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Alistair Campbell has a go

Victoria Derbyshire | 16:07 PM, Thursday, 12 June 2008

Gordon Brown held his monthly press conference during our programme today. 5 live has to make lots of judgements about press conferences and whether to bring them to you live or not. Sometimes we listen across and play you the best bits after they've happened, sometimes we just dip in for a couple of minutes, but more often than not we play you the whole thing.

Today we heard about 20 minutes of Gordon Brown's press conference before deciding to cross to our chief political correspondent to sum up what's been said. John Pienaar carried on listening to the press conference - whilst we then interviewed Alistair Campbell, the former director of communications at Number 10.

Have a listen to what he said and tell me what you think.


  • 1. At 4:49pm on 12 Jun 2008, redkingsgoals wrote:

    Victoria I have a lot of time for you, in fact I have enough time to listen to most of your programmes but on this one you are simply wrong.

    Campbell is obviously completely partisan but your assertion that it is 'the people out there' that determine the direction of media coverage is incorrect and you know it. The Westminster lobby (for very understandable reasons) chose which one or two issues to focus on at one time to the exclusion of other issues (often of more substance).

    I for one wanted to listen to the PM's answers to the questions on other questions (and of course that a greater diversity of questions were put by the lobby).

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  • 2. At 5:07pm on 12 Jun 2008, Bill_Dixon wrote:

    It's amazing how the Beeb has indulged Alastair Campbell since he resigned from Downing Street. The man who couldn't control his temper on air, and who got Greg Dyke sacked for telling the truth about the Iraq invasion, seems to be given airtime whenever he wants it. In this case apparently Fivelive even asked him on. Why?

    He did his best to destroy the Beeb and today's interview shows he has lost none of his arrogance.

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  • 3. At 6:25pm on 12 Jun 2008, Stephen-Webber wrote:

    One would assume the 'the people out there' are rather more concerned about what the Prime Minister has to say than the arrogant self-publicising utterances of Mr Campbell. It's fairly obvious which is more relevant to the daily lives of the masses.

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  • 4. At 7:25pm on 12 Jun 2008, Ron Norton wrote:

    You don't normally air full speeches. In fact you only air live speaks if is some special.
    The speech by the Home Secretary, at a recent police conference comes to mind. It was thought that they would give her a hard time. As soon as it was realised they were OK with her, off Radio 5 went. Today you aired Mr Brown's opening statement, then all those silly opening questions by so called journalists. He said there were no deals, but question after question. As soon as the subject was changed off you went.

    What does “best bits” mean? I think you should explain that. Sound clips that normally distort are the norm.

    Radio 5 does not represent "the people out there". I wish you were more balanced and did represent us better.

    Because someone today said your coverage was slanted, you nearly lost your composure and went into attack mode.

    Any BBC journalists view is only his view, Mr Pienaar, just managed to stop short of calling Mr Brown a Liar. He was asked to name the people who said they had been offered a deal. “Can’t do that” he says. His view is no more important than any other, but you think it is gospel.

    I wanted to hear Mr Browns press conference by the way.

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  • 5. At 10:51pm on 12 Jun 2008, Ianbigous wrote:

    Alastair Campbell's comments were the most insightful and accurate comments I have heard on radio 5 Live for a long time.

    If Victoria would take the time to listen to her own programme again I would hope that even she can see how true these comments were. Nowadays it is difficult as a listener to get to hear what the real issues are as the presentation constantly tries to focus on a narrow cynical viewpoint. This tired and lazy format just seems to be an extension of the worst aspects of tabloid newspapers, focusing on soundbites and cheap shots rather than trying to inform.

    What was even worse today was the attempt to justify the stance by saying that you were only reflecting comments of "the people out there", suggesting that the tiny proportion of people who are motivated enough to comment should override good and balanced journalism.

    I want to listen to 5 Live as I enjoy the mix of programming, however I get tired of the constant cynicism and unbalanced attacks.

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  • 6. At 10:47am on 17 Jun 2008, DavidH wrote:

    Alistair Campbell is an oik who is still on his personal vendetta against the BBC.

    My blood was boiling, you should have cut him off and pointed out he was there to answer your questions, not give speeches himself.

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