Saturday, November 12, 2016

The BBC: Myth of a Public Service by Tom Mills

Tom Mills has a PhD in sociology from the University of Bath where he works as a researcher. His thesis examines how the end of social democracy and the rise of neoliberalism impacted on the BBC. His forthcoming book on the BBC, which draws on his doctoral research, will be published by Verso in 2016.
The BBC: The mouthpiece of the Establishment?
The BBC is one of the most important institutions in Britain; it is also one of the most misunderstood. Despite its claim to be independent and impartial, and the constant accusations of a liberal bias, the BBC has always sided with the elite. As Tom Mills demonstrates, we are only getting the news that the Establishment wants aired in public.
Throughout its existence, the BBC has been in thrall to those in power. This was true in 1926 when it stood against the workers during the General Strike, and since then the Corporation has continued to mute the voices of those who oppose the status quo: miners in 1984; anti-war protesters in 2003; those who offer alternatives to austerity economics since 2008. From the outset much of its activity has been scrutinised by the secret services at the invitation of those in charge. Since the 1990s the BBC has been integrated into the market, while its independence from government and big business has been steadily eroded. The BBC is an important and timely examination of a crucial public institution that is constantly under threat.
I have been waiting a lot for a book like this to come around to the public. Finally, truth put to paper and my heart can calm itself down. The voice of media has always been a strong one, and when it comes to a giant like BBC it is very important for the general public to know, that what it stands for is not always the right thing, or in fact not even the right subject to be portrayed.
I am absolutely in love with this book that  deftly demolishes most of the popular and comforting myths surrounding the BBC. And proves me right in my choice to stay away from a journalism career. Especially, here in Britain. I am sure this read will make many people angry, but I am eternally grateful for having read it. Within the pages of The BBC: Myth of a Public Service you'll find how Mills highlights a number of factors, including the elite-populated, government-appointed BBC Board of Governors (since 2007, the BBC Trust), the class and educational background of senior management, the fact the government of the day sets the corporation’s budget and decades long vetting of employees conducted by the security services. For the untrained eyed mind-blowing facts, for the more knowledgeable reader a definite nod will occur on almost every sentence.
This a definite must read for all involved in Media Studies or Journalism. I was mostly impressed by the radical reform of the BBC  which according to Mills is much needed: the end of political control over senior appointments and budgets, a more representative workforce and the public commissioning of investigative journalism.
This book is well argued and fact-proofed. No doubt in giving my recommendation to everyone I know.