BBC Complaints: The link you need!

Monday, 3 May 2010


The balance between the individual and the state was the theme of this morning's Today programme. The balance between the Today's programme's treatment of the three old parties is mine.
There were three big political interviews.
The first was a thoughtful one conducted between James Naughtie and Labour's John Denham, all very civilised on Jim's part, all very party political on John's.
The last was a less philosophical one between James Naughtie and the engaging Lib Dem David Laws, where Naughtie seemed more interesting in tying the Lib Dems to the Tories. Still, it was far from being a hostile interview.
What of the central interview? This was between Evan Davis and Conserative Michael Gove. Evan is more than capable of thoughtful interviewing (it used to be his forte) but this was no thoughtful interview, being full of aggressive interruptions and cynical comments. Michael Gove eventually had to criticise him for being so cynical - entirely reasonably - and then, good man!, went on to say that Today (among many other programmes) always concentrates on government initiatives and that he was glad today to get the rare chance to talk on the programme about exciting non-government initiatives. He's not wrong about that.
John Anderson (whose ideas, when I first began looking at how to use interruption coefficients a year or so ago, have helped shape all my subsequent actions) notes, over at B-BBC:
The intro was that Tory ideas are a "hodgepotch". Now that's a nice unbiased start! Then described as a "great fluff". And "half-baked".
What do the interruption coefficients tell us here?
John Denham (James Naughtie) - 0.4
David Laws (James Naughtie) - 0.5
Michael Gove (Evan Davis) - 1.4
Breaking down the Denham and Gove interviews shows the following:
John Denham

34.14 Q1
34.22 A1
34.58 Q2 (long & ponderous)
35.37 A2
36.13 Interruption 1/Q3
36.17 A3
36.30 Interruption 2/Q4
36.46 A4
37.38 Q5
37.54 A5
38.37 Q6
38.47 A6
39.27 Q7
39.40 A7
40.03 Interview ends

Michael Gove

10.47 Q1
11.00 A1
12.o2 Q2
12.30 A2
12.44 Interruption 1/Q3
12.54 A3
12.57 Interruption 2/Q4
13.05 A4
13.16 Interruption 3/Q5
13.35 A5
13.39 Interruption 4
13.42 A5 (continued)
13.44 Interruption 5/Q6
13.52 A6
14.13 Interruption 6/Q7
14.25 A7
14.27 Interruption 7
14.34 A7 (continued)
14.42 Interruption 8/Q8
14.49 A8
15.00 Q9
15.18 A9
15.22 Q10
15.26 A10
15.28 Interruption 9/Q11
15.45 A11
15.51 Interruption 10/Q12
16.09 A12
17.28 Q13
17.41 A13
17.48 Interruption 11/Q14
18.02 A14
18.06 Interruption 12
18.09 A14 (continued) - a brilliant answer!
19.34 Interview ends

It other words, it's the standard Today programme pattern.


  1. Good spot, Craig . This was an appalling interview with Evan Davis constantly putting on a kind of fake laugh throughout the entire interview with Gove.

    Gove has a bright mind and is the kind of person we need in politics whether you are left or right wing.

    This interview was an absolute insult to the listener and to Gove himself.

  2. That laugh was there with Nigel Farage the other day too.

    Yes Michael Gove is proving to be a star player for the Conservatives. He has a wit and intelligence that makes it a pleasure to listen to him. He also is showing some grit in his dealings with the BBC. His Lib Dem counterpart David Laws is a likable and intelligent man too. His Labour counterpart, however, is...Ed Balls!!!

    When the three of them debate it is like hearing two reasonable adults arguing passionately but being bellowed at all the time by a spoiled and aggressive child.


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