Saturday 19 April 2014

Newsnight, Keith Blakelock, self employment, Central African Republic and Irish dancing

Wednesday's edition continued the pattern so far in beginning with Ukraine. It then dealt briefly with the South Korean ferry disaster before moving on to a report about the murder of P.C. Keith Blakelock

P.C. Blakelock was stabbed 43 times by a Tottenham mob during the 1985 riots. Some of whom were evidently trying to decapitate him. His family have never found justice. 

Newsnight was evidently very pleased with itself for having obtained the first T.V. interview with Nicky Jacobs, the man recently found not guilty of Keith Blakelock's murder. No doubt (being good left-liberal types) they thought it was their duty to give him a platform.

It was an interview that many will have found uncomfortable watching though, not least this deeply unpleasant exchange concerning his non-presence at the murder of the police constable:
Kurt Barling (interviewer): Was there a moment in your mind at 16 where you thought “Ah, I’ve missed the main event”?
Nicky Jacobs: It did cross my mind, because like I said at that time the wickedness that the police used to do to the black community, yeah it was celebration time.
How would Keith Blakelock's family have felt on hearing that? Has Newsnight ever offered them a platform? 

The following feature on the rise of self employment discussed the question, 'Has entrepreneurship taken off, or is there another reason?' 

Jim Reed's report interviewed a self-employed lady who says becoming self-employed "was the best decision" she's "ever made", and another self-employed lady who would prefer regular, employed work. His report balanced the 'ups' and 'downs' for the government. His talking head was Danny Alexander MP (Lib Dem), pushing the 'ups', and the 'downs' figures came from the Labour-friendly Resolution think tank. Then came a Jeremy Paxman interview with Nicola Smith of the TUC and Allister Heath, editor of City A.M., representing contrasting perspectives. All fair enough, I think.

Next came the Central African Republic

The last time Newsnight did a report from there we at 'Is' took it to task for presenting a deeply misleading introductory account of the origins of the crisis:
The country is now ravaged by what some human rights groups have described as 'ethnic cleansing'. It was set off after a coup which unleashed Christian militias upon the Muslim minority.
Thankfully, they've now learned their lesson and gave a much more accurate description this time:
The country has been tipped into chaos since a mainly Muslim rebel coalition seized power a year ago, started abusing the Christian population and set off waves of revenge attacks which have driven great numbers of Muslims out of the country.
Tim Whewell's report focused on the peace-making activities of two remarkably jolly religious leaders there - the country's leading archbishop and the country's leading imam. [How very BBC!] They really didn't seem to be making much headway though, as Tim admitted. 

This report was much more balanced than his last one (which focused almost entirely on the plight of the Muslims of the C.A.R.). Here were heard upsetting stories from both sides of the conflict. It was a very decent report, all in all, and all credit to Tim Whewell for that. 

And all credit to Ian Katz too for ending the programme with some fine Irish dancing. Reelly good stuff! (unlike that pun).

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