If the BBC managed to get the Cliff Richard story so catastrophically wrong, it begs the question…what else are they getting wrong? The consequences of such unfounded insinuations will undoubtedly be felt for a very long time to come, and rightly so. To ruin a person’s reputation because of crass & inaccurate reporting is far beyond unfair. It is a blatant abuse of power which no amount of compensation can ever salvage.
The Cliff Richard story is a high profile example of what many lesser known people have had to endure because of mis-reporting and bullying by the press. Most victims of media injustice are powerless against such a gigantic organisation like the BBC. Those who peddle accusatory stories know they can hide behind the protection of the corporation – unaccountable and unconcerned about the collateral damage their cheap headlines create. But truth really matters. It is the foundation of trust.
It is one thing for the media to speak ‘truth to power’. Problem is, the industry itself has become far too powerful. And far from conveying ‘truth’, it often feels more like peddling propaganda than reporting news. While there are many brilliant journalists out there who operate with upmost honesty, it is not beyond the bounds of reason to think that some journalists might have personal vendetta’s they are pursuing. What about the possibility of rich and powerful lobbyists pushing their particular agenda’s through the media too…and paying for the privilege? If it is true that these kind of things go on, then what is the extent of it? Who knows?
One thing is for sure. The idea of self regulation in the press is something which must now be seriously questioned. This privilege has been thrown away by a culture of contempt. The media must be profoundly accountable for how issues are covered, just like any other public organisation. This is especially true of the BBC, a corporation which is afforded multiple millions of tax payers money.
Truth is, the media needs to get back to being factual & boring. We should never be aware of the personal opinions & biases of journalists, not even the faintest hint. Politicians, yes…because they are accountable to the electorate. But reporters? No. Impartiality is the basis of a healthy media. Sadly, this privilege has been abused by some who have used their position to gain influence which goes far beyond that of an ordinary citizen. For too long, the media have set themselves up as the moral guardians of a nation. Problem is…this kind of ‘morality’ is hypocritical, self-righteous & fundamentally flawed…as the recent Cliff Richard court case has proven. Trust has been eroded, perhaps even beyond repair.
Distrust is the price of dishonesty. Instead of trying to defend the indefensible, the media would do well to reflect carefully on what has led to the current predicament. Integrity matters. This is what builds trust.
CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.
p.s. Below is very moving interview with Cliff Richard filmed after winning his court case against the BBC.