Today I awoke to hear the Queen being lauded by all and sundry – John Major, David Owen, some Professor – merely for being long lived and keeping shtum for 63 years. Then we heard a succession of people praising Wayne Rooney for being an England striker long enough to score 50 goals. What is the difference? I suppose Rooney was in the squad on merit.
They are also both easy, safe stories for the BBC to bore us with. The Beeb loves an anniversary or a death. They can record the interviews long in advance – or at least ready the interviewees, and not have to worry about upsetting anyone. I still remember when Tony Benn died, (a man who actually never wielded any power as a politician) they ran and ran with it all the following day and were still leading the main evening news with it, even after the Russians had obviously invaded Ukraine and were killing people.
A famous person dying is even better for the Beeb, because the convention that you shouldn’t be critical of someone who has died gives them an excuse not to be. Jimmy Savile’s death was a classic one.
The day after he died, fair enough. But they were so ultra-cautious that several months later they dropped a properly researched piece by their own reporters which exposed Savile’s true nature as a serial attacker of underage girls. It was left to ITV to reveal all in its own documentary.
Interestingly the only media outlet to actually try to expose Savile while he was alive was The Sun – the paper reviled by kneejerk lefties. It ran several articles in 2008 linking him to child abuse investigation at a Jersey children’s home. Savile began legal proceedings against the Sun for this.