Boris Johnson is on course to deliver a black eye to the BBC according to new reports, as he is allegedly preparing to announce that former Daily Mail boss Paul Dacre will become the next chair of the regulator Ofcom.
The left-wing Observer newspaper quoted one hysterical industry figure warning that the appointment “is an appalling idea”, but the move will be welcomed as a much needed shake-up by huge swathes of the country who see the BBC as increasingly out of touch.
Dacre’s editorship of the Daily Mail drew the usual ire of left-wing critics, but resonated with readers and saw the brand’s online presence skyrocket.
Under his editorship the paper took a strong stance in support of British withdrawal from the European Union, which in recent weeks has been hailed as a key factor in the UK’s much superior vaccine roll-out scheme.
Dacre was replaced by Remainer Geordie Greig as Mail editor in 2018, but he warned his successor that “support for Brexit is in the DNA of both the Daily Mail and, more pertinently, its readers”, condemning any move away from patriotic support for national independence as “editorial and commercial suicide.”
His new role as chairman of Ofcom would put Dacre in a prime position to fight back against biased BBC output, and could also see him hit back at online tech giants who damaged the print media’s advertising market – and who have come under recent fire for their own brazen political bias.
The regulator has the power to regulate content standards for the Beeb via the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, while also serving as the competition authority for UK communications firms.
The news of his potential appointment was first touted last autumn, when legendary conservative journalist Charles Moore was also on track to become the chairman of the BBC. He subsequently put himself out of the running.