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Are John Humphrys and Robert Peston justified in dumping on the BBC?

I only ask because there’s post from BBC business editor Robert Peston on his BBC Online blog today commencing:

Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell have been asked to surrender all their responsibilities as head and deputy head of BBC News, pending the results of the Pollard inquiry, I have learned.

“I have learned,” indeed.

This is getting fucking ridiculous.

Pesto is a senior journalist with the BBC (and a highly-paid one at that) and yet he’s jumping the gun on an official announcement about what the corporation’s up to for the sake of…precisely what? Another Pesto scoop?

On Saturday John Humphrys (also handsomely rewarded by the Beeb) hammered the final nails in outgoing director general George Entwistle’s coffin by making him sound a prat on the Today Programme. Fair enough, in one sense, ‘Incurious George’ had behaved like a prat. But couldn’t Humphrys, who presumably has the Beeb’s best interest at heart, have marked his card first?

Pesto and Humphrys (left) would doubtless maintain that they’re doing their utmost to show that there are some who still adhere to robust journalistic standards at the Beeb. But all they’re really done is stick a rather large pitchfork into its privates. Humphrys you can forgive, Entwistle fronted up for an interview and should have been better prepared. And Humphrys did what Humphrys does.

As does Pesto of course, but in this case that looks like ‘anything for a scoop,’ and not much of a scoop at that.

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The first thing acting D-G Tim Davie needs to do is knock some of these puffed-up heads together. But berating a room full of Tesco executives, as he probably did in his Pepsico days, looks easy by comparison.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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