OK, he didn’t say exactly that, in his speech last night to the Royal Television Society, but that was the implication of the New York Times CEO’s argument. It’s an interesting one.
He began by asserting that the root causes of the current Brexit impasse were cultural just as much as political:
A society which loses its shared culture loses much of its sense of distinctive identity. A society in which different communities and groups can no longer listen to and come to understand each other’s pasts and presents shouldn’t be surprised if mutual incomprehension and division are the result. If you doubt that any of this connects to big politics and national well-being, you’re not paying attention.
He then goes on to suggest that the BBC, as the only media player that can possibly fulfil the role of protecting a distinctly British cultural voice and projecting that voice internationally, should really be seen as the ally of Brexit voters, not their enemy. He even supportively quotes JM Keynes’ famous “death to Hollywood” remark, before calling for more investment in the BBC to maximise its cultural power:
But – at a moment when Britain contemplates setting out on a brave new voyage in search of new friends and new global markets – we can’t put Britain’s media flag-carrier on the list.
That’s because of an essentially hostile public policy stance on the BBC, which began to coalesce more than a decade ago but has hardened notably in recent years.
Full text of the speech is HERE – worth a read.