BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


Not a particularly balanced edition of Newsnight last night, though it opened promisingly. Peter Mandelson was heard slamming the Tories over spending cuts. Cue the snearing voice of Jeremy Paxman, saying "And there'd be no cuts under Labour? Come off it!", followed by the programme's opening credits.
This promise of a fair look at both Conservative and Labour was partly delivered in the opening report by David Grossman.
The promise was completely betrayed, however, by the studio discussion that followed between Jeremy and Newsnight's business editor Paul Mason, which concentrated almost exclusively on Tory spending/cutting plans - complete with graphs and all. Why?
What followed was even worse. An interview with ex-BBC Labour minister Ben Bradshaw, lasting 4 minutes 23 seconds, was quite soft - especially as it went on - for Jeremy Paxman (I.C. of 1.2). Bradshaw repeatedly attacked the Tories throughout.
To balance that a Conservative was needed, and provided in the shape of Norman Lamont. But, oddly, this sop to fairness was cancelled out by having Labour's Frank Dobson join him in the discussion. Dobson dominated proceedings (being a bit of a bully) - though Lord Lamont got the last laugh! (Watch and see!). The extent of that domination can be seen if we compare the timings for the double-interview:
Lamont - 1 minute 42 seconds
Dobson - 3 minutes 11 seconds
If we tot these figures up, that (obviously) means that Labour got 7 minutes 34 seconds of interview time to make its case, whereas the Conservatives only got 1 minute 42 seconds. Hardly fair, is it?

The Interruption Coefficients add insults to injury, as not only did Lamont get least time he was also interrupted most often:
Lamont - 1.4
Bradshaw - 1.2
Dobson - 1

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