Nearly 60 per cent of TV viewers have claimed they now trust the BBC less than they used to, according to an opinion poll by The Guardian.

This also found that 58% believed that the BBC was no more likely to tell the truth than any other channel, these aspects coming in the wake of revelations that viewers were being misled on charity fundraising programmes. (See Charity Matters, July “BBC LET DOWN CHARITIES, AND CHILDREN”).

The cynicism towards TV generally seems to be well-founded since ITV was subsequently under attack for promoting a documentary as showing the final moments of an Alzheimer’s disease sufferer – in itself an arguable lapse in taste – which showed the sufferer slipping into the coma from which he never recovered, dying a few days later.

Those interested in whether such deceptions are a modern drop in standards might know the mordant French film classic La Règle du jeu (the rules of the game) directed by Jean Renoir, son of the famous painter. In this Renoir plays one of the characters, the world-weary Octave whose take on lying is “It’s another sign of the times: everybody lies. Patent medicines, governments, radio, cinema, newspapers. So why should you expect us ordinary mortals not to lie too?”

Renoir’s film was released in 1939 so he wouldn’t have been able to include television in his list ….

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