There is an inevitable viewer hierarchy for TV news: the largest ratings are garnered by the BBC, with ITV usually a close second. Coming in well behind in third place, albeit with a fiercely loyal following and no shortage of talking heads willing to stroll over to ITN for a light grilling, is Channel 4 News. The third placed evening news does break and push stories, but is generally ignored by the press.
Channel 4, Guv? Political correctness gorn mad, innit?!?
Note that I use the term “ignored” in the context of the news, not Channel 4 generally: the Fourth Estate has been on the broadcaster’s case more or less since it began transmission for any appearance of what the BBC announcer calls strong language, or anything else that folks like the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre can get all het up and righteous about.
So it was strange to see the Daily Mail’s obscenely overpaid churnalist Richard Littlejohn taking a leap off the end of the pier at Channel 4 News following their running a report suggesting that the quartet that apparently tried to set off home-made explosive devices across central London a fortnight after the July 7 bombers might not have had any kind of lethal intent.
I missed the broadcast – Channel 4 runs its evening news at 1900 hours, which is a little early for me – and so did tens of millions of others, so Littlejohn going gaga about it, and engaging in a bout of Olympic standard freestyle wobbler-throwing at Jon Snow, only serves to draw attention to the affair, and suggests that the froth is not that Snow led the piece, but that the Mail would rather it had not aired.
The headline says it all: “Four wannabe suicide bombers, their 'unsafe conviction', and a news bulletin so lefty it makes the BBC look like Fox!”, which is in itself another giveaway, as it admits that Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) is biased to the right. Dick then smears the channel as “that smug, sanctimonious citadel of self-righteousness”.
In any case, whatever the facts of the case, Dick has decided they’re guilty anyway. “They’re lucky they didn’t get a bullet between the eyes ... risible defence ... conspiracy is the currency of the moment ... they think they’ve stumbled across another Guildford Four or Birmingham Six”. The problem here, Dicky Boy, is that we’ve seen so many of these cases in the past that we just don’t know.
But perhaps the real reason for this rant is that Channel 4 News is also home to Alex Thompson, who hilariously gave Kelvin McFilth a dose of his own medicine earlier this week when he doorstepped him over the Hillsborough disaster, and McKenzie’s unforgiveable use of the Sun to smear the victims. Dick says “Don’t diss my mate Kel, cos he’s one of the boys, innit”.
Except we now think that Dick and his pals may have something to hide. Bad move.