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Who should be the new BBC Director General?

George Entwistle wasn’t cut out for the job of DG. It took him, and us, only a few days to realise it. So tell me who you think should take over ? By Rory McLeod, National Broadcasting School.

I imagine George is thinking ‘thank God, that’s over.’

Savile’s Travels and the McAlpine business finished him off but wasn’t he let down badly by his lieutenants who should also be peering into the abyss of unemployment?

By far the biggest ninny was Lord Patten who heads the BBC Trust. Distinguished politician he may be but, over the past few days, his lack of leadership has been striking. Why did he not defend his new DG as he faced the baying mob? I saw just one TV interview about the Savile debacle in which Patten was as charmingly evasive as ever; but I’ve seen no effort to defend Entwistle about the McAlpine’s fiasco. Patten made sure he distanced himself from the crisis.

A few weeks ago, Patten presented his new DG, George Entwistle, as his choice. Well, Entwistle was the wrong choice (evidence: two appalling instances of system and journalism failures; cringe-making appearances in front of a Select Committee and on ‘Today”;  a media competitors which smelled blood; ; hostile MP’s and a leaderless, defeated BBC staff). If Entwistle was his choice, Lord Patten should take the consequences.

I say Lord Patten should go because he  doesn’t have  the qualities to lead the BBC. He’s a brilliant compromiser: the BBC needs a ruthless single-mindedness. The Westminster notion that the Governor of the BBC Trust  doesn’t call the shots at the BBC because that’s the job of the Director General is hogwash: if, in this case, the Chairman appoints the managing director (read: Director General), be certain that he’s the boss. ‘Authority without  responsibility’ is a perfect position for politicians who like power but not accountability but it’s not a go-er.  So I say again: Patten must go.

What kind of leadership does the BBC need at this time?  Too glib to say ‘any kind of leadership’!   The  new Director General should come from a demanding commercial management background and should possess a strong editorial track record.  The short term plan is obvious: a) settle with McAlpine; b) fire the journos and lawyers who got the BBC into this mess; c) set up proper reporting systems so that the DG is aware of tsunamis before they hit the beaches; d) stop the BBC liking for public self-flagellation; and e) give politicians and rival media two fingers.

There are not many people with the qualities that the BBC needs right now. I say Andrew Neil although BBC journos don’t like him.  A thick skin is pre-requisite too!

If you have a better idea, tell me .

 

 

 

 

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