Wild speculation about what might happen in five years is used to batter the Beeb
You have to hand it to the Tory press’s ‘war on the BBC’. It can be very creative.
Today the Daily Mail reports on how the BBC will cover the cost of free TV licences for over-75s, as part of the government’s ‘reforms’ of the corporation.
However, the Mail went with a more imaginative angle:
BBC could force more OAPs to pay licence fee
“Middle-class pensioners may have to start paying for their television licence within five years, under new government plans.
The BBC will have to pick up the £650million-a-year bill for providing free TV licences to the over-75s, the culture secretary confirmed yesterday.
However, in a move that could hit millions of middle-class families, it will be allowed to change the rules from 2020.”
The Mail is referring to a hypothetical decision by the BBC, in five years time, to start charging more people than they charge now for a TV licence.
Thus the paper is reporting on bad things the BBC hasn’t even thought about doing yet. It goes on:
“That means it will be at liberty to raise the age at which people are entitled to a free television licence, or to introduce a means-testing system so that they are only given to poorer pensioners.”
All of this is pure speculation. The paper has conjured up a threat to ‘middle-class pensioners’ (i.e. lots of their readers) from an evil money grabbing TV broadcaster, based solely on its imagination.
The fact that the BBC could do this (and many other things, like actually lower the age of exemption) does not mean it will.
So what’s the story?
Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter
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