BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Today's main story on the BBC was the death of the last great prince of the Kennedy clan, Senator Edward Kennedy. Of the BBC's coverage I merely wish to highlight a couple of telling vignettes.
Firstly, here's a short sample of quotes from John Humphrys on this morning's 'Today', all about Ted Kennedy:

(approx 6.45am) "A lot of people say he would - and indeed should - have been president."

(approx 6.53am) "..and could have been president - some people say should - himself."

(approx 6.55am) "He was a big figure in every respect, wasn't he? I mean, when you saw him on the floor of the Senate, when you looked at the floor of the Senate and saw Ted Kennedy was there, your eyes automatically went to him."

(approx 7.09am) "A staunch liberal, and a man who himself could - some said should - have become American president."

(approx 8.10am) "It's a dangerous thing to say, but he probably would have become president had it not been for Chappaquiddick, wouldn't he?"

I think John Humphrys was, all in all, a fan of the 'dean' of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party (in Justin Webb's phrase), don't you? And I have a suspicion that he thinks Senator Kennedy could - maybe should - have been president too!

Secondly, Glenn Campbell on 'The World at One' reported sympathetically on Ted Kennedy's involvement with Northern Ireland, where (as Martha Kearney's introduction made clear) some Unionists and Conservative politicianS felt he was far too close to the Republican movement.

Campbell's first 'talking (invisible, this being radio!) head' was John Hume. Then came Norman Tebbitt, followed again by John Hume (who criticised what Lord Tebbitt had said, without - of course - any subsequent right to reply for Big Norm) and, last and by all means least, Martin MacGuinness. No Northern Irish Unionist voices? Surprisingly not. So not, perhaps, the most balanced of reports from Glenn.

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