Saturday, August 16, 2008

Spin Exposed

It is Tuesday, Radio 4, World at One and James Plaskitt, Junior Minister in the Department for Work and Pensions is being interviewed by BBC journalist Shaun Ley:

Ley: Are you worried that this collection of economic statistics we've seen today, including obviously the rising unemployment figures, will further destabilise the prime minister's leadership ?

Plaskitt: I'm not commenting on that issue as I made clear at the outset. It's not about that.

Ley: But you're -

Press officer: We're only talking about today's employment figures.

Ley: Sure, but you're a minister, you're a member of his government.

Plaskitt: Well, the answer's no.

Ley: You don't think it will?

Plaskitt: No.

Absolutely incredible that a government press officer would cut into an interview this way. All credit to the BBC for broadcasting it, and that is interesting in itself. Shaun Ley offers up an explanation of what went on in his blog, but does anyone think that the Labour-supporting BBC of old would have hesitated in cutting out the press officer's intervention? It wasn't live so they could have done so easily. These are the people who didn't broadcast Neil Kinnock making a fool of himself before the 1992 election for no reason that has ever been adequately explained and the people who ran biased media against the Conservatives for decades. Could it be that the realisation that Labour may not be in power for much longer has emboldened them? Could it be that emerging debate on the future of the BBC has made them realise that systematic political bias is not a long-term survival strategy? In that at least I think that the damage has already been done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

BBC changed - NO
They are aware that many people in the UK and abroad believe they are biased and try sometimes to do a mini exercise in moderation and balance, but without conviction.
If the Conservatives get into power you will see many of the old BBC pro-Nu Labor stalwarts taking pension and seeking alternative city work.
Only Evan Davies on the Today programme appears to have a far less committed NL bias. Long may he keep this in such an insidious environment.