Blood-bath at the Beeb

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

These are dark days for the BBC. Yesterday more than 2,000 staffers in production and broadcasting (meaning news, sport, and drama) heard they’re getting the boot. This comes on top of 1,700 business-side layoffs announced a couple of weeks ago. By the time Mark Thompson, the newish director general (the last one, you’ll remember, quit over that dodgy WMD story) gets done swinging the meat axe, the BBC will be about 6,000 people lighter.

No doubt there’s a lot of fat to trim at the Beeb, which, while indispensable on so many counts, is a big, unwieldy bureaucracy — and one, moreover, that subsists on taxpayer money. If Thompson is as good as his word and the money saved will go into new and better programming, all to the good. But we’ll see.

Then again, lately the BBC is finding it can’t even spend the money it wants to spend. Ricky Gervais, the man behind “The Office” (the best, and most painful, thing to come out of the BBC in years) just turned down a $10 million deal with the corporation, saying, sublimely, that such arrangements encourage “laziness and extravagance” and that, anyway, he didn’t want to be the BBC’s “bitch.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend