Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sky Trumps BBC Election Coverage (Again)

Last night's American election coverage was truly compelling, unless you happened only to have access to the BBC. I had decided to watch the BBC's coverage because I thought they would probably have the widest range of correspondents, the best studio guests and the best interpretation. Sadly, I could hardly have been more wrong.

Despite more than 175 BBC staff being in the USA and spending God knows how much money, they managed once again to produce a programme which was flat, banal and superficial. No one really seemed to have a properly defined role and the choice of studio and interview guests led at times to car crash TV.

Lorna Kuennsberg talked to two of the most boring and insightless bloggers in America while Jon Sopel spent the evening in a Community Hall in Virginia talking to people who generally had nothing to say. By the end of the evening you could almost hear him pleading for a silver revolver.

I am sorry to say it, because I think he has been a great broadcaster of election night programmes, but this should be David Dimbleby's last. During his studio discussions I kept thinking how much better they would have been if they had been hosted by Andrew Neill. And where exactly was Andrew Neill? He is an acknowledged expert on US politics and should have been deployed as one of the main anchors.

I'm not even going to enter the lion's den of bias, but there were several occasions when Obama enthusiasm got the better of one of two reporters. The look on Dimbleby's face when John Boulton said a reporter in Colorado should have been fired was a picture.


At various times during the evening, when I could stand it no longer, I switched over to Sky, and even ITV. Both kept things simpler and therefore informed and educated us far more than the BBC did. Sky's team of Jeremy Thompson, Adam Boulton, Anna Botting, Andrew Wilson and Martin Stanford were all superb. Their analysis and interviews were spot on and Stanford's graphics were far more informative than Jeremy Vine's on the BBC. Sometimes simplicity is best.

It's never easy to get election programmes right and I don't envy those who are responsible for their production. But with the resources and money the BBC threw at this, I must admit I was disappointed by the end result.



UPDATE: Here is the Gore Vidal moment...

76 comments:

Travis Bickle said...

Schama was on Radio4 Today this morning, even the BBC presenter had to admonish him for stating that the other interviewee, who had changed his support from McCain to Obama had come over from the dark side

Matthew Cain said...

I thought Sky provided the best UK coverage but - despite hating their editorial line - thought Fox News provided the best information.

That's because they provided the data (no of votes counted, running totals, state by state) rather han just announcing declarations.

GM said...

Have to say that, while I didn;t watch the whole night's coverage, what I did watch confirms your view. BBC was definitely flat and uninteresting while Sky conveyed a much more dynamic sense of events, and used reporters more effectively, rather than bland studio guests. And Dimbleby seemed bemused by to much of what was going on - often a bit slow on the uptake as well, as if he was recovering from jetlag!

John Gibson said...

Dimbleby was a bore, Vine's touchscreen was messy and confusing. I turned off and went to bed to listen to Radio 5. The coverage from John Pienaar and Richard Bacon was very good indeed.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised anyone bothered to watch the British coverage. For the real drama, insight and passion you had to turn - via Sky Digital - to Fox, MSNBC and CNN. All brlliant in their own way. But I found myself relying most of all on Real Clear Politics and The Politico. The web won.....

Anonymous said...

The BBC is an absolute disgrace. They have 50 full time staff based in the USA anyway, why couldn't they cover the elections.

Sky did it with 40 personnel and IV 20.

Yesterday morning Turnbull had to admit that his live broacast from outside the White House was actually from a remote TV studio with a photo placed behind him. As the White House, green trees and lawns looked splendid in the summer sunshine, even though it was two in the morning local time.

the BBC should go said...

And what about coverage of the bye-election in Scotland? Non-existent, that's what.

But will the Electorate there be up for a change eh?

John in Leeds said...

Good or bad, people will still watch the BBC's coverage. Why? Because it's the BBC.

It's something unique to this country that people choose to watch inferior programming simply because it's free of commercials. That proposition gives them an enormous amount of trust which in a lot of cases is just not deserved.

The number of people they sent out to cover the election is a disgrace. The BBC has still not learnt the value of sharing resources around their networks. This will only be achieved by making them work to more realistic budgets.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you about Neil.

He's a ugly bastard. His bon mots are often irritating.

But his interviews are always well thought out, tough and searching.

kraken said...

It might have been OK if the smug BBC journos could have managed to hide their smirks as the results came in. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.

Anonymous said...

CNN and Fox were significantly better than the UK coverage. Hardly surprising though, would you expect a US network to cover the UK election better than the UK broadcasters?

Some people I know were watching the BBC purely because Dimbleby was so bad and although I didn't see all of the BBC's coverage there were some extremely cringeworthy moments.

Just noticed its on iplayer, might start watching it in full for a laugh later.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiPuqvO6qT8

Here's the best bit

Roger Thornhill said...

Andrew Neil was on the DP at 11:30AM GMT in New York.

p.s.If you ask me Simon Schama on QT appeared, how can I put it, "tired and emotional". Too much of the Green Room.

Anonymous said...

Gore Vidal was shocking. He's got the manners of a deposed dicator and the views of a tinpot tinfoil-wearing wackjob.

The BBC, although not intending to, managed to turn John Bolton in the least annoying part of the evening - he appeared to be the sanest, the least rude, the most fair ... that is no easy feat.

BBC should be disappointed. Newsnight was a shambles, then the election broadcast was awful, they then out-did themselves with BBC Breakfast and that Obamaniac Bill Turnpike.

Peter Mc said...

BBC Radio 5 Live was complete tripe, too. Richard Bacon could not have been more lightweight if someone had stuck a hose up his backside and filled him with helium. Things picked up with Rhod Sharpe, but overall it was dreadful.

Mike Rouse said...

I agree. ITV coverage was simple and nice - no gimmicks, good insight and that classic ITV 'cheap and cheerful' approach that is actually quite homely. No noticeable technical hitches on both Sky and ITV for me. Unlike the BBC.

Sky had the hottest female presenters and guests. BBC's were just old and ugly. Not that I only watch election coverage for political totty, of course!

chris said...

Must agree about David Dimbleby - time to retire him and had the anchoring of BBC election night coverage to Andrew Neil. BBC coverage was dull and lacking in pace and narrative.

I gave up on the BBc coverage and switched to CNN. Unable to get Sky as I give my money to Branson rather than Murdoch (not ideological, just my wife refuses to have a dish on the house). BBC failed to capture the essence of the historical moment unveiling before us.

The Raven said...

The only time the BBC's coverage had any life in it was when Simon Schama came on and started drunkenly feuding with the other guests. It was generally awful. I ended up with Sky for most of the time.

Rex said...

You should have switched to CNN

Andy said...

Agree that the BBC's election programs are generally rubbish. I put it down to excessive keenness to be forever cutting to different stuff to keep it interesting. You don't need to be forever cutting to bloggers, randomers in Virginia, celebrity parties going on somewhere, etc. The BBC seem to think this is the formula for coverage, both for the US and the UK. All it leads to is less time for proper discussion, interviews with genuinely important people, and analysis of the results in a little bit more than state level depth. It's not helped by the fact that their supposed purveyor of analysis is Jeremy Vine, more interested in sticking Nick Clegg's head on a picture of a cowboy or somesuch.

The BBC could learn a lot by just watching Fox, CNN and MSNBC's coverage of last night, and adopting it as more the model for their election night operations.

And yes, Dimbleby ought to cede control of these programmes to someone like Neil.

Anonymous said...

ITV was rather good I thought. As mentioned above, it was simple and straightforward. Alistair Stewart explained the rules from the basics upwards. They'd teamed up with NBC too.

The BBC was quite tedious. What the point was of Jeremy Vine pulling out random districts from the map and rushing through random stats, I've no idea.

I hope they don't replace Dimbleby with Huw Edwards. Past-it replaced with lightweight. Andrew Neil is the one to have for ne next GE.

kev g said...

There is a brittleness or instability about Simon Schama that borders on the disturbing.

Raven, as Salford's pocket Venus comes wittering back into public prominence, would it be rude to ask what happened…?

Theo Christou said...

I'm no fan of the beeb but really, some of the generalisations here are way over the top. I enjoyed Radio 5's well-balanced coverage; Richard Bacon's lighter style was the perfect foil to John Pienaar's analysis.

Ian Thorpe said...

Bring back Bob McKenzie and his swingometer that looked as if it had been rescued from a 1964 Doctor Who set.

Ian Thorpe said...

Sorry I linked back to the wrong post in my previous comment.

I should have posted a link to my Boggart Blog colleague (and real life sister) who spotted a link between British F1 champions and Democrat U.S. Presidential victors.

Oh well, that's two links to funny posts.

Anonymous said...

Can someone ask the Beeb DG how can he justify the cost concerned and can we have it audited.

He might also arrange for John Bolton to be guest over here when we have our election.

Now that might be of real interest

JH

Anonymous said...

I have to say, having seen youtube clips of this today and Ann Coulter laying in to Paxman yesterday (an old video) I do wonder why we don't have any right-wing people, politicians or commentators, who are willing to really be 'loud and proud' about their right-wing beliefs. It'd great fun to watch someone just attack any hint of left-wing bias or thought for a change.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

The training at the BBC must have gone bad. 30 years ago the kind of biased hectoring they do now, masquerading as reporting, would result in a severe carpeting and even dismissal. This is not the first time I have seen Americans take exception to it.

They need to take a leaf out of Katie Couric's training manual. She carefully and quietly handed Palin the ritual suicide sword and to the horror and delight of everyone, (especially Tina Fey) Palin publicly topped herself. Now THAT's the way to do it.

Interesting thing about Andrew Neil. His lack of corporeal presence was palpable. Maybe he has spoken out of turn one too many times, which is a pity because he is the best we have.

richard said...

The beeb just transferred their template from Britain to America forgetting that no-one cared who the guests were and the ones they had were rag tag - drag 'em in guests who happened to be near.

That kinda coverage works in Britain because we know the guests, the arguements, the locations and the history.

A bit of education is fine, obviously, but no Hollywood? Ridiculous. We don't watch Yanky elections as involved participants but as interested punters.

Tony Sharp said...

The problem seemed to be the BBC putting the cart before the horse. It feels like they sent this huge team to the US then asked itself "what do we do with them all?" instead of identifying what needed to be covered and staffing it accordingly.

Despite the huge expense and large staff level, the BBC did not break a single piece of news all night. Five Live admitted much of their information - which was well behind news being released on all other networks - was coming from ABC and they added little value. So what were the 175 staff actually doing apart from soaking up the atmosphere? It certainly was not digging out stories or fresh information.

It would have been cheaper and more honest to have syndicated ABC's feed. There remains too little accountability about how our licence fee money is spent and what value we get for it. It is not an acceptable state of affairs.

Ross said...

The BBC could improve their election night coverage in one fell sqoop by shooting Jeremy Vine.


Did anyone see ITV's coverage? That was dreadful error ridden stuff.

Ben Sherreard said...

Schama was so slimy and without back bone. Gore Vidal was just hilarious!

Anonymous said...

How much money did the BBC spend on their US election coverage? Does anyone know?

The programme last night was appalling, just awful:

• Dimbelby interrupting and cutting off guests
• Dimbelby distracted and havering as he listened to the producer's instructions
• Jeremy Vine's expensive map that he couldn't work
• Repetition of graphics when a state was to declare - only for it not to declare
• BBC celebration party in New York with Labour luvvies
• Blatant and ignorant bias of unknown 'journalists' against the Republicans
• Matt Frie seen walking behind Dimbelby as he scampered to his 'news' section, all badly edited and disjointed.

Quite frankly it was amateurish and a waste of money. Dimbelby was completely useless and he and Vine should be sacked for their inept performances.

Anonymous said...

The whole thing has been banal and repetitive. Endless shots of long queues (not even with any comment about what this says about the competence of the authorities in the USA).

Also almost no information or explanation about the other voting going for the Senate, etc. Also no comment on the totally obscene amount of money being spent.

The whole thing is just a bonanza for media people.

Martin Day said...

The whole BBC is a Labour/Democrat love fest!

Anything to do with the GOP is treated with outrage and hostility. They even reported that one or two p#ssed people boed at Obama when McCain was speaking. So what!

That's what p#ssed up people do! People in the Democratic audiences did the same when Palin was mentioned!

Adrian said...

If John Bolton says that a reporter should be sacked, it's probably a good indication that the reporter isn't bad really. Bolton is an odious individual, who did much to harm the perception of America from abroad.

On the subject of the BBC in general, how about a FoI request to ask the total cost of their US presidential election coverage, and the total cost of their reporting of the British parliament in the last 12 months? No prizes for guessing which would be higher.

Weygand said...

I was tucked up tightly in my bed and so missed the coverage; largely because the inevitable longueurs soon stifle the excitement.

However, anyone who can provoke outrage in John Boulton is always to be admired.

It would be hard to find a more one-eyed bigot anywhere and just like Campbell, we seem to see just as much of him after his supposed resignation as we did before.

So hooray that man!

elf said...

CNN.com was the best. I don't think I'll ever forget seeing the Chicago crowd go wild on the live news feed as they got the news Obama was the new President Elect.

Anonymous said...

IAIN YOU CRETIN - YOU HAVE MISSED THE MARK HERE COMPLETELY BY MAKING AN ELEMENTARY TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR !!

THERE CANNOT POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN 175 [ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FIVE] STAFF IN AMERICA !!

I SUSPECT THE FIGURE YOU MEANT TO PUT IN WAS SEVENTY-FIVE. BY BEING A HUNDRED OR SO OUT YOU HAVE COMPLETELY BLOWN A HOLE IN WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A DECENT ARGUMENT !!

I MEAN, COME ON, PUTTING A 175 TROOPS ON THE GROUND WOULD BE COMPLETELY, TOTALLY AND UTTERLY UNJUSTIFIABLE FOR A PUBLIC SERVICE ORGANISATION AND YOU HAVE SHOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT BIG TIME !!

DOH !!

Anonymous said...

The BBC's campaign to establish a personality cult centred on Obama is so creepy I can't bear to watch or listen to them. We've had non-stop Obama US politics day in day out for months and there seems to be no end to it. This is what it must have been like in Mao's China.

Chris Paul said...

Whassup Iain? You're doing a comparative review on the basis of watching mostly one channel and popping over to another when bored - thereby avoiding any repetition and drag on that one? That's not a particularly good approach. You might even be right. But if you are it's not because of your scientific approach!

Anyways, I'm really pleased to see Lib Dem hero Sir Cyril Smith MBE taken to task by Kevin Maguire. Next thing you know there'll be an EDM demanding his knighthood is stripped off him.

Anonymous said...

What a contrast England has to Obama, we are stuck with a Communist Scottish Dinosaur with no mandate to govern in England!

Oche Aye We can!

http://img2.abload.de/img/obroonie3x6i.jpg

Tendryakov said...

I'm astonished that human beings would bother to waste an evening watching all that bollocks, especially after having it stuffed down your throat every day for weeks. Haven't you lot got anything more interestng to do?

Chris Paul said...

PS On the Richard Bacon comments. Five Live did OK I thought. Bacon was up for an extraordinary amount of time in the last 24 hours. Bound to flag. But good with and for ordinary joes in bars and crowds. For a former kids TV entertainer he has IMO crossed pretty well to light radio. Good at remembering it's radio and describing the scenes. A completely different audience though. As others say watching a US channel or channels made a lot of sense and although the BBC "pre-roll" has been excellent the numbers don't necessarily help on the day.

Newsnight 8pm special is recommended. Hopefully we'll get Hazel tearing off Guido's nuts in the normal slot.

NickL said...

In all recent elections, including the UK, Sky coverage has beaten the BBC hands down. How long can the BBC continue to claim its public service privileges if it cannot even deliver the news adequately? Btw I listened in vain for any detail of the US election results on the Today programme this morning - they were too busy providing commentary, even in the news bulletins.

The Raven said...

Kev G, with by blog or something else? I decided to broaden; plenty of Hazel coverage still though :)

scallywag said...

Notwithstanding the huge pleasure I take in this election now being very much in the past for both the BBC and Sky, I suspect that the BBC will be as pleased as I am that their embarrassing efforts to cover the story are over, bar the inevitable inquest. It was rubbish. They would have done better to take a direct feed from one of the US networks and save all that license payer's money.

mister ed said...

fantastic coverage from Channel4 showing the reaction from a black college in Wash DC

even i'm in tears at it.. and i'm not at all emotional about politics normally.

whatever your politics -America has made history.

matthew braz said...

Evening Standard:
"Brown leads tributes to Obama"
How so? Who is he leading exactly? An earlier version said "Brown leads the world in tributes to Obama", so at least this is a step back but still just a regurgitation of a No 10 press release. Why do the MSM bother to pay journalists? WV forklias

Anonymous said...

Time to get real here. Obama is NOT an Afro American. His dad was a Kenyan student who shagged a middle class white American woman. They did the "right thing" and married but eventually his dad ran off leaving his mum's family to bring him up.

No way is Obama an Afro American. He is the product of middle class students doing what students do the world over.

Mr Obama does not look like a black negro, he looks like European blood stock with a tanned skin.

Anonymous said...

I wish the BBC had put a fraction of the money spent on 'reporting' the US elections into telling the British people about the stealthy and undemocratic power of the EU.

Doug said...

John Bolton a tool. Period. As Krugman writes today goodbye to the monsters.

Doug said...

MSNBC and especially Chuck Todd were the best I thought.

Martin said...

I liked the Sky 'White House' all week and their live web coverage. I wish they'd take a leaf out of the Fox News corp though. Fox have their own application you can stick on your desktop that has live video coverage of various things. IT even does pop up alerts for breaking news with live video. I really enjoy the strategy room live web feed where guests just come in and out. I loved the bit last night where some guy had an anti Fox News slogan in the crowd outside their live broadcast and after the cameras caught it, not only did a reporter go and talk to the guy they even got him in to their live strategy room. He was actually quite a good guest as it turned out. That's what I like about Fox, they do the unusual. The BBC are just awful. Their coverage is dumbed down and they are more interested in getting on left wing guests to push their agenda and it seems ot me that the BBC presenters think 'they are the stars' Did anyone see the Newsnight Special just now. There was some halfwit on called 'Dozy Rascal' or something. Why would I even be remotely interested in what an uneducated halfwit thinks BBC?

Sky need to pick up on this live web based thing though. Iain Dale, you're the man here, you do stuff for Sky. Ask them if they've got something like the Fox application planned for our election.

Mat said...

Does anyone have the link to a video of the interview that pissed off bolton in the first place?!

David Anthony said...

Surely time for Dimble-bore to retire now.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree that the BBC's coverage was lame - why anyone would watch it if they have access to US networks - who actually cover the down ballot races - is beyond me. Schama was an embarassment; lurching around obviously drunk - and I liked his American Future series. The bias was evident throughout with one reporter inviting an Obama supporter (a staggeringly inarticulate women) to share her hopes and dreams whereas a McCain voter was practically told he was an idiot for voting Republican when his business was in the doldrums. John Bolton gave them what for!

northbritain said...

I'm not a fan of the BBC or its American election spending but...

I thought that Boulton's comments about the BBC journalist were outrageous.

All he suggested to the interviewee was that previously the Republicians had lost Colorado once out of ten elections. The Republician interviewee tried to spin it, suggesting the senate vote etc. and the journalist asked him again about the Colorado election record.

For Boulton to want to fire the journalist shows that American journalists give their politicians a much easier time.

I'd love to see the U.S. politicians deal with Paxman.

The lot of them couldn't handle George Galloway! Even the callers of TalkSport can manage that.

Gore Vidal's interview was also hilarious too. His 'I don't know who you are' to Dimbleby was another highlight of the night.

Tom Griffin said...

I couldn't stand BBC, didn't have the option of Sky so was watching ITV for most of it. The no-frills approach they took with a couple of guest providing a broad insight into the issues at hand worked well.

BBC was at some points just downright boring and I don't know if they deliberately avoided the sensationalism but if there was ever a time where you could allow a news broadcaster to get a little bit carried away with themselves it would be now, ITV did well at conveying the scale of events unfolding in Grant Park and across the USA and in a way made you feel a part of what was going on. One part of ITV's programming that particularly stuck in my mind was their interview with Martin Luther King's daughter.

BBC on the other hand appeared slow and sluggish with Dimbleby providing little insight and at other points just coming off sounding downright rude to his guests, very boring.

chrome diplomat said...

While your probably right that the BBC coverage wasn't brilliant (I used CNN for the large part), using Bolton in your argument is just incredible- this is one of the most ill informed, constitutionally inaccurate, vile little people walking the planet today.

Of course most people here would say Fox provided the best coverage- if they are firmly and clearly a right-wing machine.

It really annoys me all this talk of left wing bias in the media- unfortunately the facts sometimes also have a left wing bias. In the case of Obama, his candidacy had brought real hope, people do hate the Republicans atm, McCain did run an appealing campaign, Bolton and his ilk have destroyed or disregarded the founding documents of the USA, and a lot of the stories reported by Fox et al about Obama (secret Muslim, socialist, terrorist etc) are at best wrong and at worst lies.

There is no real bias at the BBC- tbh half the time they go out of their way to give equal coverage to both sides even when it is very clear one side is totally wrong.

rupahuq said...

Hi Iain, Bit of an advertorial this post isn't it? are you anglingling for more appearances on Murdoch's machine?

Anonymous said...

The only interesting thing about the whole of the Obama fest is how much did it cost the BBC and how many viewers did it attract?The Glenrothes election today which is more interesting from a British perspective barely rated a mention on the radio this morning could it be because our glorious leader may lose it?

Bryan Dunleavy said...

Agreed. It's another car crash.Last week's furore about Woss and Brand showed just how out of touch BBC insiders were - seeing their mission to provide "bread and circuses" TV for the masses, and why should anybody be offended with that.
Their inability post-Hutton to provide barely competent news and analysis programming is more serious. If a publicly-funded broadcaster cannot provide competently (and balanced) news and information programmes, then what is it for??
I have never agreed with John Bolton on any statement or analyis he has made but in this instance he was spot on. Gore Vidal was probably making mischief because he knew (possibly from his briefing with the reasearcher) that he was dealing with a bunch of amateurs.
What an embarrassment for British broadcasting!

Anonymous said...

Because of work, I missed all television coverage of the election but got, instead, to listen to the radio coverage. So it is with great big thank you's I send to you Iain for the clips of the masterly John Boulton and the avatar of Mark Twain - Gore Vidal.
Oh...both clips stimulate something in me that i just cannot seem to get hardly anywhere else. Wonderful, wonderful.

africanmum said...

Not just on the night but the entire election coverage by BBC was Banal. Can someone remind BBC that there are 2 main parties in America? They only ever call Democrats to comment. On election night they deliberately chose Bolton to appeal to the prejudices of the anti-war brigade. And on radio they played Tina Fey impressions as if they were broadcasts of Sarah Palin speaking. I wonder how many people got confused by this. Comments on Palin by Justin Webb, et al. bordered on libel. OK we've made history, now it'll be interesting to see how Americans handle their own Nu-Lab era.

Doug Oliver said...

Having been in NY for the past 2 months I can say that the news coverage and quality is far inferior to the BBC and SKY.

However, election night coverage is an exception. I remember finding their coverage of the mid terms in 2006 turgid in the extreme.
I watched MSNBC from New York and it was very good, providing in depth results analysis, breaking states down in detail, analysing county results and looking at how the different vote shares were pointing early on. The BBC could learn a lot - including for its coverage of British election nights.

It should also get rid of David Dimbleby.

dmk said...

BBC was v poor, ITV slightly better, but let down by having a comedian as their main pundit for most of the night (John Culshaw). The live feed on this blog was much better viewing than terrestrial TV.

Anonymous said...

Agree with those here who say that the BBC coverage was rubbish. I'm beginning to wonder if there's an Act of Parliament that says any BBC election programme has to feature an outside broadcast from a wine bar.

And, yes, David Dimbleby should go, when his acid pomposity grows ever more wearisome. I'd replace DD with Edward Stourton or Matt Frei (or poach either Sarah Smith or Krishnan Guru-Murthy from Channel 4).

As for the Sky News coverage, Jeremy Thompson's urbane and avuncular style reminds me of Walter Cronkite.

As for Fox News being better for stats, I agree.

ITV1? Julie Etchingham did well, and should replace Jonathan Dimbleby as ITV1's GE anchor.

But I'll watching the next GE on Sky News. Jeremy Vine is just a psephological Alan Partridge.

'Dozy Rascal' - LOL, a real Freudian slip.

El Sid said...

I couldn't agree more - the BBC coverage was just too "crowded". You would have learnt much more by having 30% of the guests and half the OB's. As it was, people only had time to say "Hello, my name's Joe Bloggs..." and then Dimbleby had to cross to someone else. More was definitely less - there wasn't time for any proper analysis and Vine's touchscreen was a very inefficient way of communicating the stats.

As someone who only has terrestrial, I flicked across occasionally to ITV. So I caught a bit of Culshaw - fine, you know what you're getting and a bit of light relief was welcome to be honest, and they also seemed to break what Fox was saying much more quickly than the BBC.

Missed the R5 coverage on the night, but Iain you might want to look up last night (ie Thursday's) Up All Night, the second hour had the wonderful Rhod Sharp doing what he does best, showing off his World Service background and his understated but effective interview style. Had commentary from around the world - India, Colombia etc; I just hope that the vibes from India are right, that Obama's proctectionism is only for electoral show and that he isn't serious about it.

Well worth a listen.

bmr747 said...

Decided not to watch the Obama obsessed BBC or CNN, and watched Fox News coverage. Fox News was the best, they had two great experts in Fred Barnes and most importantly Bill Kristol and it was a good night. Just a shame about the ending with an Obama win. Just a note on John Bolton what a man, and he was by far the most inteligent person out of all the guests. 8 great years off President Bush who has kept us safe for the last 7. Now we start the nightmare.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Andrew Neil spoils almost anything he touches with it becomingi all about him, not the issues.

ben77 said...

I don't have Sky, and thus watched five minutes of the BBC's coverage and was put off rather quickly by DDs rather stuffy 'I know best' approach. Switched over to ITV and found Alistair Stewart and his team of journalists completely absorbing. This should be the model of ITV's coverage at the next UK election; no gimmicks and compelling commentary - on the downside, there were some notable mistakes when for about 30mins McCain was credited with a lead (presumably one of the staffers thought red was Obama and visa versa)

mirtha tidville said...

Yes a bit flat, but ITV was a complete waste of money....rubbish..Sadly didnt have access to Sky that night...

Still looking on the bright side the election of Obama surely means we have seen the last of that complete rabid asshole John Boulton.....If not why not??

Liveitloveit said...

Not sure I agree with much on here. Most right wing people hate the BBC so want to kick it anyway.

The truth was there was little difference between this election and previous BBC efforts eg 1997 - they go for the narrative and the personalities. They do a poor job with the stats - but this is a uk election.

Certainly were some car crash moments - both Bolton, Vidal and Dimbelbys rant about how crap US elections are compared to the UK
Sky and ITV seemed pedestrian to me- the place to be was CNN and CNBC (If the idiots did not encrypt Fox fascist news it would have been great to watch them squirm)

But as it came to 4am and 'calling' the next US president ....it had to be the BBC

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Anonymous said...

I agree that Dimbleby has had his day. For the next general election, Jeremy Paxman should take over as anchor,Kirsty Wark should become interegator in chief and Fiona Bruce should replae the woeful Vine