I've just been taking a look at the screenshot on Twitter of the reply David Hooks received from the BBC after his complaint about Andrew Neil's interview with Nicola Sturgeon. I presume the complaint related to the factual inaccuracies in Neil's line of questioning, which were so blatant that in one case the BBC's own Fact Check tacitly acknowledged the mistake. Even by the BBC's standards, the reply is dripping with arrogance and corporate propaganda. It follows the familiar trick of ignoring the actual complaint and responding to an imaginary one instead - ie. "how dare Andrew Neil interrupt people". This is the bit that leaps out -
"As a consequence, it is true that Andrew Neil often interrupts politicians, but he only does so when he does not feel he is getting a precise and direct answer to the question he has posed. He does so courteously but firmly."
Now, we all know that's not true. Andrew Neil often crosses the line from being an interviewer to being a participant in a debate in which he puts forward his own opinions, and the purpose of his interruptions is often to loudly drown out a point he disapproves of and doesn't want viewers to hear. One obvious example was a couple of years ago when he challenged RT presenter Afshin Rattansi about the complaints against RT upheld by Ofcom, which he suggested were proof that Putin was pulling the strings. Rattansi countered by quite reasonably pointing out that the BBC Trust had upheld a similar complaint against the BBC's own Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg. Neil immediately cut him off and angrily denounced him for suggesting that Kuenssberg and her employers were anything other than saintly figures who hadn't received their due in prestigious industry awards yet.
Not all of Neil's interruptions of Nicola Sturgeon were in that mould, but a good few of them were. Specifically she was refusing to accept the premise of his questions relating to the supposed requirement for a country to have its own currency before joining the EU (a requirement that the BBC Fact Check later admitted does not exist). He did his utmost to talk over her to the extent that viewers wouldn't even notice that she was disputing him on that point of fact - frankly he failed, but that was his intent. At one point he even bizarrely suggested that Ms Sturgeon had accepted his claim, and when she pointed out that she hadn't done any such thing, he hurriedly changed the subject.
Antics of that sort are not an attempt to furnish viewers with greater illumination. They're an attempt to deceive viewers. There's simply no excuse for it, and it's little wonder that the BBC proved unable to address that point directly.
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I have two more constituency profiles in today's edition of The National - this time it's North-East Fife and Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.