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    Wednesday, 12 September 2007

    Catch-up (August): more on trust and deception in broadcasting

    Early August witnessed the lingering aftermath of the the melee of developments on the trust in broadcasting. The primary matter was that concerning the Paul Watson documentary on the demise of an Alzheimer's sufferer (Malcom and Barbara: Love's Farewell), and the 'misrepresentation' concerning the final moments of the piece (1,2). ITV was heavily criticised for its role amid mutual recriminations between the broadcaster and film-maker, while it transpired that the truth as to what the final scenes depicted emerged on a Times weblog.

    The really big noise in this respect in August came at the Edinburgh television festival, at which Jeremy Paxman - in the 2007 McTaggart Lecture (see here for clips and here for the transcript) - offered an indictment of the events and practices that had drawn broadcasting into the mire over the summer months. He considered that, "...there is a problem. Potentially, it is a very big problem. It has the capacity to change utterly what we do, and in the process to betray the people we ought to be serving. Once people start believing we’re playing fast and loose with them routinely, we’ve had it", and then went to offer what he labelled "a manifesto, a statement of belief" (for more, see the speech itself.

    Of course, there's also been much commentary on what Paxman had to say:
    - After the trust has gone - executives reflect on a turbulent year for TV - Chris Tryhorn
    - The BBC has squandered trust. But we will win it back - Mark Thompson
    - 'We need some proportionality: Ramsay is not the first person to lie about a fish' - Jana Bennett
    - Tough lessons for a BBC going through tough times - Observer leader
    - Will Paxman's speech change anything? - Steve Hewlett
    - We can trust the BBC - if only they'd stop talking about it - Peter Preston
    - Trust with the BBC is betrayed - David Elstein
    - Froth away, Paxo - but it’s viewers who will put TV in order - Rod Liddle
    - Give us some roughage in our TV diet - Paul Hoggart
    - Television's Faustian pact - Georgina Born
    - Agenda Benders - John Cole

    ... and finally, Paxman in conversation with John Humphries on Today.


    Anonymous said...

    In its report on the 'death-scene debacle' law firm Olswang lent towards blaming Watson for the misrepresentation while exonerating ITV. That said, it pulled its punches somewhat by indicating that Watson had not intentionally mislead anyone. Rather he had been ambiguous, and had not taken opportunities that presented themselves to put the question beyond any doubt.

    For comment, see:

    Watson blamed for Alzheimer's doc controversy
    Alzheimer's row: Watson blamed

    Andrew Scott said...

    Everybody's doing it...

    ... in the midst of the trust in tv furore, a Russian tv company was ridiculed for its attempt to pass off footage from the Holywood movie Titanic as screen captures from the recent Russian deep sea expedition to the North pole. Moreover, it wasn't the only attempt by the station in recent times to massage the truth:

    Revealed: why those Russian submarine heroics might have looked a little familiar

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