Saturday 24 May 2014

'Newsnight' - 19-23 May

This week Newsnight editor Ian Katz announced that former T4 presenter June Sarpong - of whom some allege links to the Labour Party that go beyond the merely personal - is going to be doing some work for the programme.

Also leaks suggest that Jeremy Paxman's replacement is likely to be Channel 4 News' Krishan Guru-Murphy, thus [apparently] continuing the remarkable swapping over of 'talent' from one programme to the other [Michael Crick and Paul Mason going one way, Katie Razzall and - presumably - KG-M going the other way]. 

All that's been going on [or not going on] off-screen, but what's been going on on-screen?

Here's this week's list of what stories Newsnight covered, how they were framed and who they interviewed:

Monday 19 May
Europe Special
1. Nigel Farage: "Would you want Nigel Farage living next door? You can make your own mind up in the next 15 minutes as we learn what UKIP's about and his plans for unsavoury foreigners." Interview with Nigel Farage, UKIP leader
2. European Union: "And then: Everything you ever wanted to know about Europe but were afraid to ask. These three hope to shed light on the lumbering mechanisms of Brussels". A series of reports from policy editor Chris Cook. Interview with Hugo Dixon, Reuters editor-at-large; Stephanie Flanders, JP Morgan managing director; & Tim Stanley, Daily Telegraph.
3. Slavoj Žižek: "And one for the Marxists: Psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek brings you the pervert's guide to Europe in this Newsnight cornucopia of all things European." Interview with Slavoj Žižek, Marxist philosopher.
   [closing credits: La Traviata, a Verdi duet].

Tuesday 20 May
1. UK citizens fighting foreign wars: "A British court convicts a British citizen for travelling to fight in the Syrian Civil War. Why should joining a foreign conflict be a criminal offence in this country?" Interview with Abdullah Anas, fought in Afghanistan against USSR; Raffaello Pantucci, Royal United Services Institute; & Asim Qureshi, CAGE
2. Silvio Berlusconi: "The former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi explains the finer points of diplomacy." Interview with  Silvio Berlusconi.
3. Cyber espionage: "The United States and China are busy throwing names at each other after Washington accused five named Chinese officers of hacking into American nuclear, metal and solar firms to steal trade secrets. In the general manner of accusations of espionage on such occasions, there was much outrage, just as there used to be theatrical horror at the discovery that spies existed. But the targets demonstrate the extent to which international competition is increasingly about firewalls as much as about firearms."
4. Richard Scudamore"The chief executive of the football league and author of various potty-mouthed, sexist e-mails, Richard Scudamore, isn't going to have any action taken against him by the sport's governing body. They say they've no authority to do anything. The eruption of apologies testifies to the huge embarrassment felt in the sport." 
5. Labour and the UKIP vote: "And how UKIP appeals not just to people who'd otherwise just be Tories but deep into the Labour heartlands. Are traditional loyalties fading as Labour becomes a party of career politicians?" Interview with Hilary Benn MP (Labour). 
   [closing credits: 'Stairway to Heaven' - Robert Plant's vocals over an instrumental track by Randy California]

Wednesday 21 May
1. Theresa May v the Police Federation: "The government runs out of patience with the Police Federation. It tells it to pull itself together or be pulled together. The Home Secretary cuts some of the public money it receives, but why should it get any at all?" Interview with Mark Reckless MP (Conservative) & Tony McNulty, former police minister (Labour)
2. Teenage self-harming: "The number of teenagers self-harming - cutting or poisoning themselves - is increasing at a startling rate, according to new figures prepared for the World Health Organisation. Well discuss that in a moment but first, just how bad is the situation for young people in England?" Interview with Kat Cormack, Young Minds & Professor Tanya Byron, clinical psychologist.

3. Prince Charles and Putin: "The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, was doubtless a bit too busy today signing a $400 billion deal to supply China with energy to pay much attention to what Prince Charles has said about him. He's said to have compared Putin's actions in Ukraine to those of Hitler in Germany. By the standards of some of his interventions in domestic affairs it's not especially controversial. More evidence perhaps of Godwin's Law of Internet Discussions that in any argument sooner of later some fool will liken someone to the Nazis. But could he have been right? We've been getting a little reaction from the streets of Moscow." Interview with Anthony Beevor, historian and author.
4. European elections: "Katie Razzall tours the high and low spots of Europe to meet the bunch of people you've hardly heard of who want to be the EU's president." 
5. The Liberal Democrats: "And it was the last day of campaigning for them today. Undeterred by the apparent surge of enthusiasm for UKIP, Nick Clegg was still out there selling the healthy delights of the European all-you-can-eat buffet. These elections present his party with something rather novel. Their opponents used to be able to say. 'What's the point of voting Lib Dem? They're never going to form a government.'  But now they are the government, or a bit of it at least. Problem: Laura Kuenssberg reports now from Kingston-upon-Thames where they've been a big force for years but are now looking at quite another prospect". Interview with Sir Malcolm Bruce, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats.
6. Greedy footballers: "And can an inadequate birthday cake really be sufficient cause for a mega-rich footballer to quit his club?"
    [closing credits: Iranians dancing to Western pop music on a video. They were arrested for doing so].

Thursday 22 May
1. Elections: "The campaigning's done,  polling stations closed, but who - if anyone - did you choose? Governments expect a drubbing in local and European elections but Westminster's trio might all be shamed by Nigel Farage's people's army."
2. Fracking: "Going underground. The BBC learns an official report tomorrow will say there are billions of barrels worth of oil under Britain's southern green and pleasant land, but will the shires ever accept fracking of the rocks beneath their feet?" Interview with Caroline Lucas MP (Green) & Andrew Austin, chief executive of IGas.
3. Libya"A hundred dead since Friday and political chaos. If intervention was so easy in Libya why is one of the original backers of the West's involvement in toppling Gadaffi supporting another uprising? We'll ask him. Bernard Henri Levy, live from Paris". Interview with Bernard Henri Levy, philosopher.
4. Pay in the USA: "Supersize me. McDonalds' workers in the US demand to go big on their wages. We ask if their request to be paid more than is on the menu is the start of something big."
5. UKIP"Whatever the exact results are of the local and European elections held today, one thing is for certain. UKIP has dominated the lead-up to the voting. What's less certain perhaps is why. Why does the the apparent popularity of the party...What does it say about modern Britain and the issues that matter to the great British public". Interview with Bonnie Greer, author; Peter Oborne, the Telegraph; and Yasmin Alibhai Brown, columnist.
   [closing credits: the Endurance Steel Orchestra's version of Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky', in the wake of their pulling out out an event organised by UKIP].

Friday 23 May
1. Election results/UKIP: "They ignored them. They dismissed them. They attacked them. And it didn't work. What will the established parties try next to stop the relentless rise of UKIP?" Interview with Jeremy Hunt MP (Conservative) & Chuka Umunna MP (Labour).
2. Geithner, the bankers and the crash: "Obama's Treasury Secretary says he had to bail out the bankers to save the world. He was the sheriff, and he tells us he was dealing with a bunch of cowboys." Interview with Timothy Geithner, US Treasury Secretary 2009-13.
3. Piketty, capitalism and inequality: "He's the rock star French economist whose book 'Capital in the 21st Century' became a bestseller among the global chattering classes. Fashionable politicians started to devise policies to tackle his thesis that capitalism inevitably led to ever great inequalities. Thomas Piketty has even been tipped to win the Nobel prize. Tonight the statistical basis of what he wrote has been called into question by the Financial Times."
4. Conchita Wurst's views on European politics: "Conchita Wurst became the poster girl for a more modern, tolerant inclusive Europe when she won Eurovision, so why are so many Europeans about to vote for parties that are none of the above? We'll ask her tonight what she thinks of that." Interview with Conchita Wurst. winner, Eurovision 2014.

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