Talk about Newsnight

A blog and forum.

Tuesday, 23 January, 2007

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Jan 07, 05:17 PM

bush_203.jpgIt's just hours before President Bush delivers his State of the Union speech. But having seriously considered a u-turn on his previous opposition to compulsory carbon caps the president is reported to have changed his mind. But is he in danger of being wrong-footed on the green issue? Also: Catholics and gay adoption; alleged tube bombing attempt - the latest from the trial; and Chinese architecture.

Join Jeremy at 2230GMT on BBC Two and on the website and comment on Tuesday's programme below.

Myths and Fables

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Jan 07, 12:20 PM

Newsnight's "Übergeek" Adam Livingstone on the things we think we know.

howard203.jpgAsk yourself this. Which government minister did Jeremy Paxman famously ask the same question of 14 times? If your answer is Michael Howard, the then Home Secretary, then you, in common with most people, are entirely wrong. But you'd be pretty well justified in thinking it as you've probably read that version of reality in every paper in the land at one time or another, possibly even this week. Plenty of people at Newsnight seem to believe it's true too.

Journalists are busy people. You can't expect us to check ALL the facts. Especially the ones we already know. I don't check that Tony Blair is Prime Minister before I put it in a script. And likewise no-one ever checks that Michael Howard was Home Secretary when Jeremy asked him THAT question 14 times back in the 1990's (watch it here). Except of course he wasn't. It's an urban myth. A quick google reveals that the date of the interview, 13 May 1997, was after the election. If Howard HAD still been Home Secretary rather than a flagging party leadership candidate, it's hard to imagine he would have put himself in such a horrendous position in the first place. But one shouldn't let the facts get in the way of a better story. And by the way, it was 12 times and not 14.

Continue reading "Myths and Fables"

Not on the label

  • Justin Rowlatt -
  • 23 Jan 07, 11:26 AM

justin_veg300.jpgEthical Man has discovered a whole range of food additives don’t even get listed on the ingredients.

I’m spending a month as vegan to see how cutting animal products out of my diet will affect my environmental footprint. It is surpisingly difficult to avoid animals; you'd be amazed how many foods contain animal products in some form or other.

There was a huge response when I wrote about my concerns that an amino acid used as an additive in bread is sometimes manufactured from human hair. I was reassured to discover that it is possible to avoid the substance – called L-Cysteine or E920 – because it is listed on the ingredients.

Then last week Britain’s leading organic baker, Andrew Whitely, wrote to me to warn of what he calls of “baking’s big secret” – the use of enzymes.

Continue reading "Not on the label"

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