Re BBC News on One Friday 9 July.
I wish to complain about your news coverage on Friday 9 July BBC1 10.00pm news. You had only three items: the main one (which took up almost a qare of an hour – half the time) being a report on the hunt for Raoul Moat. The second item was on the football world cup and the third on the London Olympic Village. That is, two items on sport and one on the hunt for a lone gunman – hardly ‘news’ in the real sense of the word, whether world or British.
The fact that the police hunt for a lone gunman in Rothbury was given almost half of the total news coverage is pandering to tabloid-type sensationalism and demonstrates a gratuitous infatuation with crime. It may have deserved a mention but surely not more coverage than a major world catastrophe would normally receive. The police were clearly keeping all outsiders away from the focus of their hunt and were divulging few details of what was happening, but such a lack of genuine information did not stop you milking the story even though it was dry. Your journalists talked of being ‘only 100 yards from the scene’ as if this is of relevance to their story. They interviewed ‘experts’ about ‘what might have been happening’ (because no one knew apart from the police officers involved). This is not news but empty speculation and imparts no information or understanding to the viewer.
The fact that a lone gunman on the run after killing one person was now being hunted by a heavily armed police force in an operation almost unprecedented in peacetime outside Northern Ireland or in connection with serious terrorist offences, elicits no interrogation by you is incredible. You don’t question the use of such force; you don’t question the use of draconian powers to close off civilian areas and impose a curfew on ordinary citizens – actions of doubtful legality or legitimacy. Now tht would be proper investigative journalism!
BBC News has become increasingly obsessed with individual acts of crime, giving gratuitous coverage of little informational or educational value. This is ‘bread and circuses’ of the worst kind and not the sort of intelligent news coverage one expects from the BBC with its mandate to inform, educate and entertain.
Let us have real news please!