How the BBC Conducts an Interview

30 12 2015
Marin Alsop

Marin Alsop

It takes an arts interview to reveal the truly parlous state of BBC journalism; to illustrate how deep attitudes run in the organisation.

Razia Iqbal, presenter of World Update on BBC World Service, interviewed Baltimore Symphony Musical Director Marin Alsop – listen here, at 20’40” – on 30th December 2015.

Alsop was speaking about the mentoring programme she had introduced to promote the study of music among Baltimore’s deprived (mainly African-American) community. Alsop’s comments about the success of the programme prompted the following extraordinary and revealing statements from BBC presenter Iqbal:

This would surprise a lot of people for whom Baltimore means the television series The Wire or the Baltimore that people see in real life depicted in our news bulletins of young African-American men being gunned down by the State. I wonder how you reconcile those things in your mind?

Up to that point there had been no political element beyond Alsop’s desire to get more African-American involvement in classical music. Read the rest of this entry »

Anatomy of a Complaint…

1 04 2014

Category; Middle East, Media



bbc-1728x800_cGiven the interest in the BBC Trust’s recent upholding of my complaint – see here – I am sharing the documentation for the previous stages of the complaints process.

Here’s a short outline of the different stages you go through; I’ve broken it up into rounds (the BBC term for each stage is in brackets).

If you click on the heading it will take you to the relevant post, with attached documents:

Read the rest of this entry »

BBC Trust Ruling on Kevin Connolly

26 03 2014

Category; Middle East, Media


imagesThe BBC Trust has released its ruling on my complaint about a Radio 4 Today Programme report. As already noted the ruling confirms the report was inaccurate and misleading. See page 4 and pages 9 -23.


It is not clear what the BBC will do to ‘remedy’ the breach, nor what Kevin Connolly thinks about it all. His colleague Jeremy Bowen has rejected the last BBC Trust decision against him. It is difficult to see how Connolly can square spending almost three years defending what he considers to have been sterling work to be told by his regulator that it is in fact rotten journalism. Read the rest of this entry »

BBC in Denial

22 03 2014

Category; Middle East, Media



It’s not just what’s in the news; it’s also what’s not. The BBC has solidly ignored the speech by Iran’s Supreme Leader denying the Holocaust – reported here.

Instead they have a positive story on Iranian statements about the prospects for a nuclear deal, with a photograph of the smiling Foreign Minister – see here.

Read the rest of this entry »

BBC Complaint Upheld

17 03 2014

Category; Middle East, Media

The Times is today reporting that the BBC Trust is to censure Middle East Correspondent Kevin Connolly for a report on the Today programme on Radio 4 in 2011. They have ruled that Connolly’s report was inaccurate and misleading; the ruling is the culmination of my complaint to the BBC almost three years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Rogue Editor

14 03 2014

Category; Middle East, media



BBC Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen has been lambasting the BBC Trust over its censure of his journalism 5 years ago. It’s interesting timing on Bowen’s part. Why bring it up now?

Does he know something? Is there a timely reason to be trying to undermine the Trust’s rulings? Read the rest of this entry »

News Narratives

19 05 2013

Category; Media

Eric Kitson

A former UKIP Councillor

News is about narratives. You pick your starting point and take it from there. That starting point is both literal and metaphorical; the opening sentence in any decent news report is worth as much as the rest of the report, and the viewpoint of the author, or outlet, moulds facts.

It’s how Fox News and The Guardian manage to shape the same facts in such different ways.

Read the rest of this entry »