Saturday, December 02, 2006

The News This Week

Sometimes looking at the headlines is like looking into the past. The case of the Russian poisoning case is a hark back to the cold war at its chilliest. It is a very odd set of events for the twenty-first century.

Then there's the story of the BBC chairmanship ... I've been trying to explain to non-media people why this is interesting. So far ... no luck without returning to Cliches. It will change the vision for the BBC? Probably not as this is the governing arm rather than the executive. It will change the values? No. It will change the balance of broadcasting? Not really - Murdoch has it all wrapped up. The major changes for the BBC Governors have already been sorted (the 'BBC Trust' has been established and the Charter Review nearly completed), so it is hard to see the impact. It does give us a chance to examine the Beeb and her issues. It also gives the bookies a good opportunity to guess who will be 'next.' Current bets include David Dimbleby
I suppose, in the end, the major impact of a new chairman will only become clear next time they have to cope with a crisis of a major scale.

However, the story that has irritated me most this week is the story of Gordon Brown's child. Before I go any further, I would like to say that I am deeply sorry for Fraser and his family as the cope with Cystic Fibrosis. I remember studying the condition in genetics classes at school and being amazed at how far the drugs have progressed recently but it does not mean that it is any easier to live with.

What makes me a little irritated is the managing of the press through this. Firstly, remember that the Press Complaints Commission Code of Conduct, Clause 6, states that just because a parent is famous does not give the press the right to publish a story about a child. As we have seen with various stories of the Blair family and the hardships of the Browns in recent years, politicians do ask for privacy for their children and the press are getting better at respecting that. However, this story was released or it could not have been covered (PCC Code, Clause 6) and, indeed, it was released to 'The Sun.' I also wonder why it was released now when the Browns found out in July; I'm sure that arguments of being in control of the story, coming to term with the news personally and only releasing the story when necessary would be banded. The cynic in me wonders if this was building up 'Gordon: The Family Man' image and creating human sympathy for a potential Prime Minister.

So, whilst I do feel sorry for the Browns for their problems, I also feel a little sorry that they have to press manage their family news as well,

CJG

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