07/01/2012 Newswatch


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Happy New Year and welcome to the first Newswatch of 2012. First,


it's hard to predict what you'll be watching and commenting on in the


news this year but one said we'll be hear aglot about the


presidential e-- hearing a lot about the presidential election in


the US. There's a series of contests before November to decide


who the Republican Party will be putting up against President Obama.


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 42 seconds


The BBC's north American editor is leading its coverage of the US


elections this year. We asked him to take a break from the campaign


trail to respond to those points. was very interested in the e-mails


and you might be surprised I sympathise quite a lot. I used to


be Europe editor. Whenitor. Whenre, I remember saying to somebody, "It


seems to be easier to get a profile on the television of somebody who


is not going to be President of the US." and now I would agree it's


more important to look at others who will probably be the next


President of France, rather than Ron Paul who will probably not be


the President of the USA if we believe the opinion polls. There


are not quite so good reasons why we focus a lot on American politics,


not just the BBC, but the whole of the media. It's relatively easy.


People speak English and speak in sound bytes and say lots of


colourful things. And although I don't think this is actually true


American politics is simple, it has a certain clarity that appeals to


people. Game on! There were some very good reasons for the way we


cover American politics. It is still the most powerful, arguably


the most important country in the world, economically, militarily, in


some ways culturally. So it does matter. It matters who is president


and it matters the clash of ideas here in this great democracy, this


very open democracy where people have very strong views and they're


expressing them the whole time. It's important to look at what


people are saying. We're going to change the kwhous and get America


back on track -- White House and get America back on track. It has a


big resonance on the rest of the world. In Britain, we want to see


one vision of America which depends on cutting back the state, cutting


taxes, getting rid of red tape, allowing capitalism and a lot more


like social democracy from Obama's side. Those are very important


visions. It's important we look at that. I'm determined we try and use


not only the Republican race, but the whole of the election cycle to


look at some very big questions about America and its direction.


I've been determined to do that for a while and it probably doesn't


always come off. I've come back from Iowa and about to go off to


New Hampshire. People think the Iowa coverage was too detailed.


That presents a real problem. If you're going to cover a news events,


you have to tell people what happened. So you have to explain a


little bit about what that means and why those things have happened.


And maybe that's too much detail for some people. I know others will


be lapping it up. One thing we have at the BBC which is useful, we


don't have to say everything that's the same on television and on radio.


And very much in the social media now. My blog, I can go in to the


detail that I wouldn't want to and wouldn't on the 10 o'clock news. So


that's one advantage. Now for some of the other points you've been


making to us, starting with the big news on Tuesday. Good evening, it's


taken 18 years but today two men have been found guilty of the


murder of the black teenager, Stephen Lawrence. The sentencing of


Dobson and Norris continued throughout the week and there were


several background pieces of racial tensions. Waves of immigration have


shaped highly diverse neighbourhoods in some of Britain's


inner cities, communities which have become used to racial


difference. I still found tension, even prejudice, just below the


surface. Do you think there was a stitch-up then or what? I think


there was a stitch-up. One little spec. That interview went on to


An on the street reporter trying to prove his point by making the major


interview with the most racist person he could find. And this


Over the Christmas holiday, there was widespread coverage of Prince


Philip's treatment for blocked coronary artery. There was a moment


of real anxiety when he was admitted to hospital with chest


pains. The Duke left hospital with a wave and feeling very cheerful,


according to palace officials who were with him. This story featured


far too prom minutely for people. - Some complaints related not to the


content of news broadcasts over the holiday period, but to their


And David Quarterman made a point John Smith spotted a certain lack


Now, remember the all-male shortlist for the BBC's Sports


Personality of the Year? The BBC News website produced another list


which led to cries of sexism. The website ran two selections of faces


which had been in the news last year, one for men, one for women.


It showed photographs of each category of one face per month.


Step forward Tian Tian. Karen Jones In a blog responding to what he


described as pandagate, the editor Please tell us your highs and lows


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