One with hair, the other without. Same rimless glasses, though; same reading from a lengthy, prepared statement in a camera-friendly room with just the one, ambient colour. Blue/Grey. Leveson/Pollard. Leveson-Blue/Pollard-Grey. Following publication of Lord Justice Leveson’s report on the ‘culture, ethics and practices’ of the British press (29th November), on 19th December Nick Pollard presented his findings on the culture, ethics and practices of Newsnight and the BBC, beginning with (then) programme editor Peter Rippon’s decision not to run the story exposing TV personality Jimmy Savile as a pervert. In less than three weeks, first Leveson and now Pollard have lined up to diagnose the failure of journalism’s ‘management systems’. Their accents are different (North v South); and their provenance (high court judge v television news editor); so too are the objects of their attention (privately owned newspapers v public service broadcasting). Nonetheless, the two pontiffs share the same priority: management systems must be managed better. Managers managing management – that’s their solution. Journalists thinking independently; using their own judgement – anyone?
George Entwistle, BBC Does he normally wear a tie? In his new job (Director General of the BBC), probably; but the tie George Entwistle’s wearing today might have been made to look like it doesn’t belong to him. Similarly the suit, which says of the wearer: he’s got one on but don’t think of him as ‘a suit’. Certainly not a pinstripe or chalk stripe, red braces and Tag Heuer ‘suit’. None of that ‘neo-liberalism’ in here, thank you. This is the present-day face of UK ‘public service’ management: spectacles which look to Europe (surely seen on Borgen last year) rather than the USA; so too, his haircut – Dutch modernist typographer, or, if you’re not attuned to such things, just plain short (but fluffy short; not even a wafer-skinned waif could describe it as bristling); ditto the management style – emphasis on procedurerather than Reithian personal authority, or equally Reithian subordination to a greater cause. (BBCprocedure now dictates that we should have access to the Director General’s written declaration of personal interests, in which he declares that he has none.) The D-G – insiders still refer to the ‘D-G’, pronounced as two long syllables to match the duration of ‘B-B-C’ (short, short, long) – is holding a press conference to announce two inquiries into the fallout from Sir Jimmy Savile (a third inquiry into sexism and harassment at the Beeb, may be announced shortly). Oddly, Entwistle appears before a blank canvas (no image projected onto it, not a BBC logo in sight); unless it’s a ploy to keep the BBC brand away from such toxicity. Tight around the mouth, during the opening section of his statement he keeps looking down, maybe at a list of keywords he’s brought with him. Perhaps not used to limelight of such intensity, after only a few weeks in the top job; or is he partly distracted by the thought of losing it, if he doesn’t succeed in getting a grip?