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I'm a journalist, ex-national papers, now working in what we call "new" media.

The BBC has taken to littering its news programmes with phrases such as 'The BBC has learned...' and 'The BBC understands....' to indicate that its journalists have the inside scoop and have broken a story. This is something that has been borrowed from newspapers and its recent prevalence seems to date from this memo stemming from the BBC's failure at the last Royal Television Society awards. More exclusives is the mantra.

At the same time, BBC news seems to have been co-opted into the promotional process for certain of its documentaries. Stories emanating from Panorama, in particular, seem to be given undue prominence in the news running order, most notably on the BBC website.

These two trends come together today with the story about Thaksin Shinawatra, the new owner of Manchester City football club, being accused of human rights abuses. The substance of the allegations is not new; the BBC has advanced the story only to the extent that an organisation called Human Rights Watch has complained to the Premier League about Shinawatra. If a newspaper wants to freshen up an old story, it is standard practice to get a pressure group to make a public fuss about the issue; possibly that is what the BBC has done here. If so, is it stepping into the grey area that marks the unclear divide between reporting the news and becoming involved in the creation of the news - and is that a comfortable place for the BBC to be?

In any case, the story is being used to promote an interesting-sounding Radio 5 documentary on the takeover of British clubs by possibly unsuitable foreign tycoons. Would the Human Rights Watch letter have been given the same prominence had it not allowed BBC News to puff the Radio 5 programme? If the answer is no, what does this tell us about the objectivity of the BBC's news agenda?
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Can someone stop Nick Robinson using the phrase 'mood music'? He said it at least twice this morning on the Today programme, reporting on the Brown-Bush summit. Where did this stupid phrase come from and why has it become a BBC buzzword?
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I don't know Danny Cohen, the whizzkid controller of BBC3, so I have no idea if the amusing Secret Blog of a TV Controller is an accurate spoof or not. However, Media Guardian, ever respectful of the feelings of powerful TV executives, today reports that it is 'nasty', 'spiteful' and 'devoid of wit' and gives Cohen ample opportunity to insist, unconvincingly, that he pays little attention to it (if that's true, he is practically unique in broadcasting). Its interview/profile of Cohen is so sycophantic that you can almost hear the author's desperate attempts to ingratiate himself.

So much so that BBC3's decision to make a programme about single mothers and call it 'Pramface Mansions' passes almost unremarked in the piece, beyond a glancing reference to its 'insulting' title. The term 'pramface' is, of course, a deeply unpleasant sex- and class-based piece of abuse but nowhere in the interview is Cohen called to account for the use of the term.

In Media Guardian land, channel controllers' sensitivities must be protected (after all they might aid one's own progression into TV), but the lower orders are evidently fair game.

Media Guardian and its journalists spend their lives writing admiringly about these people that they've lost any sense of objectivity: they don't realise how craven they've become.
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So a couple of Daily Mirror journalists are caught smuggling a fake bomb on to a train, 'to test security' - or, more truthfully, to generate a cheap splash. The Mirror is bleating because they were arrested under terrorism legislation, had their houses searched etc.

Papers have been pulling stunts like this for years, claiming that they're helping to expose security loopholes, and patting themselves on the back for their 'investigative journalism'. In reality, they prove little or nothing - we all know that you can't have 100% security - and simply put added pressure on the police. It's pointless stunt journalism with no public interest justification and the Mirror can't complain if its reporters are charged. Ideally its editor, Richard Wallace, should be too.

Roy Greenslade is right.
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the latest story on the toils of RDF, bringing with it some good news for beleaguered Stephen Lambert, the creator of the misleading 'Queen hissy fit' trailer. But read it closely and with a cynical eye and an interesting sequence of events emerges.

Here's the Media Guardian take:

RDF's share-price slumped by 16.7% on Friday to 192p, after announcements by both the BBC and ITV that they would suspend commissions from the firm until the outcome of an independent inquiry into the affair in the autumn.

This followed a plunge of 8.4% on Thursday.

The news of Mr Lambert's admission and his offer of resignation came after the markets had closed on Friday.

In early trading today, the firm's share price was up 0.96% on Friday's close of 210p.

Mr Lambert's admission of responsibility over the row followed his buying up of 12,747 extra shares in the firm on Thursday, taking his personal stake to 2,629,714, or 6.78%.

And here's how events seem to have unfolded:

1. RDF share price slumps
2. Stephen Lambert buys 12,747 shares
3. Stephen Lambert makes stabilising announcement
4. RDF share price rallies

So Mr Lambert bought a whack of shares immediately before making an announcement that caused the share price to rise. Now I'm not sufficiently expert to know if any rules have been broken and I'm sure he was simply trying to show his faith in the company, rather than engaging in any insider-ish shenanigans but if the the RDF share price recovers to its pre-scandal level, his purchase could net him a quick six grand. Not even beer money to a multi-millionaire, but still, better to avoid even the hint of controversy, isn't it?
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Peter Fincham, the controller of BBC1, looked pretty shifty on Newsnight tonight, as he tried to explain the Queen and Leibowitz cock-up, blustering, rambling and several times holding his hands in front of him in a protective/defensive gesture.

"As controller, I take responsibility," he said, as if he was bravely shouldering the blame for something that was not really his fault. In fact, it was he who fronted the press conference at which the mielading sequence was shown. I'm told by BBC friends that Fincham is not well liked at the corporation - though this may be because he's an incomer at an institution that values long service above pretty much all else.

Fincham vouchsafed that he did not think he should resign over the balls-up, though I suspect that had the offending sequence been broadcast, rather than just shown to journalists, he would be clearing his desk.

The BBC seems to me to have done a pretty good job of covering this issue fairly and appropriately. Gavin Esler was quite firm with Fincham - but you couldn't help wishing that it had been Paxman in the chair.
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Above is one of images that have run on the bbc.co.uk home page today promoting some vulgar and catchpenny-sounding programme called Fight for Life. As you can see it is some sort of giant baby or foetus, rendered for some reason in blue and semi-transparent so that you can see its bones, internal organs and so on. I've show it small: on the site itself, it runs across the full width of the page: a real monster.

The other baby, which was on the site this morning, was brown and its massive face was seemingly pressed against the monitor, like a fishy alien thing. The pictures are about four times the size of the normal bbc.co.uk promo and the overall effect is highly disquieting. Has a madman taken over the bbc home page? What is going on?
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