This week's Newswatch, minus Samira Ahmed, began with a classic example of 'complaints from both sides'.
First, entering Stage Left, came viewer Paul Morgan writing:
BBC News appears to have become campaign HQ for the leadership contest of the Conservative party [sic, for the lower case 'p' there]. Huge swathes of your bulletins and news channel handed over to the campaign and a breaking news alert from the BBC app every time one of the candidate sneezes. How much would all this free electioneering cost the Conservative party [sic, again] if they had to pay for it.
This, of course, is silly. Whoever wins this will become Prime Minister, and that matters. And the BBC always goes OTT for leadership races. I remember vividly the endless post-Gordon Brown BBC Labour leadership coverage in the opening years of David Cameron's coalition government - the one that so triumphantly results in Ed Miliband becoming leader. That, despite the BBC's lavish coverage, didn't help Ed's Labour win in 2015. And this Conservative leadership coverage won't be 'free electioneering' either if all the squabbling results in an impression of disunity and leads to electoral disaster in 2024 under someone who can't win over the public - especially if the media steers it against them.
Meanwhile, entering Stage Right, came other viewer Peter Staker, writing:
With bated breath I turned on at 6pm to see which of the candidates were progressing to the first round of voting. What did I see? The first item was about Sir Mo Farah being trafficked as a child to the UK - an advert for the BBC's programme tomorrow night. The second item was regarding possible murders committed by the SAS in Afghanistan years ago, an advert for tonight's Panorama programme. Who progresses with the opportunity of being Prime Minister IS news, hearing about forthcoming BBC documentaries isn't.
Peter's points - unlike Paul's - are perfectly sensible. The BBC's obsession with adverts for itself seriously risks getting in the way of proper news reporting.
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