Wednesday 5 August 2015

Forget something, Chris?

Well, I might take the Alan Yentob angle on the Camilla story a bit further after all!...

Like Sue, I'm not overly bothered that Kids' Company trustee and BBC Creative Director Alan Yentob rang Newsnight in an attempt (it seems) to get them to soften their initial report or that he accompanied Camilla (off his own bat) to the Today studio the following day to stiffen her sinews (to to speak). 

Yes, it's hardly 'impartial' behaviour from a BBC boss, but it's not a hanging offence in my book - if the BBC registered his concerns but carried on regardless (as the BBC insists they did).

That was my thought anyhow until I caught up (tonight) with last night's Newsnight, expecting Chris Cook (who originally reported the story - alongside [and, I would guess, some way behind] Buzzfeed) to at least mention the Yentob angle, if only in passing. After all, the Yentob angle was reported in several newspapers yesterday (online), including The Times, and has some news value. Newsnight viewers might well have been intrigued by it. 

Remarkably, Chris Cook didn't mention Alan Yentob last night. Not once.

So much for fiercely impartial BBC reporting, don't you think?

P.S. Newsnight's Chris Cook kept his mouth closed about on this during his 7.10 interview on Today too. He did, however, make a statement that genuinely puzzled me.

I have to say that from the start of Newsnight's Buzzfeed-driven reporting of this story, Chris Cook has been pushing an angle about the government being in the dock over this - even more, it seems, than Kids' Company itself. His final contribution to today's Today ended on the same note:
But there is a secondary question too, which is: why ministers ended up writing a cheque to a charity that told the government it would be closing up shop, you know, within a week?
Did Kids' Company tell the government it would be closing up shop within a week before those ministers wrote that cheque last week, as Chris Cook said here?

Having watched last night's report and read all the coverage, that's not the impression I got. As far as I can tell, it looks as if Kids' Company only said it might close tonight yesterday (i.e. nearly a week after the ministers dispatched that cheque).

Was Chris Cook getting carried away by the thrill of appearing on Today (and bashing the government)? Or am I missing something?


  1. Maybe Yentob's intervention was really just about keeping his name out of it.

    And keeping the names of the other top Beeboids out of it as well:

    (Bill Rogers' quiet little blog is another potentially rich vein)

  2. Having seen tonights Channel 4 News, I can well see why Yentob was held back.
    Like other BBC bigwigs-he`s a PR disaster.
    Matt Frei-a liberal toady inclined to suck up to the likes of Kids Co-eviscerated Yentob, simply by asking questions that any "Creative Director" of a cheridee ought to be able to answer.
    But Yentob sees himself as beyond mere questions from the lower orders...and simply had no answers except that he was virtuous, and not to be asked impertinent things that prevented his virtue from being "challenged".
    If you think Camilla is a kamikaze paintball on manoeuvres-Yentob is a veritable Barney Army nutjob.
    The Left simply have never been questioned before-and to watch pink on rose attacks by fellow lefties seems to make them all shouty(Owen Jones)-or dissolve in their own tears like squonks.
    Makes great telly though-the Left are finished.

  3. Newsnight's interview with her was a joke. The preceding filmed segment was almost a parody of investigative journalism. One solitary case of a 22 year-old staff member allegedly taking advantage of 16 - 18 year-old girls, over 19 years? One incident of some kid hitting a staff member that wasn't reported? That's it? She easily batted those away. She's been hearing the same questions all day, so it was like batting practice.

    Then Wark goes into the financial stuff, asking the exact same questions, practically verbatim, as Humphrys did this morning. She even tried to use the same "cut your cloth" metaphor that he used, FFS. It's so lazy. Coordination across the spectrum of broadcasting? What coordination across the spectrum of broadcasting? The BBC is too big and disorganized for that to happen. Yeah, right.

    Naturally, Ronnie B-...sorry....Camilla had the answers already prepared. What a phony production. All stage craft and no substance, a pretense at asking challenging questions and investigating. I'm sure there's no relevance to the fact that three of the top Beeboids are on the Kids Company board.

  4. Just stumbled across this, from July 2:

    •Friday update: The Guardian reports Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh stepped down last night, and says the Government wanted both her and Alan Yentob to go as the price for continued funding.

    No wonder Yentob was so agitated. Of course, this means Frei and his researchers failed because they didn't bring this up to him. Yentob and La Camilla essentially sacrificed the well-being of "hundreds and thousands" of at-risk youth for their own egos.


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