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Media witch-hunt missing issue of all-powerful BBC
AS the political in-fighting goes on around the career – or possibly soon to be lack of career – of Culture and Media Secretary Jeremy Hunt and what he thought about the proposed BSkyB takeover he was considering, the central theme appears to be getting lost.
The question at the heart of the debate was, and should still be, whether Rupert Murdoch’s media empire should have been given permission to take full control of the satellite TV provider it already owned a major stake in?
If anyone takes the time to read the now notorious email from Mr Hunt to the Prime Minister David Cameron on the issue, sent before he was appointed to consider the matter, it lays out the central argument.
Was it wrong, Mr Hunt asks, for Mr Murdoch’s News Corp to move into a new age where the company’s forms of media could converge – newspapers, online, TV – when the BBC was already there in so many ways?
Why were there concerns about the power of the Murdoch empire when the BBC already had so much influence on opinion in this country?
That question has been lost in the brouhaha that has followed the phonehacking scandal, the setting up of the Leveson public enquiry and other probes into the media and the Murdoch empire in particular.
It has been lost in a roar of disapproval from most opposition MPs who smell political blood, the non-Murdoch press and, of course, the BBC.
Lost also is the small matter that News Corp did not take over all of BSkyB and it is not known what final decision Mr Hunt would have come to.
But once all of this witch-hunt – for that is what it has now become – is finally over and those in the dock, guilty and innocent, have been punished, will anyone return to the central question of what to do to counter an all-powerful BBC that influences, fashions and in many ways dictates so much of how we live our lives in this country?
Somehow I doubt it.
How the witch hunters will gloat.