BBC has ‘undermined own credibility’ in Lineker row says former director-general
The BBC has “undermined its own credibility” by taking Gary Lineker off air, a former director-general of the corporation has said as the fallout from an impartiality row continues.
Greg Dyke, the BBC director-general between 2000 and 2004 and ex-FA chairman, said the broadcaster was “mistaken” in standing Lineker down.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the precedent at the corporation is that “news and current affairs employees are expected to be impartial and not the rest”.
“If you start applying the rules of news and current affairs to everybody who works for the BBC, where does it end?”, he said.
He added: “There is a long-established precedent in the BBC that is, that if you’re an entertainment presenter or you’re a football presenter, then you are not bound by those same (impartiality) rules.
“The real problem of today is that the BBC has undermined its own credibility by doing this because it looks like – the perception out there – is that the BBC has bowed to Government pressure.
“And once the BBC does that, then you’re in real problems.
“The perception out there is going to be that Gary Lineker, a much-loved television presenter, was taken off air after Government pressure on a particular issue.”
Former England footballers and MOTD regulars including Alan Shearer and Ian Wright announced on Friday that they would be boycotting the show in solidarity with Lineker.
Lineker, 62, became embroiled in a row over impartiality after comparing the language used to launch a new Government asylum seeker policy with 1930s Germany on Twitter.
The ex-England striker wrote: “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries.
“This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the ’30s.”
The broadcaster said it had “decided” Lineker would take a break from presenting the highlights programme until an “agreed and clear position” on his use of social media had been reached.
BBC director-general Tim Davie – who warned staff about their use of social media when he took on the role at the end of 2020 before guidelines on their use were updated – was asked by BBC News why Lineker had not been sacked.
Mr Davie replied: “Well I think we always look to take proportionate action and that’s what we’ve done.”
Current BBC guidelines state staff need to follow editorial guidelines and editorial oversight on social media in the same way as when doing content.
Lineker is a freelance broadcaster for the BBC, not a permanent member of staff, and is not responsible for news or political content so does not need to adhere to the same rules on impartiality.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.
While I fully support Gary over this, I’m more annoyed that the cowardly BBC are pulling the new Davis Attenborough series from broadcast and only putting it on iPlayer.
The rightwingers know they have run out of ideas and have nothing to offer the electorate now seem intent on matching the US Republicans for bile, spite and stupidity
Little girls might be made of sugar and spice but little Tories are made of ‘Bile, Spite and Stupidity…
Thanks for the loan (said Fat Shanks to Richard Sharp, here have the BBC in return)…
Meanwhile a group of Afghan girls, who have been studying this last 18 months for their GCSE’s in London, have been told by the Home Office that their families are to be moved up north just weeks before their exams, without a thought!
Afghan girls…education, you would hope that it would be taken into consideration but no!
What do they do in their lunch hour hunt down butterflies and pull their wings off…
As usual, if you want to read up it’s in the Guardian…
Just read a bit of Julie Birchill’s vicious attack on Lineker in the Spectator…
Mouth like a sewer, ych a fi…
It was never about ideas, it was all about siphoning the money to the establishment & the already rich first through austerity & then the unexpected bonus ( in their eyes) of brexit which made their eyes light up & got their juices flowing. The truth is of course that there was no plan & therefore no idea what to do after brexit was enabled, but the realization they could now pursue their long held far right ideological beliefs unhindered ( in their eyes) by the EU regulations. We are well down the path now where comparisons with other &… Read more »
If it had not been for the biased BBC political programs and the simple-mind-bending Moral Maze psy-ops there would have been no Brexit…
The British Broadcasting Corporation have shown their true colours! A disgraceful act of political interference in free speech. ‘Stop the boats’ a very similar rhetoric to idiot Trump’s ‘Build the wall’ It is a frightening thought as to where this could all end. Those supporting Brexit questioned the validity of, in their words ‘so called experts.’ These are parallels to Germany in the 1930s.
True colours indeed, it was not long ago that Fiona Bruce on question time, stated that the audience were ” carefully chosen ” to be a pro Brexit audience. Impartiality , what nonsense , Tory mouthpiece more like. Director General Tim Davie, fixed a loan for Boris, then got the job wink wink.
It’s nothing like Germany in the 30s then you had people fleeing Germany not wanting to get in
Those of us withdrawing our support from the BBC would appear to be able to rely on Nation.Cymru for BBC content!
The bbc has just shot itself in the footie
A massive own goal as well.
The Fat Shanks effect is like severe woodworm, one good push and the whole damned lot could topple with a serious push but Clark Kent is there as a buttress to keep this rotten to the core establishment standing…
Reply to Roger Bolton…Richard Sharp should clear his desk for the sake of the Nation…
If there are no programmes about English football then the Welsh ‘nationalists’ will perhaps turn their attention to Welsh football.
I also support Lineker on this issue – this is what’s called freedom of speach he should not be punished in any way shape or form. The Tories are treating immigrants as worse as people were treated in the 1930s – no matter what they say. It is disgusting. These are human beings not numbers. Their rhetoric and lies are shameful – they should be called out a lot more.
BBC was rancid in the early 2000’s, when Neil and Farage double act was on most days on daily politics. Hitchins on Sunday mornings also, low human values. Obsessing over english royalty also. Glad I don’t pay for this exceptionalism. Lineker is right, this stinks of past evils.
Sadly, the radio news both morning and lunch time is always loaded with Tory MPs and Grandees or donors. The odd left wing or Liberal commentator always comes as a surprise now. However, we are not going to drop our sub to the Licence fee. There is every chance that once the Tories are out the BBC cn be brought back to good health.