Broadcasting council member: We did not do our job.

How bitter it must be for the self-congratulatory politically appointed members of the Broadcasting council to find out that their warm round of applause and many cheers for a job well done, when in reality the job has been botched, now has turned into flames that come after the Council members themselves.

In fact, the Broadcasting Council botched the job so badly that one of the professional members of the same council now has added his voice to the growing choir of dissent: Frank Rossavik, here interviewed by Vårt Land (unauthorized translation):

“We let down the public in our debate on the ME.

– We were not a critical voice on behalf of  listeners and viewers. In stead, what we had was a party  politics debate on the ME.

– We got a very emotional discussion, with the left side pitched mainly against the Progress party. This was unfortunate particularly when taking into regard the many people who had turned up and who were prepared for an entirely different level of discussion. I also don’t think the NRK really has a need to call a meeting with the Broadcasting council to know what Norwegian parties think about the ME. They already know that.”

The leader of the Broadcasting council, May Helen Molvær Grimstad says to the same newspaper:

The Broadcasting council has received so much criticism in the wake of  its treatment  of NRKs  ME coverage that the Council now must review its own role.

When the Council goes to Brussels next week to get an overview over European broadcasting policies, the Council will also discuss what really happened on April 28, when it dealt with a complaint from the Israeli embassy against NRKs ME coverage.

– Praise and criticism must both be taken seriously  and we now have to consider the criticism we have received on how we execute our function.”

So that is the cost of trumping party politics in stead of dealing with the issues at hand. Our institutions suffer and lose credibility. Next time a citizen has a legitimate complaint against a particular type of media coverage, be it content or style, they may not see the Broadcasting council as a natural, or even trustworthy, body to go to.

For us sophisticated Norwegians, this is the stuff that would go on in banana republics, not in our law abiding Norway, where supposedly the public good should have preference over party political squabble.

In other countries this is called corruption.

I think we owe the Israeli Embassy a warm round of applause and many thank you’s for exposing this deeply worrying malfunction in one of the most important public institutions in Norway. The NRK is for many a Norwegian a pillar for their understanding of domestic and foreign affairs. It is not a small matter that they have been willfully deceived.

Spit out the champagne, Sidsel Wold, re-corc the bottle and get ready for a much more serious scrutiny of your lamentable professional skills. You are not home scot free after all! Even if your organization fails to mention this development anywhere on its pages or programs.