Booker on the BBC and Tesla
Booker has picked up on my story last week re the BBC’s shameless plugging of Tesla:
Why is the BBC advertising the Tesla?
The BBC assures us on its website that it is “not permitted to carry advertising or sponsorship on its public services”. So, at the start of this month, eyebrows were raised when for days on end its programmes and website featured puffs for a new electric car, soon to be produced by the US firm Tesla.
We know the corporation likes to show unbridled enthusiasm for all things “green”. But so relentlessly did its reporting on the Tesla Model 3 echo the firm’s own publicity material for what it claims to be “the first affordable electric car” (although at $42,000, this figure seems somewhat relative) that Paul Homewood was able to reproduce no fewer than seven such items on his website Notalotofpeopleknowthat.
He was also intrigued to see the top 20 companies invested in by the BBC Pension Fund. Considering how puritanical the BBC is about fossil fuels, smoking and tax avoidance, it seems odd that it should invest hundreds of millions of pounds in Shell, BP, Imperial Tobacco and several firms under fire for their tax arrangements. Appearing at 15th on the list is Tesla Motors Inc.
Those non-stop plugs for Tesla may not strictly be “advertising”, in that no money was paid (although such a torrent of publicity can do little harm to the pension prospects of BBC employees). But the manufacturers have some way to go in persuading us all to abandon fossil fuels. Last year, despite the £5,000 government bribe given to every customer who bought one, less than 10,000 electric cars were purchased: well under half a percent of all the cars sold.