BBC Official Resigns Over Misleading Documentary Footage

October 5th, 2007 11:29 AM

Do you remember hearing about a BBC documentary about Queen Elizabeth II this summer? During filming, Her Majesty walked out of the room in a huff when photographer Annie Leibovitz asked her to remove her crown for a photo. This is the stuff tabloid dreams are made of, and they had a field day with this tasty tidbit. But apparently it never happened: selective editing of the film footage in the trailer, which was shown to journalists, made it seem as though it did.

Back in July, when the controversy erupted, Peter Fincham, the controller for BBC One apologized for the "mistake," but said he wouldn't resign.

What a difference a few months can make:

Fincham resigned on Friday after a BBC report found that although the broadcaster did not intend to deceive, it had not done enough to ensure that its presentation was truthful.

"A vital relationship -- that between the BBC and the Royal Household -- had been, at the very least, placed under strain, and the reputation of the BBC, already having sustained recent damage over the issue of trust, was further tarnished," the report found.

Those scandals include the unfounded BBC report that former PM Tony Blair "sexed up" a pre-war dossier of about Iraq's WMDs; faking the results of a phone-in contest on a children's television show; and an internal report that found the publicly-funded "corporation particularly partial in its treatment of single-issue politics such as climate change, poverty, race and religion."

All in all, not a good year for the BBC.