BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Thursday, 31 December 2009


The whole of the second half of today's The World at One (14 minutes-worth of airtime) was devoted to a politicians' panel discussion on public spending cuts, presented by Shaun Ley. The three politicians interviewed were Eric Joyce, Patricia Hewitt and Charles Clarke. Yes, three Labour MPs!! Their interruption coefficients were 0.2, 0.2 and 0 respectively.
Shaun's on-air justification was that as Labour have been in power for the last 12 years, it would be good to hear from three politicians with recent experience of cutting public spending. Yes, that really was his justification for excluding all opposition politicians!!
As I've recorded every interview Shaun Ley has conducted on Radio 4 since June of this year I can now reveal that he has conducted the following number of interviews with politicians of each UK political party:

Labour - 49
Conservatives - 18
Lib Dems - 10
DUP - 1
Sinn Fein - 1
UUP - 1
UKIP - 1
In other words, he's interviewed more Labour MPs than all the politicians from all the other political parties put together (and by some margin, 49-32). Of course, because Labour is in power it is right that it in particular is held to account by journalists. (Tell that to Michael Crick!)So, if that's the reason why Labour dominates The World at One, you might expect to find that Shaun Ley interrupts Labour MPs more than those from the opposition parties. Not so, his average interruption coefficient against Labour is 0.37, whereas his average interruption coefficient against the Conservatives is higher at 0.45 - though for the Lib Dems it is a mere 0.14. (His figure against UKIP is higher still, at 0.5).
Shaun Ley is by no means the worst offender at the BBC - or anywhere near it -, but he is an offender nonetheless.

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