Friday 7 March 2014

And finally...

Oh, those i's and t's! 

I just can't leave them be without wanting every last one of them dotted and crossed, so here's a final post about that flippin' "suppressed" immigration that Newsnight was so pleased with itself for reporting about the other night, and about which you're probably well and truly sick of hearing about!...

Last night's Newsnight did return to the story (as predicted) but, rather like Ian Katz's tweet earlier in the day heavily insinuating that the government chose yesterday to release the report because it was 'a good day to bury bad news' (because of the latest Stephen Lawrence report), Newsnight did itself rather seem to use the Stephen Lawrence story (which took up a full two-thirds of the programme) to bury its own 'bad news' - ie. that the report wasn't what Chris Cook had claimed it to be on Tuesday.

The Newsnight team did the best they could do with it, despite burying the story at the end of last night's programme. 

They began - as they surely had to (to save face) - by sort-of claiming victory for getting the government to release the report, but very quickly all the boastfulness and bullishness drained out of Chris Cook. 

The word I'm looking for here to describe the tone of his update last night is 'sheepish'. 

He talked of 'nuance', and gave a very even-handed account of the plus & minuses for both sides of the debate, saying that the report said things that would irritate Tories and Lib Dems, those calling for tougher controls on immigration and those calling for no such tough controls - as well as stressing the report's inconclusiveness. 

He went much further than Ian Katz's tweets in admitting that the report provided good evidence that non-EU immigrants did have an adverse effect on native British unemployment during the recession. And all credit to him for that. 

He didn't, however, admit that his take on the report on Tuesday had been pretty much wholly lacking in any of that nuance, thereby misrepresenting the report as being very much a plus for one particular side of the argument (the Lib Dem, pro-immigration side), and claiming that it would undermine the government's case for tougher immigration.

Chris Cook and Newsnight overplayed their hand badly here. And they clearly know it (I believe), and seem to be keeping their fingers crossed that it all goes away now. 

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