Saturday, 28 June 2014

'Newsnight' - 23-27 June


Newsnight production team meeting (Chris Cook, bottom left; Ian Katz, second from bottom left) - picture courtesy of J. Paxman.

So what stories Newsnight chose to report this week, how did they frame them and who did they interview?


Monday 23/6
1. British Muslims fighting with ISIS: "They're young, British and fighting for ISIS. Who's persuading teenagers from Coventry to fly to Syria and pursue jihad? We ask their parents." 
Rahim Kalantar: "The imam of the mosque who lives in our area, he organised classes for them after evening prayers. He encouraged them. He sent them down this road."
Studio interview with Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, Muslim Council of Britain; Lord Carlile, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation 2001-11; & Shiraz Maher, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation. 
2. Journalists jailed in Egypt: "Now this was the day the three Al-Jazeera journalists imprisoned in the notorious Cairo Jail for six months had expected to walk free. Instead they were met with seven-year prison sentences, one longer - a stark reminder of the baffling, incomprehensible Egyptian legal system and its attempts to censor press freedom. The men had been accused of supporting the ousted Muslim Brotherhood and of spreading falsehoods through their reporting. Al-Jazeera has called the sentences "outrageous" and they've been condemned by the U.N. Secretary General and more." Interview with Michael Greste, brother of Peter Greste [the ex-BBC reporter imprisoned today], then with Sue Turton, correspondent, Al-Jazeera [sentenced to ten years, convicted in absentia]. 
3. Interview with Mandela's former private secretary: "And she was the Afrikaner racist who went on to become Mandela's most trusted confidante. She watched him deal with Thatcher, Zuma and Jeremy Clarkson." 
Zelda la Grange: "First of all, when Jeremy walked in he said, "Oh Mr Mandela, have you ever had a lap dance?" Now a person of that age doesn't really know what a lap dance is".
Interview with Zelda la Grange, former private secretary to Nelson Mandela.


4. Polish-British tensions over Europe: "The f-word is flying in Polish. We hear what Poland's foreign minister thinks of our PM's Europe policy." Interview with Peter Lilley MP (Conservative) & Roland Rudd, chairman, Business for New Europe.
5. Chinese tennis player: "Li Na is the second most highly paid female athlete in the world. She's Chinese and her rise in the tennis world has followed the same trajectory as China's rise on the world stage. She's already won two grand slams. She graced Centre Court earlier today. In her only television interview she talked to Katie Razzall ahead of Wimbledon". Report including interview with Li Na, tennis player. 


Tuesday 26/6
"A special edition of Newsnight on the phone hacking trial"
"A scandal for once worthy of that name. Hacking closed the country's biggest paper, told how the secrets of the royals, the wealthy and the vulnerable were stolen, and may have put one of the Prime Minister's former lieutenants in jail. 
David Cameron: "I was given assurances that he didn't know about phone hacking. That turns out not to be the case, and I was always clear if that happened I would apologise, and I do so unreservedly today".
"He may be happier that his close friend Rebekah Brooks is cleared. She said she didn't know what was going on. So how did she get to the top of News International?"
Michael Wolff, biographer of Rupert Murdoch: "Rupert did say to me, and this would be an exact quote. He said, "She social-climbed her way up my family."  
"On tonight's Newsnight we'll hear from victim, politician and the journalist who first broke the story". 


1. Discussion with Steve Hewlett, The Guardian/BBC Radio 4 Media Show.
2. Report from David Grossman, Newsnight's Technology Editor, about the day's events.
3. Interview with Harriet Harman MP, Labour & John Whittingdale MP, Conservative.
4. Report from Steve Hewlett profiling Rebekah Brooks.
5. Interview with Nick Davies, The Guardian.
6. Interview with Ulrika Jonsson, hacking victim.
7. Report on the possible consequences of the Hacking Trial by Steve Hewlett.
8. Panel interview with Rich Peppiatt, filmmaker and former tabloid journalist; Nick Ferrari, journalist; Baroness Onora O'Neill, philosopher; & Isabel Hardman, Spectator.


Wednesday 25/6
1. Phone hacking Trial: "Rupert Murdoch flies into town tomorrow. What repercussions for his business here after yesterday's verdict? The Murdoch Empire has gone from strength to strength. Tonight we ask what fallout this trial will actually have. One of his fiercest critics is here." Interview with Tom Watson MP (Labour) & Felix Salmon, Senior Editor, Fusion.
2. Iraq: "Iraq's prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has rejected calls for a national salvation government to help counter the offensive by ISIS. In his weekly televised address he warned that forming an emergency unity government could go against April's parliamentary elections and represented an attempt to end the democratic experience." Discussion with the BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse.
3. British Muslims fighting in Syria: "Some call them terrorists. He says he's there to help. An exclusive interview with the British man who fled to Syria to fight".
British Muslim fighting with al-Qaeda: "For who that think foreign fighters are terrorists I'm not going to sit here and debate with you or ask you not to call me a terrorist."
Interview with unnamed extremist British Muslim fighting with al-Qaeda in Syria. Then interview with Prof Fawaz Gerges, LSE.


4. Wonga: "Wonga invents a fake law firm to write threatening letters to its customers, so we invent one of our own and write back".
5. Right to die: "Campaigners seeking the right to die without risk of their loved ones being prosecuted lost their challenge in the Supreme Court today, but in a significant ruling the Supreme Court concluded it does have the power to declare the law which criminalises acts of helping someone to take their own life as incompatible with human rights. And the court issued a direct challenge to parliament to consider legalising assisted suicide or see judges stepping in." Report including interview with Paul Lamb, 'Right to Die' campaigner.
6. The biting footballer: "The teeth marks on Chiellini's left shoulder beg two possible explanations: either he walked backwards into Luis Saurez's mouth or else the Liverpool striker has been at it again. Suarez has form when it comes to biting. It appears to be the third time he's chomped an opposition player in anger. He could now face a ban from the rest of the World Cup, even for two years some people are saying - and no doubt aching frustration from his team-mates. But there could also be a hefty economic cost to the biter as sponsors threaten to abandon the striker they have now nicknamed 'Jaws'." Interview with Andrea Furst, sports psychologist.
7. 'Newsnight apology': "A clarification now: An earlier feature of the programme suggested Rupert Murdoch was flying to this country to be questioned by police. Although it's understood the Metropolitan Police are planning to talk to Mr Murdoch it was wrong to imply any interview was imminent."


Thursday 26/6
1. Iraq: "Bombs land in Iraq, dropped by Syria. As the country's future looks more bleak was our past involvement in 2003 a mistake?"
Jack Straw: "It was in retrospect, yes, I say, but what I'm also seeking to do is to evade or avoid my responsibilities for having made that decision".
"The Foreign Secretary at the time tells us, 'We got it wrong'. We're live tonight in Baghdad".
Gabriel Gatehouse, BBC: "The Iraqi Prime Minister has told the BBC he welcomes those Syrian air-strikes as he struggles to hold his country together". 

2. Jimmy Savile: "The decades of Jimmy Savile's depravity are revealed by an official inquiry. We'll ask how he was able to get away with it for so long." Interview with Esther Rantzen, founder of Childline & Dr Peter Jefferys, Independent Inspector of Broadmoor 1983-89.
3. BBC Monitoring: "What have your license fee, the intelligence agencies and this posh house in the country got in common? More than you might think"..."Eastenders, Radio 3, Newsnight of course,websites, natural history programmes and even The Great British Bake-off, if you're into that sort of thing. There's a very long list of what your £145.50 license fee pays for. What might surprise you is what is also on that list - an information-monitoring service that does work for the government intelligence service, including providing information that most BBC journalists cannot see. BBC Monitoring has existed for decades but last year the government stopped paying for it leaving you to pick up the bill and now Newsnight has learned BBC bosses fear that's compromising the corporation's independence." Interview with James Purnell, Director of Strategy and Digital, BBC.
4. Cameron facing defeat over Juncker: "What happens if you vow to fight something to the end then it ends badly? Well, David Cameron is probably about to find out when the candidate he deplores becomes, as expected, the new President of the European Commission - that's despite his objections and concerns over Jean-Claude Juncker's drinking, splashed on the front page of tomorrow's Telegraph." Discussion with Mark Urban.
5. Jack Straw: Interview with Jack Straw MP (Labour), Foreign Secretary 2001-6, about Cameron, Juncker and Europe, & the whether the invasion of Iraq is responsible for the current turmoil in Iraq, whether it was a mistake, and what should now be done about Iraq.
6. America and soccer: "And they may have lost to Germany but they have done rather better than England. Is it time at last to get behind America's bid for World Cup glory?" Interview with Rodney Marsh, ex-England and Tampa Bay Rowdies striker & Marc Fisher, Senior Editor, The Washington Post.
    [Closing credits; Will Farrell in Brazil].


Friday 27/6
1. Cameron, Juncker and the EU: "Well that went well! The new President of the European Commission is a card-carrying, cognac-swilling fully-paid-up member of the Brussels federalist Establishment. So where's your reform agenda now, Mr Cameron?"
David Cameron: "If I say I'm not going to back down, I won't. This is going to be a long, tough fight and frankly sometimes you have to be ready to lose a battle in order to win a war".
"Conservatives old and new will be hear to tell us what the Prime Minister does for an encore." Interview with Esther de Lange, Vice President EPP group, then interview with Sir Malcolm Rifkind  MP (Conservative) & Daniel Hannan MEP (Conservative).
2. Why London's state schools are England's best: "London state schools used to be a byword for mediocrity and under-performance. Now the capital is the best place in England to go to school, especially if you're from a poor background. We're not exactly sure why. Maybe, just maybe, the answer is about teachers' love lives. Chris Cook reports".


3. The importance of portraiture: "Who gives you the visual truth in the age of Photoshop and cosmetic surgery - a snapper with the camera or the artist with the brush? 
Jonathan Yeo, artist: "25 years ago portraits were so far out of fashion there was genuine debate about whether they might become extinct. I believe, in a snapshot-saturated world, people are looking to artists to reveal something deeper about themselves."
A report by Jonathan Yeo. Then interview with Nadav Kander, photographer & Jonathan Yeo, portrait artist.
4. Dylan Thomas: a newly-discovered poem (a drinking song?) read by Tom Hollander, beginning...
When Mr Watts-Ewers
(Licensed to sell
Beer, wine and spirits
And tobacco as well)
Advertised in the papers 
He would open that night
His brand new hotel
The town had a fright.
Mr Out-Measure, 
Who kept the Bull's Head,
Wept like a baby
And took to his bed.
Mrs Lil Jenkins 
Of the Old Pig and Swill
Sacked all the barmaids
And was sick in the till.

Incidentally, before Tom Hollander read that poem Andrew Neil (for it was he) made the following quip:
That's it tonight, because the 13 year olds have got to get to bed. And if they are 13 year old let me tell you there's lot of underaged drinking going on here and they're not aging well.

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