Since Andy Gray's charmless and misconceived words about a female assistant referee, the BBC has seemed somewhat obsessed with that event and its aftermath. In the case of Radio 5 Live, this appears to be the only news item of any consequence - they have, to my knowledge had three hour long phone-in programmes on the subject, two of them on Nicky Campbell's high profile morning show.
Every nuance of the story, each syllable of the offending remarks, a parade of experts, relatives, friends and colleagues have all been dragged across the BBC's part of the airwaves to opine on Mr Gray's remarks. It it - to my thinking - a news story that absolutely defines the BBC's priorities at present. These can be summed up thus:
To give the maximum possible coverage to any story that might put Rupert Murdoch, News International and BSkyB in a bad light
It's that simple. The wall-to-wall coverage isn't a reflection of the BBC's deep concerns about prejudice in our society - after all they just lost a high profile ageism case. The focus on Mr Gray and Sky is about the ongoing turf war between the BBC and Sky over media market share. The BBC has the largest share of the UK's media market and want to keep it that way. Which means stopping the advance of Sky, preventing the monetization of on-line news and, through its newspaper partner, The Guardian, conducting a persistent campaign to denigrate the management and operations of News International.
So covering the UK's economic woes, bombings at Moscow airport, the ongoing events in Tunisia, the uprisings in Egypt and the aftermath of floods in Australia takes second place to the BBC's selfish interests. So much so that one BBC channels output is skewed entirely to the Corporation's fight with Murdoch over market share.
Time for reform I think.