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04 September 2005

John Humphrys: The BBC & the Further Death of Journalistic Integrity

On 17 August The Antagonist posted an article about the lies that were told and exposed in relation to the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes when statements given as part of the IPCC investigation were leaked to ITV News.

In the comments on that article
, and having made a point of endeavouring to listen in, The Antagonist remarked upon the distinctly notable absence of the 8.10 interview from Radio 4's today programme the morning after news of the leak, as well as the perhaps coincidental absence from the show that morning of the show's only presenter with sufficient integrity to warrant such a distinguished position on Radio 4's flagship news programme, John Humphrys.

Since that day, The Antagonist has been telling anyone who will listen that the BBC's increasingly more pronounced role as little more than the mouthpiece of MI5 government would result in the ousting of individuals with any degree of journalistic integrity from any positions of prominence. More specifically, The Antagonist has espoused the notion that John Humphrys' time of endeavouring to maintain journalistic integrity in a media climate that no longer allows such a luxury would, somehow, be drawing to a close in the very near future.

Lo-and-behold, what has been doing the rounds the last couple of days if not stories about Michael Grade's launch of an investigation into a speech which John Humphrys gave, some two months ago, to the Commercial Directors' Forum where Humphry's dared speak words much closer to the truth than the news media can allow?

A couple of links:

The Independent: BBC launches inquiry into Humphrys speech

The Observer: 'Stitched up' Humphrys faces BBC probe

And a few links, for good measure, from the Times Online web site, including a link to a video [ASX file] and a full text transcript of John Humphry's speech to the Commercial Directors Forum:

Radio's king of rude launches another salvo at Labour 'liars', 03 Sep 2005
John Humphrys has ridiculed senior Labour politicians and implied that all ministers are liars.

The Humphrys verdict on 'boring' Brown and Blair, 02 Sep 2005
John Humphrys has ridiculed senior Labour politicians and implied all ministers are liars in a filmed speech.

The presenter famous for being blunt refuses to be silenced, 03 Sep 2005
Humphrys has made his fortune by not only talking about politicians but also by being rude to them.

Humphrys on Blair, Brown and Campbell: text, 02 Sep 2005
Full text of John Humphrys speaking to Commercial Directors' Forum, June 8.

John Humphrys would not be the first journalist to be hoisted by the petard of truth-seeking in journalism but, if Grade has any impact on Humphrys' esteemed position, the Today programme will be left with nothing more than a gaggle of presenters happy to share cosy evenings with the same politicians they are tasked with grilling in the public interest, a sycophantic trait to which Humphrys, to his considerable credit, did not succumb.

The first casualty of war is truth. If Grade's McCarthyistic witch-hunt against Humphrys succeeds, the lid on the coffin of British journalism will be one nail closer to being forever-sealed.

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