I can see why it was set up that way in the 1920s, and then extended to TV in the 1940s. Y’know, a century ago, when the UK was basically an authoritarian regime, and still an empire, and radios and TVs were seen as luxury items that it was expected only a few households would have access to (making a broader tax unfair). But it’s 2020. Both principles are, at this point, well, I think evil is a reasonable description. Yet the BBC continues to lobby for both, and to try and shut down an attempt to look at alternatives.
That’s a false dichotomy though. Those aren’t the only options, nor are they ones people generally suggest.
On top of that, I don’t think making it tax-funded would make it meaningfully less impartial if the law that made it tax-funded set it up as impartial. What would the difference be between the current situation, where the government decides how much the licence fee is, the government decides how the BBC can collect it, and the structure of the state enforces the criminal penalty? That’s an actual question, btw, not rhetorical. If the BBC themselves were setting the licence fee, and collect it via a civil mechanism, that would be a genuine difference.
My suggestion would be that they need to, as a start, change to a civil penalty (but still mandatory if the person actually watches live TV) and accept whatever losses that produces, and then when they find out whether that causes a big impact or a small one (I’m guessing it’ll be much smaller than they fear, given no-one likes their credit rating being impacted, but they’d have to at least attempt to resolve stuff before taking people to court this way, which they currently do not). Once that’s been established then they and the government can look at how the service is going to continue to be funded, because right now it remains a necessary change that is simply blocking any progress on this at all.
I don’t agree with that at all and it makes me wonder how much you’ve read BBC News over the last couple of decades (esp. in terms of comparing it with other news sources).
Particularly re: “augmented” being bad. The “augmented” content is actually much higher quality than the main news content. It’s shocking. There’s actual journalism in Stories and Long Reads, for example, which are definitely in the “augmented” category. Stuff where research has been done, and stories have been presented responsibly and truthfully, and you can actually see the BBC-ness of the content.
Whereas if you look at the main news content, especially over the last decade, it’s overall been of genuinely unacceptable quality (especially given how over-funded BBC News is). News stories are routinely missing vital information, or summarized incorrectly. Routinely completely one-sided, or written in completely insane ways. Analysis blocks often miss the point of the entire news story and focus on some minor point. Horrific false-balance bullshit and, frankly, subservience to the government line have been the absolute hallmarks of 2010s BBC News website stories. Again, to me this is always particularly obvious in stuff about science, tech, history-related news articles (not archaeology, notably, they’re usually okay there), non-UK politics (but also UK politics) or the like, because I read around that a lot more, so I see more other takes, and see how extremely bad, sometimes dangerously misleading the BBC takes are. Some of it has been really embarrassing too, like just incompetent. They’re also, despite running a 24-hour news service, not even particularly timely. We’ve got the point where, if you want responsible and timely reporting, something like the Financial Times is a much better bet than the BBC (on any subject).
I’m not going to be as unfair as BBC News has been though - they have improved lately. I dunno if it’s the new guy in charge of the BBC (he seems like an idiot, so I doubt it), or some other internal change, or a reaction to COVID or whatever, but over the last year or so they have improved the average quality of the news on the website. I haven’t seen the same regular deal where you click on an innocuous-seeming article and it’s actually hideously biased and bizarre. There’s still a distinct lack of actual journalism/reporting, but they have cut down a lot on the “this appears to have been written by some intern who totally believed one take on it and did no research at all to see if it was true” factor, for example. They’ve got even more clickbait-y on titles though, which I don’t appreciate, because clickbait and scare-mongering at the same thing, much of the time.
As an aside, and talking about news in general, I’d say major US news sources pretty much never have the “gullible intern wrote this” factor. You often get incomplete or biased news, sure, but this whole thing, which characterized a lot of 2010s BBC News stories (particularly ones I had to make a complaint about) has been where you have this news story, often written in quite enthusiastic way, which just isn’t fact-based/reality-based, and just completely buys into some specific take fed to them by a politician, or company, or whatever. Gullible is not something I would have ever describe the BBC as prior to the 2010s.