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The Glass Box for Tuesday

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Eddie Mair | 16:42 UK time, Tuesday, 12 June 2007

The Glass Box is the place where you can comment on what you heard on PM, interact with other listeners and get responses from the people who make the programme.

Just click on the "comment" link.

The Glass Box is named after the booth outside the PM studio where we all discuss the programme at 18.00 every weeknight. We try to be honest and constructive. Sometimes there is criticism, and the criticised get a chance to explain themselves.

The people who make PM will read the comments posted, and will sometimes respond. Unless it's Roger Sawyer editing. He's completely hopeless. Please feel free to post your thoughts. There is a link to previous Glass Boxes on the right.

Also on the right, you'll find FAQ: try it.


  1. At 04:50 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Five minutes to go ... the tension in S1 is palpable ...

    * palp! palp! palp! *

    Four minute to go ... and the Pips are gearing up for their big moment ...

    * pi- oh, sorry! *

    Three minutes to go, and the premature Pip is issued with its Second Written Warning...


  2. At 04:58 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Oh, for goodness sake - get rid of that trailer about shops - it has NOTHING whatever to do with Radio 4.
    It's not as if we haven't already told you.

  3. At 05:26 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Joe Bleasdale wrote:

    Regarding Tony Blair's criticism of The Independent, how can the man from The Independent be "slightly" enraged? Isn't he just mildly irritated?

  4. At 05:38 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Peter Coghlan wrote:

    As a regular reader of the Independent, predictably I find Tony Blair's comments both ridiculous and insulting. As Simon Kelmer pointed out the political reporting and comment in the paper is factual and unsensational especially when compared with each of the other 'quality' papers each of whom have a particular axe to grind especially where the Labour Party and Tony Blair are concerned.

    No doubt Mr Blair has a point when he highlights the pressure of a 24 hour 'news lite' media circus but that does not excuse the hypocrisy of news management, the manipulation, obfuscation and mendacity which has been the hallmark of his time in office.

  5. At 05:40 PM on 12 Jun 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Anne P - you're quite right as I wa saying a few threads back as in -
    SSC - yes let's go on flogging that dead horse until some life gets back into it. I was appalled to hear that program trailed on the radio again last week although I can't remember if it was actually during PM.If it was I obviously thought, what the h*ll, there's no point in complaining because we did that last week and no-one has taken a blind bit of notice. All they did was tell us that we liked these trailers for TV programs that we have no onterest in watching. Which we know to be untrue.
    And note to BBC2 program makers. This format worked on 4 with Ramsay because almost everyone is interested in eating out and Ramsay is a big personality and can carry it off. The same things do not apply to independent fashion retailers and whoever it is that presents this prog.

  6. At 05:42 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Shrodingers Cat wrote:

    Tony Blair has lied and misrepresented truth for at least the last four years......how can he complain when the media challenge him on this?......if as Lance Price suggests the public are crying out for being "told the truth"....what do we need spin doctors for?.....Tony Blair hurls bile at The Independent yet cannot bring himself to mention the servile relationship he has courted with Rupert Murdoch ,who we all know is the epitome of everything Tony Blair believes to be wrong in today's media.....Tony Blair is a war criminal and that's the truth!

  7. At 05:48 PM on 12 Jun 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Did you really think a businessman with large interests in Russia was actually going to say anything insicive or interesting about the state of democracy in the country? *Of course* he was going to say that Mr Putin is the best omlette chef since the Galloping Gourmet.

    It was a good try by Eddie to get him to say something interesting, but to no avail I'm afraid.

    I'm also disconcerted - but not surprised - that businesspeople automatically assume that government policy and statements should be to their advantage...

  8. At 05:52 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Stephen Watts wrote:

    Nils Blythe's report on food price increases suggested that people in China and India are demanding better food. Multinationals are promoting global brands in these countries that don't contain local ingredients. Any link?

  9. At 05:53 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Charlie wrote:

    Eddie & Team

    The Finch's. A GREAT note to (almost) end on..!

  10. At 05:54 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Molly wrote:

    All those cakes coming out of the ovens!

    Lovely, sensible Mrs Monkhouse- like' listening in' to two friends chatting. Good advice, chaps...

    Black Calvin Klein? Held up? Like this?
    For goodnss sake- next item, please......


  11. At 05:56 PM on 12 Jun 2007, john tozer wrote:

    Say what you like about Tony Blair, its about time someone questioned the free ticket the newspapers have to print whatever stories they like, secure in the knowledge that most people will believe it and few people will question it.

    The hypocrisy of these self-appointed, unregulated keepers of the moral grail is never short of astounding. If you take any story in any newspaper on any day of the year you will find a dozen different versions of the same thing. An inattentive reader could be mistaken for believing they were reading coverage of a dozen entirely different stories.

    Among our array of daily newspapers there is no single source where one can go to access a transparent truth concerning what is happening in our country or the world.

    The news media pretends it is doing a service to the British public by revealing the lies and untruths behind the political facade. It jabs its sword of truth at public figures, then scampers off to the moral high ground to crow and jeer at those who don't have access to a popular mouthpiece, untouchable, smug, as if butter wouldn't melt. If it is printed people tend to believe it. How do we make up our minds on the important events of the day if we can't find the news in amongst all the hyperbole?

    A democracy depends on an educated public, and what the news media does is to obfuscate, harangue and appal, painting all politicians as scoundrels and reinforcing the feeling that there is no point in believing what politicians say, or voting for them every four years or so, because they are all out to get what they can for themselves and are all, by virtue of their occupation, inherently corrupt. It is the responsibility of the news media to inform everyone, not just the media-savvy.

    The editor of the Independent, who said that it was insulting to its readers to suggest that they couldn't tell the difference between fact and opinion, epitomises the hypocrisy of newspapers as a whole. The truth is, most people can't tell the difference, and are inclined to believe whatever they are told, because despite evidence to the contrary the news media enjoys a degree of credibility that it takes care to foster through careful news management and the advantage of being the perceived David to the government's Goliath.

    The sad truth is that the reality is probably the complete opposite. While every government throughout history has been guilty to a greater or lesser extent of some form of dishonesty, greed or corruption, in fact no government can ever afford to be direct or honest because they know that any announcement made to the media is juts a series of words that can be re-arranged to fit whatever agenda the proprietor, editor or journalist may be peddling that day.

    The entire news media should be taken apart bit by bit and re-invented as a responsible, regulated body, that could serve the purpose of educating the public rather than playing to its basest instincts, which is what it does today.

    I'm just sick of the whole thing and write this in despair.

  12. At 06:17 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Peter Bolt wrote:

    I will not claim false humility and say "I may be a bit thick but...."
    Nevertheless I cannot for the life of me see what witholding money from Palestine has to do with two murderous "political parties" trying to tear each other apart.
    Perhaps they cannot afford bigger and better bombs.
    Does you Middle East Editor know something he keeping from us ?

  13. At 06:38 PM on 12 Jun 2007, john tozer wrote:

    I am STAGGERED by Peter Coghlan's comments about the Independent. To describe the newspaper's content as 'factual and unsensational' is naive in the extreme. I have read all the UK national dailies nearly every day over the past five or six years, and I can say with some confidence that the Independent is one of the most opinionated and hypocritical titles on the newsstands.

    It cares nothing for its readers, as if it did so it would seek to promote their understanding of the world through fact rather than inflame their prejudices through its belligerent moral swaggering.

    It writes specifically for a particular audience, and must do so to maintain its circulation. It is certainly no reflection of the truth, and is transparently not 'factual and unsensational'.

    Mr Coghlan, and other newspaper readers, I believe you have been taken in.

  14. At 07:06 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Christopher Thoday wrote:

    Why is it that Tony Blair's absurd rant about the press is treated as news? If newspapers are supposed to only report facts why does Lance Price complain that the rant did not appear in The Independent?

    I would much rather read the courageous factual reporting of Patrick Cockburn in Iraq than listen to nonsense from Ann Clueless (the Prime Minister's so called special envoy).

    I read a newspaper precisely because it contains comment beyond what I can get from the neutral BBC.

  15. At 07:19 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Baza wrote:

    I agree with Blair on this. The media in the UK is completely out of control, and so up itself it can't tell the difference between a genuine story and the crap that PR merchants feed to it. The BBC is as bad if not worse than the written press.

    As I pay my TV licence, I expect the BBC to provide quality unbiassed news coverage to enable those of us who care about such things to make our own minds up. A few parts of the BBC still adhere to this admirable principle. However the majority of BBC News output (and Eddie Mair on the PM program on R4 is just about the worst) feed us an incessant stream of trashy celebrity-obsessed stories and easy journalism rehashing press releases by special interest groups coloured by his own views.

    By contrast I thought Lance Price was a breath of fresh air - with a sensible contribution - he didn't interrupt, repeat himself or trade insults. Please resign from the BBC Eddie so that we can have a proper presenter who listens to what the othe rperson is saying and amends his line of questioning in response. I want to hear more of their views and less of yours. If you are half as good as you appear to think you are you'll get a job anywhere. On the other hand........

    I don't agree with Blair about very much but on this topic he was spot on.

  16. At 07:21 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Colin McAuley wrote:

    These thoughts have just occurred to me, seemingly "out of the blue" (though I have no doubt that I have had sub-conscious thoughts on these for decades).
    If the UK was so easily able to apologize for its role in slavery recently, why is there no apology for the "plantation" of Ireland (my own ancestral homeland) or no apology for the despicable treatment of (now Canadian) Aboriginals during colonial times?
    As a witness of these times of the "Iraq gambit", I have 2 comments; 1) it appears nothing has been learned from history within the UK government, and, 2) I am so glad to hear no more garbage about the "lessons learned and applied to Iraq from the experiences of the British Army" in Ulster! Though I have no truck with the IRA bombs, history has shown that Britain had no problem with slaughtering innocents in the name of order within the Empire!

  17. At 07:38 PM on 12 Jun 2007, Dr Hackenbush wrote:

    In reference to the media, do we need such sanitised euphemisms as ·

    honour killings
    ethnic cleansing

    _ _ _

    Secondly, why do news readers and reporters refer to individuals who have ‘denied the charges’? Surely they mean ‘denied that they are guilty of the charges’. The charges exist either way.

  18. At 10:13 PM on 12 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re: Anne P:-

    admin annie and others have fought in vain --

    We are never responded to - never listened to ... alas your words are wasted :-(

    The best you could do, though I've not tried it, is send an email to:


    Forget 'Feedback' - I and others have tried.

    I think nearly everyone hates them - just amazed how we have had only ever had a vague response from Rupert a while back. - but we always defend them if the journalism is questioned?

    And on that note -

    Who caught the Thatcher programme on BBC2 presented by Andrew Marr?


    A shame - in many ways that politics aren't quite so exciting anymore - at least the media had something to bite on to.

  19. At 10:54 PM on 12 Jun 2007, whisht wrote:

    I'm with John Tozer at 11. I was thinking of saying something similar, then realised I couldn't do any better.

    If you wanna get a message across - then get someone who is really really good at speaking the same language as your audience. And (obviously) by "language" I mean vocabulary-and-mindset.

    and that is "spin". no?

    Charities and the very very "good" need this too.

    Is "spin" a new name for rhetoric? Is rhetoric evil?

    No - rheoric is ability. What we need is (journalists and politicians with) ability and honesty.

    And an ability of ourselves to question - always question - what we see and hear.

    Life can be more beautiful the harder you look (ask any artist).

    Or uglier.

    but that's in the eye of the beholder I guess.

  20. At 12:58 AM on 13 Jun 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    John Tozer (11),
    "The entire news media should be taken apart bit by bit and re-invented as a responsible, regulated body,"

    And that would be a free press, right?

  21. At 10:47 AM on 13 Jun 2007, Paul Haywood wrote:

    Is it me, or is it becoming more common for commentators (who should know better) and interviewees to pronounce "H" as Haitch?..........Haitch SBC Bank, Haitch MS Victory etc.......
    I know it's used in Soaps by some characters to make them sound more "orfentick" but pronouncing Aitch as Haitch was a fundimental grammatical boo-boo knocked out of us at school generations ago.
    OK, it's yet another example of the perversity of the English language, but surely it's far easier to say Aitch than Haitch?

  22. At 11:26 AM on 13 Jun 2007, The New Blog Prince aka Marc wrote:


    Dear Mark Damazer,

    As you know, Eddie Mair presents one of the most popular news programmes on the network but certainly the most popular award winning blog. Due to Eddie and his input, he has developed a unique following in Blog land.

    A recent discussion topic has been that of trails. Although generally most of the bloggers, and by virtue listeners, seem not adverse to the odd Radio 4 trail, it seems that we are now being asked to listen to trails for questionable programmes on BBC Television.

    Although we have repeatedly asked for explanations as to why they are being scheduled, we have still yet had no definitive response.

    There are several threads where this question has surfaced, the latest on this evening's ‘Glass box’ thread, by Anne P. However, you may like to read through the initial comments on this thread where it all started:

    Peter Rippon responded thus:

    "The trails are not my responsibility BUT I do understand why we have them on PM. The News programmes are peak audience times so an irresistible chance to let people know of other things on the network/BBC. The dilemma is that if you try to weave them seamlessly into the programme it can defeat the object of doing them. They need to stand out"

    On behalf of many of the regular ‘Froggers’ we would still like a more substantial answer as to why we are still hearing these network television trails. To that effect I am publishing this e-mail on Eddie’s latest Glass box thread:

    and hope that you, at least, will be forthcoming with the reasons.



  23. At 12:02 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Big Sister wrote:


    How many of the regular froggers are saying this?

    I'm quite cool about the TV trails and can find them useful when I don't have the opportunity of reading the TV guide.

    Just hearing about David Hatch's death. I loved his programmes. Sad.

  24. At 12:27 PM on 13 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Re; BigSister :- I forgot - you have been away, click on the link in my comment, posted above from Marc -

    There have been *many* recent comments - search through all the 'Glassbox threads' against pointless television trails - and I can only recall one other person (apart from you) in support of them.

    Anyway, to

    Anne P ,
    admin annie,
    Si Worrall,
    Vyle Hernia,
    Chris Ghoti,
    nikki noodle,

    and the countless others on other threads. I've done my best - I'd be very surprised if Mark replied.

  25. At 01:40 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Strangelove wrote:

    I am gobsmacked that the proposed Equality Bill will allow women equal membership of golf and working mens' clubs but will not interfere with religious organisations.

    Why were those interviewed not challenged about this? Is the BBC playing safe?

  26. At 01:43 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Strangelove wrote:

    I am gobsmacked that the proposed Equality Bill will allow women equal membership of golf and working mens' clubs but will not interfere with religious organisations.

    Why was this not raised with interviewees?

  27. At 01:53 PM on 13 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Hi BigSis,

    Yes very sad news about David Hatch - I thought there would be more on the news about him actually, and on the blog - he was, I believe, a controller of Radio 4 once.

    I've given up on the trails - a loosing battle there :-(

  28. At 01:57 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Sorry, Jonnie, I didn't realise a Froggers' Petition had been set up on this one. But, as I've already said, I don't really have a problem with the trailers for the reason I've stated. With one proviso: just as long as they don't 'drive' the programme!

    I have to say that there have been many times when I've 'discovered' a programme this way which I've found to be very interesting - a bonus, in fact.

    But, in any event, it's clearly an issue for Feedback. However, I seem to recall having heard quite a few discussions about trailers on Feedback in the past, so I doubt it will make much difference.

  29. At 02:20 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    Can I trail a programme called "Cleaning out the Camp" - next Thursday at 8pm on Radio 4?

  30. At 02:24 PM on 13 Jun 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Jonnie - thanks! Haven't had time to comment but have been reading!

  31. At 02:25 PM on 13 Jun 2007, jonnie wrote:

    Cleaning Out The Camp Ep 1/2
    Thursday 21 June
    8.00-8.30pm BBC RADIO 4

    Eddie Mair combines oral testimony and analysis in a two-part enquiry into the Armed Services' attitudes towards homosexuality since the Second World War.

    The first programme explores the historical policy of the Armed Services towards homosexuality – from the laissez faire attitude of "all hands on deck" during the War to the anti-gay crackdown of the post-War Forties, Fifties and Sixties. This was at a time when the gradual liberalisation of attitudes towards homosexuality was being reflected in the Wolfenden Report (1957) and the Sexual Offences Act, which decriminalised homosexuality in 1967.

    Mair examines archive documents discussing the Army's fears about homosexuality, the clamp-down which saw gay men and women ruthlessly targeted by special investigations police, as well as the official policy to "clean out the homosexuals".

    The programme also examines how, in the Fifties, "nests" of homosexuals were discovered at RAF Warsop, Cranwell and Ruislip as well as in the Army's catering and nursing corps; while in the Sixties, dozens were court-martialled on Christmas Island and in Cyprus.

    Careful investigative work located men and women who served during this period, and they share their memories with Mair. Their experiences range from being psychologically scarred by their double life in the military or losing everything after being dishonourably discharged to those who "got one over" – enjoying a sexually-active career in areas of the Services where, it seems, a blind eye was turned.

    Presenter/Eddie Mair, Producer/Jo Coombs

    BBC Radio 4 Publicity

  32. At 02:27 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Oh Eddie, please do! ;o)

  33. At 02:29 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Gossipmistress wrote:

    No 29 - shameless self-publicity!!!! ;-0)

  34. At 02:32 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    And, Eddie, it looks (and doubtless sounds) very interesting

    I'll be listening!

  35. At 02:42 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Eddie - a radio 4 programme? Well, THAT seems appropriate!

    You have Fifi's permission.

    'the news junkie with the nicest habit'

  36. At 02:42 PM on 13 Jun 2007, RJD wrote:

    Eddie (29) - Well if you can't trail your own programmes there's not much point doing the job is there?

  37. At 02:47 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Eddie, you can do anything you like next week as far as I'm concerned, as I'll be in the US for a conference and won't be around to hear it!

    (Will try to send you a photo to share with the froggers, but it depends on whether I get any free time...)

  38. At 03:33 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Carol Clark wrote:

    My only comment on yesterday's programme.... Eddie, did you have to mention what finch keepers used to do to their finches....now i just can't stop thinking about it and it's horrid.

    Thinking of Father Christmas now in an attempt to erase nasty thought.

  39. At 03:44 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Harry wrote:

    Eddie, The BBC press office webpage has gone to the trouble of trailing "cleaning out the camp" for you, telling us, "Eddie Mair combines oral testimony and analysis...." You work too hard!

  40. At 05:49 PM on 13 Jun 2007, Aleks Jedrosz wrote:

    GCSE course work
    At last, its to be stopped! Its been a problem for teachers, parents and pupils for far too long.

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