Friday, 1 July 2011

Was Milliband set up by BBC?

This piece of BBC film looks horrendous, but there's a case to be made for saying that Ed Milliband has been set up by the corporation. I don't know if that's true, but it's the only explanation I can come up with for why Mr Milliband should appear to be giving such a terrible interview. He's being pilloried for it on a number of political websites.

Why I think he has been set up

TV news programmes will usually want a short sharp statement (a soundbite) from key figures, rather than a full interview with lots of questions. So they will despatch a crew to interview the politician - often without anyone who regularly appears on screen. Instead, a producer will ask the question (which itself is not broadcast) in order to get the politician's statement on tape. Sometimes the politicians will fluff their lines. Other times, the producer will want them to say the same thing in a slightly different way or slightly shorter and so they will ask a number of questions which all get a version of the same reply.

In this case, Ed Milliband clearly had his core message - the strikes are wrong but both sides are to blame and they need to get round the negotiating table because real people are suffering - and he repeated that in a number of ways. Clearly, he was under the impression (whether explicit or not) that only one reply would be broadcast.

I don't know who the interviewer on the tape is - I don't recognise the voice - but the questions are clearly not designed for broadcast. If they were, they would be far more clipped and precise. And however much some might criticise Milliband, he's not such a terrible interviewee as to reply as he did if he thought more than one statement would make it to the screen.

UPDATE - As has been pointed out in the comments below, the reporter who carried out the interview has blogged himself to say that there was no set up, just a very unconvincing Labour Leader who parroted the same statement time after time.


Cllr Andrew Wallis said...

Personally, I don't think he has been set up. As any politician will tell you (however minor)you stick to your core message.

Ed Milliband is a seasoned politician, and would know full well the answers he gives will be used.

Maybe he was just being honest in what he thought of the strikes.

Liberal Neil said...

They got Osbourne with exactly the same thing too.

Hywel said...

I think its a fair point. Miliband isn't a great media performer but he isn't that bad.

Though what would Mandelson and Campbell have done had the BBC tried that trick when they were in charge.

Interesting that you defend him but Henry Manson (a Labour supporter) lays in to Ed on

Hywel said...

Or maybe not