Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Newsnight: The Aftermath

So, what did you make of it? If you missed it and want to see it it will be available HERE for the next 24 hours. Sadly they edited out my "Look we're not going to get very far Jeremy, if you ask the same question over and over again. The difference between you and me Jeremy, is that if you get sued the BBC picks up the bill, if I get sued, I pick up the bill."

I also made the point that just as Newsnight transmits what it believes to be true at the time, so bloggers write what they believe to be true. Sometimes Newsnight gets it wrong, sometimes we get it wrong. I then quoted the David Loyn piece on Onyx [correction: it was David Shukman and Oryx] for which the BBC got sued for a lot of money. At the time of transmission they believed it to be true.

If I'm honest with myself I didn't think I performed as well as I can and the edited out bits detracted from the overall impression. I guess that's why I regret not insisting on doing it live.

UPDATE: There were rumours swirling round the BBC while I was there that Prescott was about to resign. Instead I am told he will be appearing on the Today Programme in the morning.
UPDATE: Between 10pm and 11pm this site had 2600 hits - the previous record for an hour was 1200! Today has been the busiest day on the site ever - by a mile.

UPDATE: A correspondent rightly berates me for not mentioning Guido in the interview. The truth is I did, but it was edited out. It was just before the Tory bit at the end. I said that Guido had no association with the Tory Party and I had heard he used to be a member of the SDP. Must check with him on that one!

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

I though Paxo was quite soft on you, maybe because the documents they got through the FOI shows that Presser has been lying again. It was a good point about Charles Kennedy.

Tim Daw said...

You came across very well and dealt with the it is all orchestrated by Tory HQ question excellently - and it was a pity you weren't live. The Labour apologist was pitiful and surprisingly Don Foster actually, for the first time I can remember, made some good points and kept the attack on course. And Paxos disdain at the excuses for Rawhide Prescott was wonderful.
You did well - keep up the pressure, (and let us into a few more secrets!)

Bob Piper said...

Iain, I thought you held your end up quite well against Paxo. I have to say that the sleaze/Texas millionaire story looked like the biggie, and you being stuck on the bedroom sleaze tended to make you seem a bit sleazy though. The difference between being exposed by a serious newspaper and exposed by the News of the Screws... and I'm afraid you came across a bit like a 'screws' journo pleading that his crawling around in the gutter was serious political journalism, the public's right to know etc.

Still overall, unlike most of us, I suppose, you didn't melt under Paxo's glare.... but then, neither does Piers Morgan or Kelvin McKenzie.

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

The fact they didn't have you on live was most striking and most amusing. Its almost that they don't really want to acknowledge blogs exist. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Excellent performance Ian. I hope that you and Gudio keep up the good work.

Blognor Regis said...

Is anybody else as amused as I am that Prescott is likely to come a cropper because of the wretched Millenium Dome? Shame Mandelson won't get caught in the wreckage as well.

Tee hee

torygent said...

you did well. I always think paxo has a funny soft spot when it comes to what he would consider 'privacy' matters

remember when matthew paris outed mandelson?

Anonymous said...

Your criticism of Prezza on Newsnight was a wee bit disingenuous. You noted that he was relentless in his pursuit of sleazy Tories in the 1990s, yet the key difference is that your mob shamelessly preached at people about personal behaviour during the ‘back to basics’ phase while at the same time siring love-children, going with pro’s, and meeting their demise during kinky sex games. Prescott’s attacks on that Tory generation were a piss-taking exercise – they weren’t lectures.

Say what you like about this government – and I know you don’t need an invitation – but Labour has never sermonized on personal sexuality morality, unlike the Tories.

The other thing I’ve noticed about your site of late is how one-eyed it’s become. You used to be quite even handed, but I think Paxo’s jibe about you doing CCHQ’s dirty work has a ring of truth …

Anonymous said...

You did well, and handled Paxman.But please take some advice about the way you dress and are sited on camera, which will make your points come across with the force they deserve.

Keep going !

Anonymous said...

I believe that there has been a meeting at the BBC to declare war on blogs. Hence Robinson's comments and Paxos line about evidence. What evidence does he want, semen stains on the labour MP's skirt. Guido revealed the story and there have been no legal threats. That's because it's true. Prescott is a serial adulterer.

The BBC war on blogs is petty and shows the control freakery going on behind the scenes, that they are secondary carriers of news now and not primary.

Iain Dale said...

Dan, I don't think that's true. You just need to hear his 1996 conference speech. I was interested in your last comment. Would you care to expand? I would agree that I am very one-eyed re Prescott for reasons you already know. I think he's a sleaze bag who shouldn't be in governemnt. But that's nothing new.

Anoneumouse said...

Good game, good game, political points mean prizes.

You failed to mention Guido's site by name

Shame shame shame.

When givin the opportunity you kill,(double dicking) cos believe me, given the opportunity you have now presented, Me in the beebs position will hand back your petard. (dick, dick)

You are only ever half dead, when you are an EU tory.
.

Trevor Ivory said...

Dan

We went on back to basics and were rightly punished when "moral" sleeze was exposed,fair enough.

Do you not think that given Blair's pious pledge that his government would be whiter than white and woudl put an end to all sleeze makes them all fair game likewise? Of course it does.

What is good for the gooose is good for the gander and I hope that blogs (and Robinson et all if they are brave enough) continue to out sleeze in all governments, regardless of party, its called accountability and I quite like it.

Anonymous said...

Did ok Iain,

Paxman and the BBC, clearly have a problem with the democratising effects of the web, us bloggers must be doing something right if the ‘establishment’ media is behaving as such.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Iain,

I thought that Master Paxman had it in for you: you dealt with it well.

DK

Francis Walsingham said...

I thought it was good but, no doubt down to the edits, too brief.

Paxman looked a little foolish asking the same question several times, particularly coming after quite a strong piece bashing Prescott re. casinos and the Dome. The "evidence" question was a red herring given that, as he well knows, this is hardly the sort of matter that would appear in a minute of a departmental meeting, nor is it a matter, alas, that would ever be released under the FOI. It comes, ultimately, from those who know him, and have worked with and for him. None of whom - so far, let's see what this Sunday or next brings - has so far spoken publicly about the two individuals in question.

I thought Paxman's quesiton about whether you were doing the "dirty work" of Central Office was below the belt. For some time the BBC, and frankly the lobby, have been doing the dirty work for John Prescott and many, many other senior members of the government. This is a man a hearbeat away from being the Prime Minister of this country. He has been caught out lying about his meetings with a casino mogul, giving the finger to the public with the ludicrous explanation that he was visiting Colorado for an exchange of views on Wilberforce and the abolitionist movement, donating public funds to charity as some sort of weird attempt to make it look better, and having quite extraordinarily blatant sexual relations with a naive member of his staff behind an open door in his office in one of the grandest government buildings in London. That John Prescott has held elected office for so long is lamentable. That he continues to hold his current position, quite possibly for reasons that are wholly unrelated to the business of public administration but are personal to Tony Blair and his family, is the sort of thing one might expect in Zimbabwe but it ought to be intolerable in this country.

I have made a few FOI requests today. More tomorrow. Anyone can do this. They're useful, if merely to cause officials to cobble together excuses for withholding information.

Pace Paxo, blood is quite rightly in the water.

Anonymous said...

I think Newsnight did screw you a bit. You came across as slightly Heffer like in your appearance. In the future you should take your contacts and consider the no tie option. The main problem was that the tone of your blog which is gossipy and fun was somehow lost. You are not some moralising wing nut, but I suspect that is how the BBC are trying to place you in there general view of the world (hence the Nick Robinson Swift Vets reference in his blog).

I think what you do here is great and I'm glad you have the guts to do it.

Ever Ready said...

I thought you did really well.

It was also a good point about all the open secrets in the 'Westminster Village'.

I think (journalists such as PAxo) they are annoyed because it now ruins their monopoly on the "rumour in Westminster Village line".

Long live your blog!

Anonymous said...

You did well. Paxo looked & sounded stuffy. It was quite right to repeat the point about "elite journalists". Perhaps you should have wound him up by saying "such as you". We have all met, even worked for, serial gropers such as Presser in positions of great power. They deserve every bit of uppance that comes their way. Presser is a bully & we all have stand up to him & his "friends". By the way am I getting too sensitive about cliches such as "friends" & "he/she has my full support". They now seem to be used several times a day. Perhaps I am watching the same boring channels, reading the same papers & now .... the same blogs.

Anonymous said...

I thought it typical BBC to, in effect, claim that the public must only be allowed to hear whatever slimy overpaid jounalists want them to think.

Anonymous said...

Iain, well when I were a lad and first starting to read this blog I was consistently amused and thought “for a Tory he’s actually quite fair”, and isn’t averse to having a go at his own side.

But – and this is only a perception – I’ve noted that since the opinion polls started to look good for your lot, there’s been an over-excited, and, dare I say, priapic, tone to your commentary (and fellow Tory bloggers), swooning over ‘Dave’ in particular. So we’ve had no comment on Cameron’s policy blunders, but a lot of manufactured outrage about Cherie Blair signing the Hutton report.

Tory HQ must love you now, but then I suppose that’s no bad thing for your career – which I still wish well, but only if you can unseat a LibDem somewhere …

Anonymous said...

Not bad, though personally I would have preferred it if you had said that it was in the country's interest for Thump n' Hump to go, not merely in the interests of the Conservative party, it seemed to me that you sounded a little party political on that count. All in all though, a good first innings at the coal-face (or similar mixed metaphor).

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Dan re the one eyed-ness, though it's a curious turn of phrase... This blog and Guido are both excellent and by far the best out there. But you're at your best when attacking everyone, rather than constantly slamming New Labour. You're bloggers - there's no obligation to even pretend not to be biased, or to fact check for that matter. But it's a better read when you do.

Iain Dale said...

Ed, you are 100% right. It was the first thing I kicked myself about when I left the studio. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Anonymous said...

Loved it, it's great that the mainstream media is being held to account by you bloggers in the way that America's MSM has been since Drudge revealed Lewinsky. Keep it up! One gripe, your comment about Prezza going being in the Tory party's interest was wrong, the longer he stays the better for us, but as good patriots we'd still like to see him go.

Anonymous said...

I missed the Newsnight report, but it would be good to see the likes of Paxman debating these issues on your territory for a change. Anyway you and Guido are clearly rattling a few cages, both in the MSM and in the Labour party - please keep it up. By the way, the company was Oryx and the reporter David Shukman, not David Loyn.

Peter from Putney said...

A good all round performance Iain - it came across as being absolutely seamless, which merely demonstrates how selective the Beeb can be as regards what is shown/not shown. An example was Paxo's comment about your candidacy defeat which was both unnecessarily snide and totally irrelevent, but which nevertheless the producer chose to include.
My only disagreement was with your comment that it would be good for the Conservative party if Prezza were forced to resign - I, along with many Tories, fervently believe the opposite to be the case.

Gavin said...

Why do I have a funny feeling that Prescott will survive this latest round?
It ain't over until the fat man sings??

Iain Dale said...

Benny, Jeremy said afterwards he thought it was David Shukman. That'd be why they edited it out then...!

Unity said...

Well that was... bizarre.

Iain:

Must agree with DK and others, you handled Paxo pretty well back there, when it was clear he had it in for you.

All Paxo proved was that the TV lot are no better than the dead trees when it comes to sniping at us bloggers.

The wierd bit for me - apart from the sudden appearance of documents released under FOIA of which there's been no previous mention - was that their main report had all the elements of what looks to be the real backstory to all this, and yet failed miserably to make the point that needed to be made.

You'll find my take on this over at the Ministry which, I would contend, is a damn site more interesting that theirs.

Butterz said...

Well done Iain you did very well. Prezza is a liar and this affair should be released to the public.

Peter from Putney said...

Dan Jackson,above, referred to:

"a lot of manufactured outrage about Cherie Blair signing the Hutton report"

Manufatured outrage? Are you really seriously suggesting that this was acceptable behaviour by the Prime Minister's wife who then doesn't have the common decency to apologise?

Peter from Putney said...

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Quite so Iain - and worth tuppence a bucket when I last checked!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to play Devil's Advocate for a moment and throw into the ring the suggestion that the BBC has a more limited number of options to pursue when engaging with stories like this.

From what I remember of the aftermath of the 'Dodgy Dossier' incident with Andrew Gilligan, the BBC (I read) were supposed to have drawn up guidelines for producers and journalists which would require them to acquire at least two independent sources (or evidence, I presume) before being able to run with a story. This, I think, is the reason why News 24 normally lags behind Sky News with breaking news, as the BBC requires itself to verify it sources more rigorously than other agencies. Clearly, this policy would create problems where stories based on hearsay (however common or old) or on evidence yet to obtained, are gathering pace.

Like I said, this is something I only remember reading about previously. I would be interested to know if this is the case, or if not, what the procedures are. Surely out of all of the Blog's readership there will be a BBC producer or journalist who could enlighten us- understandably using a pseudonym or even anonymously?

Furthering my role as Devil's Advocate tonight (there goes that halo I was wearing...), is it possible to suggest that the BBC is pushing the story up the agenda, if only through indirect means, such as discussing the activities of blogs- blogs that just happen to be carrying comment on stories that the BBC themselves may be unable to carry at the time- whilst still appearing to legitimately question bloggers about their actions?

I await your flames with due anticipation :)

Alfie said...

Paxman - a pussycat....

Now, Andrew Neil - that's what you call a tiger...... grrrrrrrrrr.
Whatever you do - don't make him angry.
(Sorry I missed it, Iain - I was in the pub) :-)

Anonymous said...

Benny,

If you would like to see the programme, it will be available for the next 24 hours or so from:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/default.stm

Clearly, it was rude of me not to give my support to Iain's appearance tonight- good stuff, Iain! Looking forward to a live exchange next time- I'd have LOVED to have seen you take on that smug tosser, Lord Snape! The man's contempt for the truth is unending.

Iain Dale said...

James, I think you make some very telling points there.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

Are you referring to my post about the BBC or Lord Snape? ;)

Anonymous said...

Ian, I don't know if this is the done thing, bad netiquette and all that - I've only discovered all this blogging stuff in the wake of Nick Robinson etc, or if you've already seen it: feel free not to post this if you want; I came across this site http://www.ministryoftruth.org.uk/2006/07/05/following-the-money/ and thought you might be interested in what it has to say.

Jaz said...

Well done Iain!

What's with the BBCs war on blogs?

Maybe because this site, guido, and in some respects conservativehome have revealed some of the most disgraceful sleaze by the Labour government.

I don't think guido, or this site is doing the dirty works, quite the opposite, it labour doing the dirty work and good people exposing it.

Unknown said...

I tended to judge it on the impact of the whole item, which was inconclusive. For me the BBC's FOI stuff didn't really nail him and that weakened your segment (and made the raking over minute detail confusing in the political discussion). It probably dictated Paxo's aggressive mien for the interview too.

I'm not even sure Martha's assertion of anomaly was strictly correct either since all Prescott admitted to her was that he said he could not talk about the casino business in detail.

I agree with James that it is interesting that the Beeb is engaging with bloggers on this story - whatever the motive. But the relevance of Gilligan is that they now know they cannot strike without a killer fact - which this story still lacks.

BTW, we had an "Instalanche" at Slugger today, so I'm guessing we may have passed on a few extra readers on to you.

Peter from Putney said...

Iain - I'm surprised you're never on the Ferrari breakfast show - at least there you'd get an unedited hearing.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I wish I could have seen it. Is it on video on the net?

Did you know that Paxman asked Michael Howard that question 14 times not because he's a bold, incisive truth-seeker but because it was the end of the programme and his producer kept saying into his earpiece, "Ask him again." Cutting, sardonic Paxo was taking his orders.

TomTyler: "Why do I have a funny feeling that Prescott will survive this latest round?

"It ain't over until the fat man sings??"

Very good!

My guess: He won't, because whomever has been placating him - not least by giving him his absurd Cabinet portfolio in the first place (now no more) of course, but as still as he retains his obscene position of Deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain [deeply embarrassed shudder] will still offer him anything not to sing.

In a way, I quite like it. Everyone else slunk off with their taxpayer vigorish in their greedy grasp - Mandelson, for one - but Fatty's holding out for more. And will continue to do so.

Gordon Brown, as a side issue, which he now is anyway, is dead in the water but can't sing either.

Anonymous said...

Iain

You will never make a good politician - Deo Gratias. You answered the questions succinctly, without hesitation and without apology or explanation. Paxman did not have the heart for this interview. He was perfunctory. Also he still does not understand the point and ethos of Blog. In circs I thought you were v good.

Anonymous said...

I liked his rather feeble jibe about you being a "failed Parliamentary Candidate." and was screaming at you to remind him about him being a "failed Garrick Club Member."

Technically, of course, you weren't a failed candidate. You were a very successful candidate - just not one that got elected!

Anonymous said...

As an aside, I can't help but feel the Beebs attack on bloggers is a lot more simplistic than others have made out. Blogs are, quite simply, an alternative source of news, as such they are a threat to the beeb and probably fustrating in their editorial freedom too.

Anonymous said...

I thought you did very well, Iain. Your point about Charles Kennedy and the hushing up of his alcohol problem was very well made and made it clear that we don't get all the truth from mainstream media.

Anonymous said...

"Manufactured outrage", eh Dan? Well you'd know all about that wouldn't you? And as for your snide comments about Iain "unseating Lib Dems", well perhaps if you ever manage to unseat the Tories in Preston ward, then you may be in a position to comment.

Paul Evans said...

IIRC, Guido revealed he had been on the executive of the SDP youth wing in the 80s. He seems to have then started hanging around Tory Party conferences confusing Colonels and explaining to blue rincers why E's are good...

Sabretache said...

It was a good performance Iain - especially considering the edits.

The thing that disappointed me most about Paxo's libDem/Lab duo grilling was his total failure to focus on - or even mention - why Prescott would be invited to Anschutz's private home to stay in the first place. It is clear to anyone with half a brain that it was because he has an agenda which might benefit from such hospitality. It's a measure of Prescott's arrogance and stupidity that he accepted. The inconsistent waffling about Wilberforce, donation to charity, belated interests register entry etc only compounds the mans total blustering incompetence. And all that quite apart from being a serial groper and adulterer. The DPM of the UK eh? - Ah well they say an electorate gets the government it deserves.

As for DJ's' reference to the Cherie/Hutton Report incident; what a telling illustration of just how blind NuLab apologists can be. That was no different to autographing a Coroners inquest report (since that remains exactly its present legal status). That it was clearly an occasion for rejoicing in NuLab ranks with signed copies auctioned in the razzamatazz of a party fund-raising event, tells me all I need to know about them.

John Coles said...

I thought that you came over well and argued the "rights" of bloggers effectively. Paxman appeared peeved and that just about sums up the attitude of the established press and the BBC: they are irritated that you (and others) are first with news and trenchant in your comments. Well, f*** 'em, their day has slipped away and now we get to know what's going on without news being filtered by establishment lackies.
Well done you, sir.

Ellee Seymour said...

I didn't like that point about you being a failed parliamentary candidate, it's like saying "hey, who are you anyway?" A real put down.

I thought you did seem a little defensive, but hardly surprising with Paxo's aggessive style of firing questions and wanting to control your responses, which you refused to do.

Well done for squaring up to him. Don't let it put you off appearing on Newsnight again (preferably live). Our blogs are our voices, our freedeom of expression, nobody can take that away from us, it is a very powerful took, as we know, and others fear. It used to be the Sunday tabloids that politicans once feared, now it is blogs.

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

Yes, a formitable performance Iain well done. I blogged it and I hope a lot of other bloggers cover your appearance. Paxo's questions were as daft as your responses were good. It was pretty obvious it was heaviy edited. Shame on them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Iain,
We too would normally prefer to have you on live, but given the sensitive subject matter our lawyers preferred a pre-record. As it turned out you didn't defame Mr Prescott or any of his alleged associates, but perhaps we saved you a call from David Loyn's lawyers.

Peter Barron
Editor, Newsnight

Anonymous said...

Seem to remember that Newsnight, Barron and Paxman have a bad record for heavily editing interviews and stitching people up.

They did it to Howard last year and the Tories complaint was upheld.

Guess that's why Gordon Brown gives the same answer again and again and again to stop programmes like Newsnight distorting interviews to suit their own agenda.

Iain Dale said...

Can I just make clear that I have no complaints about the Newsnight interview at all. I do not agree that Jeremy Paxman bullied. I did not feel that at all. Repeating a question several times does not equate to bullying. I would have preferred some of the edited pieces to have stayed in, but by doing a pre-record I knew that it would be edited. I do not agree with those who are alleging an 'agenda' here. Peter Barron's point is an entirely fair one, and if I had been editing the programme I would have taken exactly the same decision.

Stephen Glenn said...

Well done Iain.

Excellent performance and you put the point for bloggers from all persuasions very well.

And if Prezza can't stand the heat he knows where the kitchen door is.

Anonymous said...

I think you got the "Tory best interests" question wrong, if I may say so. You would have looked less like a CCHQ man and more like a principled political blogger, if you had suggested the following:

The Tories' best interests are served by the thicko Prezza STAYING in his post, shaming the government and reminding all compos mentis voters just what a laughing stock he is.

The COUNTRY'S best interests, however, are best served by the immediate sacking of this buffoon and the closure of his costly and unnecessary department. If there must be a DPM, why not give the title to AN Other senior cabinet minister, who runs his own (necessary) department of state, and covers for the PM only during holiday weeks?

But hats off to you anyway. Keep up the excellent blog.

Iain Dale said...

OG, I agree with you. I said this in an earlier comment myself. But it's easy to say afterwards!

Anonymous said...

Iain,I also thought you did well.I thought Paxman did not sneer at you in the way that he normally does with his poltical 'guests',do you think he has some sympathy with your argument?

The Daily Pundit said...

"Peter Barron's point is an entirely fair one, and if I had been editing the programme...."

So you want to be a TV editor as well! Taking over the world are we Mr Dale? I would have thought a hundred million hits a month was enough for anyone. Leave some for the rest of us for goodness sake.

Anonymous said...

So Guido followed Dr Death to the Tory PArty..

interesting.

Anonymous said...

Iain,

Paul Mason has his on take on things here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulmason/2006/07/prezza_the_bloggers_and_paxman.html

Am I the only one that finds it interesting he provides direct links to the... ahem, allegations? I seem too remember Guido ranting about how journalists' blogs wern't "proper" because they didn't link. A shift in BBC policy perhaps? (Or am I making mountains out of molehills?)