Wednesday 5 August 2015

Not so 'Exclusive' after all

Monday night's Newsnight (the 3rd August edition) was full of itself. 

It tackled three topics: a scandal involving a former Tory leader, a scandal involving a former Tory prime minister, and the migrant crisis as viewed through the eyes of a failed asylum seeker.

[Ed - put it that way and it sounds like 'left-wing bias' all the way! Craig - Yeah, I know. That's why I put it that way. And who the heck is ' Ed' anyway? Ed - I thought I was you. Craig - Er...]

Particularly striking, however, was the programme's keenness to blow bugles about itself at several stages:
The Serious Fraud Office launches an investigation into an oil company chaired by Michael Howard. The company signed an exploration deal with Somalia in 2013. Now Newsnight has seen a confidential U.N. report showing payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars to that country's civil servants.... 
Sir Edward Heath is named in relation to historic allegations of child abuse. Newsnight learns the new inquiry into a possible cover-up may not be the first... 
Good evening. A confidential U.N. report, seen by this programme...
(...and so on...) 

Presumably, Newsnight is trying to regain its reputation as a proper investigative programme again (and, thus, justify its continuing existence), after the traumas of the Savile and Lord McAlpine affairs, and is doing so by boasting loudly about its role in breaking stories.

The Michael Howard story came about because of that sighting of a confidential U.N. report - an exclusive, it seems.

Viewer of the programme, however, might have believed that Newsnight was breaking the whole story - an impression editor Ian Katz was keen to encourage on Twitter:

The whole story, however, most certainly was not a Newsnight exclusive. Ian Katz is exaggerating (at best) there.

It had actually been doing the rounds for nearly three days before Newsnight joined in (as the screenshot from Google News below shows - click to enlarge!) - including a major article in Sunday's Independent:

Newsnight must be careful not to try to pull the wool over its viewers' eyes over this kind of thing.


  1. Newsnight is a joke. Ian Katz has made it a bad one.

    And the way they, and the rest of the BBC, cherry-pick which bits of which salacious true or alleged stories depending on the juiciness of ideological target or corporate Beeb-on-Beeb blowback likely, makes them partial professional stooges at best.

    Other than that, they're tops.

    1. LOL Newsnight was already well past its sell by date before Katz left it out in the sun to go really mouldy.


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