Saturday, December 15, 2007

Newsnight told a small story over a big one

By Charles Moore Last Updated: 9:01am GMT 15/12/2007

It is a weakness, no doubt, in a journalist, but I normally do not watch Newsnight, the BBC's "flagship" current affairs programme.
The programme's strange menu of preachy reports followed by all-in wrestling with Jeremy Paxman, does not, for me, round off the day pleasantly. I'd rather be in bed.
On Wednesday, however, I had to watch it. I am the chairman of the centre-Right think-tank Policy Exchange, and Policy Exchange was coming under Newsnight's attack.
On a day when the world's central banks were combining to rescue the global banking system, and when Gordon Brown was trying to think of a way of signing away Britain's independence in Lisbon without cameras, there were big things for the programme to lead on.
Instead, it presented a huge, 17-minute package about Policy Exchange.
Although Newsnight's portentousness was unjustified, the allegations did look serious. It should be said at once that they need proper investigation. But when you know the background, you come to see how very different this story is from the way Newsnight told it.

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