With all the provisos attached to News Corp’s takeover of BSkyB, opposition to the deal has surely now been diluted. But there are, perhaps, two groups who can still legitimately complain about the outcome.
Firstly, those of us who believe that unrestricted freedom of speech is vital in the TV broadcasting arena. The Murdoch empire has had to surrender its news channel in order to, essentially, buy a profitable platform for broadcasting sport and movies. This is seriously disturbing for anyone who feels that the BBC’s output of ‘neutral news’ needs to be challenged. The only major independent broadcaster – ITV – gave up long ago with their own news channel. Only Murdoch ran an alternative news platform, and at a massive loss.
But this brutal financial reality downplays the massive change in broadcast news that SKY brought about. The BBC swiftly moved to match its operations in terms of 24/7 coverage. Never as well as SKY - and rarely as fast - but at least it made the BBC try to use its colossal resources to compete with a new broadcasting entrant. A certain amount of the money you pay to the BBC for its news coverage was deployed in combating and matching the entrepreneurial genius of SKY. Your BBC viewing experience was directly enhanced as a result.
Read the rest of the article on the Spectator CoffeeHouse blog.