13/10/2012 Newswatch


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open enough about what was known inside the corporation?


There is a fly in my studio. A BBC Scotland news bulletin is disrupted


by intact. Because of budget cuts, the past


three weeks of party conferences have not been broadcast as


extensively as in previous years. But what you member of what has


been shown? Chances are it is not policy announcements and debates,


but how error that give representatives performed,


especially the party 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 his old


friends at, the Prime Minister. was pleased to seek you Corby a


blond-haired pop in the pages of the papers. -- called me.


Here are the conference there is something approaching a personality


cult. Some are already fed to it -- fantasising about what portfolio he


would choose. If he is a personality cult, is


that the doing of the media? Some news which viewers to detect an


emphasis on people not policies. One duet decried the tendency to


create a hype and entertainment. Well, one person who has been


living and breathing the party conferences for the past three


weeks is the chief political conference -- correspondent for BBC


News, Norman's -- Norman Smith. TUC why viewers can get concerned?


is very hard to disentangle personalities from policies and


will politics because personalities help to shape politics. It has


always been that way. If you look two previous conferences through


history, big figures have dominated them. It is absolutely impossible


to strip out personalities from politics. One thing I would say


with regard to Boris Johnson is I think there is a danger in the


regard of taking him on in his own field. Rather than challenging him


as robustly as we do other politicians. When it comes down to


detail, in specific policies, Boris Johnson tends to be a much less


sure-footed politician. I think there is nothing wrong in


emphasising his personal attractiveness to the electorate.


What I would suggest is we need to engage more robustly with the sort


of policies he espouses. You say people have always been interested


in personality, which is true, but there's a sense of the people


watching that it is almost like gossip. Dear not accept that there


is something about the time that is fed too much interest in that sort


of soap opera and not enough interest in what actually happened?


-- do you not. I will tell you what happened, very little. That is part


of the reason why perhaps there is destroying back into poll of --


personalities. That is an excuse, isn't it? That is possible, but I


tell you the difficulty is there is a lack of policy being given to


journalists to report on. If you take, for example, the last


conference there was one posse allowing people to take a more


aggressive stance towards burglars. The Labour conference 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. Michael Gove said to one of my colleagues, if you read


my speech and you think you see any policy or new announcement, you are


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


conferences to a hugely significant importance. They do not merit it.


Very briefly we are looking ahead to the continuation of the Drew


Mitchell comments. People were concerned that people were feeding


it and trying to generate news out of it. Do you accept that there is


a responsibility there that political journalists do not take


seriously enough? I accept that a pack mentality develops around


wounded ministers. That is absolutely the case. I can recall


numerous occasions when ministers have been teetering and part of the


reason they are meant to go is because the media pressure becomes


unsustainable. That is part of the reality of modern politics. I do


not quite see how you do is invent that. In terms of this incident


specifically, yes of course there is a personality element to it, but


adding there is a bigger story to it because I think it resonates


with a broader perception that at the top of the Government there are


people from a background who do not the people of a lower social order


as quite what they should. There's a perception may take a lofty view


topics we have been contacted about, starting with the ongoing story of


April Jones. On Wednesday, Mark Bridger egg heat -- appeared in


court charged with the abduction and murder of the five-year-old


girl. It is normal for the media organisations to run pictures once


the person has been charged, but given the fact that she has not


been found, some dealers were Another shed that sentiment,


On last week's programme the head of editorial policy at the BBC


discussed the BBC's news coverage of Jimmy Saville. It is clear the


row will not go away. This week the BBC said it is commissioning an


independent inquiry into the allegations. There will also be an


informal investigation into news by its decision to drop its report


into Jimmy Saville last year. On Thursday evening the programme put


itself under the spotlight. We decided not to run the story for


editorial reasons. The BBC is under pressure to


explain why the story was not broadcast. One senior to -- once


senior executives knew that there was an inve was an inve into Jimmy


Saville and they could see the Christmas schedules and they could


see celebratory programmes about Jimmy Saville it is absolutely the


first thing you do. They would want anything else. Many dealers share a


at the news at 6pm concerned Lance Armstrong, who was down to have


lied in court about taking Fallen idol - the cycling legend of


Lance Armstrong is labelled a serial cheat. A report from


America's Eddie doping agency. Spot the mistake? Check-in she did,


disrupting a picnic but it is not often they get in the way of a news


reader. On a troublesome edition of Reporting Scotland this week, the


reader was already having to dig -- deal with the loss of sound on the


microphone. We will get a full weather forecast... But what is


that flicking and flitting around the screen? This the were thought


We asked BBC Scotland for an explanation and they told us there


was a temporary problem with the sand and a couple of flies seemed


intent on getting in on the action. This is live broadcasting and you


occasionally get the occasion -- get blips but this one ended in a


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