27/11/2015 Newswatch


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with fake ambulances were used import drugs from Holland. At 10pm


we will have a round-up of the news today, but first it is time for


Newswatch. Hello and welcome to Newswatch with


me, Samira Ahmed. As George Osborne delivers


his autumn statement, is the BBC's economic coverage too simple and is


it politically biased? Robert Peston about to leave the BBC


after the decade reporting on business and economics reflects


on those questions The only thing people have to know


about me is that I am unbelievably childish about journalism,


I love getting stories The focus on domestic attention


in news agendas this week was the Chancellor's Autumn Statement,


which has again shot a spotlight There was a number of preview pieces


on television before George Osborne The amount of money the Government


wants to spend is shrinking. At the moment, a big lump


of our taxes goes to pay for the That is


about ?170 billion a year and it pays for people's retirement and


welfare, things such as jobseeker's That didn't go


down well with one viewer who rang Having watched breakfast this


morning with your financial reporter and


began to wonder who it was aimed at. You have to decide if you're going


to be a serious programme or not. On Wednesday's news at ten,


Robert Peston used a different visual device to


describe what Mister Osborne had A bit of pre-Christmas magic in


Leeds, but some rain said that the Chancellor pulled off a bit of a


trek by maintaining spending on the police,


easing the pace of austerity, and ignoring the no U-turn rule for


politicians by cancelling tax credit cuts while still running fairly fast


to cut annual borrowing. But some viewers find this kind of


thing simplistic, others explained that the BBC's economic soap it uses


too many complex technical terms And if comprehensibility is one bone


of contention, another is what some see as political bias creeping


into the reporting of economics. Here is Carl Wright


e-mailing this week: Over the last decade,


Robert Peston has had to wrestle First as the BBC's business editor


and now as the economics editor, he is about to leave the BBC to join


ITV as its political editor. This week was a time


for farewells on the news. Let us take stock after all these


announcements and Robert Peston is with me, our economics editor,


Laura Kuenssberg our political This is probably my last live


on the news at ten. I'm obsessing as usual with


the financial and fiscal risks. Over the past ten years we've had


plenty of comments about Robert Peston, ranging


from his capacity to generate scoops or exclusives, to his hair,


which has its own Twitter account. And criticism of his alleged sloppy


attire, unbuttoned shirt and no tie while interviewing George


Osborne on a recent trip to China. I have asked him about all those


issues, starting with how is business and economics coverage has


changed in his ten years at the BBC. Before I joined, when I joined,


it was a real struggle to get business on the main bulletins,


The Today programme, There was a nod towards


the idea that there might be a few people interested in business,


but there was a prejudice, I would Then we had markets closing down


in a catastrophic way in the summer of 2007, a sort of


unique moment I suppose in a way, that around the place here people


suddenly recognised what business is and why it matters to people's


lives. From a viewer's point of view,


what is striking is that on the one hand people feel economics can still


feel incredibly complicated and the jargon used in it we don't


fully understand, but some feel How have you felt


the balance has been struck? I don't like


as it happens visual metaphors that I always try and find images that


are relevant to the story These stories are often quite dry,


what you try and do is move from the personal to the general


and I do think all A big part of your reputation has


been getting scoops, such You have also been accused


with Northern Rock of perhaps What is your view


on that accusation? There was a very difficult period


from the summer of 2007 onwards when basically there was a whole industry


of senior politicians and senior business people, the head of the


British Bankers Association, who They felt that somehow what


I was saying was stuff that I consistently took


a different view, which is that this was not alarmist


stuff, this was not sensationalist. I never reported anything that


wasn't grounded in 100% fact. No one ever accused me


of getting anything wrong. When I reviewed


my language it was clear to me that I wasn't being sensationalist,


it was just that there was a whole industry of people who did not want


the public to know the facts. You are known and often commented


on for your appearance and for a lot of reporters the last thing


they want to be talked about for is Do you think that is happening to


you because you have chosen not Maybe I have always been less


sensitive to the issue of how you sound and how you look


than people who have been That said,


I have never wanted either the way I sound or look to distract


from what I am saying, that is what I think to an extent, it was helpful


that I was distinctive because in a sense if I came on the television or


radio people instantly recognise me and that also meant that this person


is maybe worth listening to watching because you might tell something


that affects our lives. I think it is important to be clear


about this, I think it is very important that you respect


who you're interviewing and respect To be absolutely clear, the only


reason I occasionally am not wearing a tie, I don't like ties,


but I will wear them on occasion. It is the right thing to do,


it is expected that is what you will do and I don't not wear it to make


a point of any sort. I think you just have


to judge situations. There was that the fuss


about the trip to China. It was a perfectly natural thing


in that situation not to wear a tie because it was boiling hot and I'd


been running about all day filming. I am pretty sure the Chancellor


would have completely understood I am slightly sorry that some people


here thought this was a big deal. I don't think it was a big deal


and I don't think it is. You are going to ITV and it and it


feels at a time when so much is accused of being politically biased,


even economics coverage, we've had complaints that the word lucky is


used to describe the Chancellor's situation at the Autumn Statement


this week has been seen by some What is your take


on how much heightened sensitivity there is, both at the BBC


and with the challenge of the job? Throughout the developed world there


has been a loss of confidence in what you make mainstream


politicians and mainstream parties. In those circumstances, you would


expect millions of people to be much more passionate


in their view of politics and much more mistrustful of what you might


call the mainstream media. Demonstrate


for mainstream politicians is also All journalists have to be acutely


aware of those sensitivities. The challenge


for a journalist remains exactly the same, which is, as far as


possible, to put their own instincts and prejudices to one side and to


describe the world as they see it. Robert Peston, thank you


all the best for the future. Just time before we go for a mention


of what is likely to be debated topic of next week, a possible vote


on whether the UK should join Some viewers have told us they feel


the BBC is focusing too much on divisions within the


Labour Party over this issue, rather And finally a word from Hugh Brown


about a particular bugbear of his: Thank you


for all your comments this week. If you want to share


your opinions on BBC News, current affairs, or appear on the programme


you can call us using the number You can find us on Twitter


and do have a look at our website. That is from us, we will be back to


hear your thoughts about BBC News England's cricketers win


the Twenty20 series with Pakistan. At the David Cup final in Ghent,


Andy Murry makes it 1-1 with Belgium after beating


Ruben Bemelmans in straight sets. British debutant Kyle Edmund took


two sets off David Goffin


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