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BBC News coverage of San Jose mine rescue in Chile

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Jon Williams Jon Williams | 14:50 UK time, Thursday, 14 October 2010

Fifty-three days ago, the news broke that 33 miners, feared dead in a mine collapse in northern Chile, were alive - trapped half a mile beneath the remote Atacama desert. Within 24 hours our correspondent Gideon Long was on site; as the rescue operation begun, we began preparing for the moment the San Jose 33 would walk free.

Yesterday, as the "Phoenix" capsule brought the trapped miners to the surface, those preparations paid off.

For 36 hours - from 2100 on Tuesday night to 0900 this morning - the BBC team at Copiapo broadcast non-stop, capturing the drama - the excitement, anticipation and emotion; the culmination of an operation that began more than a month ago.

Copiapo is remote, with little infrastructure; its climate is punishing - hot during the day and bone-chillingly cold at night. This meant we had to be self-sufficient on site with the team sleeping in tents and caravans - albeit, as pointed out in the press, with the "luxury" of a chemical toilet and "soft" toilet paper: an odd definition of "luxury"!

Tim Willcox

 

For the past month, the English team on the ground has worked alongside a team from BBC Mundo, the BBC's Spanish-speaking Latin-American service. We made a decision to send two Spanish-speaking presenters, Tim Willcox and Matt Frei, who were able to interview the families of the miners and Chilean officials in Spanish, and then translate simultaneously, live "on-air".

It was a huge point of difference with other broadcasters, and one that built a bond with the families in the days and weeks before the rescue.

The truth is, the preparation and the resourcing of one of the biggest stories of the year is expensive. The cost - and some of the difficult choices we now have to make about what future stories we may have to pull back from to recoup the cost - has also drawn some press comment. Making choices and prioritising is about spending the licence fee responsibly. And it seems the audience values the investment we made.

Yesterday, the BBC News channel had its third-best day ever in terms of audience numbers - eclipsed only by the key days following this May's general election: 6.8 million people followed the rescue on the News channel, more than 50% more than those who watched Sky News. The main BBC One news programmes also enjoyed significantly bigger audiences than normal. More than 8 million people read the coverage of the miners' escape on the BBC News website.

Yesterday, more than 3,000 of you e-mailed to praise the coverage - others used Twitter or our Have Your Say page to send us messages. Thank you. We don't always get it right. When we do - and when it strikes a chord - it's great to know.

Jon Williams is the BBC World News editor.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

  • Comment number 2.

    Your News coverage has been a huge success. I am one that stayed for almost the whole 36 hours. Tim Wilcox was a revelation. The decision to translate simultaneously gave the whole event depth, colour and vibrancy. I loved it. After, what seems to be years of catastrophe, death and destruction, this was a moment in time that was balm for the soul. Congratulations to all at BBC News. I do not begrudge a penny of my TV licence spent on this. I think you should win an award for this coverage. Especially BBCTIM.

  • Comment number 3.

    From: Jon Williams-NEWS

    Sent: 04 October 2010 16:59

    To: Newsg World-Mainplan

    Subject: Chile and the Newsg overspend

    We had a very constructive planning meeting this afternoon during which we set out the costs and scale of ambition for the Chilean mine rescue – and some of the consequences for other events in the coming months.

    Tomorrow I'm meeting xxxxx and xxxxx to prepare a paper for Newsboard. The financial situation is serious: we are currently £67k beyond our agreed overspend of £500k – Newsgathering's costs for Chile will exceed £100,000.

    This afternoon, in discussion with the programmes and the newsroom, we agreed:

    We will scale back the editor deployments to the G20 – so either Robert or Nick (or Pol Corr) not both

    We'll reduce the Lisbon NATO summit – so no Washington send and much reduced ambition

    Cancun Climate summit would not be a live "event" – one single correspondent

    We should investigate World News contracting out the resourcing of Davos – so no Newsg organisation

    The Oscars will be a Breakfast event – Newsgathering will be bureau and ENG based.

    This is not easy – I recognise that some work has already gone into the planning of some of these, and I apologise to those of you who've already invested time and effort in doing so. However, it's right that we remain flexible and we need to act on the decisions taken today. We cannot afford mission creep later in the year. It marks an important moment in terms of agreeing a way forward between input and output. Am grateful to xxxxx and xxxxx who helped prepare the options.

    J

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Not sure what point Briantist is trying to make. BBC News invested - extremely wisely, in my opinion - in covering a major story in an inaccessible part of Chile, which means it has to scale back other parts of its budget. So?

    All I can think of is that Briantist feels that coverage of the Oscars is more important. In which case, clearly he is in a very small minority.

  • Comment number 6.

    'And it seems the audience values the investment we made.'

    If, perhaps, with a few exceptions.

    I am sure there is a chapter on this.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/2010/10/new-bbc-editorial-guidelines-l.shtml

    No worries. One is sure it can all be sorted in post. It usually is. And, these days... a lot.

  • Comment number 7.

    @Dick Hobbs: I was more bothered about "Lisbon NATO summit - much reduced ambition" and "scale back the editor deployments to the G20" and "resourcing of Davos".

    And if "Newsgathering's costs for Chile will exceed £100,000" is not worthy of consideration.

    At the very least the BBC Entertainment budget should be used for the Chile story, it was more like Big Brother than the news.

  • Comment number 8.

    This is one of the few times when I think you didn't get it right.

    Whilst I recognise the need to cover this story, I must register a complaint at the excessive coverage. On BBC News 24 yesterday the coverage of the rescue was non-stop and there was never a break to state the other news headlines, in fact many other important stories were missed. Would it really have been so difficult if on the hour or every half hour there was an update on all the news headlines? I use BBC News 24 to catch up on the news and the headlines but yesterday I couldn't.

    Yes I understand the need to cover this story and it is a great human interest story which shows many positive human traits, but I must question to need for the inane commentary and repeated footage of earlier rescues to fill the time between each rescue. It must have been tough on the reporters too having to fill all of that time.

    It's nice to see each miner being rescued live, but I think that the time in between each rescue could have been better spent as quite frankly nothing happened during those intervals, there were no new developments.

  • Comment number 9.

    Thank you very much for a great coverage of the miners rescue.

    It was extremely good and human. I never stopped watching it and when I couldn't watch at the TV I did watch on BBC News online.

    Please give my best and congratulations to Tim Willcox and indeed the whole team. Very impressed by their language skills.

    I never tired of my beloved BBC. Well done.

  • Comment number 10.

    In PM's discussion today of dramatising the collective experiences of the miners I heard no mention of Kirk Douglas's 1950s(?) film "Ace in the Hole". Perhaps not a good exemplar of motives or behaviour in these circumstances; rather a cautionary tale, I think.

  • Comment number 11.

    @Dick Hobbs: Are you serious? So, let's get this straight. You think sending three senior correspondent to the other side of the world to cover the rescue of thirty odd men as 'extremely wise'. I think the argument being made by some is that it is entirely possible to report on a subject without devoting blanket coverage to it.

    Yes, Tim Wilcox translating live was a nice touch, but again, did it really warrant such extensive coverage at the expense of other news?

    Also, selectively taking the Oscars line from Briantist's post, while ignoring the substantive part of his argument is simply childish. May I suggest you confine your 'debating' skills to the playground, where you obviously honed them.

  • Comment number 12.

  • Comment number 13.

    Always good, and indeed interesting, to hear the full gamut of opinion, con and... not so much.

    Though some may benefit in the telling also being to the Marines.

  • Comment number 14.

    Maybe it's just a Brit thing...

    Chile is a story about journalism’s failure
    http://www.jlittau.net/?p=1135

    Nah. Maybe not.

    Money well spent... on a failure in journalism. But at least the ratings were good.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    I thought the coverage of the mine rescue was superb, well done.

  • Comment number 18.

    #1 Briantist rightly exposes BBC's expenditure flagrancy, already £67k overspent on its 'agreed' £.5m overspend.

    I have already expressed my sentiments at this marvellous rescue, but this item is about BBC performance so let us keep it there.

    Frankly I found the BBC's coverage annoyingly intrusive and turned off the sound to watch pictures only (which were absolutely self explanatory) at odd times during the rescue. The overlaid repetition of video loops is typical of 24/7 news and is a good reason not to tune into the service unless you are dipping in or plain desperate.

    The media is getting chock full of must have gimmickry. I am surprised the Chile rescue wasn't snapped up by a major alcohol supplier "So Good At Bringing Things Up Eventually". The BBC needs to learn something about perspective.

  • Comment number 19.

    I am a loyal BBC daily new watcher from Canada. I watch your news because it gives a balanced view of the world news. I did think the coverage was a little over the top with the miners great good news story but did we really need to see live coverage of every miner with details on their life? its a big world and I just thought it took up too much valuable air time I think showing us the first few miners coming out would have been enough and the rest could have been put online for those who wanted to see more. Having said that BBC is much better than our local news which loves to talk about a house fire that killed 3 kids in california that is sad but has nothing to do with what is happening in British columbia Canada. That kind of crap is why I don't have cable Tele and use the internet to get the information that is relevant and BBC is a big part of that.
    Thanks
    Dean

  • Comment number 20.

    As a loyal listener to the BBC World Service from Rochester, New York; I am glad that the BBC and the services put out the resources to inform the people in Chile and across the world about, the San Jose Miner Rescue...


    (Dennis from Monroe Community College)

  • Comment number 21.

    It was heart warming to see the concern over the Chilean Miners but I do feel that more care should have been taken with the choice of sunglasses ! some of the Guys just didn't suit that universal style!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 22.

    Blooming right wing media critics...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/oct/14/chilean-miners-bbc-cancun-climate-talks

    Chilean miners leave BBC too broke for live coverage of Cancún climate talks

    On the plus side, it would probably get around the awkward stuff about all the enviro types buzzing about, pretty much with their own personal BBC shadow.

    But Cancun looks nice.

    http://www.cancun-travelnet.com/images/Cancun%20Photo1.jpg

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    Hi, I am Chilean living in London, and wanted to congratulate you for your coverage on the Chilean miners' rescue. My congratulations go in particular to Tim Wilcox who did a fantastic job. I liked him already as a news anchor but seeing him in his element, doing live journalism was so refreshing. He is extremely human and sensitive and was constantly on top of his game with information, that is without mentioning his great Spanish!(Believeme Chilean Spanish is difficult to get sometimes)
    He got great interviews and was able to relate to common people which was not an easy task. (He was frankly quite funny as well trying to be so diplomatic describing the miner's personnal issues with their partners - which would not shock any Chilean by the way).
    So thank you to him and to the team working with him.

    Now, as a TV license payer, however, I must say I was surprised you decided to have a live coverage of such length.It must have been costly and I felt sorry for people here paying for this. I was touched by the miners' story as much as anyone around the world. But as a Chilean I was well aware President Pinera and his government would try to use this issue to their advantage for electoral reasons. I was sad to see that such high quality work, such as the one you all provide at the BBC was being used to those ends with UK tax payers' money. So thank you to Tim Wilcox again for also being critical and aware of the control of media and images by the Chilean government, and having provided us with a coverage filtered by a professional's eye. It was refreshing to hear him comment on the way the Chilean government carefully planned every detail of the access to information on site, but Tim clearly looked for more than just what was fed to them to provide us with a rounder coverage.
    Thanks again to you all.

  • Comment number 25.

    I am not concerned about the over spend,this was an exceptional circumstance story that warrant the coverage,you could not pull out because you spent too much.I would much rather see the BBC spend the money on a once in a lifetime story like this than celebrity gossip.

  • Comment number 26.

    While I believe the BBC did superb job on its 36 hour marathon media coverage (I thought Tim Wilcox was fantastic), what I appreciated more was the website coverage during the past months that kept track of the drilling depth, described the various methods of drilling that were attempted and basically gave in depth information on a daily basis. Sometimes using basic technology (an internet blog) is the simplest, cost effective way.

  • Comment number 27.

    As one of the other writers said above, I thought the coverage was good *but* that it was broadcast to the unnecessary exclusion of all else. There were plenty of opportunities, both temporal and technical, to integrate this story with other ongoing new stories.

    As the old maxim goes, it was a good day to hide bad news...

  • Comment number 28.

    While I am glad the minors have all been rescued safely. I really don't see the need for round the clock live broadcast when a simple update at a scheduled news broadcast will suffice. This is peoples lives after all, not some ameture soap opera. I find the constant need to have multiple news agencies reporting live from the latest disater area utterly distasteful.

    In the global scheme of things, there are more important things to cover than the rescue of the Chilean miners and very few demand constant live coverage. Live coverage gets facts wrong far more often than any other form of reporting. Give me an accurate summary a few hours later please.

  • Comment number 29.

    22. At 07:45am on 15 Oct 2010, JunkkMale wrote:
    Blooming right wing media critics...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/oct/14/chilean-miners-bbc-cancun-climate-talks

    Chilean miners leave BBC too broke for live coverage of Cancún climate talks

    On the plus side, it would probably get around the awkward stuff about all the enviro types buzzing about, pretty much with their own personal BBC shadow.

    But Cancun looks nice.

    http://www.cancun-travelnet.com/images/Cancun%20Photo1.jpg
    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Masterful insight from somone who probably doesn't beleive in climate change anyway.

    And what exactly is to be gained by "live" coverage of the Cancun talks anyway?

    Will it be necessary to speak to the families of the speakers? Ask them how they are coping in the chamber?

    No

    Just the usual carping

  • Comment number 30.

    14. At 6:53pm on 14 Oct 2010, JunkkMale wrote:
    Maybe it's just a Brit thing...

    Chile is a story about journalism’s failure
    http://www.jlittau.net/?p=1135

    Nah. Maybe not.

    Money well spent... on a failure in journalism. But at least the ratings were good.

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    And therefore it was not a failure in journalism.

    Unless a success in journalism is defined as a ratings failure? I ask for illumination only

  • Comment number 31.

    5. At 4:22pm on 14 Oct 2010, Dick Hobbs

    Is that THE Dick Hobbs?
    _____________________________________________

    26. At 1:07pm on 15 Oct 2010, Terratalk

    I agree entirely with your view on the internet information over the last weeks.

  • Comment number 32.

    Mr Williams,

    It's coverage like this that makes it worthwhile spending on license fees. I thought the full coverage, particularly at the end of the saga was amazing. The simultaneous translation, the feeling that we were on the ground with the BBC where the action was happening almost made it feel like a live version of the 24 TV series.. it was great.

    No doubt the cost to resource the coverage was enormous but the audience numbers for the broadcast were well-deserved.. well done BBC - keep it up! I do hope BBC continues the reporting in the area for at least a short while.. particularly as a life coach I would be very keen to see some follow-up interviews with the miners themselves and those coordinating the rescue - it's often leadership in scenarios such as these rather than logistics that makes the difference between life and death.

    Having read the comments above I have to say I'm a little disappointed that so much focus is being placed on slamming BBC for the financial aspects of the story - for me this is certainly the human interest feature of the year... come on - 2 months stuck half a mile underground?! And surviving - it's great to be engaged with some positive news. Thanks again!

  • Comment number 33.

    I live in Canada and I chose to watch BBC Canada news as the coverage was so much better, both in quality and quantity( as always). If I could pay the license fee and have all the BBC has to offer I would gladly do so but so far I cannot. What a pity and what an opportunity. Meantime Mr. Wilcox, you should come out from behind the desk more often - BRAVO.

  • Comment number 34.

    As you know there is soon to be a movie and a book made based on the recent successful rescue of 33 miners in Chile - it is rumoured that the first major name to sign up to the project is Bob Dylan who has let the producers know that he is thrilled that his song "Subterranean Homesick Blues" will not only be used on the soundtrack, but will be the title of the movie.

    Other tracks being considered for the soundtrack are:

    Shaft - Isaac Hayes
    Deeper Underground - Jamiroquai
    Digging in the Dirt - Peter Gabriel
    Two Months Off - Underworld
    Fixing a Hole - The Beatles

  • Comment number 35.

    It's difficult not to agree with the sentiments expressed that Tim Willcox's coverage was first class. His bi-lingual skills certainly added to the output. I fancy his name will appear at awards time and deservedly so.

    The repetitious elements were irritating but on the other hand there was always the possibility something might go wrong - thankfully it didn't.

    As to the budget overspend, well that could easily be covered by getting rid of some of the drivel that BBC producers continue to deliver to us under the guise of light entertainment.

    What on this earth or fullers earth is the point of Claudia Winkelman. A woman of zilch talent whose only ability seems to be to shout other peoples names and act like an over-excited 14 year old. It is astonishimg that licence fee income is spent in this manner.

    By the by, no one has yet given me an answer to my earlier question as to why we need to pay the DG of the BBC six times more than the Prime Minister.

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm Chilean, with Scottish background, and I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate BBC on the coverage of the rescue of the 33 miners up North. Brilliant work! But a special commendation is in order for Tim Wilcox for his extraordinary work, not only for his language skills, but also because of his huge commitment to the story. Well done Tim!
    And this story, being followed by millions around the world, has reinforced my conviction that we are a great country, and now, more than ever, admired and respected.

  • Comment number 37.

    35. EBAHGUM wrote:

    By the by, no one has yet given me an answer to my earlier question as to why we need to pay the DG of the BBC six times more than the Prime Minister.

    Because he is six times more unaccountable to the public?

  • Comment number 38.


    Though a bit over the top, the BBC did a fine job on the rescue. I hold no brief for the BBC, but the instinct to give it continual live coverage was the correct one. It was a major good news story. Why not dwell on the good once in a while at the expense of the tired, negative rubbish going on in today's world?

    However, the BBC has come under criticism from a most unusual quarter - the lefty "journalist" John Pilger, writing his usual one-sided and poorly researched rubbish. He imagines the BBC did not attack the Chilean president over the poor mining safety record. In fact it did, in a fairly tough interview, perhaps because the president is right wing. Far more interesting than the usual drivel from Pilger are the comments, especially this one:

    In what possible way is Pinochet's coup comparable to the mass murder of 3,000 civilians? A 9/11 not just for Chile, if you don't mind, but for the whole of Latin America? They are vastly different in terms of the intial (and subsequent, resultant) human cost, and are simply qualititively different events. But then, Pilger does love to appropriate the deaths of others.


    I'm staggered Pilger can just dole this out without explanation. What is the insinuation here? Can someone explain a common thread beyond the all-embracing pablum about cold-war US imperialism?


    Isn't there something distasteful and hypocritical about an article that, in seeking to contectualise media coverage, uses and discards mass murder - legit to do, because its was visited in the US, natch - as part of its argument?


    Also, I find it irritating that Pilger expunges from his "context" the pre-eimence of left-wing politics in Chiles for two decades, and the fact that copper production was nationalised by Allende - a policy retained by Pinochet - and that Codelco, the state-owned copper firm and the largest copper miner in the world, remains the country's dominant single player in copper mining.


    But then, the failure of a state-owned institution to protect its workers, despite 20-odd years of democratic socialist government, doesn't work for Pilger, so he leaves it out. This from a man whose documentaries would have you believe there was no connection between the North Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge.


    Some context.


    http://www.newstatesman.com/south-america/2010/10/pilger-chile-pinochet-mapuche

  • Comment number 39.

    Other comments on the BBC's coverage have been made over on the Points Of View messageboard, although the OP is a bit of a humdinger!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbpointsofview/F1951566?thread=7813781

  • Comment number 40.


    @37 True Too

    Now why didn't I think of that?

    Cheers.

    Not sure it makes me any more contented with the situation!

  • Comment number 41.

    40. EBAHGUM,

    You're welcome. Glad to oblige. I sympathise with anyone obliged to pay the license fee on pain of imprisonment.

    In the unlikely event that Laura and Mr. Jordan are reading this thread, I would like to explain to them that if they are bemused by the cynicism and hostility displayed towards the BBC in so many of these blogs, they should note that it becomes particularly acute when we are told that the BBC is impartial and given assurances that it is following guidelines - and then our feedback is ignored.

    Who would like to bet that neither of them will come back with a response here and that the thread will eventually be, "Closed to comments" without any evidence that they have even read the feedback?

  • Comment number 42.

    41.True Too

    Golly gosh! Didn't realise imprisonment was on the horizon.

    So, let me make myself abundantly clear.

    The DG of the BBC is clearly worth six times more than the PM.

    The Deputy DG certainly deserves his near million pound payoff and annual six figure pension at the poll tax payers expense.

    Claudia Winkelman is a national treasure and should be made a Dame.

    The BBC's reputation for utter impatiality is beyond question. Indeed, how could the question have ever been raised?

    I will henceforth pay my licence fee by irrevocable direct debit.

    I'm as happy as a Chilean miner with all BBC coverage, radio and TV.

    Tim Wilcox for next Pope.

    (Hope that clears my slate).

  • Comment number 43.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 44.

    Recently, all over the world are terrible disaster. The rescue work done in Chile is good, and no one receives damage. There is the BBC broadcasts reporter of the good and the language. I've been paying attention to the BBC.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    Anyone here know that the rig that drilled the rescue shaft was from the US and that two expert US engineers were instrumental in the successful rescue?

    Neither did I. I was watching the BBC and listening to the World Service.

  • Comment number 47.

    The mine rescue would certainly inspire Chileans to greater excellence. Full credit should go the Chilean President Pinera for inspiring the miraculous rescue. Galvanizing such a rescue mission has brought the President such rich highly deserved praise. Television viewers throughout the world were trans fixed as the 33 miners were brought up in a flawless rescue mission of technological sophistication and execution. What a feat!

  • Comment number 48.

    That a measured reply to a personal attack is modded as being 'likely to provoke' tells one all that's needed about the ongoing value of this thread.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_LsCRgs_Pg

    ps: Explosion traps miners in China... BBC budget to 2015 out the window then?

  • Comment number 49.

    Well done for the brilliant coverage of the Chilean miners rescue, as a licence payer, this is what I want to see on TV news.
    Tim Wilcox did a very good job doing instant translations, talking to the locals, understanding their regional accents.. great!.
    Congratulations to all BBC News, an excellent job, well done!!

  • Comment number 50.

    Sorry to say that, whilst this was an "Apollo 13" moment, the BBC news editors/controllers lost the plot on this one (the actual rescue), yes it was a "Good News" story with strong human interest but not one that should have taken over the BBC News Channel (for 36hrs) to the detriment of all other news bar the headlines and ticker-tape, the latter would have been ideal for keeping us all up to speed on the rescue. That said, and although at first I questioned the parachuting in of 'Anchor presenters', once I realised that Tim Willcox and Matt Frei were flaunt speakers of Spanish I feel that decision was a correct one.

    Now, apparently, BBC coverage of important news events, that will directly effect people in the UK, such as the G20 and NATO summits (and who knows what else), are likely to suffer due to a £100,000 (over-)spend on the Chilean mine rescue story - go figure...

  • Comment number 51.

    I agree with BelovedHolly you should win an award for this coverage. Tim Wilcox was a big part of your success. Tim’s interviews with family members during which he translated simultaneously was fantastic. I hope your coverage does receive some kind of award in the not too distant future. Well done to all the team. ... As to the overspend - we can all try and work to an initial budget, but you need some flexibility to get the kind of coverage we have witnessed. It looks like the BBC is trying to address this issue by again reacting now as they have done for this story.

  • Comment number 52.

    35. At 6:48pm on 15 Oct 2010, EBAHGUM wrote:
    It's difficult not to agree with the sentiments expressed that Tim Willcox's coverage was first class. His bi-lingual skills certainly added to the output. I fancy his name will appear at awards time and deservedly so.

    The repetitious elements were irritating but on the other hand there was always the possibility something might go wrong - thankfully it didn't.

    As to the budget overspend, well that could easily be covered by getting rid of some of the drivel that BBC producers continue to deliver to us under the guise of light entertainment.

    What on this earth or fullers earth is the point of Claudia Winkelman. A woman of zilch talent whose only ability seems to be to shout other peoples names and act like an over-excited 14 year old. It is astonishimg that licence fee income is spent in this manner.

    By the by, no one has yet given me an answer to my earlier question as to why we need to pay the DG of the BBC six times more than the Prime Minister.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because he is better value than the Prime Minister. No one becomes Prime Minister because of the pay do they?

  • Comment number 53.

    38. At 8:04pm on 15 Oct 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    But then, the failure of a state-owned institution to protect its workers, despite 20-odd years of democratic socialist government, doesn't work for Pilger, so he leaves it out. This from a man whose documentaries would have you believe there was no connection between the North Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    However whereas the Vietnamese did expel the Khmer Rouge, as Pilger correctly pointed out, the US and its allies, having assisted the KR to come to power did exactly nothing.




  • Comment number 54.

    46. At 10:12am on 16 Oct 2010, TrueToo wrote:
    Anyone here know that the rig that drilled the rescue shaft was from the US and that two expert US engineers were instrumental in the successful rescue?

    Neither did I. I was watching the BBC and listening to the World Service.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Wow. And is the nationality of everyone and every piece of equipment involved in the rescue known?

    And how is it relevant in tghe slightest?

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    38. At 8:04pm on 15 Oct 2010, TrueToo wrote:

    In what possible way is Pinochet's coup comparable to the mass murder of 3,000 civilians? A 9/11 not just for Chile, if you don't mind, but for the whole of Latin America? They are vastly different in terms of the intial (and subsequent, resultant) human cost, and are simply qualititively different events. But then, Pilger does love to appropriate the deaths of others.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In what way exactly oh great one is the death of chileans quantitatively differnt from the US people?

    Except that the US actively worked to sponsor the slaughter and did nothing to prevent it and even assisted the misery?

    There is nothing qualitatively different about killing innocent men and women.

    You could argue that those in 9/11 at leastn weren't tortured first (or had their childcren tortured before them) and weren't hunted down in other countries.

    The fact that someone may not have your brand of er interesting politics does not automatically mean their lives are worth less.


  • Comment number 57.

    48. At 10:32am on 16 Oct 2010, JunkkMale wrote:
    That a measured reply to a personal attack is modded as being 'likely to provoke' tells one all that's needed about the ongoing value of this thread.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_LsCRgs_Pg

    ps: Explosion traps miners in China... BBC budget to 2015 out the window then?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh dear. China and Chile are what we call different countries (perhaps you should give up trying to understand world news)?

    In China foreign reporters are not encouraged to cover bad news stories.

    They get this thing generally known as arrested and thrown out of the country.

    If you bothered to watch the BBC or any other news channel you would sort of know this.

    I presume you are busily writing to the Queen asking why o why the BBC has never filmed a North Korean nuclear reactor, or meetings of the Russian defence ministry.

    It must all be a lefty plot!

  • Comment number 58.

    WEll done for the BBC News 24 coverage of the story regarding the miners in Chile. I must admit I was hooked! Tim Wilcox did a really good job. His Spanish is brilliant. It was a pleasure to see someone who really really enjoys his job. Very good coverage, I enjoyed every minute of it. And it was such sad story but with an excellent ending, which does not happen very often. Well done BBC!

  • Comment number 59.

    It is gratifying to hear that 12 miners went back for a service of Thanksgiving. (10 lepers parable comes to mind) The love of God is the most powerful force in the universe. ... I pray that you ... may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:17-19). ...
    With the emphasis being on how deep, one cannot dig a pit too deep for the arm of God's grace to reach. It really is a good news story that touched all round the world and the value of the human spirit when it connects with the Divine. This story will run and run...
    Snow White HI HO
    Every blessing, John Burleigh

  • Comment number 60.

    Pleased to see so much effort into what turned into a good news story.

    Also delighted that a US company made a heroic effort to get to the miners. What, you say, a US company, Yes, everywhere else in the world this has been an interesting back story, although not in the UK.

    We should be taking our hats off to the US company who rescued the miners!!!! Yes a US company, not greedy or malicious just a heroic US company.

  • Comment number 61.

    What should have been a simple factual news story was turned in to a real time DRAMA where the BBC did nothing but hype themselves and turn the most insignificant thing in to a constant stream of emotional drivel ever been broadcast on what is supposed to be a NEWS CHANNEL!!!

    The people running the BBC need to grow up and start behaving like adults and to treat their audience as adults!!!

  • Comment number 62.

    You did not broadcast news, you broadcast a soap. That's why it got high ratings.

    A very poor decision to blow so much money on this. Spending decisons are certainly not logical.

  • Comment number 63.

    'Love that Maggie Thatcher is trending as we all remember what miners do' said BBC editor.

    At least one person has gone to a lot of trouble and keyboard bashing on Helen Boaden's blog to defend the BBC and then I hear (from biased-bbc.blogspot.com) that one of the BBC editors from the Chilean mine rescue coverage – Rachel Kennedy – has been making comments about Chancellor George Osborne knackering the economy as well as the reference to Margaret Thatcher above.

    Is this kind of bias in the genes at the BBC?

    Nature of nurture?

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    61. At 11:07am on 20 Oct 2010, John wrote:
    What should have been a simple factual news story was turned in to a real time DRAMA where the BBC did nothing but hype themselves and turn the most insignificant thing in to a constant stream of emotional drivel ever been broadcast on what is supposed to be a NEWS CHANNEL!!!

    The people running the BBC need to grow up and start behaving like adults and to treat their audience as adults!!!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Insignificant? As compared to what? Cheryl Coles latest warblings?

    This was a unique event. It has never been done before.

    Isn't that what news reporting is about?

  • Comment number 66.

    60. At 7:53pm on 18 Oct 2010, RichYork wrote:
    Pleased to see so much effort into what turned into a good news story.

    Also delighted that a US company made a heroic effort to get to the miners. What, you say, a US company, Yes, everywhere else in the world this has been an interesting back story, although not in the UK.

    We should be taking our hats off to the US company who rescued the miners!!!! Yes a US company, not greedy or malicious just a heroic US company.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Heroic?

    And is the nationality of all those involved known including their equipment?

 

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