We should not forget, here in the UK, that dislike of the state-financed broadcasting network of the BBC has been going on for some time. Here is Kingsley Amis, the author and lecturer, writing in 1984:
“In television, as in other departments of national life, the consumer, the customer, the purchaser, is faced wiith a semi-benign semi-conspiracy to foist on him what is thought to be good for him, what other people consider he ought to have, instead of what he naturally prefers. In short, the public is brought education when it wants entertainment.”
The point, however, is that the focus on entertainment has arguably increased since the late Mr Amis wrote those words back in the era of Mrs Thatcher. As a consequence, the paternalistic intentions of the creators of the BBC have been frustrated to a remarkable degree. When Amis commented on the BBC, he at least was part of a country in which it was assumed that the BBC’s controllers felt that they had some sort of mission to educate and inform – not that this justified coercive funding even then. But the paternalism was at least fairly blatant. Now even that sense of mission appears to be more evident in the breach rather than the observance. The contradictions posed by the BBC’s funding model are unendurable.
The quote is taken from The Amis Collection, page 257, published in 1990. I am not sure if the book is still in print.