Saturday 19 October 2013

The Merry-go-round goes round and round...

To help save the planet, here's a spot of recycling for a soggy Saturday afternoon. It's [a long] part of a post from early last month:

Saturday, 7 September 2013
BBC Breakfast paper reviews

Nick Cohen's view that the BBC's liberal, conformist tendencies tend to stifle insightful reporting from people with non-conformist opinions (whether on the Left or the Right) can be generalised and then swung round to tackle the question of why, say, BBC Breakfast's paper reviews are so much more predictable than those on, say, Sky News. 

Whenever I see paper reviews on Sky News they tend to feature a variety of people, many with strong opinions, some from the Right and some from the Left (and some from the passionate Centre). Not so on BBC Breakfast. 

Whenever I tune in it always seems to be the same people - Simon Fanshawe (on again this very morning), David Davies, Olly Mann or Bishop Stephen Lowe usually -, all on the BBC's merry-go-round. 

Those four people - a Labour-supporting writer and broadcaster, a former FA boss accused of being too close to New Labour, a self-confessed 'liberal' writer and a left-wing bishop - may indeed suggest a comfortable left-liberal bias. 

Are they typical though? Have I just tuned in at the wrong times?

I monitored the programme closely for a few weeks back in 2011, when Mr Fanshawe, Mr Davies and Mr Mann were already regulars. Other regulars, during this snapshot, firmly on the Left, were Mehdi Hasan of the New Statesman and Kevin Maguire of the Daily Mirror. 

I did find, however, that BBC Breakfast does try to introduce the occasional counter-balancing right-leaning guest reviewer, usually the Telegraph's Tim Walker or the Daily Mail's Andrew Pierce - though neither of them anywhere near as partisan politically as, say, Mehdi Hasan or Kevin Maguire - and some of the other guests were what you might call 'unpassionate centrists' (if you could attach any specific label to them at all) or uncontroversy-seeking journalists from the broadsheets...oh, or Camila Batmanghelidjh.

Please see what you make of the list (all relating to 2011):

11 June - David Davies, former FA boss
12 June - Jonathan Oliver, Sunday Times
18 June - Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman
19 June - Chris Adams, FT
25 June - Simon Fanshawe, writer
26 June - Camila Batmanghelidjh, charity leader
2 July - Margaret Doyle, Reuters
3 July - Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror
9 July - Phil Hall, PR consultant
10 July - Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror & Vincent Graff, freelance journalist
16 July - Tim Walker, Daily Telegraph 
17 July - Andew Pierce, Daily Mail
23 July - no paper review (because of coverage of the Breivik massacre in Norway)
24 July - Olly Mann, writer
30 July - Simon Fanshawe, writer
31 July - Camila Batmanghelidjh, charity leader
6 August - Margaret Doyle, Reuters
7 August - Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror 
13 August - Olly Mann, writer
14 August - Vincent Graff, freelance journalist
20 August - Tim Walker, Daily Telegraph 
21 August - Andew Pierce, Daily Mail
27 August - Peter Bradshaw, Guardian 
28 August - David Davies, former FA boss
3 September - Margaret Doyle, Reuters
4 September - Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror 
10 September - Simon Fanshawe, writer
11 September - Stryker Mcguire, US journalist
17 September - Olly Mann, writer
18 September - Jonathan Oliver, Sunday Times 
25 September - David Davies, former FA boss
1 October - Vincent Graff, freelance journalist
2 October - Mehdi Hasan, New Statesman
8 October - Simon Fanshawe, writer
9 October - Olly Mann, writer
15 October - Tim Walker, Daily Telegraph
16 October - Michael White, Guardian

And here's an update [from 2013], just to see what the BBC Breakfast guest list since that post has looked like [i.e. another snapshot]:

7/9 Simon Fanshawe, writer
8/9 Ian MacMillan, poet
14/9 David Davies, former FA boss
15/9 Paul Horrocks. former president of the UK Society of Editors
21/9 Cary Cooper, academic
22/9 Kate Williams, historian
28/9 Olly Mann, writer and broadcaster
29/9 Emma B, radio presenter
5/10 Simon Fanshawe, writer
6/10 Ian MacMillan, poet 
12/10 Margaret Doyle, Deloitte
13/10 Vicky Beeching, feminist blogger 
19/10 Bishop Stephen Lowe, former Bishop of Hulme

As you can see, the merry-go-round pretty much goes on. And on. [There seem to be more women though].

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