BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Saturday, 22 August 2009


What, if anything, do the I.C.s tell us about how the BBC is conducting its coverage of the release of al Megrahi?
Here are the details of all the relevant interviews (this month):
Newsnight 20.08.09, Gavin Esler, Kenny MacAskill, SNP 1.6
World at One 13.08.09, Martha Kearney, Daniel Kawczynski, Conservative 1.4
PM 20.08.09, Eddie Mair, Kenny MacAskill, SNP 1.1
Today 21.08.09, John Humphrys, Alex Salmond, SNP 1
Today 21.08.09, John Humphrys, David Miliband, Labour 0.9
Newsnight 21.08.09, Gavin Esler, Iain Gray, Labour 0.6
World at One 17.08.09, Martha Kearney, Richard Baker, Labour 0.6
Newsnight 21.08.09, Gavin Esler, George Kerevan, SNP 0.5
PM 17.08.09, Eddie Mair, Christine Graham, SNP 0.4
Newsnight 5.8.09, Kirsty Wark, Christine Graham, SNP 0.4
World at One 19.08.09, Martha Kearney, Christine Graham, SNP 0.2
World at One 21.08.09, Shaun Ley, Lord Trefgarne, Conservative 0
World at One 21.08.09, Shaun Ley, Tam Dalyell, Labour 0
World at One 13.08.09, Martha Kearney, Christine Graham, SNP 0
World Tonight 21.08.09, Robin Lustig, Richard Baker, Labour 0

The average number of interruptions per political party being:
Conservatives - 0.7
SNP - 0.7
Labour - 0.4
If the focus of the story turns to Labour's part (or non-part) in this (as, following Gadaffi's son's comments about a British-Libyan trade angle to the motivation behind the Lockerbie bomber's release, it well might) will these figures change?

The intriguing suggestions of anti-SNP, pro-Labour bias in the Beeb's Scotland coverage match my earlier findings (click on label for SNP), though I've not got sufficient data - yet! - to claim that it's in any way proven (as it certainly isn't) or that it's even a particularly strong trend. Time (and the return of 'The Politics Show: Scotland') will clarify the matter.

Michael Crick's Newsnight piece redressed the balance I was complaining about in my last post,
using a Conservative as the only true 'talking head' party politician in his report (besides the Great Chieftain of the Pudding Race himself, Alex Salmond, and Alistair Darling - both of who were not Newsnight's own 'talking heads', merely heads talking!). Credit where credit is due. Oddly, the Conservative spokesman was never labelled as such, only as 'David Mundell MP, Shadow Scottish Secretary', so there's nothing to add to the Crick count!
And what of Crick's attitude to the SNP? His report was much more sober than usual (how could it have been otherwise?), despite the swirling landscapes and the stirring music (Mendelssohn's glorious Hebrides Overture, naturally. Crick is nothing if not obvious!). No sarcasm, no Tory-bashing. So, the SNP? I think, on balance, that Crick was fair, raising various pro- and various anti- angles on the story and giving a flavour (in his vox-pops) of the conflicting feelings felt by the Scots public.
Another update
Back to more familiar territory, John Humphrys interviewed Conservative David Lidington and Lib Dem Ed Davey this morning about the Megrahi case (and Labour's involvement), following Gadaffi's unsettling intervention - thanking his 'good friend' Gordon Brown and the foreign secretary (among others!) for Megrahi's release. Here are the I.C.s:

Today 22.08.09 John Humphrys, David Lidington, Conservative 0.9
Today 22.08.09 John Humphrys, Ed Davey, Lib Dem 0

Welcome back John!

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