The BBC’s Greg Dyke has spent the last few weeks telling anyone who will listen just how much superior the BBC coverage of the invasion of Iraq was to that of American media (as long as you ignore minor problems like the Andrew Gilligan affair).
Apparently Dykes and the BBC have such faith in their correspondents that they are going to pay them not to wrote for British newspapers. According to the Telegraph,
Under new rules, which are being introduced by the BBC because of concerns raised during the Hutton Inquiry about its journalists’ activities, senior broadcasters including John Humphrys, the Today presenter, and Andrew Marr, the corporation’s political editor, will be prevented from writing columns, which can earn them as much as Â£100,000 a year.
. . .
The corporation hopes that these payments will avert the risk of senior journalists defecting to rival channels, where they would be free to resume newspaper work.
. . .
Andrew Gilligan, a reporter for the Today programme, who first raised the issue in a radio broadcast, further infuriated Downing Street when he expanded on his claims in The Mail on Sunday.
The subsequent death of Dr David Kelly, who was Mr Gilligan’s original source for the story, led the Government to establish a committee of inquiry under Lord Hutton. That inquiry is expected to be critical of the way the BBC and its board of governors, in particular, handled the affair.
So Gilligan’s reporting wasn’t fair and balanced? Who would have thunk it.
(Hint to the BBC: you might try actually hiring quality reporters rather than hiring flakes and then paying them extra not to write embarassing articles putting their biases and inadequacies on full display).
BBC pays Â£2m to key staff for not writing. Chris Hastings and Martin Baker, The Telegraph, November 11, 2003.