There's one response to the Newsnight fiasco which, though plausible, hasn't been much aired. It's along the following lines:
This - and the phone-hacking scandal - shows that journalism is a very responsible job and that errors can prove costly. The BBC is paying the price for years in which journalists generally have been deskilled and underpaid to the extent that the job is now fit only for egomaniacs, the semi-retired, trustafarians and second-raters. Lapses like these show the need for journalists to be better paid to attract, retain and motivate genuine talent.
You have not been deafened by this sort of talk. Instead, the standard response has been to call for a restructuring of the BBC or a reorganization of its management. Radio 4's Media Show devoted an hour to such talk, without the thought occuring to anyone that the solution to sloppy journalism is, well, better journalism.
This inability to see the bleedin' obvious doesn't happen naturally. Such blindness can only be the product of ideology. I mean this in two senses:
1.The claim that high pay is necessary to attract and motivate good workers is not merely an economic postulate. If it were, it could apply across the wage distribution. Instead, it functions as a defence of inequality - used to justify higher pay for the rich, rather than for any job. For grunt workers, wages are a cost to be minimized regardless of consequence.
2. What we're seeing here is what Jeffrey Nielsen calls "rank-based thinking". We now take managerialism so much for granted that we assume that the only people who can possibly be responsible for improving an organization must be managers. The possibility that better workers can drive performance just doesn't occur to us.
Now, you will - of course - reply here that a call for higher pay for journalists shouldn't be surprising coming from a journalist. Fair cop. Except for two things. First, what I've said here doesn't apply only to journalism, but to other jobs too. For example, one plausible response to the Stafford Hospital and Winterbourne View scandals is that they shows a need to attract and motivate talented and diligent nurses and care workers. But this was not the primary reaction. And secondly, why doesn't such scepticism extend to those managers and their agents (politicians) who think that the solution to everything lies with management?