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Friday 2 September 2011

Tel Uses Beeb To Bash Beeb – Badly

Andrew Porter, political editor of the Maily Telegraph, must have thought he was being awfully clever when he put together his latest piece of knocking copy aimed at the BBC. The article, in true Daily Mail refugee style, attempts the Dacre practice of killing with headlines, proclaiming “UK riots: David Cameron attacks BBC and pledges more money for problem families”.

Young Dave, it is claimed, made this attack in “an interview”, although no cite is given. This may be because the interview was given to, er, the BBC: Cameron appeared on this morning’s Today programme on Radio 4, to be given a light grilling by the terrier-like Evan Davis over foreign affairs, the rioting, and more sensitively, Dave’s past membership of the Bullingdon Club.

And the audio from that encounter is now available for anyone who is interested to listen in, and discover just what Cameron said (listen HERE and go straight to 15 minutes in for the part on the riots). One hearing is sufficient to conclude that this was not an attack on the BBC, which explains why Porter did not cite the source of his supposedly devastating quotes.

Young Dave certainly didn’t suggest that the Beeb “implied you ‘cannot do anything about it ... until you’ve addressed all inequality’”. He was addressing, and dissenting from, one particular argument. It was a very minor part of the total interview, but Porter has inflated it into whatever is needed to satisfy the editorial line – just as would be demanded by the Mail.

As for the Cameron use of the term “mush”, this is also not news, and not new: again, he is not attacking the BBC in his use of the term, but rather the tendency to over-complicate the backstory and causes of recent disturbances, which reaches across all media outlets – including the Telegraph.

An earlier use of the term by Young Dave can be observed in this interview he gave to the Beeb’s veteran (but still vintage) host Gordon Burns last month, which was broadcast on North West Tonight. As with the Today discussion, Cameron allows himself to become excitable a little too easily for a Prime Minister.

And that, rather than any feeble attempt to kick the BBC, is what lingers in the memory. But that is outside the agenda of the Maily Telegraph, so is not allowed to enter the thoughts of the writers, for fear of frightening the readers.

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