The Times in a leader today headlined "Self-Service Broadcasting" has hit out at BBC Director-General Mark Thompson for joining the alliance opposing News Corp's full takeover of BSkB.
After listing every BBC outlet from BBC 1 to BBC Radio Stoke, The Times thunders: "The man in overall charge of all these media outlets, their Director-General, has finally spoken out about his concern that too much media power might reside in one organisation. Extraordinarily, however, Mark Thompson was not expressing his fears about the growth of the BBC. He was instead talking about News Corporation, the parent company of The Times. The crushing weight of Mr Thompson’s responsibilities has clearly suffocated his sense of irony.
"By lending his name to the campaign to prevent News Corp from purchasing those Sky shares that it does not already own, Mr Thompson has made a serious and surprising error.
"First, he has embroiled his taxpayer-funded organisation in a political and commercial battle that it should have nothing to do with. Having argued that the BBC should not be regulated in the same way as normal media outlets, he has now acted exactly as an ordinary business would do, seeking to gain commercial advantage in league with News Corp’s rivals. They, at least, are openly self-interested (though, absurdly, they represent themselves as acting in the public interest). Any pretence that the BBC is not similarly self-interested is at an end. And public money is being used to advance that self-interest."
The Times also claims Thompson has made a mistake by "making the BBC part of a political story that it will wish to report upon. This was entirely avoidable. His blunder will be a burden for all BBC reporters."
- The Times is behind a paywall.