23rd May 2021
Am I alone in thinking that Martin Bashir is being made a scapegoat by the BBC and the media in general? While there has been criticism of BBC management at the time of his Princess Diana interview, I have not heard any suggestion that his actions stemmed from a culture of lies, deceit and sensationalism which pervades the media, including the BBC, to this day. I am not, for a minute, condoning what he did but I cannot accept that this was a case of one bad apple. Most of the fruit shop is well beyond ripe.
For decades we have been sold the image that the BBC is some great bastion of moral values and beyond reproach. Panorama, in particular, has been placed on a pedestal and I now look back and wonder how many times I was taken in and accepted, without question, reports on subjects I knew nothing about.
Sadly, it seems, that the old adage of not letting the truth get in the way of a good story applies just as much to BBC journalists as it does to those who are seeking to outsell rival tabloids by displaying the most shocking headline. Horseracing has suffered many times, during my career, at the hands of these unscrupulous reporters and documentaries from Panorama, the BBC’s Kenyon Confronts, and ITV’s The Cook Report, sprang immediately to my mind as I read and listened to reports on this latest BBC scandal. It was only through having some inside knowledge of the subjects being covered that I came to realise how inaccurate and sensationalist many television documentaries are and I certainly do not think that the situation is any better now than it was in Martin Bashir’s time. I now wonder, was it always so? Have we always been misled and manipulated by the media? Who can you trust to tell it as it is?