Monday, May 19, 2008

Radio 4's Today Programme... still embarrassingly ill-informed

I don't know why I insist on listening to the Today programme. It's not healthy to get so stressed so early in the morning by their one-sided reports, determination to follow their own agenda and insistence on persisting with the "socialist homily of the day" slot at 7:45.

This morning's show was a classic, though.

Evan Davies's failure to understand the difference between "volume" and "mass" during a discussion on alcohol (8mg vs 10ml in a unit) was minor enough but still amusing.

But the best part was James Naughtie's embarrassment of an invterview with the boss of Glaxo SmithKline.

He was determined to throw some mud about Seroxat, seemingly thinking that vague questions, unsupported assertions and sheer aggression could substitute actually having a clue about the topic or having been briefed.

I thought Jean-Pierre Garnier humoured him more than was necessary before tearing him apart. You could sense Naughtie floundering at the end and it made for a most satisfying experience.

Being reminded that even the most "respected" members of the press are really just a bunch of cowboys is still somewhat disconcerting, however.


Anonymous said...

I have to say that I listen to Today a lot less now that I have podcasts to enjoy. I do like to hear the BBC's news agenda for the day though, even though I frequently end up shouting at the radio (usually when there's a technology story).

I caught the middle of the GSK interview and it seemed a bit messy.

Anonymous said...

sadly it's part of the a general malaise of science reporting in the news media in general. A disease that attacks left and right wing media indistriminately. Unfortunately those who work in news usually lack the scientific knowledge of a 12 year old and worse, worse are often quite proud of the fact. (See

As for "thought for the fey", getting rid of that is one of the few things that you and Today editors would agree on. A former housemate mate of mine and bbc radio journalist told me they loath it but sadly the "powers that be" won't let them get rid of it.