Sunday, May 02, 2010

Going Live...

Chez Topsyturvydom, our Sunday morning news source tends to be Radio 5 Live, on the basis that Radio 4 is god-bothering until 9.00 a.m. Today's top story was about the discovery of a car-bomb in Times Square, New York. Part of the report featured an admirably factual and concise statement from the NYPD police chief, who explained the circumstances of the car's discovery, what exactly had been found in the car, what the police bomb disposal team had done, and that, as yet, they had no information on who might have planted the device. Job done, you might think. Time to move on to the next item. But no, we instead were taken live to New York where a British man who had been in Times Square at the time was waiting to be interviewed. What could he add to what we already knew? Well, er, nothing. He had been on his way to the theatre when a lot of police had appeared and cordoned off the square. He had been instructed to get out of the way quickly. He had heard that someone had been told by a police officer to run. "So, you're saying the police told people to run away?" Well, that's what he had heard, he said. Not him personally. It must have been scary, the interviewer prompted. Well, no, actually: in fact the theatres carried on, after a delay. Finally, the classic fatuous question - how did he feel?
He felt OK. People seemed to take it in their stride. End of interview.
So what was the point of this? Presumably to get the "human angle". It's another indication of the relentless tabloidisation of the BBC. Instead of being content to report the news authoritatively, we have to suffer the vacuous follow-up, itself longer than the original item, which reveals precisely nothing about the incident, because the interviewee knows nothing.
Image: joiseyshowaa


4 comments:

Steerforth said...

"Have you ever been to Times Square? You can email or text us with your thoughts about the car bomb incident and if you've been affected by any of the issues that have been discussed, you can phone our "Showbomb" action line on 0800 147147..."

I think the BBC is selling its soul to gain the world, or at least keep the licence fee.

Rob Spence said...

Yes, quite! I am a huge supporter of the BBC, but this kind of thing is nuts. It probably cost quite a few licence fees for the satellite link to this bloke in NY, and the net result was absolutely nil.
On Thursday and Friday, there'll be lots of reports from Downing St. by Nick Robinson and the like. Nothing will be gained by it, and it would be cheaper, more comfortable and less risky to have him in the studio. But no, he's got to be "live from Downing St." Not just the Beeb of course, they all do it.

Madame DeFarge said...

I do loathe this desire for inane vox pops as if being there qualifies you to be interesting.

Rob Spence said...

As ever, Madame, le mot juste.