Why did the BBC’s soft BNP interview take so long to become a national story? – asks Roy Greenslade at the Guardian. He has, quite helpfully, a good run-down of how the story slowly evolved until it became massive once the Mail on Sunday picked it up and ran a three-page splash.
Perhaps there are a few agendas at work here. Perhaps Guardian journos didn’t want to bash the BBC and so they didn’t run it initially. Besides, complaining about an extremely soft interview isn’t necessarily a story in itself. The Daily Mail has a more straight-forward BBC-bashing agenda, though admittedly it has also been running anti-BNP articles (while airing their talking points on other columns/stories.)
But once the Mail on Sunday went big with: BBC storm as two of BNP’s most notorious activists are invited on Radio 1 to insult Ashley Cole – it suddenly got picked up all over the press.
Keep in mind it has been all over the blogs repeatedly. Here is a list:
Mehdi Hasan at New Statesman
The F Word
Sarah Ditum’s Paperhouse
Nothing British about the BNP
… and perhaps more.
To answer the question in the title of this post – it’s that the Daily Mail is good at spotting and creating stories, especially when it has a specific agenda. But it could have been turned into a story when Radio 1′s Rod McKenzie published this lame attempt to defend the interview.
Or it could be that journos only read a narrow range of certain blogs and take their political temperature from those.
But this also comes back to the point I raised earlier about BBC journalism. It isn’t proper journalism when you invite a flat-earther and a scientist on to a debate and have them slog it out. It isn’t proper journalism when you present the overwhelming evidence against global warming as ‘one side of a controversial debate’ – that’s just disingenuous.
The same will happen on Question Time next week when Nick Griffin turns up and says a whole bunch of things which, in many cases, may not be true but won’t be challenged because the other panellists won’t have read up on them. I had hoped that perhaps a better way for the media to deal with the BNP is by having them on programmes and challenging their views and engaging them directly via preparation. Radio 1′s journalism shows even that isn’t a safe bet any more.
Lastly, all this highlights that while the mainstream media lives in a cosy consensus – blogs play a vital role in giving light to real stories that are often ignored.
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Filed in: Media,Race politics