Saturday 13 March 2021

'Newsnight' and accuracy


In his regular Spectator column Charles Moore recounts how - and why - he spurned the BBC's advances earlier this week:

On Tuesday, I was asked to appear on BBC Newsnight to talk about the Sussexes’ interview. When told it would be presented by Emily Maitlis, I declined, on the grounds that ever since her political speech against Dominic Cummings on the programme last year, I have had no confidence in her fairness. Sure enough, she spoke on the programme that night of ‘the sense of the attempted suicide’ of the Duchess of Sussex — though Meghan had mentioned only ‘suicidal thoughts’.

At the time, my little gesture seemed rather pointless, so I was pleased to read in the next day’s papers that Ofcom has at last decided that the Maitlis diatribe against Cummings ‘had the potential to be perceived by some viewers as an expression of her personal view on a matter of major political controversy’. Hardly a bold rebuke, but a start.

Emily Maitlis's error was actually on Monday night's Newsnight when she asked John Kerry: 

Just before we end, we are talking on a day that has been dominated by the Harry and Meghan interview. We know how important the monarchy is to soft power. Does anything in it that you've read, any of the accusations of racism or the sense of the attempted suicide change how America views the institution of our monarchy?

The Tuesday edition itself was notable for another error - one which necessitated an on-air 'clarification' from Emily Maitlis. She began one interview by saying:

But first we're joined by Guy Hewitt, former High Commissioner of Barbados, which will leave the Commonwealth in November - a decision that we should say has been years in the making. It wasn't as a result of the last 24 hours. 

I can imagine, as the interview continued and Rev. Hewitt said what he had to say, that alarm bells began ringing in the studio as it dawned on them that they'd made a mistake, and that voices appeared in Emily's earpiece telling her to 'clarify' the matter. Towards the close of the segment, the following happened:

Emily Maitlis: And just let me clear up an inconsistency that I think I made. You will remain part of the Commonwealth, is that right, but you won't have the Queen...? 
Guy Hewitt: Barbados will remain...Yes, we will have a native head of state but we will remain part of the Commonwealth as the majority of members are republics.

 I don't think the "attempted suicide" error has been corrected yet. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.