October 02, 2006

David Cameron and the BBC

Why did the BBC have a non-story as their main headline on tonight’s Six O’Clock News?

This isn’t a matter of subjective opinion. Even the BBC’s Political Editor said after his news piece that it wasn’t really a big issue.

So why, dear BBC, was it the main headline on the UK’s most-watched news bulletin? I am in no way a Conservative supporter, yet this story was clearly nonsense.

The story was that the Tories were unsure about David Cameron’s tax policies (not that he really has any), preferring tax cuts to stability. This was based upon a fringe debate which was carried 60/40 in favour of a motion calling for tax cuts. The main proponent of the motion was Norman Tebbit, a well-renowned nutter who in the same debate called for the Tories to pull out of the EU. The people in the room were more than likely not typical of Conservative members, let alone voters. They were in all probability Tebbit-fans who wanted to see their idol.

Another Tory MP claims that 100 Conservative MPs are doubtful of Cameron’s tax policies, a statistic that he seems to have no way of proving.

Yet this fringe debate became the main story on the BBC News.

My usual reaction to this is that someone was spinning the story and trying to bump it up the agenda. But realistically the only person who would want to do this is Norman Tebbit himself. So who decided to make this angle not just the most important one from the Tory party conference, but also the main story of the day?

The media seem to want this conference to be a critique of Cameron’s “style over substance” problem, and yet they’ve realised it’s not entirely true and doesn’t make for sexy television. Far better to report splits in the party, even if they’re so small they’re almost invisible.

When Nick Robinson comes on TV and says:

David Cameron’s not too upset about this sort of news item

you know someone’s screwed up.

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Jimmy B

    Slow news day my boy. I guess it was the least vacuous Tory Conference speech going…

    03 Oct 2006, 21:01

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