Sunday 21 January 2018

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...

The action began early today....


ErodedPebble88‏: Allowing the Deputy Chairman on to review the Tory press... with a *** coincidental*** story about Momentum on the front page of the Times... and no Momentum spokesman on with a right to reply... #marr editor Burley shows CCHQ that he's still their main man at the BBC.....
Rob Burley: Get a grip. John McDonnell is the main guest.
Brian Tomkinson: Scraping the bottom of barrel with him as "main guest". Best to expect little of significance from this programme, that way never disappointed.
Hitesh Punja: Yes and Andrew Marr is not supposed to be one of them, nor is his editor supposed to be championing dross & drivel like the @DailyBeast. MARR is incapable of arguing from the Conservative perspective because he's a Lefty. Even Piers Morgan can do that.
Rob Burley: So here's the thing, sometimes people you don't agree with will be on TV.
Duncan Hess: ..and that, in one sentence, is precisely what's wrong with the Biased Broadcasting Corporation. What an absolute disgrace. I do not pay my licence fee to be disagreed with. I get enough of that at home, for free.
Charles Boxer: Reading the responses to this , I am in awe of your patience and resilience. Whether left or right, those that remain open to contrary opinions without vomiting vitriol seem in worryingly short measure. Thank you for fighting the good fight.
Rob Burley: Thanks Charles.
Duncan Hess: Always difficult to know if the responses to @RobBurl are ironic or from the genuinely deranged. I fear the latter in most cases.


Helen: Ahhhh ok. The paper review has now turned into a PPB by the Chairman of the Tory party. #marr
Rob Burley: John McDonnell is the main interview Helen, so massive bias obviously.
Helen: Then have him on as a guest or get an opposing view on the paper review section?
Rob Burley: The Guardian tend to take an opposing view to the Conservatives...
Helen: Methinks thou doth protest too much. Did you forget to book an official Tory guest or did they decline to come on to talk about actual Tory policy?
Rob Burley: I just love "protest too much" - you make a charge, I respond and then you drop that hilarious charge.


Richard Byatt: Bizarre choice of paper reviewers this morning @RobBurl #marr
Rob Burley: There is no Conservative interview in the show this week.  So there's a Conservative in the papers. John McDonnell is the main interview. He's not a Conservative.


Rob Burley: So, here's the thing, people you don't agree with will sometimes be on TV.
Rubymalvolio: In Farage's case, he's on the BBC constantly, far more than people from the greens or other parties with very small number of MP's.
Rob Burley: Well, he has been on Marr once in 14 months. And UKIP at their peak in 2015  came third with 3.8m votes, way ahead of the Greens. So that determined their coverage then. These are facts.
Tom Green: We don’t have proportional representation in the voting system.
Rob Burley: Thanks for that bombshell. We explicitly do take into account vote share which, in you think for a moment, is only right.
Tom Green: I know you do, but vote share is irrelevant to power. Are you saying the voting system is wrong?
Rob Burley: No, I'm saying that when you try and gauge support for a particular political party and - partly on that basis - how much they should be on TV, the number of people who vote for them is relevant, however that translates into seats.
Tom Green: I understand. I’m just interested in how that came to be the BBC’s policy. The main two parties probably support it also, given that it deflects away from them. Remember the 7-way TV debates were Cameron’s doing, for example.


Rob Burley: Get your telly on!
Peter Martin: Not connected to an ariel, mind (just in case your lot send the boys round).
Dean MOP: Cricket is on.
Rob Burley: oh come on Dean.


John Savage (Jan 7): Interview with May on #Marr is far too regal in setting and reverential in style. I must have missed why it wasn't conducted in the studio. (Kettle duties) @RobBurl
Rob Burley (Jan 7): Oh John. The setting is a hotel with some chairs. Brown and Cameron both did pre-recs on occasion. The questions are the important thing and they are tough and fair. Mine's a tea, milk no sugar.
John Savage (Jan 21): Interesting exercise in #semiotics. Macron sits on the strong side of the screen but made to sit on a hard chair. May is on the weak side in a comfy fireside (low) armchair. #Marr.
Rob Burley (Jan 21): This might be the most bonkers tweet of 2018 (so far).
John Savage: Bit of a rough reply @RobBurl. Most media producers (inc. me in a small way) think about where they put the camera and how they dress the set. Are you saying no thought goes into the production of #Marr? Good interview with Macron by the way.
Rob Burley: Sorry if I misjudged. Sounded like a theory about favouring one interviewer over another through the medium of chairs. Often - chair and locationwise - you get what you are given and make the best of it.
John M: It is ridiculous. But, I’m sure I’ve read it’s traditional to have the dominant figure on right of screen. I disagree but it is prevalent on most tv shows especially brekkie TV.
Rob Burley: Our cameraman did it. because it was the best shot. It never occured to me.
Gerry Moore: Agreed. Congrats to @RobBurl and @AndrewMarr9 on fine programme today.For sure the Macron interview will be used in media training master classes in answering excellent questions.
Susan Bruce: It is true that the May pic is more ‘domestic’ but impossible to tell from this juxtaposition alone whether this is intention, accident or #unconsciousbias.
Rob Burley: It's mainly about a hotel in Maidenhead tbh. #unconsciousbias ? No... #crapsoftfurnishings - yes.


liarpoliticians: A longer (zzz!) version of @EmmanuelMacron is on at 1130 on the News Channel... so during the Sunday Politics. Great schedule planning there @RobBurl @MarrShow! #marr #marrshow
Rob Burley: It's also on at eight thirty tonight so. . .


Sam Jones: #Marr wearing a red tie clearly biased. Oh Sundays wouldn't be Sundays with out the weekly bash @RobBurl for bias.


Alex Cadier: Like all of you, I've fangirling hard on Macron's #Marr interview - but it was followed by a brilliant and robust interview holding John McDonnell to account on PFIs & Esther McVey - masterclass all round by @RobBurl & his gang (namely @bienbutcher) - what a show!
Rob Burley: Thanks Alex!


Dan Hodges: Marr asks McDonnell is he wants him to play audio or video of his attack on McVey. McDonnell says he doesn't. So Marr doesn't. Unbelievable. Hi @RobBurl. Why did you let John McDonnell take the editorial decision on whether to play the Esther McVey audio or not?
Rob Burley: I think that's a distortion of what happened. We raised the EM comments - as we have on numerous occasions - and asked him to clear them up once and for all. As part of that we wanted to see whether the audio was something he wanted to call in evidence. He didn't.
Proud member of #TeamTory‏: Disgraceful. You let him off by giving him a choice. Why is he making your editorial decisions?
Rob Burley: I just explained what we did. I stand by it and don't accept your characterisation.
Sergei Walenkov: The Q remains 'why' you wanted to do that, surely it was evident that he wouldn't want to listen. However, the 'viewers' (remember them) wanted to watch him listen (& squirm) & then attempt to explain.
Rob Burley: That's one way we could have gone. The obvious way. It might have been better, but this was a more subtle approach and was interesting in my view. It's ok, obviously, if you disagree.
Dan Hodges: Right. So you’ve confirmed it. You gave McDonnell editorial control over what was broadcast to your audience.
Rob Burley: I've explained what we did. I stand by it and I will leave you to carry on shouting.
Dan Hodges: Not shouting. Just pointing out you gave John McDonnell editorial control over what was broadcast on your program. Which you then confirmed.
Rob Burley: I did no such thing, I explained the rationale, I accept you might disagree but you don't do agreeing to disagree, just denouncing. Which presumably you enjoy.
Rob Burley: It's not an actual court Dan.
Dan Hodges: You're going to continue to try and defend a decision to give the people you interview editorial control over what you broadcast. You're actually going to do that. Re-the Marr/McDonnell interview. I don't think decision to cede editorial control was product of bias, but a product of fear. I've noticed, and commented on, this before. For some reason Marr producers especially sensitive to social media backlash from Corbynites. BTW, genuine question. Did you insist @RobBurl gave you editorial control over broadcast of the video, or did he just offer it to you.
Rob Burley: Implying deals and conspiracies like the most extreme on here. We just took an approach you didn't like. And disagree with. That's fine but this stuff. Lately it's been the left on the attack, so I guess the right is having its day.
Dan Hodges: Rob, I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to argue here. You have now confirmed twice you left the editorial decision on whether or not to show the video to McDonnell himself. There is no dispute - even from you - of that basic fact.
Rob Burley: After your conspiracy theory tweet I'm done with this. I explained the approach we took, it was meant and wasn't about giving any editorial control. But as I say, conspiracy theorists are where I draw the line.
Dan Hodges: Sorry, but what is the conspiracy. You have now confirmed to me twice that you gave McDonnell editorial control over whether they video was shown. I can send you a copy of your tweets if you like.
Rob Burley: You're conspiracy theories send to McDonnell's assistant implying we did some sort of deal. Outrageous and revealing.
James Ball: They made the editorial decision to give him an option, so that he couldn’t claim “context” etc. Him refusing to have the clip played meant he couldn’t claim ambush, and couldn’t claim context. I don’t see that as giving edit control to him.
Rob Burley: Here's the verdict from a journalist who understands it's not always sledgehammer. Thanks James. Or it reveals something more than simply the bludgeon approach.
Dan Hodges: Rob, even I'm getting bored of this now. You handed editorial control over your program to your guest. You admitted it. Twice. Why not simply hold up your hand and say "fair enough, we got that wrong".
Rob Burley: Because we didn't. Unlike your frankly bonkers conspiracist stuff. I'm so bored too.

...and on it will doubtless go... 

and did...

Tory Generation: Rob really sounds like he’s panicking now. Getting more & more defensive. Perhaps it wasn’t a decision he wanted to make & that’s why he’s so uncomfortable having to defend it. Truly awful letdown for viewers to see such a total caving in to the Left’s intimidation/threats.
Rob Burley: No. All this my call, no caving, no pressure, just a more subtle way of doing the question and people who can't abide nuance heads hurt because of that. And this is also a conspiracy theory! It's incredible.
Tory Generation: It’s not an ‘it’s not fair’ argument. It’s an ‘it’s not ethical’ one. It’s a well known fact now that Labour has been ringing every show which mentions the McVey comment to demand they clarify John ‘was only quoting someone’. They’re trying to intimidate & it’s working.
Rob Burley: So intimated we raised the issue!
Tory Generation: And then backed down as soon as you were told to.
Rob Burley: "told to" - get a grip.
Dan Hodges: So, a Corbynite troll with a monkey as an avatar, and nine followers, tweets "Dan makes up his own truth, because he doesn’t like facts". And @RobBurl, who is Editor of the Andrew Marr show, favourites it. What is going on over there. Utterly bizarre.
Rob Burley: So, I have withdrawn my like for that comment because it overstated the case and has upset you clearly for which I apologise. I think you are wilfully misrepresenting what happened on the programme but suppose this is the role you choose on here.
DiX Governmental: Will you two pack it in, it's frankly getting ridiculous. Dan, you are seeing things that aren't there, but your point is valid. Rob, you dropped the ball when you didn't just play the audio, otherwise good show. Argument over. Now watch dancing on ice and have a beer.
Rob Burley: I'd like this tweet but Dan would misinterpret it!
Daniel Davenport: How many times do you have to count to 10 in a day.......
Rob Burley: Lots on Sundays.


  1. Rob "Facebuster" Burley goes the full 15 rounds. :)

    So here's the thing, Rob - people who say "So here's the thing" are invariably trying to cover up some other thing.

    The other thing here is just the fact that the BBC seem incapable of seeing things other than from the traditional soggy left Marrist position. And we know that is his position because he writes columns that make clear his views.

    There was another example of this on BH today when Paddy O'Connell just happened to ask his three paper reviewers a question sent in by a listener as to whether the three guest reviewers were exclusive users of the NHS (it was framed like one of those 1950s "Unamerican" questions: have you always been in the past and do you remain an exclusive user of NHS services with no actual or theoretical recourse to private medicine?" - I paraphrase). A typically Corbynista question no doubt sent in by a eager-beaver Corbynista...and one all three guests,including the Conservative, were desperate to answer yes to. But I think that was a set up - why is POC asking questions of paper reviewers? They are not on there to be interviewed. It was designed to embarrass the Token Tory.

    The useless Tory should at least have pointed out that the NHS would collapse tomorrow if all UK citizens/companies currently using private insurance schemes (paying in nearly £5 billion) were to abandon those and use the NHS. Private medical insurance is effectively a cost saver for the NHS. Moreover, BUPA is a non-profit making body. And finally, the guests all answered with a lie. We all pop into Boots and buy medical products with no intervention from the NHS, and sometimes we consult with the pharmacist. That's private medicine. Most of us have at some time in our lives paid for physiotherapy, counselling or other therapies. That's also private medicine. And most of us have bought holiday health insurance schemes, sometimes making use of them while out of the country. That's also private medicine.

    I say all that as someone who does NOT have private health insurance and who broadly supports the NHS.

    The joke is that Paddy probably gets private medical insurance cover as part of his BBC remuneration package. That would be ironic wouldn't it?

    1. I've found the Tweeter. He's a pro-EU, Tory/UKIP-bashing Labour Blairite by the looks of things.

      Did you spot Paddy's little anti-Brexit joke?

      Guest: It's not clear what we are going to give the French in return (for the Bayeux Tapestry)'.
      Paddy: 'The City of London?'.

    2. Tres drole Monsieur Paddy! I'd turned off by then I think.

      Well, if not a Corbynista a Labourista with all that irrational NHS-lurv stuff. Personally I don't suspend all judgement just because I agree in principle that an institution should exist. I don't think the NHS should be any more immune to oversight and criticism than the police, the judiciary or local government, all all the arms of the state that serve us.

    3. Well, since you acknowledge that it's actually quite easy to come up with a justification for using private health care, it's not really that embarrassing a question, is it? If the Tory had given the answer you propose, Twitter would have been swamped with lefties complaining that he'd been given a softball question.

  2. The exchange with Dan Hodges (which is still going on) is one where Rob doesn't sound anywhere near as sure-footed or convincing as he usually does.

    I think he knows he's on dodgy ground because it WAS bizarre of Andrew Marr to ask John McDonnell if he wanted the Esther McVey audio to be played and when JMcD said 'no' to just not play it. I've never seen anything quite like that before. Viewers unaware of the audio would have been left none the wiser.

    Rob's explanation isn't brilliant and he soon resorted to accusing people of shouting and saying words to the effect of 'I've said what I've said!'

    1. Yes he's on very weak ground, particularly his presumption that JMcD would be in a position to "clear things up"...also JMcD has form including disgusting comments about Thatcher and the Brighton Bombing...if he was being grilled on the subject of inappropriate comments about women, that should be brought up. Was it?

    2. Where did I see John McDonnell being confronted with the clip of the infamous Esther McVeigh comment on TV very recently?
 Was it Jo Coburn on The Daily Politics? If I remember correctly, she (or whoever it was) clearly accepted McDonnell’s claim that he had merely been quoting someone else, but she accused him of doing so ‘approvingly’.

      I don’t think one could genuinely say that the clip provides definitive proof of McDonnell’s approval or his disapproval. It isn’t a very good recording, and of course you can’t tell if he’s sniggering while recounting it. So even if Andrew Marr had insisted on playing it, I very much doubt it would have settled the matter once and for all.

      However, not playing it wasn’t fair to any viewers who hadn’t heard it, and also, I understood the ‘official’ position these days is zero tolerance for any dodgy remark, even when you’re quoting someone else, irrespective of whether or not you’re doing so disapprovingly.

      Great statue by the way. I do like a nice bit of public art. /snigger


    Bad light stops play?

    1. Blimey, it went on and on! The last I heard Rob was off to a party of screaming three-year-olds. Time for an update!

    2. Good entertainment. I do find he tends to ignore those who engage where things may get awkward. Dishonest, if wise.

      I notice I have now to post anonymously or with website, as the Google Account option seems to go nowhere to even relog on. Blogger can be... 'vexing'.

      Maybe my system and will await a youth to appear demanding laundry to see if it is.

    3. Crikey... that verification system is... intense.


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