12/10/2012 Newswatch


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Hello, welcome to Newswatch. This week, does BBC News treat politics


as a sort of soap opera? Of the hearing enough about the party's


policies or his conference season a circus dominated by personalities


like him? Foulkes, thank you very much. I will see more later. Come


to the thing, which every tears tonight. Also tonight, as more and


more allegations have emerged of historic Abbey's by Jimmy Savile,


has the BBC been open about about what was known in the operation?


And a BBC Scotland news bulletin is disrupted by insect.


Because of budget cuts, the past three weeks of party conferences


have not been broadcast as extensively as previous years. What


do you remember of what has been shown? Chances are, it is not


policies or debates, but how our elected representatives perform in


front of the party faithful, especially the leaders and future


leaders. They were cheered still further by another rousing


performance from the London mayor, who has been stealing the limelight


here. He brushed aside yet more questions about his own leadership


ambitions and lavished praise on the Prime Minister. I was police to


seek he called me a blonde-haired mob. -- mop.


There is something approaching a personality cult here, and some are


already fantasising about what cabinet he will choose if he walks


through the doors of Number Ten. If Boris is a cult -- poll --


personality cult, is that the doing of BBC? Some Newswatch viewers see


an emphasis on gossip rather than One person who has been living and


breathing the party conferences for the past three weeks is the chief


political correspondent for BBC News Norman Smith. He joins me now


from Westminster. Can you see why viewers get concerned that they


have been -- you have been running around after Boris Johnson and


turning him into the story? It is very hard to disentangle


personalities from policies. And just raw politics. Because


personalities help to show up politics. It has always been the


way. -- shape politics. If you could previous conferences, big


figures have dominated, it is impossible to strip out


personalities from politics -- politics. I would say with Boris


Johnson, there is a danger that within the BBC and other news


organisations, we take him on his own field, that is, as the jovial


character rather than challenging him necessarily as robustly as we


do other politicians. Because when it comes down to detailed and


specific policies, Boris Johnson tends to be a much less sure footed


politician. There is nothing wrong in emphasising his personal


attractiveness to the electorate. What I would suggest is, we need to


engage as well more robustly with the sort of policies he espouses.


You say people have always been interested in personality, that is


true. There is a sense, they you while, you are standing outside


Number Ten and the talk is like gossip. Who is in, who is out. Who


has fallen out of favour, who is rowing. Do you not accept that


there is something about the tone of rolling news in particular that


it is fed up too much interest in to bat so proper and not enough


interest in what's happened in conference, what the debates were?


What happened in conference was very little. That is partly the


reason why there is this drawing back more into personalities. If


you look at the conference,... is not an excuse. Your job is to


say that. That is possible. The difficulty is, there is a lack of


policy being given to the journalists, up to report on. If


you take, for example, the Conservative conference, we had one


policy allowing people to take an aggressive stance towards policy.


You scratch your head when the others. At the Labour conference,


they had a promise to spend the money from the 4G sell-off to build


100,000 council houses, that was not even a pledge for the next


election. We are in a policy desert at conference. Michael Gove, he


said to one of my colleagues, if you've read by speed and you think


you see a policy or a new announcement, you are wrong, there


is nothing in it. That is part of the problem. We inflate conference


is to a hugely important significance in the political


calendar which frankly they do not merit any more. We are looking


ahead to the continuation of plebs- date, viewers were concerned about


Andrew Mitchell, journalists were feeding it and trying to generate


news out of it, can be forced him to resign as. -- resigned. Do you


think there is a responsibility that political journalists do not


take responsibility enough? accept that a pack mentality direct


-- develops around winded ministers. I can recall numerous occasions


when ministers are teetering and they have to go partly because the


media pressure is unsustainable. That is part of the reality of


modern politics. I do not see how you this invent that. In terms of


the plebs-date specifically, there is a personality and 98, but it is


a bigger story because it resonates that at the top of the government,


there are people at the background who do not few people at a lower


social order as quite what they should be. There is a perception


that they take lower -- a lofty view of people down the lower


social change. So it has broader political significance.


Now for some other topics you have been contacting us about, starting


with this her a highly distressing story of April Jones. On Wednesday,


Mark Bridger appeared in court charged with the abduction and


murder of the five year-old. It is normal for news organisations to


run images once a person is charged, but given the fact that Capel has


not been found and the scale of the coverage about her disappearance,


some dealers were concerned. -- On last week's programme, the head


of editorial policy at the BBC baby Jordan discussed the BBC's news


coverage of Jimmy Savile and the row will not go away. This week,


the corporation said it is commissioning an independent


inquiry into historic sexual harassment and alleged abuse on BBC


premises, as well as an informal investigation into Newsnight


Scotland's decision to drop a report on him last year.


Newsnight decided not to run the story, for editorial reasons. The


BBC is under pressure to explain why the story was not broadcast.


And whether any influence was brought to bear by senior


executives ahead of the Christmas tribute programmes for Savile.


senior executives at the BBC knew there was an investigation into


Jimmy Savile, and they could see their Christmas schedules and they


could see celebratory programmes about Jimmy Savile, it is


absolutely the first thing you do, is, can I see the item before I do


anything else? Many viewers to share a sense of


unease about how the story is being On Thursday, one of the headlines


on the news at six concerned Lance Armstrong who was found in a report


this week to have lied in court about taking performance-enhancing


drugs. Fallen idol, the cycling legend


Lance Armstrong is labelled a serial cheat. A report from


America's emit -- America's anti- Finally, you have heard of flies


disrupting a picnic, but it is not often they get on the wake of a


news reader. Jackie Bird already had to deal with the loss of sound


on the weather presenter's) and her own,... What is that flickering


We asked BBC Scotland for an On that very painful note, we have


to end! If you want to share your opinions on BBC News and current


affairs or appear on the programme, We are all also on Twitter. We will


Hopefully the London studio here it will remain a fly free zone, and


the microphone is working! The rain today has been fairly persistent


across the north-east of Scotland. A blanket of cloud across Scotland


during the day. Sharp showers in the south-west as we speak. There


is an amber warning out for a few more hours to come back rainfall in


the far north-east of Scotland. -- covert that rainfall. This has been


the story today, sharp showers in the south-west. There is the odd


rumble of thunder there as well. They will push west to east through


the night. The weather front associated with that bloke sit in


the far north of Scotland, it will continue to ease. A touch of


mistiness. Saturday morning starts with a brisk easterly breeze and a


fair amount of cloud and rain in Scotland. That drifts southwards,


patchy rain pushing into the south- west. Perhaps as far as the Lake


District. Sunshine and showers elsewhere. By the afternoon, there


will be not much sunshine for Scotland. It will be a rather grey


afternoon, drizzly rain and a brisk easterly breeze. More rain four


across the far south-west Scotland. The highest temperatures will be


across England and Wales. The showers, it is a case of dodging


them as we push further south and west. They should not be too many


showers. We keep the sunny spells coming through as well in between


them. Lighter winds than today say it will feel a little better.


Northern Ireland will have cloud and drizzle the rain for the north


coast, tied into that were the front. There has been some


uncertainty about the forecasts for Sunday, it seems like the low


pressure will keep to the near Continent. Still the risk of some


sharper showers into the south-west. We need to keep a close eye on that


as river levels are pretty high. Decent spells a sometime across


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