What do you think has been the most annoying element in this story regarding the “storming off” furore that probably won’t be featured in the forthcoming documentary A Year With The Queen?
In the first place there is the fact that the BBC and RDF appear to have constructed a preview tape that does not conform to reality, and that is bad. It is simply not on for a programme maker to misrepresent its subject, or in this case for subjects to misrepresent their monarch. Perhaps I am being too sanguine, though, but I do view this incident as simply a mistake, just a lazy error. I can’t rule out wilful deception, but I also can’t imagine many people purposefully manufacturing such a situation when they would surely anticipate the utter shitstorm that would occur (and has occurred) once the palace caught wind of what had happened, and would realise that the negative PR consequences would far outweigh any extra publicity gained. Perhaps I’m the idiot, but the initial incident, while valid for criticism, doesn’t vex me all that much.
More irritating has been the media’s response. I haven’t read the papers today – I rarely do – but on hearing the paper review earlier on Radio 4 it seemed to suggest that the nation’s press were as one in condemning the BBC for their actions. Fine in so far as it goes, but it was the papers’ attitude that irked, as if the Queen has suffered some cruel, unusual and unique mishap. If this story hadn’t featured the Queen but some lesser mortal then there would be criticism of the BBC for sure, but not quite the tone of apoplectic moral outrage that we have seen. Why get so worked up because it is the Queen who has been affected? Just because. I’d hoped that I would be old enough by now not to get worked up by such double standards, but it seems such attitudes still get on my tits. Oh well.
But the most annoying issue hasn’t been the accusatory media’s message but the accusatory media as messenger. As I see it this whole incident may have been (and probably is) a mistake, but at worst it is an example of a media organisation twisting the facts to fit with their agenda. That is a serious accusation – especially for a publicly funded broadcaster – but just what media organisation isn’t routinely accused and frequently found guilty of exactly the same thing? It smacks of hypocrisy right out of the top drawer. I mean good God, if I didn’t dismiss almost everything I read in the Mail, Express and Mirror as laughable bias, half-truth and selective reporting then I’d never be off the phone to the PCC. Not to mention the fact that the self same papers now condemning the BBC also gleefully reported the story in the first place, without making any background checks to corroborate the facts.
If the BBC has been guilty of lying and manipulation then they deserve all the criticism they receive; I just don’t think the press should be the ones taking the moral high ground. They don’t belong there.