Gary Lineker 1, Tim Davie 0

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Gary Lineker 1, Tim Davie 0

Perhaps one effect of the Lineker lunacy will be to remind those who have doubts just how important the BBC is to the nation.

We were given a good idea of what life would be like without it over the weekend – a lesser, rather silly looking country.

For one thing, most of the best reporting on this was done by the BBC itself. No other news organisation could possibly cover a story that close to home in the same way.

The Sun reporting on the phone hacking scandal would be a joke, just for example.

The Daily Mail looking at the ins and outs of its own private surveillance case? Forget it.

While the sport was affected, the brilliance of the BBC in ways large and small otherwise continued.

When you pay attention there are nuggets of excellence everywhere. All sorts of issues that no one else would bother to report get proper treatment.

The Mail and NewsCorp imagine they want to see the BBC dismantled, but they are fooling themselves.

They rely on its resources as a starting point for much of their news and as a place for talent to develop before they hire it.

A weaker BBC would diminish The Mail as much as anything – it would have one less thing to get dementedly angry about, for one thing.

The BBC offers a news anchor, having established at least some facts that are without dispute. Left entirely to create their own reality, just how crazy could the papers get?

The problems are not over for the BBC. One radio presenter said: “What you are watching is the pent-up anger of an entire organisation, channelling through this incident.”

It will be interesting to see how badly coverage of the budget on Wednesday is hampered.

Like the papers, the PR trade might think it can fill the gaps left by a weaker BBC with its own content. But it just can’t.

An excellent account of all this in The Sunday Times notes that director general Tim Davie is a PR man himself, a marketing guy really, rather than a hack. And that was perhaps the source of the trouble.

Lineker thought the whole issue was over, tweeting on Thursday that this “ridiculously out of proportion story seems to be abating”.

It was running out of steam until Davie ramped the whole thing up again.

“This is the problem of him not understanding the news cycle,” one source told The Times.

In other words, the man in charge of the news doesn’t understand the news. He is in the wrong job.

Press release of the day

If we are heading into recession, it is one like no other says this from the Robert Half Jobs Confidence Index.

Matt Weston says: “There’s no shying away from the fact that the UK economy is facing challenges ahead, however our Job Confidence Index doesn’t paint the picture of labour confidence doom and gloom that one may expect as we head towards a recession.”

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Will the SVB collapse force the US Fed to slow down rate rises?

2) Who has coped with the trading slowdown best, ICAP or Close Brothers?

3) Is the gap between pay and inflation getting any smaller?

4)  Are people trading down at Virgin Wines?


A complete and utter character

Tomorrow's Business

Gary Lineker 1, Tim Davie 0, part II


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