The BBC's Charter and its Producers Guidelines state:
...'Due impartiality lies at the heart of the BBC. All programs and services should be open minded, fair and show a respect for truth? [BBC reports should] contain comprehensive, authoritative and impartial coverage of news and current affairs in the United Kingdom and throughout the world??
Name: Jeremy Paxman BBC Position: Journalist and Presenter Biography
"The idea of a tax on the ownership of a television belongs in the 1950s. Why not tax people for owning a washing machine to fund the manufacture of Persil?" (August 2007) The James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture
"People who know a lot more than I do may be right when they claim that [global warming] is the consequence of our own behaviour. I assume that this is why the BBC's coverage of the issue abandoned the pretence of impartiality long ago" (January 2007) Paxman accuses BBC of hypocrisy over environment
Last Edit: Dec 30, 2010 18:29:35 GMT by Teddy Bear
Jeremy Paxman has made quite a scathing criticism of BBC spending, particularly on unnecessarily moving studios, and property development, as well as its prevalent PC attitude.
It's odd how the BBC responds to this criticism, when he questioned the logic of moving the BBC out of its west London Television Centre base to the newly renovated Broadcasting House in central London. The project, which is still ongoing, has cost more than £1 billion so far, at a time when the corporation has been forced to shed thousands of jobs and shave hundreds of millions of pounds from its budget.
The reply from a 'BBC spokesman' was "We are surprised that Jeremy did not know that the move to Broadcasting House will save the BBC more than £700 million. "The BBC is reducing the size of its estate and Broadcasting House will become the primary BBC site in London and for the first time in the BBC’s history key network and global services in Television, Radio, News and Online will work together on one site.”
To my knowledge they are not selling off property, so will still be maintaining their existing ones. They have also spent further hundreds of millions moving studios around the country, so exactly how this is supposed to save £700 million is not explained in any way that makes sense. But it's easy to say, and perhaps that is why Paxman "did not know", and is also NOT WRONG. As he puts it - What organisation – at a time when it has no money, allegedly – would move from cheap square footage in west London to Oxford Circus?’
I would add - 'and then claim it was doing it to save money'. We all know the answer.
The presenter likened the corporation to a declining empire over its lavish use of licence fee-payers’ money to fund building projects. In an interview for Radio Times, Paxman questioned the logic of moving the BBC out of its west London Television Centre base to the newly renovated Broadcasting House in central London.
The project, which is still ongoing, has cost more than £1 billion so far, at a time when the corporation has been forced to shed thousands of jobs and shave hundreds of millions of pounds from its budget.
Asked by Tristram Hunt, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central and an acclaimed historian, whether he ever had a sense that working at the BBC was like “the last echoes of empire”, Paxman replied: “No, they’re all far too politically correct, I’m afraid."
But he added: “Funny though, isn’t it, that they always said that the way you know if the British are going to decolonise is when they start building massive government buildings – that was certainly the case in India. “And the BBC’s much the same. What organisation – at a time when it has no money, allegedly – would move from cheap square footage in west London to Oxford Circus?”
The BBC is spending billions of pounds on relocating operations from its buildings in White City, west London, to Broadcasting House and its other hubs in Salford, Glasgow, Cardiff and Bristol. The moves have been widely derided with some staff refusing to leave the capital.
A BBC spokesman said: "We are surprised that Jeremy did not know that the move to Broadcasting House will save the BBC more than £700 million. "The BBC is reducing the size of its estate and Broadcasting House will become the primary BBC site in London and for the first time in the BBC’s history key network and global services in Television, Radio, News and Online will work together on one site.”
Paxman’s comments come following his previous criticism over the BBC’s decision to axe 2,000 jobs and slice 20 per cent from its budget. The 61-year-old journalist became the first senior BBC figure to attack the austerity measures announced last year, saying the corporation has missed a valuable opportunity to radically alter the corporation. "I think it looks to me as if the BBC was given an opportunity and failed to take it. There were all sorts of radical things that could have been done that have not been done."
A report by the National Audit Office in November said the BBC could save more than the £400 million it has already cut from its annual budget without damaging performance. It also criticised three departments for falling behind on their cuts schedule, including BBC North, which is behind the controversial move of thousands of jobs to Salford.
Paxman’s latest comments come ahead of his new series Empire about Britain’s colonial past, which begins on BBC One on Monday. The veteran broadcaster said it was “nothing short of a scandal” that the history of the British Empire was not taught more widely in schools, and that it was dismissed as a “thoroughly bad thing”.
He said: “I think there is a belief that there is only one way to view it, and that therefore we can pass an easy judgment on it. “There are lots of things that we should think were appalling, because they were appalling. The slave trade is a case in point; the opium trade is another one.
“But the idea that that is a complete picture is the thing that I quarrel with, and seems to be the basis of the judgment that it was all a bad thing. And because it was a very bad thing, we don’t need to think about it any more. It’s all parcelled up and consigned.”
Paxman also criticised former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s public apologies over Britain role in the Irish potato famine and the slave trade “You should apologise for things that you have done, that you recognise that perhaps you shouldn’t have done or regret,” he said. “But apologising for things that your great, great, great, great-grandfather or grandmother did, seems to me a complete exercise in moral vacuousness.”
Last Edit: Feb 21, 2012 21:27:21 GMT by Teddy Bear
You would think that one of the best known national television presenters, earning in the region of £1million pounds a year, and picked to present a history programme on the British Empire, would make sure they got their facts straight before they did.
But it appears, the BBC is just as inaccurate in their knowledge of history as they are in their knowledge of current affairs, so I suppose there's quite an irony about this story.
A little learning can be a stressful thing if you have to watch Jeremy Paxman expounding on a subject you know a bit about. Last night, his new BBC One programme covered the British Empire and Sudan.
Well, I’ve been to Sudan a few times and I happen to have an interest in the country’s history. Paxman's version of the story of General Gordon in Khartoum was so laughably inaccurate that I thought I must be hearing things. I had to watch again on BBC iPlayer to check that my ears hadn’t been playing tricks.
In a few minutes of television, Paxman managed to misunderstand every stage of the tale. So here goes:
1.) Referring to Khartoum in 1884, Paxman sonorously told us: “The capital was surrounded by thousands of Islamic warriors, followers of a religious leader sworn to end British rule.”
One problem: Sudan wasn’t under British rule in 1884. Egypt governed Sudan at the time; Britain had very little interest in the place. True, Britain was the power behind the scenes in Cairo, but London’s only concern during that period was the security of the Suez Canal, not the vast, largely unexplored country to the south.
Egypt was notionally under Turkish control, which is why historians refer to this era of Sudan’s history as the period of Turko-Egyptian rule. So the Mahdi – the religious leader who Paxman is talking about – was actually mounting an anti-Egyptian revolt. (Incidentally, if Paxman really does think that Sudan was part of the British Empire in 1884, when does he reckon this conquest took place?)
2.) Paxman goes on: “The man sent from Britain to stop the Mahdi, roared on by the London newspapers, was already a legendary soldier and a fervent Christian, General Charles George Gordon.”
This is where Paxman really goes off the rails. Gordon was emphatically not “sent” to “stop the Mahdi”. Gladstone’s government had no intention of fighting a war in a remote territory that was not under British rule anyway. Gordon’s orders were to evacuate British and European citizens from Khartoum and then abandon the city.
That’s quite important because the whole point of the story is that Gordon defied his orders. He wanted Britain to take over Sudan (something that Paxman appears to think had already happened). And Gordon really did want to stop the Mahdi, despite the fact that Gladstone had told him to pack up and leave. So having carried out the evacuation, Gordon broke his orders and stayed on, taking personal command of the defence of Khartoum. The aim of his defiance was to shame Gladstone into sending a British army to stop the Mahdi and take over Sudan.
If “stopping the Mahdi” had been his official mission, as Paxman appears to think, Gordon would not have been disobeying orders, there would have been no need for his defiant gesture and he would not have gone down in history as the quixotic epitome of a late Victorian hero. So Paxman hasn’t got a detail wrong here: he’s misunderstood the entire story. You might as well say that Chamberlain went to Munich to “stop Hitler”.
3.) Paxman then digs deeper, announcing: “Gordon’s orders weren’t to fight, but to evacuate the British force there.”
An odd claim, even on Paxman’s own terms, as he began by saying that Gordon was sent out to “stop the Mahdi” (how could he have done that by not fighting and evacuating his force?). But anyway, Paxman is still wrong because there was no “British force” in Khartoum in 1884-85. Gordon was the only British soldier in the city apart from his ADC, Colonel John Stewart (who left half way through the siege and was killed on his way out).
The force defending Khartoum was Egyptian, which is pretty logical given that Sudan was under Egyptian rule. Again, this was central to the whole story.
The fact that Gordon chose to remain as the only Briton in Khartoum was a crucial part of his mystique and helps explain why he struck such a chord with the British public. If you think he was in Khartoum with a “British force”, you’ve misunderstood the whole thing Jeremy.
Later, we are shown Paxman sneering at various Victorian comics about the Empire. I suspect that their version of Gordon in Khartoum would have been more reliable than his.
Paxman has again spoken out against the corporation. It's clear that every one of his criticisms, including excessive pay-offs is justified, it's obvious why he doesn't also include the excessive pay handed out, since he's one that is happy to receive it.
Paxman criticised huge rewards for senior staff when they leave the BBC
Said that Radio 1 and 1Xtra had no reason to exist and could be replaced by private-sector broadcasters
Star suggested that the bungled £100million Digital Media Initiative had caused the public to lose faith
By Hugo Gye
Jeremy Paxman described the BBC as 'smug' as he criticised the enormous pay-offs given to senior staff and called for the scrapping of Radio 1.
The Newsnight host - who has a record of speaking out against his own employer - said that the corporation had a 'closed corporate culture'.
He pointed the finger at the Digital Media Initiative, a failed IT project which was scrapped after costing the licence fee payer £100million, as one blunder which has 'tested the public's patience'.
In recent years, senior officials have repeatedly been given compensation packages when they leave the BBC - even if they depart under a cloud.
George Entwistle was given a £470,000 payout when he was forced to resign as director-general after just 54 days in the job in the wake of a false Newsnight report on alleged child abuse.
Deputy director-general Mark Byford received a total pay-off of £949,000, while Caroline Thomson was given £680,000 when she left her job as chief operating officer.
In an interview with the Guardian, Mr Paxman said: 'It is smug. I love the BBC in many ways, but at the same time it has made me loathe aspects of it, and that's a very odd state of affairs.
'When I see people being given £1million merely for walking out of the door, when I see £100million being blown on that DMI thing, a stupid technical initiative like that, I start wondering - how much longer are we going to test the public's patience?'
He added: 'The great smell that comes off those pay-off scandals - and I think they are scandals - is of an organisation which became complacent, preoccupied with the conditions of its senior staff, at the expense of a strategic vision.'
Mr Paxman is himself believed to be one of the best-paid presenters on the BBC, earning around £800,000 for hosting Newsnight and University Challenge.
This week, the BBC announced a 'value for money' review into the salaries paid to top staff - with 14 employees earning at least £500,000.
Consultants will be brought in to work out whether stars such as Graham Norton, Gary Linkeker and Jeremy Clarkson - all reportedly paid more than £1million - are worth their wages.
The handling of the failed DMI plan came under fire from MPs just last week, after an influential committee said the corporation was 'far too complacent' about the huge waste of money.
Mr Paxman criticised the non-stop growth of the BBC, suggesting that many of its channels could easily be replaced by private companies.
'There's a pile of stuff on the BBC I can't stand,' he told the Guardian. 'My idea of hell is going down in one of the lifts in that ghastly new building in a lift which has Radio 1Xtra plumbed into it.
'I don't quite understand why the BBC does Radio 1Xtra, I don't really understand why it does Radio 1. Clearly, you can meet those needs commercially.'
'YOUTH' STATIONS THAT COST £66MILLION A YEAR
BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra have come under criticism from people who say they are too similar to commercial radio stations.
The stations are both youth-oriented, with Radio 1 playing mainstream pop music and 1Xtra - launched in 2002 - playing 'urban' genres such as hip-hop and RnB.
The annual budget for Radio 1 is £54.2million, while 1Xtra costs the BBC £11.8million a year.
Radio 1 is the second most popular station in the country, but critics claim that it has crowded out commercial rivals despite doing nothing that they could not.
He added that the corporation 'hugely distorts the marketplace' in online news, saying: 'The BBC is institutionally unable to countenance something without wanting to have it for itself.'
The BBC has never closed any of its national television or radio channels, although it is currently planning to shut down the youth-oriented BBC Three.
A spokesman for the BBC said today: 'While Jeremy is entitled to his opinion, Radio 1 is incredibly important for young people, offering news, documentaries and social action alongside a distinctive range of music to a young audience who deserve high quality broadcasting just as much as older audiences.'
Despite his status as one of the corporation's best-known faces, Mr Paxman has not shied away from speaking out against its failures.
After the Jimmy Savile scandal and Mr Entwistle's resignation in 2012, he blamed 'cowards and incompetents' who had been appointed because the BBC wanted to play it safe in the wake of the Hutton Inquiry.
And earlier this year, he said that his own show was sometimes so boring that it was barely worth watching.
Steerpike at the Spectator wonders just what is going on with Paxman considering a few recent events. Perhaps it is as he implies, that Paxo is wondering if he might be sacrificed as part of a cost cutting venture by the BBC and is just letting them know that there's 'plenty more where that came from' if you do.
Is Mr Steerpike alone in thinking that Jeremy Paxman can’t be bothered anymore? First there was his wet rag interview with the ‘Chrystal Methodist’ Paul Flowers, the former Co-op chairman. Now he’s turned his (still potent) guns on the BBC itself. In an interview with the Guardian, the well-remunerated Newsnight presenter has slammed Aunty’s ‘closed corporate culture’:
‘It is smug. I love the BBC in many ways, but at the same time it has made me loathe aspects of it, and that’s a very odd state of affairs. When I see people being given £1m merely for walking out of the door, when I see £100m being blown on that DMI [digital media initiative] thing, a stupid technical initiative like that, I start wondering: how much longer are we going to test the public’s patience?’
Indeed, ‘how much longer’? Rumours are swirling that Newsnight editor Ian Katz is sharpening his axe for Paxo. Are these the words of a BBC employee with nothing to lose?
The BBC is a smug and wasteful "closed corporate culture" whose special, licence-fee-subsidised status "hugely distorts the marketplace." Well we knew all this already of course but it's interesting to hear it from the mouth of one of the BBC's starriest presenters, Jeremy Paxman. Interviewed in the Guardian, he talks about his love-hate relationship with his employer.
“It is smug. I love the BBC in many ways, but at the same time it has made me loathe aspects of it, and that’s a very odd state of affairs. When I see people being given £1m merely for walking out of the door, when I see £100m being blown on that DMI [digital media initiative] thing, a stupid technical initiative like that, I start wondering: how much longer are we going to test the public’s patience?”
He goes on:
There’s no argument that the BBC distorts the marketplace in online [news]. Hugely distorts the marketplace. And one understands of course that the Mail and the Murdoch empire dislike a commercial rival which they are obliged to compete with on unfair terms. And I don’t think that has been really sufficiently grasped at a senior level. It just happened, in the same way as has the proliferation of extra television channels, the proliferation of extra radio channels – and, going further back, the move into local radio. These things just happened because the BBC is institutionally unable to countenance something without wanting to have it for itself … I don’t tar Tony [Hall] with this because he hasn’t been there long enough, but the great smell that comes off those pay-off scandals – and I think they are scandals – is of an organisation which became complacent, preoccupied with the conditions of its senior staff, at the expense of a strategic vision.”
All quite true, of course, but I still think he's ducking the issue of what is really wrong with the BBC which is its rampant, institutionalised left-liberal bias.
Like Paxman I too love the BBC. Parts of it. Sometimes. The problem for me is that the BBC at its very best - University Challenge, nice programmes about bees, David Dimbleby lending his gravitas to royal weddings and funerals, etc - isn't quite enough to offset the enormous damage the BBC has done over the years because of its Orwellian grip on Britain's cultural dialectic.
You think what Savile did to his victims was loathsome? I’d heartily agree. But what about the hundreds of thousands who’ve perished on a squalid NHS ward as a result of incompetence, negligence or maladministration? What about the pensioners condemned to spend their last years in penury? What about the school-leavers and graduates who can’t get jobs in our stagnant economy? What about the kids who’ve not only been denied a rigorous, disciplined education but have had their heads filled with lies? What about the bitterness, resentment and social tension stoked up by multiculturalism? What about the divisions and fear sowed by the rise of Islamism? What about the rural homeowners whose property values have been trashed and whose cherished landscapes ruined by the great wind farm blight? What about the church flower arrangers who now have to be vetted as potential paedophiles? What about the holidaymakers whose flight costs have been almost doubled by eco-taxes? What about the 2,700 elderly people who die each year from fuel poverty? What about the household budgets strained, the dream holidays foregone, the school fees rendered unaffordable, the choices limited as a result of all the money confiscated by the government through tax, borrowing and money printing? The BBC was responsible for it all.
Not directly responsible: that would be a silly claim to make. Rather, what the BBC has done over several decades, is to create the socio-political climate which made all these things not merely possible but acceptable – and accepted – as the norm.
For years the BBC’s default position on every issue has been: “Why isn’t the government doing more to deal with this….?” But just imagine how very different our world would look if, instead, our compulsorily-funded, quasi-monopolistic state broadcaster’s default position had been: “Why can’t the government get out of the way and leave us free to pursue our hopes and dreams?”
Like Paxman I have a soft spot for the BBC. Unlike Paxman, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see the BBC broken up and subjected to the rigour of the market. Especially if the buyers were its arch-enemies Rupert Murdoch and Lord Rothermere and the BBC's liberal-left staffers were paraded in chains down Portland Place in the manner of captured Gauls through Rome. Now that would be what I call entertainment!
Last Edit: Apr 18, 2014 20:59:34 GMT by Teddy Bear
Clearly, as one might imagine, Paxman's statements have ruffled a few feathers at the BBC. Interesting to see which ones they have just had to swallow, and which they responded to, as you can read below.
This final statement from a 'BBC source', whoever that is, says: However one BBC source said: ‘The problem is, we hire people like Paxman because they are outspoken and they know their own minds. We don’t want a bunch of yes men in news and we can’t tell them to shut up. But it would be nice if they stopped biting the hand that feeds them.’
'Have your own mind, but don't use it here'. Yes we know just how much the BBC tries its best to eliminate any criticism, no matter how justified. Christopher Booker at the Telegraph has also made similar observations.
Jeremy Paxman said listening to Radio 1 music made travelling in lifts 'hell'
Radio 1 boss Ben Cooper emailed Newsnight present inviting him to 'take the stairs'
Station chief also asked 63-year-old to keep outspoken views under control
By Alasdair Glennie
Jeremy Paxman has been scolded by the boss of Radio 1 after claiming the station’s music made travelling in BBC lifts ‘hell’.
The Newsnight presenter was told he should ‘take the stairs’ if he did not like tunes from the youth music station piped into elevators.
In a terse email fired off by Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper, the 63-year-old was also asked to keep his outspoken views under control.
Mr Cooper, who has been in charge of Radio 1 since 2011 and is paid £161,600 a year, responded within hours of reading Paxman’s remarks earlier this week.
His email, which has been seen by the Daily Mail, was copied to other senior managers.
It said: ‘Dear Jeremy, I read with interest your views on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra. I am Controller of both.
‘Clearly you are entitled to your view, but please consider who and what you effect [sic] when you express those views.’
Just in case Paxman was in any doubt as to how much he had angered senior management, Mr Cooper – who said he is a fan of Newsnight – added: ‘If all this falls on deaf ears then my only other suggestion is to take the stairs.’
The row came after Paxman launched an astonishing attack on the BBC this week, calling his employer ‘smug’, criticising the payoff scandal and claiming it ‘distorts the marketplace’ with its news operation.
But it was his attack on Radio 1 that ruffled the most feathers at the corporation.
He said: ‘There’s a pile of stuff on the BBC I can’t stand. My idea of hell is going down in one of the lifts in that ghastly new building [New Broadcasting House] in a lift which has Radio 1Xtra plumbed into it. I don’t quite understand why the BBC does Radio 1Xtra.
‘I don’t really understand why it does Radio 1. Clearly, you can meet those needs commercially.’ However, Mr Cooper defended his stations and said the BBC’s commercial rivals are unable to provide a comparable service.
He said: ‘Commercial radio targeted at young listeners does not win awards for documentaries about domestic abuse in teenage relationships, it does not have two 15-minute news programmes in its daytime output listened to by more young people than watch the 10 O’Clock News, and it does not play 65 hours of specialist music a week.’
He added: ‘If the licence fee is collected from everyone, then the BBC should represent the whole of society, not just certain parts of it.’
It is understood BBC senior management are increasingly frustrated by stars who criticise the corporation in public.
Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys has claimed the BBC is ‘grotesquely over-managed’ and had a ‘broadly liberal’ bias, while Question Time host David Dimbleby said it was ‘too big for its own good’.
However one BBC source said: ‘The problem is, we hire people like Paxman because they are outspoken and they know their own minds. We don’t want a bunch of yes men in news and we can’t tell them to shut up. But it would be nice if they stopped biting the hand that feeds them.’
Last Edit: Apr 19, 2014 22:03:01 GMT by Teddy Bear
Outspoken broadcaster is one of the corporation's biggest stars
It comes two weeks after he was scolded by the boss of Radio 1
In a statement, Paxman said: 'I have decided it is time to move on'
He revealed he made the decision and informed the BBC last July
By Leon Watson
Jeremy Paxman has announced he is quitting the flagship current affairs show Newsnight saying he wants to 'go to bed at much the same time as most people'.
The broadcaster, one of the most familiar faces on the BBC2 show, is one of the corporation's biggest stars.
In a statement, he said: 'I have decided it is time to move on from Newsnight. After 25 years, I should rather like to go to bed at much the same time as most people.
'This was a decision I reached - and informed the BBC of - last July. I shall work out the remainder of my contract and will not seek another.
'It's been fun. I have had the pleasure of working with lots of clever, creative and amusing people. I think I've been lucky and wish the programme well.'
The BBC said Paxman, who has been on Newsnight for a quarter of a century, agreed to stay to help its new editor 'following a difficult period' which saw the show lambasted after it pulled a planned expose of Jimmy Savile's sex crimes.
The flagship show has also seen a ratings decline in recent years.
A corporation spokeswoman said: 'The BBC is immensely grateful for this gesture, which is entirely in keeping with his outstanding contribution to both Newsnight and, over four decades, the BBC itself.'
He will present his last show in June and continue to host quiz show University Challenge.
Director-general Tony Hall said: 'This is a particularly poignant moment for me, because I have known Jeremy and relished working with him, since the day I joined the BBC in 1973. And I am therefore better placed than most to know what a remarkable job he has done at Newsnight.
'His is a rare and dazzling talent. He has a unique ability to create moments of real discomfort for politicians and memorable delight for audiences. For that cussed brilliance and much more besides, the BBC and our audiences will always be in his debt.'
The BBC's director of news, James Harding, said Paxman was the 'great lion of BBC journalism'.
He said: 'We accept his decision to move on but I think it is fair to say that the only people really celebrating his decision will be the politicians and public figures he has so often and so brilliantly held to account.'
The show's new editor, Ian Katz, said it had been 'a huge privilege' to work with Paxman and said he was 'deeply grateful' to him for agreeing to stay on.
It comes two weeks after Paxman was scolded by the boss of Radio 1 after claiming the station's music made travelling in BBC lifts 'hell'.
The Newsnight presenter was told he should 'take the stairs' if he did not like tunes from the youth music station piped into elevators.
In a terse email fired off by Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper, the 63-year-old was also asked to keep his outspoken views under control.
The row came after Paxman launched an astonishing attack on the BBC this week, calling his employer 'smug', criticising the payoff scandal and claiming it 'distorts the marketplace' with its news operation.
He said: 'There's a pile of stuff on the BBC I can't stand. My idea of hell is going down in one of the lifts in that ghastly new building [New Broadcasting House] in a lift which has Radio 1Xtra plumbed into it. I don't quite understand why the BBC does Radio 1Xtra.
'I don't really understand why it does Radio 1. Clearly, you can meet those needs commercially.'
However, Mr Cooper defended his stations and said the BBC's commercial rivals are unable to provide a comparable service.
He said: 'Commercial radio targeted at young listeners does not win awards for documentaries about domestic abuse in teenage relationships, it does not have two 15-minute news programmes in its daytime output listened to by more young people than watch the 10 O'Clock News, and it does not play 65 hours of specialist music a week.'
He added: 'If the licence fee is collected from everyone, then the BBC should represent the whole of society, not just certain parts of it.'
In January, Paxman admitted that Newsnight viewers would sometimes do better to turn off the television and go to bed rather than watch the programme.
The anchor revealed that on some nights he wanted to say, 'Not much happened today' - but added that he would feel guilty about betraying his colleagues if he did so.
Last month, Newsnight editor Ian Katz was forced to defend his controversial appointment of a new economics correspondent, insisting he was the ‘most suitable candidate’ for the job.
Duncan Weldon, who started work with the flagship BBC show this month, came under fire for his strong links to the Left and the trade unions movement, as well as a youthful flirtation with the far Right.
I never saw this particular interview between Paxman and ex Italian PM Berlesconi, but M. Synon at Breitbart makes some very pertinent observations of what Paxman was either completely ignorant of, or chose to ignore. I rather think the latter given the pro-EU bias so prevalent at the BBC. It's a real pleasure to see UKIP doing so well in the elections but for sure we are going to see all kinds of pressure applied sponsored by the EU to further demonise them.
I can also say I'm glad that Paxman is going and hopefully with all the PC rubbish that the BBC is pursuing, the lack of quality that we have gotten used to will only be further evident to one and all.
Anybody who actually follows Italian politics can only watch that Jeremy Paxman interview with Silvio Berlusconi and shout at the screen: "Wrong unf**kable question, Paxo!"
And not because of the gimmick Paxman used to make sure this performance – if you missed it, Paxman asked the former Italian prime minister did once call German Chancellor Angela Merkel "an unf**kable lard-a**e" -- would give extra publicity to his farewell month at Newsnight. No, that is not what made it the wrong question. If a BBC interviewer, right now, this week, is going to ask Berlusconi about his relationship with Angela Merkel – as he should, for as Paxman himself said in the interview, “At this level of European politics, personal relationships are hugely important, aren’t they?” – he should have asked about persistent reports that Merkel helped topple the anti-euro Berlusconi’s elected government, a putsch that led to a succession of three Italian governments, none of which has been directly elected. Remember, the first government after Berlusconi was led by Mario Monti, a former European Commissioner and top member of the EU elite, who was parachuted into the job and was never elected by anyone.
Monti came to power in what looked like a collusion between Merkel, Giorgio Napolitano, the aged former communist who is president of Italy and who therefore has the power to appoint a prime minister, and the European Central Bank, led by Mario Draghi, an Italian who keeps a German pickelhaube, the spiked helmet traditionally worn by the German military in the 19th and early 20th century, on display, apparently to suggest to the Germans who control the EU that he is one of them.
Following a secret telephone call in 2011 – later leaked to the news media – Chancellor Merkel told President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy she was worried that Prime Minister Berlusconi wasn’t strong enough to deliver the kind of reforms in Italy that “Europe” wanted. The old commie Napolitano got the message. He destabilised the prime minister at home, while the ECB got busy rocking the market in Italian bonds. Mr Berlusconi was forced out of office, and President Napolitano parachuted in the unelected choice of the euro-elite, former European Commissioner Mario Monti.
And this story is not old news, which the alleged comment about Merkel’s allure or lack of it certainly is, because just this month former US Treasury Tim Geithner published memoirs in which he suggested the US government had been approached to help force Berlusconi to resign in 2011 the midst of the euro crisis.
Excerpts from the book appeared in the Italian press just last week: "At one point that fall, a few European officials approached us with a scheme to try to force Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi out of power; they wanted us to refuse to support IMF loans to Italy until he was gone," Geithner wrote in his book, "Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises."
"We told the President about this surprising invitation, but as helpful as it would have been to have better leadership in Europe, we couldn't get involved in a scheme like that. ‘We can't have his blood on our hands,' I said," according to a Reuters quote from the book.
Did not Paxman know about Geithner’s memoirs? And if Paxman didn’t, why didn’t one of the researchers at Newsnight know about Geithner’s account of a plot when they were working on the Berlusconi interview? Because just days ago Berlusconi repeated his accusations on Rai Italian state television that he had been forced out of office as the result of a plot by European Union officials.
Referring to Geithner’s account, he told Rai: "The plot is an extremely serious piece of news which confirms what I've been saying for some time.”
More, it has emerged this year that Mario Monti, the unelected former eurocrat who replaced him, had been sounded out about taking over the Rome government some months before Berlusconi was forced out, even though he was not even a member of the Italian parliament.
Many details of the background to the fall of the last democratically-elected government of Italy are known. Early 2012 a team from the Wall Street Journal carried out an investigation of how it was Berlusconi and his government were forced out. Yet the BBC ignored all this material and went for questions as to whether Berlusconi had ever called Merkel “a unf**kble lard-a**e." The question is irrelevant.
In an effort to get to something relevant, Berlusconi even teed-up the right question for Paxman, but Paxman didn’t grasp what was going on, or decided that all he wanted to do was reduce the interview into publicity-guaranteeing vulgar vocabulary and clichéd questions about bunga-bunga parties.
Here is how Berlusconi was trying to lead the dense Paxman to the meat and not the lard. Paxman asked, “What’s wrong with Italian politics?” and Berlusconi replied “Everything.”
The former prime minister paused and continued: “Italy is no longer a democracy. In the last 20 years, we’ve had four examples of coups d’état. Recently we’ve had three successive governments that were not directly elected. We’ve had Monti, Letta and Matteo Renzi.” Yet the statement of that stunning fact – one of the most important countries in the EU had now had a series of three unelected prime ministers – went right past Paxman’s consciousness.
Berlusconi must have realised Paxo had done no real research for the interview. So he did everything short of holding up a studio cue card saying: “I’m going to say coups d’etat and you are going to realise this matters and pursue the issue.” But, no. The evidence of a plot is a big enough story for the former US Secretary of the Treasury to use as a headline story in pushing his memoirs, it is a big enough story for the Wall Street Journal to turn loose its investigators on it for weeks, but Paxo only wants to wait for his chance to use dirty words.
Sorry, just why is anyone sad to see this amateur leave Newsnight?
The BBC's flagship politics programme Newsnight is made by "13-year-olds", its former host Jeremy Paxman has said, as he suggests his Conservative leanings made him a lone voice on the show.
Paxman, who made his last appearance on the flagship BBC programme earlier this month, said the makers of the programme were still young idealists, wanting to "change the world". He added his experience in politics had led him to be a "one-nation Tory", with youthful idealism being a "fools' errand".
Speaking at the Chalke Valley History Festival, about his book on the First World War, he answered questions from the audience about his memorable tandem bike ride through the streets of London with Boris Johnson, which featured on the final programme.
Footage broadcast on Newsnight saw the Mayor of London call Paxman the "last" one-nation Tory working at the BBC. "I have to be frank, I suppose I am a one-nation Tory, yes," Paxman admitted. "Look, Newsnight is made by 13-year-olds. It's perfectly normal when you're young that you want to change the world. "The older you get, the more you realise what a fools' errand much of that is and that the thing to do is to manage the best you can to the advantage of as many people as possible."
Paxman, who has had to be politically impartial throughout his journalism career, added of the interview: "It's complete b------s, of course, typical Boris." On the question of whether he truly was the last Conservative at the BBC, he began to answer before stopping himself. "If I had to...are there any members of the press here?" he said, at the sold-out event. "I think I'll plead the fifth on that one."
His comments may be viewed by critics of the BBC as giving an insight into recent years at Newsnight, which has been plagued by mistakes made during the Savile scandal and accusations of "dumbing down".
Paxman's latter encounters include an interview with comedian Russell Brand, while his colleague Kirsty Wark performed a dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller and Emily Maitlis interviewed the Cookie Monster.
Its new editor, Ian Katz, joined from the Guardian newspaper a year ago. The public event also saw Paxman share his opinion of modern politics, saying: "I am in favour of governments getting out of people's lives. Particularly foreign government. "The closer you can take decision-making to the people affected by those decisions, the better."
Europe, he said, had been the source of "nothing but trouble for us", and joked Belgium as a "pointless little country". When asked if he had relaxed his rule about never drinking before a show for his final appearance, he said: ""No I didn't have a drink beforehand, but perhaps I should have done."
Paxman, who spent 25 years working on Newsnight, will continue to work for the BBC as the presenter of University Challenge, and is due to appear in a one-man show at the Edinburgh Festival this summer. His book 'Great Britain's Great War', is out now.
I never have been a fan of Paxman, but if we attribute moderate intelligence to him, then it's understandable why he might view incoming Ian Katz and crew as preposterous, or infantile, or 'completely lamentable'.
Katz, who moved to the BBC from the Guardian, has caused some raised eyebrows after making editorial changes at Newsnight, including commissioning light-hearted pieces involving Kirsty Wark dancing to Thriller and Emily Maitlis interviewing the Cookie Monster.
He's also hinted that Russell Brand could play a future role in the programme, so I find Paxman's view quite accurate really.
Katz also tells us "I think Newsnight should be the group of clever friends you want to sit down with in the pub at the end of a long day and make sense of what is going on in the world.”
What he means is that you will pay for the drinks that they will enjoy, but you won't be able to participate in offering any of your views on what is going on in the world. That's how they can think of themselves as clever.
The editor of Newsnight has admitted he did not see eye to eye with Jeremy Paxman, saying the former presenter was “dyspeptic about everything” and condemned every idea as “preposterous, infantile, or completely lamentable”.
Ian Katz said BBC producers were “pretty terrified” of the long-serving broadcaster and admitted the pair had endured “robust exchanges” over the content of the show.
Paxman was “withering” about ideas he disagreed with and was “petulant” in meetings as his “modus operandi”, Katz added. BBC insiders had hinted about the pair’s animosity since Katz first joined Newsnight in July 2013, but the editor has so far maintained a diplomatic public silence.
He has now disclosed the disagreements behind the scenes on the current affairs programme, calling their disputes “energising”.
In an interview with the Evening Standard, Katz denied “spinning” against Paxman, but claimed the presenter had sworn at him during “robust exchanges”.
“I’d love to know if he was less petulant in meetings before I got there,” he told the newspaper. “I think that’s just his modus operandi. “He’s dyspeptic about pretty much everything. Ideas are flattened.
“Almost everything you suggest Jeremy will think is ‘preposterous’ or ‘infantile’ or an otherwise ‘completely lamentable’ idea, and that’s a challenge because you have to sell it to him.”
Katz, who moved to the BBC from the Guardian, has caused some raised eyebrows after making editorial changes at Newsnight, including commissioning light-hearted pieces involving Kirsty Wark dancing to Thriller and Emily Maitlis interviewing the Cookie Monster.
Earlier this year, Paxman hinted at a difference of opinion behind the scenes at Newsnight, saying the people who made it were still idealistic. Speaking at an event to publicise his book, he told a member of the audience: "Look, Newsnight is made by 13-year-olds. It's perfectly normal when you're young that you want to change the world. The older you get, the more you realise what a fools' errand much of that is.” Paxman announced he was leaving Newsnight in April this year, after 25 years at the helm.
At the time, Katz said: "I'm deeply grateful to him for delaying his departure to help renew the programme, and for the extraordinary support and generosity he has shown."
Now, he has admitted he clashed with Paxman, telling the newspaper: “Paxman doesn’t need bad language. He’s more withering without it. Just a look [will do].
“We had some robust exchanges and I found that energising. I don’t think it was personal.” He conceded Paxman had been “utterly charming and quite generous to very junior people”, and “courtly” towards women. Evan Davis has now been appointed to the newsnight role, to assemble what Katz has called the “smartest, most interesting (and entertaining) group of people”.
He hinted Russell Brand could play a future role in the programme, though not as a presenter, after Paxman’s interview with him became one of the most talked-about moments in Newsnight history.
When asked what he had planned for Newsnight, as Davis joins a new era of presenters, Katz added: “In a complicated, messy world where we are all bombarded with news, I think Newsnight should be the group of clever friends you want to sit down with in the pub at the end of a long day and make sense of what is going on in the world.”
Jeremy Paxman did not wish to comment.
Last Edit: Sept 12, 2014 20:18:25 GMT by Teddy Bear
I have just spent a few moments in bed with the popular comedian Russell Brand and I have to say that I enjoyed it hugely. We did not have full penetrative sex, sadly, and when I say ‘in bed with’ I mean it sort of figuratively, or vicariously. What happened is that I watched Russell’s latest address to the world, which he delivers regularly from his bedroom — complete with those by now familiar mangled, high-camp estuarial vowels, tortuously pretentious grammar and infantile, uninformed narcissistic political opinions. Russell sits on the bed and tells us about the state of the world, man, and how it’s all, like, shit, and this stuff in Iraq well, hell, I don’t blame them, those British jihadis, because Cameron’s evil, evil, evil and life must be really horrible here if they want to up sticks and fight with Isis in a country where there are almost no decent hair-care products, so it’s all our fault or — more properly — yours.
That’s why I enjoy my mornings in bed with Russell. It’s like a condensed version of a particularly bad edition of the Guardian, filtered through the veins of an imbecile. Russell told the world not so long ago that there was no point in voting because it changes nuffink, innit. The sort of thing you hear not from the pub bore, but from the bedraggled halfwit in the corner with his half pint of Guinness, who even the pub bore finds insuperably tedious. Incoherent faux-left conspiracy theories that would have made even the late Tony Benn blush with embarrassment. Owen Jones when he was still mithering around, falling over and having tantrums, in kindergarten.
I mention Russell to you because apparently he is the future for the BBC’s most highbrow and respected current affairs television programme, Newsnight. The newish editor of Newsnight, a man called Ian Katz — who joined the programme from the Guardian (natch) — has come to the conclusion that the hard-nosed political interview is dead. Politicians are too well prepared when they turn up in the studio these days — and end up just reciting stuff from their briefing papers, so the audience learns nothing and is bored rigid. The set-piece political interview, Katz suggested in the Financial Times, was more a platform these days for egoistical presenters to flaunt their machismo. One assumes this was a parting shot at the now departed Jeremy Paxman, who was just about the only reason anyone still watched the show. It seems clear to me that Katz wanted Paxman out, thinking his approach to politics both outdated and jejune; well, he got his wish. Paxman left, along with a fairly hefty proportion of Newsnight’s already dwindling audience. Katz has presided over a 5 per cent drop in the number of people watching Newsnight — and most of those switched channels before even Paxman had left. Expect that fall to hasten, then.
In place of the combative political interview, Katz wishes for a gentler approach, which perhaps explains why Newsnight today is dominated by debates between four women who agree with each other about everything: yay, way to go. But the editor also points to an interview between Paxman and Russell Brand, a self-indulgent gibberfest of almost startling irrelevance, which has been viewed ten million times online, something Katz views with pride. That’s the way forward, then; something which engages with the public — a halfwit being lazily cross-examined by a journalist who wonders what the hell he is still doing in this place. If it’s views online you want, Ian, why not sign up Joey Essex or Simon Cowell? Or better still, just show a kitten having difficulty playing with a ball of wool and maybe falling over a bit. That’ll do it. Or you could get one of your presenters to dress up as a zombie and dance to a Michael Jackson song. Oh, you’ve already done that. Poor Kirsty Wark, poor Newsnight.
Much of what Katz says about the political interview being a sterile affair was true, to a certain degree, 15 years ago, but is arguably rather less true today. It was undoubtedly the case that under New Labour, ministers were loth to deviate from their scripts and disdained to answer questions directly, instead repeating the same old rubbish endlessly, often in a stream of weird non-sequiturs, as if they were contestants in a special version of Just A Minute for the educationally challenged. The then Chancellor, Gordon Brown, was especially adept at this approach.
I was editor of the Today programme at the time, but it never occurred to me that we should cease to ask those questions, or that the politicians should not be held to account. It just meant that we required better preparation behind the scenes. And in any case, there is something revelatory in a politician who conspicuously evades the question: the audience gets what is going on and, in my experience, are glad that those questions are being asked. Today’s political climate is different and the politicians are less likely simply to stall for time — largely, one would suppose, because the atmosphere is more fraught than it was when Labour had a vast and inviolable majority. The best political interviews at the moment — especially those regarding the Scottish independence debate — can be heard on Today: Jim Naughtie’s stuff from north of the border has been admirably meticulous and even-handed, John Humphrys and Justin Webb’s interviews forensic and revelatory.
That’s what the programme is there for. It knows this. Right now, Newsnight does not. Today’s audience, by the way, has not fallen at all. It is a sad fact, Mr Katz, that whether you like it or not, and regardless of how many people agree with you on YouTube, Alastair Darling is much, much more important than Russell Brand. I suppose that’s a boring and elitist comment, but it is nonetheless true.
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