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The Book

Out now at Amazon | Waterstones

Middle Class Handbook on Twitter
Chattering Class

Prince Harry

Even republicans approve, surely?

Microwaving tea

Recommended by scientists, apparently. Disgusting

No televised election debates

Disappointing; we were rather looking forward to May vs The Sturge

Broadchurch

Olivia Coleman = nailed-on Future National Treasure

Spring Bank holidays

Too close together! Very bad!

Bin-mageddon

“I queued for THREE BLOODY HOURS at B&Q for a new recycling bin! The entire town’s in CHAOS”

S-Town

To be listened to whole on a long journey for maximum effect

Using a proper paper map

Strangely satisfying

The “Flash” Flash ad

It’s back! Possibly the best ever singing dog in an advert ever

Crap tacos

Reheated, with too much chilli: middle-class kebabs, basically

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    Main | SPAM Friday - How did Black Friday ever become a thing in the first place? »
    Saturday
    Mar242018

    That’s Channel 4 News: how Snow & co triumphed over Newsnight

    One secondary casualty of this week’s Cambridge Analytica story has been the reputation of the BBC’s once-mighty Newsnight. On the evening Channel 4 News aired the first instalment of its hidden-camera scoop, Newsnight carried a recorded interview with Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix. As many noted on social media, interviewer Emily Maitliss politely allowed Nix to robustly defend all the crimes that he had been seen boasting about three hours earlier. It was a disaster for the Beeb’s flagship news show and, by extension, for the BBC itself.

    The usual questions about BBC budgets and charters will doubtless be raised in due time, but the bigger point here is Channel 4 News’ ascendency. Former Newsnight anchor James O’Brien recently quit the show because, he said, the venerable ideals of objective reporting, balance and right to reply didn’t work in a time when we know that we're being manipulated and misled on serious issues by media-trained hucksters. 

    The Channel 4 team, led by Jon Snow, Krishnan Guru Murthy and Cathy Newman, has however shifted to meet that change. Tactically they use key moments from the show across all media to drive audiences to the TV show, and  the rather elegant website. Tonally, the presenters are openly sceptical and challenging without resorting to showy Paxman-like rudeness; the slightly-weary-yet-personable-eyerolling-weariness of Snow, Guru-Murty and Newman captures our feelings about politicians better than any other presenters or journalists at the moment.

    The lesson is simple. Old-fashioned objectivity and balance have become a bit outdated, somehow; far better, in 2018, to have a point of view, and be honest about it. 

    And of, course, wear excellent ties.