The appointment of Michael Crick - TV journalism's foremost political sleuth-cum-anorak - as Newsnight's new political editor sent many a Tory-leaning blogger and their fans into a frenzy of keyboard-pecking. "How ridiculous!" fulminated Anthoninus on Guido Fawkes' popular politics blog. "I'd switch off my TV if the dumpy little fellow didn't look and act so silly! I think Newsnight needs some sort of disclaimer - 'news for Lefties'." Meanwhile, posting on former Tory candidate Iain Dale's influential blog, Matt Davis seethed: "Crick is a blatantly biased Tory-hater who will undoubtedly misuse his publically [sic] funded job to promote his own political views." And even BBC News' own Editors' Blog was not spared. "I'm sorry, but from watching and listening to Mr Crick's previous output," wrote disgruntled Bernie, "it is clear that he is as pro-Labour as it is possible to get."
So why is Crick - in the delicate words of yet another blogger, an
"anti-Conservative scum bag" - singled out for far more than his fair share of
opprobrium? Well, according to Dale himself, it is because many of the subjects
of his investigations and books are drawn from the top tiers of the Conservative
party. "He's seen by many Tories as a sort of enemy of the people. That is
the perception. Over the years, he has relentlessly pursued Conservative
politicians. During the last general election, Michael seemed to delight in
following Michael Howard around and causing mischief. I remember an event in
Norwich, where my main role was to keep Michael Crick off Michael Howard's back.
But I don't actually think myself that he has a leftwing agenda. He is simply a
While there must be few sights more disheartening for a dodgy politician -
or as entertaining to viewers - than to see Crick careering towards them
clutching a microphone, such routines will be largely a thing of the past in his
new Newsnight job. As political editor there will be far less on-camera
"theatre" and offbeat commentary, and considerably more general reporting on -
and cool-headed analysis of - the big political story of the day. Crick, the
slightly geeky anti-establishment figure who describes immersing himself in
archive footage as "heaven", will now be expected to play the part of
Westminster insider. And what's more, says Iain Dale, his Tory critics will be
ready to pounce at the first hint of bias. "Michael is a very good story-chaser
and story-creator," he says. "But the role of a political editor is to report
and interpret events. The interpretation is the most difficult part because you
can always lay yourself open to accusations of bias. A lot of people will be
watching with eagle eyes."
Monday, April 02, 2007
Michael Crick: Professional Troublemaker?
There's a very good piece in the Media Guardian today on Michael Crick, the newly appointed political editor of Newsnight. It's ironic given recent events that a lot of it is based around comments made about him on blogs. In the article Crick admits he was wrong to refer the Betsygate issue to the Parliamentary Standards commissioner.
Read the full article by James Silver HERE.
UPDATE: Read a fantastic interview with Martha Kearney HERE. She takes over as main presenter of The World at One today.