Anorak News | Yellow Journalism: The BBC goes full tabloid over Sir Philip Green and the death of Top Shop

Yellow Journalism: The BBC goes full tabloid over Sir Philip Green and the death of Top Shop

by | 1st, December 2020

Philip Green BBC Arcadia

Following its article ‘Sir Philip Green: From ‘king of the High Street’ to ‘unacceptable face of capitalism’, the BBC asks readers: “Has Topshop boss Philip Green done anything wrong?” Any question presented as a headline can be answered ‘no’. This is the BBC using tabloid-style clickbait to get readers and pander to prejudice. But the BBC is funded by tax so why bother with this sort of journalism?

Arcadia is a high straight stable. But the high street is dead. So goodbye Arcadia, including its brands like Miss Selfridge, Topman, the fantastic TopShop Wallis and Evans, unless someone buys them. Arcadia has lost to the internet, thumped at the tills by online-only fashion retailers such as Asos, Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing.

Philip Green BBC Arcadia
“On Arcadia’s back – not rich off the company he created?

So what of Green, who built the company? This is how the BBC begins its profile on the tycoon:

Business periodically throws up pantomime villains who vault from the financial pages to the front of the tabloids and become the subject of public vilification.

And this deference to lawyers:

But has he actually done anything wrong? Lawyers will argue that the company – not its owners – is the legal entity responsible for maintaining the financial health of the pension scheme.

Green has form, of course. He was “accused of having sold BHS to Dominic Chappell “deliberately to avoid the retirement plan liability, a claim he vigorously denied. He later paid £363m to make good the scheme.”

But citing what lawyers “will argue” in answer to a headline question is nonsense. Lawyers will argue whatever their clients pays them to argue. And on it goes:

As far as is known, Arcadia did not ignore any directions from the pension regulator to mend the pension, and indeed received an endorsement from the Pension Protection Fund for a company voluntary arrangement – a form of insolvency that allows a business to restructure its finances – in June last year.

“As far as is known…” As far as is known the moon is not made of fudge? As far as is known the moon landings were not faked? As far as is known the BBC is the unbiased media of record. And then get a load of this:

There may be no infringement of the law, but what attracts attention to Sir Philip’s case is that he and his wife have become immensely rich on Arcadia’s back.

The writer is at it again. “There may be no infringement of the law…” So flip that about, give it the side eye and you get “There may an infringement of the law”. Is that the writer’s inference? If it is, Green’s lawyers may well have more work in their inbox. Or may not… Fun to guess, though, right?

And to put the BBC’s slack journalism another way: “Has the BBC done anything wrong over its Sir Philip Green report?”…

Posted: 1st, December 2020 | In: Money, News Comment | TrackBack | Permalink