Thursday, May 17, 2007

Notes on BBC interviewing tactics from a former insider

Rod Liddle in this week's Spectator:

[T]here are certain sorts of people whom the BBC thinks it’s all well and good to be fairly nasty to, and Scientologists are among them. Indeed, there are certain groups of people whom the BBC feels that its personnel must roundly abuse or even phy-sically chastise if it is going to give them airtime, such as, for example, the British National Party, or members of Islamic groups that are not on the ever-shifting list of politically OK Islamic groups. These people all come under category one in the BBC producer guidelines. In each case, the presenter is required to shout at these people because they are plainly, obviously, horrible — you will remember the Newsnight interview, for example, in which BNP leader, Nick Griffin, was denied the chance to answer a single question. And any BBC interview with a Muslim mullah who has hooks instead of hands. The Scientologists do not quite fall into this special category; under those aforementioned guidelines, they come in category two — people towards whom the presenter should display contempt, quiet hostility and open dislike, but should not actually punch or scream at. Members of the Conservative party and Ukip, all Israelis other than those who are activists within ‘peace’ groups, evangelistic Christians, supporters of the Countryside Alliance, Roman Catholics, paedophiles and chairmen of multinational corporations are similarly covered by the category two requirements. Category three, meanwhile, demands that the presenter affect an attitude of studied indifference and mild disdain and applies to interviews with most members of the present government, unless they were against the war in Iraq, in which case they get the category four treatment, which is also handed out to pop stars who wish for the African debt burden to be written off, all disabled people, ‘ordinary’ members of ethnic minorities and especially ‘moderate’ Muslims, all charity spokeswomen and bearded scientists in spectacles who insist that the earth is going to turn into a cinder by the year 2012. Category four requires the presenter to fawn in a sickening manner and, on occasion, proffer sexual favours.

Read the full article HERE.

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