Tuesday, July 31, 2007

BBC barometer

As someone who likes to offer my opinion on various issues I shouldn't really be complaining when others do so - but when it's the publicly funded BBC and the opinion is aired as a "news item", I think I have that right.

Watching last night's BBC News I saw Nick Robinson giving his "report" on the Bush/Brown meeting. When two major world leaders get together for the first time (as leaders) you would have thought their would be plenty of items for a news reporter to get his teeth into, but the woeful Nick Robinson didn't bother with that.

Instead he just ran a piece in which he offered his opinion on how he thought the two got on, whether there was a difference from Blair/Bush and what he thought he could "read" from what was left unsaid and from their body language.

It was nonsense. If it had been an item on something like "This Week" it would have been bad enough, but this was the lead news item on the BBC's flagship news programme!

Once upon a time, when you watched the news, the news is what you got. A newsreader would sit at a desk and read out the reports that had been filed, sometimes accompanied with some film footage. Unless something significant had happened, it would start with home news, then international news, then "other" news and finally sport and weather. All in all it would last around 15-20 minutes. It was concise, it was authoritative and it was news.

We don't get "the news" anymore. We get half hour op-ed's. The newsreader tells us the subject and then up pops another talking head in some far off location - Washington, Calcutta, Tel Aviv, Rotherham - to give us his or her opinion on that subject then back we go to the "newsreader" for the next subject.

Interestingly, the news programmes are now working like a barometer for the BBC. Everything on the news is given spin according to the agenda of that "reporter" and the organisation they work for. In the BBC's case the agenda is unremittingly left wing liberal and the outlook is wet and windy.

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