tv The Media Show BBC News March 13, 2021 4:30pm-5:01pm GMT
the fine start tomorrow is not going to last. some sunny spells initially, but a weather system brings rain into northern ireland, southern and western scotland, then into wales and the midlands. the dryest weather will be in north—east scotland. eventually the rain will work its way to the east and south—east of england late afternoon. not quite as windy as it is today. temperatures may be a degree or so higher. calmer, drierweather on the way next week. hello, this is bbc news with rebecca jones. the headlines: a serving metropolitan police officer has appeared before magistrates. 48—year—old wayne couzens is charged with the kidnap and murder of sarah everard. an event to remember sarah in south london has been cancelled, and replaced with a doorstep vigil. new coronavirus restrictions
in italy to stop the number of new cases — schools, shops and restaurants will close from monday. at least eight people have been shot dead by the security forces in myanmar, as protests continue across the country against last month's military coup. more headlines at 5pm. now on bbc news, the duke and duchess of sussex's interview with oprah winfrey delivered record ratings for itv. but it's also resulted in the network's star journalist, piers morgan, resigning after he refused to apologise for his criticism of the couple on good morning britain. what does morgan's departure say about the future of highly opinionated journalism in british media? that's all coming up now on the media show. hello, it's the oprah, meghan, and harry show!
not really, this is the media show. rest assured. but if you're bored of that spectacle, i'm afraid to tell you that the aftershocks are very real and relevant to us. as we always say, the media is the story. itv�*s share price fell by around 5%, reuters has quoted city traders who say that the fall could be partly attributed to the resignation of itv�*s star journalist, piers morgan. morgan was bringing in record ratings for good morning britain, of course, but he quit on tuesday after refusing to apologise for his on—air criticism of the royal couple. so, whilst the oprah interview represents a historic moment for buckingham palace, is it also a massive deal for british media? perhaps so. does piers morgan's departure show that his brand of highly opinionated journalism is incompatible with an ofcom—regulated tv channel? and will he resurface on one of the new news channels that's coming to the uk which has promised
to capitalise on that exact style of noisy journalism? let me introduce you to our guests. jane martinson is a professor ofjournalism at city university, and was the guardian's media editor. jane, just a moment ago when we were on the zoom call, you were on a phone call which terrified me slightly. who were you talking to and did it have to do with journalism? it was, i was actually talking to the guardian opinion desk, which i had written a piece about the aforementioned piers morgan and his departure from gmb. just give us a quick take. the top line was that it's, you know, outrage sells, and the row over freedom of expression overnight shows that what it is about impartiality, and piers has made himself the story, and it's amazing how many times it has all become about piers morgan. but it sort of says that at this particular time,
when we've got these two new entrants — i know we'll hear from one of them later in the programme — this is a really important time for the british media scene to think about what public service broadcasting means, and impartiality, and how we will protect that and whether we want to. absolutely, absolutely. that's a marvellous answer, you set up the show, i could go home at this point. thank you, wonderful. benjamin cohen is the chief executive of pink news. benjamin, what are you writing about today? i'm not writing about anything today. there's been lots of stories — in fact, on our snapchat, one of our nine channels, we're doing a story about the transformation of a trans guy who's been going through a weight loss regime, because we have a show on there called workout, which is about the increase in fitness programmes. but me personally, i'm having a bit of a weird time. i'm actually midway through a multiple sclerosis relapse, so i'm not actually able
to write anything. it's funny you ask if i'm writing cos i can't use my right hand, i can't lift a pen, i can't type properly. so i'm in a bit of a strange few weeks. i'm really sorry to hear that, but i should say that despite that relapse and that medical challenge, you're overseeing pink news which has, despite your own medical difficulties, seen huge growth in the last year, hasn't it? yeah, it's really weird. when the pandemic started about a year ago, i really wasn't sure what the future would be. i was worried i would have to let people go. we actually doubled our team during the last year with i think tripling our revenue, somewhere around that, we've massively grown our profitability. because actually, in all this really strange environment where... it's a very toxic environment, which i'm sure we'll talk about, but actually readers and particularly young people are going towards media which has a purpose, which has a mission. and pink news has that across all the different brands.
it's interesting, there is a financial argument for that editorial vigion. we'll get onto that, it's good to have you with us, ben. thanks forjoining us, especially in such difficult circumstances. scott bryan is a tv critic and broadcaster. scott, how did oprah — you watch a lot of tv and interviews — how did oprah manage to dominate news for two weeks with this interview? i mean, it is such an unconventional way of how interviews _ are done these days. with the rise of streaming giants - and there being so much competition, it always comes down to, - as a strategy, right, how do we get it onto so many different - platforms at the same time? with oprah, what happened was, i with the exception of two clips that were 90 seconds, revealed in advance last week, there was _ absolutely nothing said i about what the interview was going to contain. it was also surprising that it was on a broadcast tv channel. - they've managed to get the ratings in the us triple the amount - of people who watched the emmys or the golden globes. _ or the golden globes. and i think people are quite . surprised, thinking, this is not
what we expected, a two—hour interview with many adverts i on a broadcast channel. but i think part of that is. downed oprah's approach — but i think part of that is- downed oprah's approach — down to oprah's approach — she's always known exactly what audiences want. - she has many deals, she could have done this with apple tv+, _ harry and meghan also have deals with netflix, but they decided - that the way to generate a lot of| interest is with a news interview. and if you look at all the viewing i figures throughout the pandemic, they've all come massively when it comes to news, but also _ in other stories as well, and this isjust one - example of that. so fascinating, the power of long—form and the enduring power of terrestrial channels. we'll come back to that, thanks you, scott. already lots of speculation as to where piers morgan will be going next. and in the frame is something called gb news. that's the news channel launching later this year which counts discovery amongst its backers. people in the media getting very excited and agitated about it, there's been some talk about whether or not it might be a uk version of fox news. on monday, i sat down with the chairman of gb news,
also its star signing, andrew neil. i should point out this was recorded before we'd seen the royal interview, and an eternity before piers morgan quit itv. in modern news terms, anyway. let me play you a big chunk of that, because i asked andrew neil what the business case for gb news actually is. i think it's always a good time. as journalists, we should always welcome new news channels and new jobs for journalists. more diversity is great, when i was on sky in 1989, it was meant to destroy the bbc and itv. it did nothing of the kind, itjust added hugely to the choice that was available. and if you look at the major news providers in britain at the moment, they all come from various shades of left — not mad left or anything like that, but from centre, centreleft, a bit more left, then a bit more left from that. i think a lot of people will hear you and say, "what evidence "do you have for that?"
you've written that the bbc news, a lot of news output is too southern, too metropolitan. but if you actually go and listen to local news in leicester or scunthorpe, it's not liberal left, it's local news from localjournalists. i understand, but i'm not talking about the local news. so what evidence do you have that national bulletins lean left? well, for the bbc, i would say it's a moderate, centreleft outlook. because they share the metropolitan outlook, they share the same metropolitan values, they have broadly the same look on life. you know... look, this isn't me saying it, director generals of the bbc have said it... andrew marr has said it. let's be clear about this, tim davies said the bbc might be too metropolitan — that's a different thing from centreleft, centreleft is a political position on the spectrum. mark thompson said it was, and the bbc was at its happiest when mr blair was prime minister because the bbc had basically a blaire—ite outlook on the world. it doesn't make them bad people, i share a number of views with mr blair. let's talk about some of the names you've signed up
as on—screen talent. alexander phillips, who was ukip�*s head of media for three years then an mep for the brexit party, michelle dupree, a brexit party candidate in 2019. they are hugely talented, doubtless. one thing they have in common there is a distaste for socialism. so just how brexit—y will gb news be? i don't know whether you've caught up with the news... brexit has happened. brexit�*s over. you know what i'm talking about, to what extent will it be — how right—wing will it be? if a number of our presenters were on the brexit side of the argument, so what? 90% of the bbc�*s presenters were on the remain side of the argument. so what's the point? they still did theirjobs properly. the main presenters of the bbc still covered the referendum in the proper way they did. and i would expect our journalists to do the same. do you accept that gb news is the first explicitly political domestic tv channel,
set out with a political purpose? no because that assumes that the existing channels aren't political. are you trying to tell me that channel 4 news is not political? you're setting out... are you trying to tell me sky news is not political? but you're political in a different way, let's not be disingenuous. the typical view that it's fine to be on the centreleft, that's not political. but if you're on the centre of the centre right, that's political. no, that's not what i'm saying, what i'm saying is there a lot of people who look at gb news and the mission that you have expounded in public about answering a need for nonmetropolitan news, and the fact that you are going to channel personality—led, opinion—led evening broadcasts, and that challenges or threatens potentially an ecosystem where impartiality is receding from public view, and a lot of people think impartiality is valuable. yes, you will be regulated by ofcom, but there are lots of people,
not necessarily political people, but lots of people who might have concerns that in an era of culture wars and social media, actually gb news might end up exacerbating the problems we have, rather than answering them. i know that, and that's the mantra that's thrown at us all the time that don't want gb news to succeed. but it's not true. and of course, the other thing that's thrown at us, which is part of that mantra, is that it will be fox news, and so on. well, it'sjust nonsense. we can only be judged by what we do, you know, i've grown long in the tooth now denying things about a network that hasn't broadcast a second of programming yet. will we be different from the existing networks? yes, because they all do the same thing. so what's the point of doing what they do? will we cover stories a different way? yes! will we give voices to people outside the metropolitan consensus? yes. do we have any interest in fox news? no — disinformation, no, conspiracy theories, no. there's nothing in myjournalistic record that could lead
you to fox news, and there is no market, in my view, in britain for a fox news—type. you'lljust have to wait and see what we do. sure, that's a view i've put out on this show several times. help me out here, fox news is a right of centre, it leads towards opinion rather than prime time and invests heavily in personality—driven evening shows. gb news — right of centre, leans towards opinion rather than news and prime time, and invests heavily in personality—driven evening shows. so gb news is different to fox news because? now describe msnbc. a liberal version of the same thing. exactly! so what's the difference between gb news — i'm giving you a chance to not compare gb news to fox news. i'm giving you the chance to be explicit about the different. explicit about the difference. look, there are two people, when gb news launches, there are two people who will be deeply disappointed. one is a small number of people that want it to be fox news, and the other are those who've said
it will be fox news. they're the ones who be disappointed. who will be disappointed. it is possible to learn from the us, both from the left wing, msnbc, and the right, fox, about programming about the importance of not doing rolling news any more unless there is strong news to do. that's a lesson sky and the bbc don't seem to have learned. americans have learned that. that you get appointment to view if you break up the schedule during the day with programmes, not rolling news, programmes built round strong anchors with edge, character, and even a sense of humour. that's what msnbc and fox news do, as well. you can do all of that without being either fox or msnbc. you can do that by having a different perspective to the way the existing broadcasters come. will it please the metropolitan classes that control the existing network news? no.
but that's not ourjob, we aren't aiming to please them, we're trying to give people who don't feel they have a voice a voice. i'll give you a good example, and it's on the bbc, and that is question time. in the aftermath of the brexit referendum — and question time, to give it huge credit, used to be just out of london, but now it goes all around the country — and it would go to bradford in barnsley, or wigan in the north. and in the post—brexit referendum aftermath, when the atmosphere was quite toxic, more so than it had been during the referendum, some southern smoothie on the panel would say about brexit, "they didn't know what they were voting for." to be met by a cacophony of voices with a northern accent saying, "oh, yes we did. "we knew what we were in for and we won't be patronised by you,
"saying that we didn't." that's the kind of voice that you actually don't hear very often in british broadcasting, and i hope we will give it a voice. where will your headquarters be? in paddington. and what's the format of your show going to be? it'll be an hour, it'll be on between 8—9pm, four nights a week. it'll be pretty segmented, so it can be replayed in digital format and digital slice—and—dice as much as possible. we'll have a monologue to begin with, and a main story, i think we will have a lot of fun with things like chest—feeding, that like chest—feeding, what was that police thing about "being offensive isn't an offense," a lot of that isn't properly covered. we will do an interview if we can get one — we won't do an interview if it's only for paperclips. and i want to do media watch, including a media watch that holds ourselves to account,
and when we get things wrong we put our hands up and say, "we got this wrong." we'll also hold other media to account, as well. and then i think we will have regular guests, you know, a lot of success were abbott and portillo — and i think each night we will have an equivalent of that to be able to chew the cud on the main news stories. are abbott and portillo coming back themselves? who knows? maybe. that was andrew neil, and i spoke to him on monday afternoon for well over an hour, in huge detail about his old career, the real reason he fell out with rupert murdoch, where he draws the line on free speech, not least in relation to the spectator writer taki, the real reason he left the bbc and loads more. it's a very long and interesting conversation and it will be available for the media show, subscribers to podcast, so if you look on bbc sounds you can find
the long interview. jane, you were nodding your head vigorously throughout much of that, why? i've heard some of it before, i have to say. the argument that this is purely about economics, it's about choice, it's about the "left behind", i don't think he called them the left them behind, but the current media — he normally says if you got channel 4 on the left, why can't we have gb news on the right? what's wrong with that argument? well, i think it's a very reductive argument, and it was really interesting that he said there was no market for fox news. but to answer your point, i think it's because actually channel 4, you know, are still bound by a level of impartiality. so is gb news. they will be, but as you say, the output will all be about news presenters, it'll be about opinion presenters, a bit like lbc radio,
which has been hugely popular and has a range of voices, which is of course how you might get your ofcom licence and still be judged to be impartial. but the thing is, casting doubt on existing broadcasters by being, "the bbc�*s 90% left of centre," i think that's all part of this culture war, which says that just because you at the bbc are metropolitan, you can't be speaking the truth and doing good journalism, and journalism shouldn't be about left or right and politics. just a reminder, i don't speak for the bbc from a corporate sense. but i am butiama but i am a reporter at the bbc. we're moving from a world where the news was the star, to where the star is the news. very much so. i think in terms of where we're seeing the possibility of gb - news and how it links _ to good morning britain in terms of its style of opinionated
programming — i see - gb news as this case _ where you would have opinionated people arguing at length with guests who completely are on the other - centre of them, therefore being "impartial". - i think that's where there's been lots of reporting, - in regards to piers morgan's next step and whether - it'll be with gb news, primarily because that is the style ofjournalism which gets - very popular online. there is no hiding away- from the fact that good morning britain beat bbc breakfast in the ratings yesterday. l the fact that those clips went viral on social media. - even if you are completely appalled by the content within, i think, - for some people who think we have i very partisan ways of expressing i ourselves online and partisan forms i of news, newspapers and online, i why can't it be reflected on tv? at the same time many people say, "we want to have that space - for impartiality to get the news and information and, _
|"most important, leave it to us, not you to decide for me exactly "what i should be thinking." then, andrew neil said part of the strategy for gb news will be to slice—and—dice. do you mind explaining that and if that's what you do it pink news? i don't quite know what he means. i think it means cutting segments of a tv show up and posting them up on social media. all our content is short form, so it could be hosted on snapchat. we call them "long pieces" of content, but long for pink news is 5—6 minutes, which is shorter than traditional broadcasters. i did find two things particularly interesting in what he said. he believes that the bbc, channel 4 — i used to work with channel 4 news for six years — is this liberal thing. i don't think it is, actually, i think the mainstream news might be for the people whom consider themselves to be left of centre politically — they're actually incredibly socially
conservative. that's what we see with coverage on issues relating to lgbt, particularly trans issues on the bbc. you couldn't say they're covering them from a liberal agenda, they're actually covering them from a really quite socially conservative agenda. the other thing that he said was that it would be "woke" watch — he keeps going on about this "woke" watch and the "woke" media. let's remind ourselves, what does "woke" mean? it means being aware of socialjustice issues, particularly racial issues. i don't know why anyone should find people who are aware of socialjustice and racism particularly concerning. it's a new way of saying it's "politically correct", it's another way ofjust denigrating people who care about minorities. in the seven minutes we've got left, we can't get into too much about woke culture, but andrew neil and piers morgan
wrote a book about it, about how "woke" means something different from how it started. it's interesting you mention that, benjamin, because he said he'd put a spotlight on terms like "chest feeding". the thing was it wasn't actually true, that story was repeated on pink news, it wasn't true. the trust was merely saying that when it came to transgender people, they should have appropriate language. it wasn't saying that it should be for anyone else, but actually a lot of the media, the mainstream broadcast media both the mainstream broadcast media and print media kept repeating a lie that wasn't true. it was only pink news and a couple other publications that pointed out that the story wasn't true. andrew neil is one of those people perpetuating the myth that somehow, these terrible woke misogynists will come after everyone else. we aren't, we just care about minority groups.
what we haven't talked about here — while we're focusing on the broadcast media and the notion of impartiality and truth — journalism has been about facts, trying to leave your own opinions at the door. we in the uk have had an incredibly opinionated newspaper industry. 4% of the british media are of ethnic minority. the numbers alone tell a story that perhaps we aren't terribly representative in the newspaper industry. that is a huge issue that we do need to look at. isn't the truth that the tabloid approach to news and information, which prioritises the outrageous and emotional, is good business? and good telly? ofcom received 41,000 complaints about good morning britain after piers morgan said he didn't believe meghan markle�*s claim, got lots of complaints and the very next day, they beat bbc breakfast in the ratings — briefly? but also it can create a lot of problems in itself. - with regards to piers morgan, mind, the mental health charity, _
issued a statement saying that they found morgan'sl comments about meghan markle to be "disappointing". _ why does that matter? because itv themselves have been . doing a mental health initiative l called "get britain talking" across the entire channel. that was launched after love island and caroline's passing. _ and caroline flack's passing. and it was completely at odds, - but also, it had mind's involvement. also, the fact that the duchess - of sussex had written letter to itv, i think even though these can be i incredibly lucrative to ratings, i we've seen time and time again that if anything becomes too _ controversial, advertisers get - spooked and they can easily leave, and it can cause headaches - across the entire rest of the brand. do you want to come back to that, jane? yeah, i think that what's really interesting is the idea that there was no market for fox news, so there obviously has been, as scott's saying —
the numbers watching piers morgan, he has improved ratings for good morning britain. look, the tabloid papers we're talking about, the most popular in britain — the guardian and pink news have absolutely been outsold in print by the mail and the sun for many years, not online. luckily, we aren't in print. but not online, that's the point. the thing is, look what's happened in america, freedom and market deciding, you've got the social media giants taking over everything without any control. some of that is coming to this country, certainly not enough long form. i always campaign for these shows to be much longer, and today is a good example of why it should be. that is all we have time for today. i hate saying this. thank you so much to our guests. and thank you also to andrew neil, chairman and presenter on gb news. i'll be back at the same time next week, thanks for listening.
hello. after a day of blustery showers, some showers will continue into the night and there is a bit of rain heading our way for part two of the weekend tomorrow. but not all of us are getting rain out of these showers. there is some snow over the high ground of scotland, northern ireland, northern england, perhaps in wales at times too, as low pressures pushes the showers south—eastwards across all parts and then another set of weather fronts heading our way tomorrow and that is tomorrow's rain. into tonight we continue with a batch of showers spreading south across england and wales, but then after midnight a few showers continue into the west, but many places will be drier by then. it looks like the coldest weather overnight will be in north—east england and eastern scotland, so a touch of frost could be yours going into tomorrow. and then tomorrow, don't be fooled by a fine start with some sunshine. at the very least it is
going to cloud over, and those weather fronts i showed you will be bringing some rain into northern ireland for the morning, into southern and western parts of scotland, into wales and western areas of england and then for the afternoon pushing on towards the midlands. the exception of it is north—east scotland. they will stay largely dry, with some sunny spells. it will still be quite windy tomorrow. not as windy as it has been today and temperatures mayjust be a degree or so higherfor us. and where you have stayed dry for a large part of the day across the eastern side of england, we are going to be bringing rain eventually your way as we go through the late afternoon and into the evening. overnight sunday into monday, that will clear away. we will keep a few showers going into monday on this north—westerly breeze, but as i show you on the big picture here, there is a change. high pressure is building in. still a few more weather fronts that will bring a bit of rain our way again on tuesday, but overall the story of next week's weather is about high pressure and certainly more settled, drier, calmer conditions. as i mentioned earlier,
on monday still the chance of picking up a few showers, particularly towards part of england and wales. there will be some sunny spells, but it could well cloud over for a time during the day and more of us will be seeing temperatures in double figures on monday. it is not going to be as windy as well. certainly looking more settled after the chance of seeing a bit more rain on tuesday, and whilst it looks to be fine for the remainder of the week it could well be across the eastern side of the england there is quite a chilly wind developing for a time later in the week.
this is bbc news. the headlines at five: metropolitan police officer wayne couzens has appeared in court after being charged with the kidnap and murder of sarah everard. gatherings planned in memory of sarah everard have now been cancelled and according to organisers, they will be replaced with doorstep vigils. after a surge of coronavirus infections in italy, schools, shops and restaurants are set to close from monday. in myanmar, at least eight people have been killed by security forces, as protests continue across the country against last month's military coup. the return of superted, the teddy bear with magic powers that became a cartoon favourite among a generation of children, is being brought back to life once again.