Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Hagorama

Last night's Panorama was a bit disappointing. I understand that the Beeb is pleased that it has in Bobby Pesto an intelligent business journalist who actually gets major scoops, but why do they think we want to watch a love-in about how great he is? About ten minutes of last night's programme was wasted, meaning that interview material from key players was cut to accomadate it. It's actually really cringe-inducing to watch too, almost as bad as when the Observer 'interviews' its own staff. Which is a shame as when it got onto the meat of the programme it was worth the wait, if only to be reminded just how close the entire banking system came to collapse. But basically a bit of a squandered opportunity given the standing of the interviews.

PS. Mrs Tom said (with no prompting!) that Alistair Darling came across well.

7 comments:

Richard Young said...

Although I haven't updated it lately, I did spend a couple of weeks venting at the lunacy of the Cult of Peston. See http://robertpestonwatch.blogspot.com/ Half his stories seem to have come from Treasury leaks aimed to making Brown and Darling look good (in comparison to the City - not hard). The other half would have come to any half competent BBC business editor given the need by so many parties to spin aggressively in this febrile atmosphere.

I rather thought David Milliband did well last week on Today versus the increasingly pointless Humphrys. Darling's main plus at the moment is his dullness, which strikes the right tone at the moment. But I think I might be rather disappointed if I were a Labour supporter. The whole 11 years seems so... pointless somehow. After 18 years in the wilderness, a three-term Labour government left the yahoos in the City stronger than ever and a long, deep recession looks possible as a result. Is it too much to hope for politicians who could inspire us to true community involvement, lower consumption and responsible living? I guess so...

Tom P said...

I still like him as a reporter. Obviously he's right in the middle of the biggest crisis for years, but even so I don't remember Beeb business coverage being as good previously. Jeff Randall had an easier presentational style, but it was far more 'business pages' type reporting than Pesto manages to pull off.

I am disappointed as a Labour supporter that we didn't tackle the role and influence of the City earlier. But then the argument that you could basically leave them alone and bank the tax returns for progressive stuff had influence all over the place.

Richard Young said...

Your point about the scale of the crisis and its ability to make a star out of any lead BBC business reporter is well made. But you know what: the BBC's coverage - in all areas, not just business - *should* be a little bit bookish. The problem with Peston is that people *think* he's explaining it all very well, they *think* they're better informed. But within a few seconds of discussing the credit crunch and recession, it's apparent that they aren't. So, in fact, he's done a bad job - making the ill-informed or unintelligent feel like they know what's going on, while leaving the well-informed and intelligent fuming at the paucity of the coverage. Like the whole BBC, Peston should worry a little less about ratings (and faux scoops handed over by the Treasury) and a little more about dispassionate, "for the record" reporting that we can rely on in this corporate news saturated world.

Richard Young said...

Oh, and on Labour's record with the City. Ye-es. That's a marvellous argument for Reaganomics - it's just another form of trickle-down, really. I know it's a bit too late to talk about ideals and stuff like that, but since we certainly couldn't rely on the Tories to curb the worst excesses of the greed culture in the City, we kind of had to rely on Labour. And they failed. To argue that it was fine for them to screw the whole economy and walk away with the riches of Croesus just because that gave the Treasury a few quid to spend (on what? You'll say Sure Start, I'll say a pointless cut in the basic rate of income tax...) is, I'm afraid, just nonsense. It's like justifying bribery: yeah, we did give him a peerage for a million quid. But think how much good we can do with that million!

Richard Young said...

Oops. Forgot to add a link (which I'm sure you'll have seen already being a Guardian reader, but which shows Peston exactly how you go about explaining complex stuff in a way most people find useful): http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/dec/06/paul-krugman-financial-crisis-2008

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