Sunday, December 21, 2008

Is Jim Naughtie Next for the Chop?

An intriguing little snippet from Rod Liddle's article in the Sunday Times News Review on the sacking of Ed Stourton...
There was discussion, one executive let slip to me, not simply about Stourton but about the future of Naughtie, the main Today presenter, too - although what that future entailed one cannot be sure.
One doesn't have to read too far between the lines to see the hint that Liddle is dropping. Unlike many readers of this blog, I quite like Naughtie's interviewing style, although I concede that some of his questions need to be shorter. A programme like TODAY does not react well to volcanic change. Humphrys will not go on for ever and it would be a disaster for the programme to lose or drop both its main presenters within a very short time. The arrival of Evan Davis has seen a shift in power away from the top two, and this trend is likely to continue. But to drop Naughtie in the immediate future would be a mistake.

Liddle finishes off with a very telling observation on Ed Stourton's future.
As it happens, in ballsing the whole thing up, the BBC has done Stourton an enormous favour. He now has considerable leverage in his discussions with the executives, acquired through the way in which he was told of his sacking. They want him to shut up and be nice right now, what with the Daily Mail and some of the Today audience on their backs. And I suspect that he will shut up and be nice if they are nice to him.

I reckon that being nice will involve Stourton presenting the Today programme from time to time and some fairly high-profile work elsewhere within the corporation; in other words, not really sacked as you and I may understand the term.

Hell, it’s an all win situation, bruised though Stourton is feeling right now.

I think he's right. The BBC has had yet another PR disaster on its hands and won't want it to continue. Ed Stourton is in a very powerful position right now to assess what he would like to do over the next few years within the BBC and I'd be astonished if he didn't get a 'yes' from the powers that be that just want this situation to go away.


Faceless Bureaucrat said...

"Unlike many readers of this blog, I quite like Naughtie's interviewing style, although I concede that some of his questions need to be shorter."

Shorter? Surely you mean 'less biased' - the man is a raving NuLab sycophant and is incapable of conducting a balanced and unbiased interview with a Conservative Shadow Front Bencher without almost audibly muttering 'I hate Tories' under his breath.

Sorry Iain, I'm afraid you are wrong on this one - come the day, losing Humphrys will indeed leave a big hole in the Today Programme. But if Naughtie is shown the door, then I'm sure Evan Davis (and Ed Stourton?) would fill the gap admirably and in a far less biased way...


Domesday said...

Jim Naughtie is a card-carrying member of the Labour party (or has he resigned by now in theory to demonstrate impartiality?) and it shows in his interviewing. Try reading his old newspaper articles: they show his true colours. The sooner overtly politically-biased interviewers are removed from the BBC the better (whether right or left). BBC journalists should be like civil servants are meant to be: impossible to establish their political persuasion.

Not a sheep said...

Recruiting a non-Labour supporting "journalist"/presenter might be a good start.

Unknown said...

James Naughtie's bias oozes out of every pore. Compare his 'So Prime Mnister what message have you got for the nation today' with the way he treats anyone from the American right he interviews. I heard him interview a US military man last year and 'sneering' didn't begin to describe it.

He would be no loss whatsoever.

I can't say I get very enthused by Evan Davis (sp?) either. I was listening to him running through the newspaper headlines the other day and he was reading from a script. I mean I don't expect the Gettysburg Address but I think it should be not beyond a very expensive journalist to, you know, extemporise.

DespairingLiberal said...

This whole saga can't help but make us wonder, yet again, what on earth the BBC pays all those overpaid senior managers for exactly? Not to mention zillions of management and personnel consultants. Paying senior people in excess of £200K is apparently the norm in dear old Auntie. Yet they don't even know (apparently) the basic processes of dismissal. Stourton has a brilliant unfair dismissal case and I hope he milks it for all it's worth, but the real ongoing losers here are the license payers who are being systematically conned by the cosy Oxbridge mafia in charge of the BBC who convince us that they are worth all that money. And get to sit on their lazy backsides all day. At least judging from the level of attention they give to actually managing.

Evan Davies is a loathsome little creep and a great example of who not to have reading things on the radio. He gets confused. He is soppy. He is slipshod at interviewing and evasive when attempting to confront. He is nicey nicey when he should be harsh and harsh when he is just plain wrong.

John Humphreys and Ed Stourton are worth ten of him.

BJ said...

I was listening to him running through the newspaper headlines the other day and he was reading from a script.

That's because he was! The Today programme employs a producer to sit up all night, read the newspapers, and write two scripted newspaper reviews, each about three mintues long.

Naughtie, of course, should have got the chop instead of Stourters. I think people mistake him, though: he's not biased, just shit.

Adam Penny said...

I think that presenters in both television and radio are being chosen as Jeremy Paxman clones. When this aggressive, 'Rottweiler' approach was a new thing it proved very effective for getting information out of politicians, but I think this unremittingly adversarial style has caused our politicians to evolve into a new breed that refrains from providing intelligible answers at all costs thus making rational debate impossible to the detriment of democracy as a whole.

MikeyP said...

A necktie party for Nocktie (he cannot even pronounce his name properly) seems like a good idea to me!

strapworld said...

I hope so! He, above most, have made the BBC the politically biased organisation they are.

His questions, by the end of one you have given up on the will to live!

He is a legend in his own mind.

Humphries is a different kettle of fish. Yesterday, with the remembrance of Lockerbie, I recalled his broadcasts from Lockerbie the morning after. They were, quite simply, moving, sympathetic but high in description and atmosphere. Simply brilliant.

Naughtie could be used as Chairman on University Challenge as Paxman has gone past his sell by date.

Paul Linford said...

Could Stourton be given Question Time, perhaps? There seems to be a broad consensus that Dimblebore is past his sell-by-date.