BBC launches public attack on Murdoch 'imperialism'

Anon Anon inprekorr at
Sun Aug 24 18:50:34 MDT 2003

This reminds me of one of the most truly powerful TV
interviews I have ever seen: Dennis Potter being
interviewed by Melvyn Bragg on Channel 4.  Potter was
dying of cancer at the time (1994), during the
interview he was sipping (on camera) from a hip flask
of morphine because of the pain he was in, and yet the
interview is a beautiful portrait of a creative genius
who maintained a sense of righteous anger at the
destruction of public culture throughout the Thatcher
years.  And so much more.  At one point Bragg asks
about the cancer and Potter responds:  "I call my
cancer Rupert, because that man Murdoch is the one
who, if I had the time (I've got too much writing to
do)... I would shoot the bugger if I could. There is
no one person more responsible for the pollution of
what was already a fairly polluted press."   What
makes the comment even more powerful is the final
series Potter wrote, Cold Lazarus, has the main
character shooting a media tycoon at the end.

By Vincent Graff, Media and Culture Editor
25 August 2003

The controller of BBC1 launched an unprecedented
attack on Rupert Murdoch yesterday, calling the media
billionaire a "capital imperialist" who wants to
destabilise the corporation because he "is against
everything the BBC stands for".

Lorraine Heggessey said Mr Murdoch's continued attacks
on the BBC stemmed from a dislike of the public
sector. But he did not understand that the British
people "have a National Health Service, a public
education system" and trust organisations that are
there for the benefit of society and not driven by

Her controversial comments, in an interview with The
Independent, are believed to be the first time a
senior BBC executive has publicly attacked the motives
of the media tycoon. They follow an intensification of
anti-BBC rhetoric from Mr Murdoch's side.

The BBC has been alarmed by the increasingly close
relationship between the Government and Mr Murdoch's
British newspapers, at a time when the BBC's
relationship with New Labour is strained as never
before. The frostiness of the relationship has raised
speculation that the Government will consider
abolishing the licence fee in its forthcoming review
of the BBC's charter.


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