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Friday, 19 February 2010

6 o’clock shadow

To say that I was disappointed by the presentation of the ‘BBC News at Six” this evening would be an under-statement. It was more worthy of The Sun than the Great Britain institution it used to be. The pattern was repeated at 10 o’clock.

There were ten items in the bulletin including ‘The Weather’ giving an average time of three minutes for each item but as ever, not all warranted equal coverage. Quite rightly in my view East Enders was bottom of the pile with the often repeated clip of Den and Angie’s impending divorce looking rather hackneyed now that such events are common place in our modern society. To be fair I am not a fan of current Soaps. They compare miserably with At the Luscombe’s in the glory days of the wireless though Compact did make a valiant effort before becoming irrelevant when scenes of rape, murder and violence became the norm.

Plaid Cymru and the Green Party must have been over the moon to find themselves temporarily relevant on the National scene with the prospect of a hung parliament – the last thing we need. Coverage of the disturbing annual Japanese slaughter of dolphins came after that but before Prince William’s photographic achievements. At least that project was in aid of CRISIS so no complaints there.

Previously we had the latest from Afghanistan where our troops are putting their lives on the line but less important news now that closer to home there was a tragic family event necessitating focus on the now compulsory floral tributes left to wither and die on the pavement and supplemented by standard statements from distressed neighbours and their children as a substitute for direct intrusion into the family’s grief.

The third item covered funding for care of the elderly as though it were something that only happens to others. But it was probably placed correctly given the state of the economy and how best to deal with debt repayment. - Different advice had been offered by a group of economists writing to the Financial Times in response to advice to the Government from a smaller group who had previously advised the opposite. No surprise there when you can get 11 opinions from 10 economists.

So what more serious story could take us six minutes into the headline news? An ex-Gillette sponsored golfer making a fourteen minute apology for being caught playing in the rough. Carefully stage managed, only the select few were gathered for this sombre event. The rest, including the BBC reporter were kept half a mile away in which case he may as well have been in a room next door waiting to hear ‘the apology the world has been wanting to hear’. What world do these people live in?

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