American Anglophiles who’ve ditched U.S. media for the BBC be warned: They have economics on that side of the Atlantic, too. The “Beeb,” which is financed through license fees on TV sets and radios, could lay off thousands of its 28,000 workers after a financial review is completed December 7.
Competition from satellite providers and other terrestrial channels has squeezed the BBC for years. But the vise tightened when the Beeb fought and lost a bitter battle with Tony Blair over a story that accused the prime minister’s office of sexing up its case for war in Iraq. After a source for the story was outed and committed suicide, an official inquiry largely cleared Blair and blamed the BBC. Now the humbled broadcaster is completing a regular spending review with little political capital to spend.
Meanwhile, over here, Fox News Channel enjoys top cable ratings, and Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who relayed so much flimsy WMD intelligence, is covering the U.N. oil-for-food scandal-the neocons’ latest ex post facto justification for the war.
Poor BBC. Looks like sexing-up is the way to go.