The Accused and the Accuser

Anyone who consumes news output from the BBC in any format at all cannot fail to have noticed that all is not well at Auntie Beeb’s place.  The news website is screaming, “BBC needs ‘radical overhaul'”, while Eddie Mair is asking whether Newsnight is “toast” and the Director General resigns following an on-air grilling by one of his own staff. Does anyone else find this spectacle rather bizarre? The news organs of the BBC have gone into overdrive, criticising one of its own flagship news programmes and its own management.

While this is undoubtedly a big story, one that is being extensively covered by many other sources, there appears to be a narcissistic fascination at the BBC with their own issues. One might admire the apparent editorial independence that allows this august body to so freely criticise itself, or one might think that in their excessive outpourings they do protest too much. Can it really be that the BBC is best positioned to objectively comment on its own shortcomings? Or would it be more befitting if there were a period, if not of reflective silence, then at least of humble acknowledgement that others can opine more dispassionately on their issues. My own feeling is that overall coverage would drop enormously as the BBC discovered that they are not quite as big a story as they think they are.

Thankfully, we do not all possess a news outlet as large or influential as the BBC. I suspect that for each of us, our own story, however trivial it may be to others, is quite the biggest thing going and, in our own limited ways, we broadcast it as such. We are all narcissists at heart.

That does beg the question though, are we any better placed than the BBC is to comment on the problems in our lives? As human beings we are very ready to comment on the shortcomings of others while conveniently ignoring the fact that we are all in the same club. The Bible, comments with admirable dispassion, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. Faced with this third party criticism, our internal news media may go into overdrive and seek to limit the damage and explain that we are not so bad as all that and anyway there are extenuating circumstances to be taken into consideration. This does not change the absolute and objective observation of the divine judge. His is not a statement of opinion but one of fact. The question is not, how are we going to manage this news, but rather what can be done about the situation as it has been revealed to us.

If the BBC cannot behave as though it were a third party accuser while being in point of fact the accused, nor can we. Our criticism of others merely highlights the truth of scripture, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things”. Ok, so perhaps you are not as bad as you could be but all of us know the potential that is inside.

The Bible does provide us with a solution though – and it’s not a public inquiry that kicks all of the issues into the long grass. It’s an immediate imperative,God “now … commands all people everywhere to repent”.

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