Sarah Montague's interview with Roger Alton on this morning's Today was an interesting one. As well as being interesting in its own right, it was also interesting because of the bits about the BBC.
Sarah's introduction showed that Today was concerned about the main headline in the Daily Telegraph:
Here's Sarah Montague's introduction in full:
Why did the BBC disclose that the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has a six-month relationship with a sex worker that newspapers knew about but were not reporting? The Telegraph quotes a cabinet minister saying the BBC is pursuing an agenda because of the licence fee discussions. But why DID those newspapers NOT publish the story? Were they also pursuing an agenda? Mr Whittingdale was, of course, becoming an increasingly important figure in their regulation.
Well, Roger Alton is a former executive editor of the Times and he used to edit the Observer and the Independent. He's in our radio car in south London. Good morning to you.
There are so many conspiracy theories surrounding this story. Where are you on what you think happened here?
I think we can take it from that that she was implying that the idea the BBC has been "pursuing an agenda" here "because of the licence fee discussions" is one of those "conspiracy theories".
When they got round to discussing the BBC later, here's how their discussion went:
Sarah Montague: And the reason the BBC, Newsnight, decided to run the story?
Roger Alton: You'll have to ask the editor of Newsnight there I think.Indeed. Maybe Today should get Ian Katz on.