Telegraph Blogs jump the shark over coverage of Milly Dowler phone hacking scandal
His Grace is ever mindful of there being dark forces at work behind the scenes, but this article on Telegraph Blogs is quite extraordinary:
The BBC has pulled out all the stops in its coverage of allegations that a private investigator employed by the News of the World hacked into the mobile telephone of the murdered teenager Milly Dowler. The story has dominated its bulletins; it is getting wall-to-wall coverage on the 24-hour news channel; and the Corporation’s editorial big guns have been wheeled out to explore the implications, political as well as commercial. While the allegations are – in David Cameron’s well-chosen words – “truly dreadful”, do they warrant this level of news overkill? Well, they do if there is a commercial interest at stake – and the one element of the story the BBC seems coy about is that it is itself a player in a particularly frenzied media battle. The Corporation is bitterly opposed to News Corporation’s bid to to buy the 61% of BSkyB it doesn’t already own (as is much of Fleet Street). Indeed, it is so opposed that the BBC’s director general Mark Thompson took the extraordinary step last autumn of putting his name to a letter of protest objecting to the deal – for which he was forced to apologise by the BBC Trust. The BBC’s treatment of the hacking story suggests the Corporation still sees the value of blackening the reputation of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire as thoroughly as possible whenever the opportunity arises. As the Beeb’s own Robert Peston notes, it leaves hanging in the air the idea that News Coporation may not be a fit and proper company to acquire complete control of a major broadcaster.It occurs to His Grace that blaming the BBC for the coverage of this News International scandal is a little like blaming The Times for their coverage of the perverse behaviour of paedophile priests. Of course, editors determine the inclusion, focus and prominence of a story. But, frankly, when The Telegraph is itself leading with this story (along with most of the non-NI tabloids), for Telegraph Blogs to blame the BBC is a little unhinged.