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tv   The Media Show  BBC News  November 30, 2021 1:30am-2:01am GMT

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this is bbc news. we will have the hour straight after this programme. hello and welcome to this week's edition of the media show. and this time around, we are going to try and understand why some political stories have long—lasting impact and others — even those which feel hugely important at the time — do not. to help us look at this, we are going to speak to the bbc�*s steve rosenberg. he's our moscow correspondent and he's just recorded a remarkable interview with the president of belarus,
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alexander lu kashenko. we're also going to consider the new editor of the daily mail. how much control will he have over which political stories in the uk last, notjust for a day or two, but for much longer? and of course, we've got to talk about peppa pig. i'm sure lots of people saw the prime minister's speech at the cbi this week which featured peppa pig. let's begin the program by talking to the deputy political editor at itv news, anushka asthana. i wonder how itv covered that story. we certainly did cover peppa pig and i can imagine that my itv colleague in northumberland, who was there, was watching — as we all were — slightly through his hands at that speech — not onjust peppa pig, but at a few things, and of course, he had the opportunity straight after that interview to ask the prime minister some questions, so did all broadcasters, but it was his turn to ask the questions and you will remember that he i think spoke
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to the nation in a way when he spoke to the prime minister, "are you 0k?" and it is kind of amazing, isn't it, how that sentiment has carried us through the week in news terms — even up to today with keir starmer using it in the house of commons. some of the headlines along the way have not been good for downing street. you are going to be staying with us through the edition. we are also going to talk about that peppa pig cbi speech withjoe twyman. he is a very well—known pollster. he will help us gauge how we understand when lots of coverage does or doesn't translate into something longer—lasting. before we get to that, though, let's hearfrom my co—presenter of the media show, katie razzall, because katie has been interviewing the new culture secretary nadine dorries. we are going to release that as a podcast, so you can listen to the whole interview, but here's just some of it where the culture secretary talks about her plans to take on online harm. we are looking at and considering making somebody
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within an organisation like facebook or meta — rebranding doesn't work, by the way — or one of those organisations criminally responsible. that is something we are considering including in this bill. they have had notice, they've got fair warning — this bill is coming, abide by your terms and conditions now, remove your harmful algorithms now. there's 20,000 engineers that you are going to put under the metaverse. put them on making facebook a place which is safer for young people to go to, now. now, of course, facebook would disagree with the culture secretary's characterisation of its company. it said recently, "our technology is having a big impact on reducing how much hate speech people see." let's also bring in chris williams, business editor at the telegraph. chris, good to have you on the media show. i wonder what you make of the culture secretary's plans to take on companies like facebook. i mean, these laws have been in the works now for a number of years. the uk will be sort of the first country
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in the world to attempt something like this and it's fair to say that the regulator ofcom is taking on these powers is itself unsure about how it's going to work and whether it will work. at the moment, what is proposed amounts to not much more than the power to tell people off. and at the scale of a company like google or facebook, a country the size of the uk is going to struggle to have an impact, so there is a big question about how and whether this will work or have an impact. the government seems to bring it up as a response to everything — every news event where it's got an online element where we have got this online harms bill that is going to sort everything out, you have to be sceptical. and chris, as you well know, on tuesday this week, the culture secretary nadine dories also appeared before the department of culture, media and sport select committee to take a whole range of questions. i wonder what you would pick out as being the most significant thing that she said? well, i think it's fair to say that when nadine was appointed, there was some surprise and raised eyebrows.
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and i think her comment — she made a comment about channel 4 which sort of showed that she's got some work to do to get her head around the brief where she said it's taxpayers' money to look after, and of course channel 4 is commercially funded, so there's no taxpayer money involved in that situation. so, basically, she is new to the brief and we don't really know what we're going to get from her. chris, you are staying with us for all of this edition, and for those of you listening, you can hear the whole of katie's interview with nadine dorries on a bonus media show podcast via bbc sounds, either via browser or by the bbc sounds app. now, next on the media show, let's bring in steve rosenberg, the bbc�*s moscow correspondent who is with us from moscow. steve, good to speak to you. thanks very much, ros. now, we invited you on because you've done quite an extraordinary interview with the president of belarus, alexander lu kashenko. it has been going viral on social media, it's been widely hailed for a range of reasons — one of them
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being you did the whole thing in russian. i have to say, ifound it all completely mesmerising. i've got to ask you — when did you first think of requesting to spend half an hour with him? do you know, when i put in my first request to interview alexander lukashenko, it was in 1999 — it was 22 years ago i made the first request, and it was a no that came back, so it's taken more than two decades. but basically, this time around, we went to belarus to cover the migrant crisis that's taking place on the border of belarus and the eu, — poland. several thousand migrants have gathered there trying to get into the eu and alexander lukashenko has been accused by the west of basically inviting them to come to belarus, to use his country get them into europe to try and put pressure on europe, pressure on the eu as basically revenge for eu sanctions. he denies that. but this is one of the things
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which has kept him — put him in the headlines over the last year and a half. think back to august of last year, he was accused of rigging the presidential election, then he launched a brutal crackdown on his critics and opponents — tens of thousands of people were detained. then he was accused of air piracy — remember the case of the ryan air passengerjet, which he forced to land in minsk so he could arrest one of his critics. and now being accused of weaponising migrants. so we put in a request to interview him, didn't expect to get a yes, but he agreed. and then you went — tell us about what it was like when you arrived to do the interview. well, we had to set up all the equipment, all the cameras, the lights the day before in the palace of independence. then we came back the next day and belarusian state television was there, it was quite a quiet atmosphere. we were told that mr lukashenko was on his way. he could have waltzed into the room, sat down, there wasn't much small talk.
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i said, you know, "my russian is not native, but i will try my best". he said, "i'm glad you're going to do the interview in my language", and off we went. and very quickly, you know, he was trying to put me down. you know, he accused me of lying. he said "don't be dumb". and used the familiar form — you know, in russian there is one form, the polite form for "you", and a familiarform, and he used the familiar form — which i took as an insult, basically. so he was clearly trying to get one up on me, i think, pretty early on. before we talk about it any further, steve, let's hear some of the interview. translation: you told the eu that belarus had been stopping migrants but that now, they would have to catch them themselves. the migrants took that to mean belarus is open to then. translation: i told the eu i'm not going to detain - migrants on the border, i hold them at the border,
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and if they keep coming from now on, _ i still won't stop them. because they are not i coming to my country, they are going to yours. the west stopped talking to us and working with us. _ if you don't want to, i then fine, we will sort this problem out ourselves as best we can. _ so that is some of steve rosenberg's interview with president lukashenko and i have to say, steve, as i was watching it, my mouth was hanging open on occasions because i couldn't believe how frank he was being. were you surprised? well, you know, i know he's an emotional person, but it was fascinating having this dialogue with him and i don't think he expected to be interrupted — he is not used tojournalists interviewing him and interrupting — and i had to try to interrupt him because what i didn't want the interview to become was a platform for mr lukashenko — this controversial leader, who is not recognised as the president of belarus by the european union, britain or america — i didn't want it to become a platform for him to just put across his views,
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so i had to press him on human rights in belarus, on relations with russia and some of the things he didn't like. he got irritated when i brought up vladimir putin — you could tell that — and he always mentioned the west — he blamed the west for everything, he used the west as an excuse. and i noticed he also referred to you as �*the west�* — it was almost like he saw you as a representative of notjust the uk, but of all western countries. yeah, i became the personification of the west in his eyes. i was the one who is funding the anti—government protests last year. i was the one, sitting in this chair, who was attacking belarus. i tried to stay as calm as possible while, you know, opposite me, this leader was getting more and more angry and it was difficult, obviously, because russian is not my native tongue,
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but i did as best i could. well, i think you acquitted yourself very well on that front. i wonder if you had any journalistic doubts or whether people who are opponents of president lukashenko in belarus had doubts about the merits of giving him bbc news airtime. yeah, certainly, i did have doubts and certainly, when the news came out on friday that the bbc had recorded an interview with alexander lukashenko — before the actual interview, the content had been put out — there was some criticism of the bbc, you know, for actually sitting down and recording an interview with this particular person. and certainly, some of the criticism came from the belarusian opposition. but once our interview aired, the 24—minute version and now a 33—minute version, most of that criticism has gone and the interview has been, i think, pretty much welcomed and well received. has it been watched in belarus? can people see it? interesting question, because in belarus, you can — they can see it on youtube, that is not blocked —
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but belarusian state television has put out a completely different version of our interview. have they? what they did, very cunning, they divided the interview into sections, so the migration crisis, relations with the eu, political situation in belarus, and they edited together my questions, like one long question, and then they had lots of lukashenko, basically a monologue, just talking, so you didn't get a feeling that this was a dialogue. none of me interrupting him in the belarusian state tv version, just a lot lukashenko talking. which is not an accurate representation of what happened and anyone who actually sees our version of the interview, that is the accurate version of what happened. so there are two versions out there. i wonder, when you were in the thick of this, jousting with president lukashenko — a man who is right at the centre of one of the most pressing humanitarian stories in the world, certainly over the last month — were you aware that
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what you were recording was unusual, was extraordinary, would generate the kind of impact that it has since it's come out? not during the interview. i was so focused on trying to make sure that things went well. you know, we had done preparation, we had a day and a half to prepare and i had a great team with me to help me prepare, you know, my producer will vernon and the cameraman matt goddard, and we tried as hard as possible, but i was the one in the chair, and i felt a huge responsibility, i have to say, we didn't do this for ratings or anything like that. i felt a responsibility there to try and put difficult questions as best i could to this controversial figure to try to show what kind of a person he was. and not, as i say, not to allow it to become the alexander lukashenko show — which it did in the belarusian state tv version. there was nothing i could do about that. listening to you, steve, is anushka asthana, the deputy political editor for itv news.
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you have recently interviewed borisjohnson, you have interviewed many other high—profile figures too. i wonder if when you are doing those interviews, you can gauge when one is going to be particularly high impact, that will particularly resonate. oh, the thing i was thinking about, actually, listening to steve, was the idea of cutting into him and making sure that they don't just get to talk freely. i mean, borisjohnson is a very, very different figure and absolutely does grant journalists lots of interviews. but when you have a very short amount of time with him, the way you're going to try to make impact is by pressing him, because he can allow an answer to go on for two, three, four minutes and, you know, the interview you are talking about last week was the day when he was shooting around the country on trains and we were told to go to this station at this time, wait for the prime minister tojump off a train and we had two minutes to get on the next carriage, on a very shortjourney in which we were going to be sat down and given an opportunity to get what we could from him. he wanted to talk about trains,
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and that is fine — i was happy to talk about trains with him — but i really, really wanted to ask him about standards and whether he might apologise on standards. and i had eight minutes and there was a person standing behind him, one of my producers who was basically giving me a little sign, three minutes in, five minutes in. it was like, ok, you need to interrupt some more to try to try to get what you want to get. and sometimes, it's quite awkward, because sometimes, you are asking questions that feel quite out of place — you know, for example, at a european council meeting in brussels, standing up and asking something that might feel quite light in the context of that but which is something that our viewers, that the british public, want the answer to from their prime minister. when we get the opportunity to ask those questions, we have to ask them. even if it's awkward. and steve, before i let you go — because i know you're in the middle of a very busy day — speaking about awkward, what was the atmosphere like once you wrapped it up? it was strange. after the interview, ithought the interview is finished. we were calling 45 minutes or so, and then a second interview began.
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he didn't leave, so we recorded another ten minutes, and then we got up, he still didn't leave, he was chatting away, and he said, i've just spoken to vladimir putin, you know, and i told vladimir that i was going to give an interview to the bbc and vladimir putin said send my best wishes to the bbc. i don't know if that's true, that's what he said. and then he said, don't be upset by the way things have gone, you asked for this interview. he seems to have think it had gone well for him, which is quite interesting, and off he walked. fascinating. steve, thank you very much for sharing the story behind the interview. we appreciate it. steve rosenberg joining us live from moscow. you can find the full interview both on iplayer and also on youtube. now, evidently, steve's interview has very much cut through, though the degree to which it will impact on belarusian politics we will see because of the way lukashenko runs the country. but if we turn our attention to stories in the uk, let's consider how and why some of those stories have a lot more impact than others,
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and we very much had a case study this week, the speech at the cbi, i'm sure most of you listening heard it in some form. the prime minister lost his place for over 20 seconds, compared himself to moses at one point and also said this... yesterday, i went, as we all must, to peppa pig world, i don't know if you've been to peppa pig world. who has been to peppa pig world? not enough! not that many people had been to peppa pig world at that cbi event, but let's assess whether this is a political storm that will pass or something that may have longer resonance. anushka's with us, chris williams joins us from the daily telegraph and joe is here, co—founder and director of deltapoll. i'm also told that you have been dubbed the housewives�* favourite pollster by the times. laughter which is an interesting moniker. but let's stick to the story here. help me and to everyone assess this peppa pig story. it got a huge amount of attention, but in
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the long run, does it matter? well, when looking at any of these such events, it's important to distinguish between turning points, as in true moments that make a difference that last in the polls and simply talking points. those moments that may produce a spike in the support in one way or the other, but don't actually make a lasting different, that long—term trends we are interested in here, and i would say that this peppa pig incident if you like, pig gate or �*peppagate', however you want to characterise it, is good for a couple of days perhaps a week or so to chat about, but it's definitely more of a talking point. the reason for that is it's very much on brand for borisjohnson. it's certainly not the first time that he has given a rather, shall we say, bumbling speech. many of your listeners will remember the speech that he gave in front of a number of police officers in september 2019, just before the general election was launched. and that was similarly criticised for being bumbling,
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and jeremy vine has talked before about how he went to two separate speeches where borisjohnson actually bumbled in the same way at events, as if it was part of his shtick. so i don't think this will have a lasting impact, but of course, these things always have the potential to make a difference, so we're on the lookout for what really makes a change but very few things do. it sounds like i should distinguish between a story which cuts through, which is simply a story we're all aware of, and one which has impact, which is a story which shifts how we feel. yes, exactly. think to yourself, will this really make a difference to voters next week, next month, or particularly when they arrived at the ballot box or when the next election arrives, and there really are very few of those because it if we look back over the coronavirus, for instance, coronavirus itself, obviously a massive turning point for public opinion, but throughout that, various different things gone, dominic cummings and his
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speech in the rose garden of downing street, that attracted a lot of attention at the time and there was discussion about what massive impact that might have, but actually, think of it this way, if that hadn't happened, if none of that had occurred, would the polls really be in a statistically significant difference from where they are now? i think it's difficult to argue that they would. but when it comes to something like the vaccine campaign, that really did make a lasting impact that has lasted for all the way through now and may last into the future, but will that even last until the next election? it remains to be seen. instead, it's about how these stories come together to form broad narratives in the minds of voters about the way they think about politicians, who they can trust, who they think is effective, who they think is competent, and who they think will do the right thing by them. and the thing that i next want to understand, and you can help me here, anushka, because you held a very senior role at the guardian, you now hold itv news, is which forms of media decide
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those broader narratives thatjoe is describing? which is the most influential, is it the print press, is it tv, how do we gauge this? i think it's a combination of all of them, and sometimes, the print press drives a lot of what you see on tv and vice versa as well, often what you hear on the radio or what you see on tv will drive what the papers are interested in. there is something that has shifted. i agree with joe, absolutely, i have used a lot of his data here at itv, and it's been very helpful at showing us that a lot of these things don't cut through. i've remember being in hartlepool for a by—election and there was a lot of focus on sleaze and it didn't come up once on the doorstep, but it feels to me that this is part of a context and a bigger story which began with the owen paterson vote, and ever since then, there's a narrative that's negative for the government. now, in terms of media, let me give you an example, yes, it matters that all the news channels were watching what was happening at cbi, and some people
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were watching that, but what really mattered was when that evening ant and dec on i'm a celebrity started to make fun of the prime minister, i think i saw a tweet that said, "i think this is what pollsters talk about when they talk about cut—through", because over 10,000,000 people watched that, so it allows them to sit up and pay that little bit more attention, if you like, and that then goes on to the news bulletins as a result of that. so that could be a factor, chris williams from the telegraph, let's also talk about certain papers being a factor, because anushka talked about the owen paterson story and a part of that story in its momentum was the daily mail which devoted a huge amount of coverage to it. how do you assess the mail's impact on the fact that the government ended up u—turning on a range of fronts around the owen paterson story? i wouldn't overstate the impact of any one paper. i think what you saw at cbi and one of the reasons this cuts through is the prime minister looking
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weak in front of a home crowd, essentially. the cbi should be an easy venue for a conservative prime minister speaker, and it was clearly a bit of a disaster. and that's what i think cuts through. clearly the owen paterson affair was, as an issue, the start of a narrative which has now built up to things looking slightly out of control. and that's the kind of thing that cuts through and changes people's perception of who a prime minister is. one of the reasons i asked about the mail is because it's all changed there, and you are going to help me understand this, out has gone the daily mail editor geordie greig, ted verity, who was already editor of the mail on sunday, is now editor of the daily mail and editor of the mail on sunday, and to make things even more intriguing, the former editor of the mail, paul dacre is back as editor in chief of dmg media, which is the group that owns the mail titles — mail online, metro and the i, so chris, it's all going on, what's the story?
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it's a complex picture that's about business and about politics as well. so three years ago, paul dacre, the 26—year editor of the mail, huge figure on fleet street stands down and geordie greig appointed he is seen as a more softer for gary who makes friends more easily and takes the mail in a slightly to some people less nasty, to some people less sharp direction. now, in the meantime, print media is declining rapidly, and that includes the mail, even though it's now the biggest paper in the country, that doesn't really matter, being the biggest paper doesn't really matter any more. it's all about digital media now, and dmgt losing geordie greig and putting ted in charge of two papers also allows martin clark who runs the mail online to have a bigger role, and i think that's what a lot of this is about. the business side of
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this is quite interesting, which is that the parent company, the public company, controlled by lord rothermere, is seeking to take it private partly because they are going to go through some fairly drastic changes and it's very difficult to do that on the public market, so bringing paul dacre back who had been pursuing the chairmanship of ofcom, to an extent steadies the ship a bit for what is going to be a fairly rocky period for that organisation. about 20 seconds, but to the people who are may be suggesting that geordie greig's attacks on the owen paterson story led to then being removed, it sounds like you are saying that's not the story at all. i don't think so, no. we're talking about billions of pounds of investment in a large organisation, a single story about sleaze is not going to change the direction of the company. chris, thank you very much for taking us through that. i'm afraid we are completely out of time. many thanks to chris williams, business editor at the telegraph, anushka asthana, deputy editor for itv news, and the director of delta poll
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and earlier my colleague steve rosenberg, the bbc news correspondent in moscow. that is it for this edition, thank you very much indeed for watching. katie razzall will be with you next week. hello there. it certainly has been a cold few days across the uk. but in recent hours, things have been changing — more cloud has been rolling its way in from the west, and with that, we've seen some milderair pushing in, these westerly winds bringing those milder conditions for most of us, away from the far north of scotland. so for the majority, tuesday morning is starting with a very different feel — temperatures in liverpool, in plymouth, around 11 celsius. but with that, we have more in the way of cloud, and we have some outbreaks of patchy rain and drizzle. now, through the day,
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that cloud should thin and break a little bit to give some sunny spells, particularly across england and wales. and then through the afternoon, we'll see a band of heavier rain pushing in from the west, getting into parts of northern ireland and western scotland with strengthening winds. but top temperatures 10—12 celsius in most places — it will stay quite chilly in the far north of scotland, just three there in lerwick. now, through tuesday night, we're watching this area of low pressure — it's likely to deepen a little as it slides across the uk. so, as well as outbreaks of rain, we do have the potential for some quite strong winds. now, it certainly doesn't look like we'll see anything as windy as we have over the weekend, but still, the potential for some really strong winds for western coasts, perhaps for parts of eastern scotland and northeast england, those gusts could touch gale force in places. temperatures between 5—9 celsius, so starting to drop away again, you'll notice, and that is a sign of things to come on wednesday because the winds will be coming down from the north. and that will reintroduce some
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relatively cold air — probably not as cold as it has been, but yes, a chillier day to come on wednesday. we'll see areas of showers, or longer spells of rain pushing southwards, wintry showers even to quite low levels across the northern half of scotland, so some more snow likely to settle here. temperatures by the afternoon between 3—10 celsius, an increasingly cold feel as we go through the day. now, we have those northerly winds, they will ease a little as we get into thursday. as this ridge of high pressure builds in, some dry weather for a time. and then, this frontal system pushes in from the west, briefly maybe some snow — but, as milder air works in, that will tend to turn back to rain. so, temperatures really up and down this week, quite a chilly day to come on thursday, a slightly milder one likely on friday.
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hello, this is bbc news — i'm rich preston. our top stories this hour. more cases of the new coronavirus variant and more travel restrictions — but us president joe biden urges calm. this variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic. british socialite ghislaine maxwell goes on trial in new york — she's accused of trafficking under—age girls for her former loverjeffrey epstein. (upsot + oov)on the eve of becoming the world's newest republic — barbados prepares to swear in its first president as it loses queen elizabeth as head of state.

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