likes to consider itself the newspaper industry’s noticeboard: Media Guardian. Odd…
This morning it was reported that a man in his sixties has been arrested by police investigating the Jimmy Savile allegations.
Mark Williams-Thomas, the man who made the original ITV Savile documentary, reports that former BBC radio presenter Dave Lee Travis is the man the cops have taken in for questioning:
Breaking: I can confirm that the man arrested as part of the wider #Savile investigation this morning is Dave Lee Travis
— Mark Williams-Thomas (@mwilliamsthomas) November 15, 2012
Yesterday Guido brought you the list of names the BBC has spent six years trying to keep secret, revealing the “scientists” who set the Beeb’s editorial climate policy were nothing more than a crackpot assortment of pseudo-experts and hippy campaigners. Guido can now exclusively reveal what was discussed at the infamous meeting. Held under Chatham House rules, the quotes that have surfaced make for very interesting reading.
An academic paper containing evidence from previous seminars shows that “specialists” and BBC bosses admitted their editorial stance could be exaggerating the risks of climate change. An anonymous documentary maker explains: “shots might be set up this way, with the member of the public saying I’m suffering (from global warming) even if the causal link cannot be directly drawn”. According to one media specialist, “on account of the weak understanding of science, there are now instances of coverages that exaggerate the risk of climate change… this is unthinkable in spheres such as economics or politics”. Unbelievably, these unnamed journalists are admitting exaggerating the risks of climate change.
The report concludes that the seminar highlighted the “tangled web” of the BBC’s editorial policy on climate change, finding that output would often form a “mis-translation” of the truth. The extent of bias in reporting led to “comparisons with the evident normative stance in editorial lines on terrorism, human rights, and child labor”. The BBC spent a six-figure sum to keep this secret. Now we know why…
Guido was not well-versed in the career of Martin Plaut before today, but he can already tell the BBC World Service Africa editor has a penchant for perfect timing. In a Q&A Plaut was asked “who do you hate and why?” His response was, well, rather straight to the point:
As Aneurin Bevan said: ‘No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.’”
£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:
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:
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
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“.
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…
Reeves Red-Faced After Pension Gaffe | Sun
Band’s Fury at Song Being Used at Labour Conference | Buzzfeed
Rachel Reeves’ Pension Howler | Mail
UKIP Propose 90% Cut in Overseas Aid | Breitbart
Ed Milibaaaand | Sun
Ed Miliband Phrase Generator | Guardian
Blair Right About ISIS | Jago Pearson
Miliband Will Be Prime Minister By Default | Alex Wickham
Labout Have Learned Nothing | Jeremy Warner
How Cameron Can Return to No. 10 | Telegraph
Balls Speech Was Mush | FT
Before Miliband spoke, a school choir sang ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay. The first verse of which goes like this:
“When you try your best, but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse”