The BBC’s hypocrisy on St James’ Park rename beggars belief
Posted on January 21st, 2012 | 36 Comments |
“The BBC’s governing principles, closely associated with its first Director-General, Sir John Reith, are to educate, inform and entertain the whole nation, free from political interference and commercial pressure. These ideals continue to underpin an enduring vision of the BBC as the “national” broadcaster. Such a broadcaster should have a remit to provide high (benchmark) quality content, across the full range of broadcast genres (with a particular focus on impartial news and current affairs services), free at the point of use and without advertising. This is what, in the opinion of many, the BBC ought to stand for. The merits and implications of these features, in a changing world, have been at the core of our inquiry.” parliament.uk website.
As some of you may know Newcastle City Council have written to “the media” in that London, asking it to desist from using the name “S_____ D_____ A____” for the home of Newcastle United, and return to referring to it by its correct name, St James’ Park.
This comes after Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors came together to pass a motion opposing Mike Ashley’s decision to rename the stadium after his tacky and disreputable sportswear company, and their subsequent refusal to rename street signs in the area. The council’s letter read:
At a recent meeting of Newcastle City Council there was overwhelming criticism of the decision by Newcastle United Football Club to rename St James’ Park the S_____ D_____ A____.
As you will recall, the club’s announcement in November was met with widespread opposition from fans who felt it was a change too far.
A notice of motion that was debated, amended and carried unanimously at full council is enclosed.
The motion requests that the City Council write to the media and asks that they continue to use the name of St James’ Park in all reporting and refuse to use the name S_____ D_____ A____. We respectfully request that you take this approach.
For its part, the City Council has taken the decision not to change any wayfinding signs which bear the name St James’ Park, and calls on the club to reconsider their decision.
We would ask that you acknowledge the strength of opposition among Newcastle fans against changing the name of the stadium and continue to call it St James’ Park in all reporting.
Councillor Nick Forbes
Leader of Newcastle City Council
Councillor David Faulkner
Leader of the Opposition”
However the BBC, an organisation which is funded by license payers so it can allegedly remain “indpendent” and free from the tacky world of commerce and advertising have decided that the commercial interests of sportswear retailer Sports Direct, who have paid aproximately £40,000 for the rights to rename the stadium for an indefinite period, must override the concerns of a the great majority of those who help to fund its services in the Tyneside area, as well as those of their democratically elected representatives. Their statement in reaction to the Council’s media missive read:
“As of 10 November, the Sports Direct Arena became the official name for the ground as chosen by the club.
“It is not the BBC’s place, as an impartial public broadcaster to decide or debate on whether this is correct or not, rather to report on the matches which take place on the field.
“Changing the way we display the graphics or refer to the ground on our programmes ensures consistency with every other ground which has a sponsor, be it new grounds that came with a sponsor like the Emirates, or old grounds that have changed their names like Bradford City’s Coral Windows Stadium (formerly Valley Parade).”
Meanwhile, Newcastle United declibed to comment.
Of course, with the intervention of Newcastle City Council, it could be said that this is “political interference.” However whatever the moves from the council and whatever the examples cited by the BBC, they aren’t supposed to “do” advertising anyway (see above). They once refused to play The Kinks’ 1970 hit “Lola” because it contained just one example of the brand name “Coca Cola,” which was subsequently changed to “Cherry Cola” to receive airplay from the Corporation. I remember watching “Blue Peter” as a child, where the almost ubiquitous empty washing up bottles to create a replica of a Saturn 5 space rocket, a submarine or practically anything were always scrupulously taped over to hide the brand name on the bottle. However things are different now and the BBC has sadly become something of a law unto itself. It has long since completely compromised the integrity of its original vision through through advertising, whether it is for Sports Direct, Coral Windows or indeed any other brand in this fashion.
Sign the St James’ Park forever petition, complain to the BBC!
St James’ Park forever petition to the BBC.