Putting things in order
It has of course been a very difficult and embarrassing week for all of us at the BBC. It didn’t start well with Ofcom fining the corporation £50,000 over an edition of Blue Peter. If that wasn’t bad enough it was followed with a misleading edit of Her Majesty the Queen in a presentation to journalists.
Maintaining standards of honesty, accuracy and fairness throw up various dilemmas which programme editors have to grapple with on a daily basis. For example we sometimes get politicians making complaints about an interview or a particular film. We had a recent correspondence from the Treasury about an item made by the independent film maker Jamie Campbell which threw up precisely these kind of issues, although in this instance the film didn’t breach any of the BBC’s producer guidelines.
On the day before Gordon Brown took over as prime minister we broadcast Jamie’s film about his attempts to get an interview with the then chancellor. They were unhappy with the film in general but directed their complaint at how the film portrayed a Treasury press officer claiming the chronology of two events were out of sequence and as such misrepresented the events. However unlike the incident with the footage of the Queen, whichever order the events had been shown the meaning would remain the same. Check out the film for yourself here.
The sequences to look out for are the incident where the then chancellor's car arrives when the press officer and Jamie are talking and the incident at the CBI. Chronologically the CBI event happened first. Watch for yourself and let me know if you think the meaning is remotely affected by the order.