BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Saturday, 30 January 2010


I'm outlined quite a few of Jim Naughtie's aggressive, occasionally downright rude interviews with centre-right politicians (many readilly accessible if you click on the label Naughtie at the bottom of this post!). Just for the sake of comparison, here's an outline of his far gentler interview on this morning's Today with Chris Huhne of the Lib Dems. This is typical of his interviews with centre-left/left politicians. The issue was Sarah's Law, prompted by a protest in Weymouth which wants this piece of anti-paedophile legislation rolled out nationwide. The interruption coefficient was a very low one, 0.3.
1.11 An exchange of 'good mornings'.
1.13 Q1: "First of all, what about this protest and the idea that this demonstrates it should happen elsewhere?"
1.20 A1
(2.19 An abortive interruption, "In other words...", which Naughtie pulls out of letting Huhne continue till the end of his answer. He doesn't do this with Tories.)
2.34 Q2: "So the law that pretends to improve the situation actually makes it worse." This picks up on what Huhne has just said and supports it. (The choice of "pretends" strongly suggests where Naughtie stands on the issue. He's against.)
2.40 A2 (beginning, as you might expect, "That's absolutely right.")
3.06 Interruption 1/Q3. Listen to the clip here and you'll hear that Naughtie's interruption is an accidental one. He thinks Huhne has finished, having reached a firm end to his sentence: "The trouble of course is if you hear somebody like Mr Riggs there (a leading demonstator) you can understand what they're saying. They're saying "look, especially in a seaside town awash with children, in the summer especially obviously", they say "hang on, this is a sort of paradise for paedophiles, and it seems reasonable that we should, you you can see where he's coming from?" This, you will have noticed, is Naughtie first (and only) question that puts the opposing case to Chris Huhne. If this were an interview with a Conservative or UKIP politician you can be certain that nearly all - if not all - of the questions came from an opposing stance. Moreover, this was not a forcefully put, challenging question. Centre-right politicians face those from Naughtie whenever they are interviewed by him.
3.29 A3 (an answer of 1 minute 6 seconds, uninterrupted).
4.35 Interview ends, politely (unlike so many of those frosty ends to interviews with Tories.)
Incidentally, Evan Davis's interview with Alistair Darling did ask somewhat more probing questions, but was (all in all) even gentler, scoring a puny 0.2.

1 comment:

  1. Well spotted. I love the concept of an "accidental interruption ". Great stuff !


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