2021-05-24 03:47:05 BBC’s Bashir Deceived Princess Diana For Interview

BBC’s Bashir Deceived Princess Diana For Interview

An independent investigation determined that the BBC “fell short of its high standards of integrity and transparency” and that reporter Martin Bashir acted “deceitful” to secure his explosive 1995 interview with Princess Diana.

The famous Panorama interview was the first time a member of the royal family spoke candidly about their life in harsh terms — and Diana didn’t hold back.

She claimed that living in the royal family had driven her to bulimia and self-harm, and that no one in the royal family assisted her, instead dismissing her behavior and labeling her “unstable.” She admitted to having an affair with James Hewitt, her riding instructor. She discussed her estranged husband Prince Charles’ long-running affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles, famously stating, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”

She also questioned Charles’ ability to be king and expressed doubt that she would ever be queen of the country, saying she would rather “be a queen of people’s hearts.”

The aftermath of the interview, which was viewed by over 20 million people, was seismic. It cemented Diana’s reputation as a victim of an uncaring monarchy and sank public opinion of the royal family, particularly of Charles. Soon after it aired, the Queen ordered Charles and Diana, who had been separated for over two years, to file for divorce formally.

However, on Nov. 2, 2020, just weeks before the interview’s 25th anniversary, the Daily Mail published a letter from Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, accusing the BBC of “sheer dishonesty” and unethical behind-the-scenes maneuverings to secure the interview.

Following his public statements, the BBC launched an independent investigation into the interview’s circumstances.

According to the findings of this investigation, which were released on Thursday, Bashir “deceived” Earl Spencer in order to obtain an introduction to his royal sister, which he then used to persuade her to agree to an interview. The BBC then “covered up the investigations into how [Bashir] secured the interview and the propriety of the methods he employed” when this information first became public.

Bashir “commissioned” an unwitting BBC graphic artist to create bank documents that appeared to show a former employee of his had been paid by a newspaper group in order to gain Earl Spencer’s trust. According to the report, Bashir also created additional bank statements that appeared to show that two of Diana’s current senior aides were being paid by the same newspaper group (the implication being that the payments were in exchange for selling private information to the tabloids). Bashir introduced the reporter to his royal sister after the meeting in which he showed Earl Spencer these documents.

“By gaining access to Princess Diana in this way, Mr. Bashir was able to persuade her to agree to give the interview,” wrote Lord Dyson, the former judge who oversaw the investigation.

According to a Guardian story published April 8, 1996 — one day after the Mail on Sunday broke the news of the forged documents’ existence and accused the BBC of staging “a covert, cunning, and misleading exercise” to seize power — the graphic designer who created the forged documents approached senior BBC executives with his concerns about how they might have been used.

The BBC conducted an internal investigation at the time, which ultimately cleared Bashir and Panorama, concluding that the documents were “in no way” used to persuade the princess to agree to an interview.

However, Lord Dyson described the BBC’s internal investigation as “woefully ineffective” in his report. Bashir, he claimed, repeatedly lied to his superiors about the circumstances surrounding the interview, and the BBC, among other things, did not interview Earl Spencer, but instead “accepted Mr. Bashir’s account as truthful.”

“I am satisfied that the BBC concealed in its press logs the facts that it had discovered about how Bashir obtained the interview “According to Lord Dyson.

The interview was conducted in secret; the Palace press team was unaware of it until after it was recorded, and only a few people at the BBC were made aware of its existence until the Panorama episode’s airdate was set. (At the time, BBC chair Marmaduke Hussey was reportedly “extremely unhappy” that the network’s executives had not informed him about the program in advance.)

The interview was also important in terms of timing. Sally Bedell Smith writes in her biography Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch that Diana “quite intentionally” waited until Prince Charles’s birthday on Nov. 14 to notify the Palace that she was to appear on Panorama — and the interview itself aired on Nov. 20, the Queen and Prince Philip’s 48th wedding anniversary.

Despite the “deceitful” behind-the-scenes maneuvering, Lord Dyson concluded that Diana was “keen on the idea of a television interview” when she was first introduced to Bashir and “would probably have agreed to be interviewed by any experienced and reputable reporter in whom she had confidence even without Mr. Bashir’s intervention.”

“Whatever reservations she may have had later,” Lord Dyson said, “Princess Diana was pleased with the interview at the time.”

Bashir, who retired as the BBC’s religion editor last week, apologized for forging the documents but insisted that they “had no bearing whatsoever on Princess Diana’s personal choice to participate in the interview.” He also gave the investigation a handwritten note from Diana in which she stated that he had not shown her “any documents nor given[n] me any information that I was not previously aware of.”

Current BBC Chair Richard Sharp stated that the corporation “unconditionally accepted” the report’s findings, a sentiment shared by the corporation’s current Director-General, Tim Davie.

“Although the report states that Diana, Princess of Wales, was eager to speak with the BBC, it is clear that the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect,” Davie said. “While today’s BBC has far superior processes and procedures, those in place at the time should have prevented the interview from being secured in this manner.”

“While the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter-century of coverage, we can offer a full and unconditional apology. Today, the BBC provides this service.”

According to the BBC, the corporation has personally apologized to Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as Earl Spencer and Prince Charles.

Earl Spencer stated on Thursday that he believes his sister would still be alive if she had not agreed to be interviewed by Bashir, claiming that his reporting tactics made Diana believe she couldn’t trust those around her.

He described Bashir as “very good at amplifying people’s anxieties” and giving the impression that he would “save you in a difficult and dangerous world.”

“She didn’t know who to trust, and when she died two years later, she was left without any real protection.”

In response to the inquiry’s findings on Thursday, Harry and William both issued statements criticizing the media.

Source link

Other News

Subscribe to our World NEWS Letter

BBC's Bashir Deceived Princess Diana For Interview