BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Friday, 7 August 2009


James Naughtie was in Janus-like mood on 'Today', looking kindly on Labour's Quentin Davies but looking unkindly on the Conservative's Grant Shapps.

Compare these figures:

Length of interview - 6 mins 35 secs
I.C. - 0
Length of answers:
A1: 19 secs
A2: 2 mins 4 secs
A3: 1 min 10 secs
A4: 1 min 33 secs

Length of interview - 2 mins 53 secs
I.C. - 1.2
Length of answers:
A1: 24 secs
A2: 28 secs
A3: 56 secs (with interruptions)
A4: 15 secs

The Davies interview was, as you can see, a long one yet it only contained 4 questions. Naughtie always let Mr Davies finish his point, even when some of the answers went on and on and on... .
In contrast the much shorter Shapps interview contained 3 interruptions.

As regards tone the contrast was no less sharp. Unlike the respectful tone and hands-off technique of the Davies interview, Naughtie talked to Mr Shapps rather like an Edwardian schoolmaster bullying an unpopular-but-bright pupil. (I draw on my long-late-but-deeply-loved gran's anecdotes about her schooldays for this image!) He enunciated emphatically, not a little contemptuously and v e r y s l o w l y "Can't..have.. it..both ways!" at the end of one of his long-winded questions. He then butted in, within ten seconds, to Shapp's reply and butted in again three seconds later with a dismissive "Pah!" noise: "Exactly! So don't... you can't complain about a postcode lottery."

What Jim was going to say (obviously) was, "Pah, exactly! So don't complain about a postcode lottery!" but stopped himself just in time. If he hadn't even a typically submissive Tory might just have bridled at his interviewer's aggressive and patronising manner.

The I.C.s are beginning to nail James Naughtie's left-wing bias. I feel an official complaint drawing ever nearer.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.