Monday, 13 August 2012

The real winner from the Olympics isn't Boris - it's the BBC

The media classes can often get into a state of group-think.

So, in 2011, Ed Miliband is talked of as a failure with no chance of victory by just about every major outlet. Then, all of a sudden, there is a change of heart that sweeps everyone along with it, and the next minute Cameron is facing endlessly negative coverage.

At the moment the herd mentality is that Boris Johnson, our refined and shy Tory Mayor, has benefited hugely from the games. Indeed, he may have had some benefit - although the evidence, such as the latest polling on the matter, doesn't necessarily bear this out.

In fact, the latest ICM polls on a Boris-led Tory Party indicate he'd barely shift their position in voting intention. Put simply, Miliband would still be on course to win in 2015, even with Johnson as Conservative Party leader.

The real winner is the BBC.

It has won record viewing figures, and the public's reaction to the coverage has been hugely warm. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the response to the BBC's Olympian efforts has been mortal enemies of the beeb, such as the Daily Mail and Telegraph, have written about it in highly positive ways - almost unheard of. Some recent examples from right-of-centre papers include:

Hats off to the BBC for their Olympic coverage (Daily Mail)

Brilliant Beeb can use Olympics to create 'minor sports' legacy (Daily Mail)

London 2012 Olympics: united in BBC's isles of wonder (Telegraph)

Aunty Beeb does Olympics proud (The Scotsman)

Olympics that prove UK can still deliver (Daily Mail editorial)

The BBC’s Olympics coverage has been a triumph (Metro)

Red button Olympics: The event that got us all switching on in our millions (Standard) 

That the Mail can, in its own leader column, describe the BBC's coverage as "brilliant and insightful" would have been almost unthinkable merely weeks before. The corporation has strengthened its reputation greatly through the Olympic Games and, for the time being at least, its enemies are in retreat.

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