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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > May 2019 > Letters


The BBC’s failings

Like Mark Damazer, I am a fervent supporter of public service broadcasting and the role of the BBC; but his essay on Brexit coverage (“How Brexit broke the BBC,” April) is quietly devastating about some of the corporation’s deficiencies. I differ from Mark in that I believe the rot started with the referendum coverage when BBC correspondents’ obsession with political process—and who’s up and who’s down—obscured the vital issues.

I do not worry about the BBC’s impartiality, but I sense a lack of editorial grip that results in poor prioritisation of what matters and inadequate analysis. This is the most crucial moment in post-war politics, and the corporation has not shone in the way its supporters would have liked. Roger Mosey, former editorial director of the BBC

The BBC is held to a higher standard of journalism than commercial media. I mean, imagine the fuss if the BBC had published an article about Brexit coverage that concluded “I do not think the BBC betrayed its principal public purpose” and “the BBC is far from failing,” but under the headline: “How Brexit broke the BBC.”

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About Prospect Magazine

InProspect's May issue: Tom Clark explores how British politics has ended up in crisis and suggests that a proper constitution could have avoided the current chaos and may well be necessary now to avoid the same problems in the future. Elsewhere in the issue: Kevin Maguire profiles Labour deputy leader Tom Watson who says that “if needs must” he would join a government of national unity. Max Rashbrooke examines Jacinda Ardern’s government in New Zealand and the ways the country is being transformed, ultimately suggesting that it could be an example for Britain to follow. Also, Stefanie Marsh follows the work of a donor detective who is helping children conceived by anonymous sperm donation to find their biological parents and Francesca Wade shows how Virginia Woolf is inspiring a new generation of women writers.