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Interview with Jody McIntyre

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Kevin Bakhurst Kevin Bakhurst | 12:47 UK time, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

We have received a considerable number of complaints about an interview Ben Brown did last night on the BBC News Channel with Jody McIntyre. The context of the interview was that Mr McIntyre was on the student demonstrations in London last week and video emerged yesterday of him being pulled out of his wheelchair by police.

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I am aware that there is a web campaign encouraging people to complain to the BBC about the interview, the broad charge being that Ben Brown was too challenging in it. However I am genuinely interested in hearing more from people who have complained about why they object to the interview. I would obviously welcome all other views.

I have reviewed the interview a few times and I would suggest that we interviewed Mr McIntyre in the same way that we would have questioned any other interviewee in the same circumstances: it was quite a long interview and Mr McIntyre was given several minutes of airtime to make a range of points, which he did forcefully; Ben challenged him politely but robustly on his assertions.

Mr McIntyre says during the interview that "personally he sees himself equal to anyone else" and we interviewed Mr McIntyre as we would interview anyone else in his position. Comments more than welcome.

Kevin Bakhurst is the controller of the BBC News Channel and the BBC News at One and the deputy head of the BBC Newsroom. As per normal practice, this post is now closed to new comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Kevin, I haven't complained, but I can see why some people will have.

    Ben's interviewing a guy in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy, who has to be pushed by his brother. Asking "did you throw anything?" is practically up there with the Dead Parrot Python sketch (nah, he's just faking it), and the suggestion that "wheeling himself at the police" might be a justification for their actions is ridiculous.

    There's challenging someone on their assertions, but Ben might as well have asked if he'd flown about above the police, taunting them with flashing laser blasts from his eyes.

  • Comment number 2.

    There's an interesting blog article on the Telegraph website about this, written by Toby Young. I take a similar view, although admit to only having seen the clips on the Internet (I didn't see the interview as it went out).

    Its interesting that in the interview, Brown asked if it was true that McIntyre was rolling towards police in his wheelchair; a perfectly legitimate question. But for some reason it was interpreted by McIntyre as an attempt to justify what the police had done.

  • Comment number 3.

    I actually thought this was a good interview (and I'm a fire juggling, vegetarian liberal!). The job of the interviewer is to play devils advocate opposite the interviewee and Ben Brown did that. Jody won out fair and square against some very tough and ridiculous questioning and was given a clear platform to rebuff them, which he used excellently.

    The acid test is that if Ben Brown performs an interview about the same incident with the police chief he MUST be as firmly on Jody's side in that as he was against him in this.

  • Comment number 4.

    I agree that Jody McIntryre was given air-time to respond but some of the questions put to him were pretty insensitive. The questions around him wheeling his wheelchair aggressively into the police and throwing missiles are ridiculous.
    Ben Brown also asks some questions repeatedly, despite Jody McIntryre giving direct answers at all times. This makes the interviewer appear aggressive. He is not just asking for Jody McIntryre's account of what happened - he is actively questioning him in a disbelieving manner. This is not the type of impartial interview style I would expect from BBC News.

  • Comment number 5.

    I totally agree with yourlast couple of lines Ric. I would expect the same.

  • Comment number 6.

    Jody McIntyre is equal to all of us, obviously. However, as he said, it is also obvious that he couldn't possibly pose a physical threat to the police officers that attacked him. I was shocked an offended at how many times the question of what Mr McIntyre may have done to provoke the attack was raised.

    It may have been a long interview, but any time Mr McIntyre strayed into areas such as his wider beliefs of why the incident occurred, Ben Brown quickly interrupted (in particular at the mention of BBC Palestinian coverage, interestingly), asking again if a cerebral palsy sufferer threw anything at the officers.

    I was also disappointed by the way Mr McIntyre's political activism was used as a way of further insinuating that he may have provoked the attack. That, to me, was rather unfair and narrow minded.

    I don't think it is right to use the excuse that just because Mr McIntyre rightly stated he was equal to everyone else, he should be questioned as though he could ever have attacked the police officers. It just distracts from the real issue which in an ideal world the BBC wouldn't ignore. In these kinds of situations the police attack the weak to assert there dominance and provoke a reaction. It just so happens that this time, they chose to attack someone who couldn't possibly have physically defended themselves.

  • Comment number 7.

    I would say you have missed the point here by putting so much emphasis on the fact that you (quite rightly) treated Jody like everybody else (regardless, I presume, of his disability.)

    That said I do think Ben Brown managed to show a deep level of ignorance about Jody McIntyre’s condition 'There's a suggestion you were rolling yourself towards the police' 'did you throw anything that could have been of injury'. By this he embarrassed himself and the BBC terribly.

    I can only speak for myself but I would suggest that the problem was mainly Ben Brown's slipped mask. I suggest that Brown's infuriatingly poor debating skills, bias, absolute lack of charisma, and lack of preparation on the subject may have been the cause.

  • Comment number 8.

    The interview seemed fair enough to me. I'd like to see how the police justify their actions - seemed to me that some police recognised the behaviour was inappropriate, as they seem to be dragging one of the others away

  • Comment number 9.


    I've just seen the interview after a work colleague showed it to me.

    If you're hoping to pass this off as viewers "taking pity" on a disabled interviewee, I'm afraid you're wide of the mark.

    Ben Brown initially attempted to suggest that Mr. McIntyre was a threat to the police and then, by implication suggested that the attack was justified because he'd previously described himself as a "revolutionary" (like say, Nelson Mandela) on the internet - as though the Officer logged on to check his status before the assault!

    Actually, I don't blame Ben Brown, I blame the "shock-jock" editorial policy to which your researchers are working and which leads to the type of haranguing so unbecoming of a broadcaster of the BBC's standing and reputation.

  • Comment number 10.

    Classic! Having picked my jaw literally off the floor in disbelief, I asked myself he did not serious ask those questions Horrendous interview! Justifying immoral actions with asking if he was rolling towards the police! Jodey was in a protest there would have been police all around he can’t walk so, I guess he would have moved towards them at some point. Can’t believe he used the word rolled! If he was shouting, then so were the other thousands of students why target the vulnerable person in society? Valuing People DoH (2001): changing attitudes and services has gone completely out of the window for the police!

    Do values, ethics and moral action not extend to the police? Moral action should filter down into how we ought to behave in society. Shame on you Officer! As for Jodey being a risk, if carrying out a risk assessment would we serious rate rolling down the road as a Hazard?

  • Comment number 11.

    I complained last night, immediately after watching the interview.

    My objection is simply illustrated. Were Ben Brown to interview Charles and Camilla about having paint thrown at their car, would he repeatedly ask whether they were asking for it? Would he reference comments that Charles had previously made about other subjects to suggest they justified the attack? Would he ask whether Camilla had thrown anything at the protesters, and then, once she denied it, would he ask again?

    The answer is of course no to all of those questions. The same respect should have been shown to Jody. This man did nothing wrong, was the subject of a documented assault by the police, and was treated to a hostile interview as if he were a government minister proposing a controversial new law.

    It's not acceptable, it's not responsible and the BBC should sack Ben Brown for it. I'm sure he will find a welcoming home at Sky News, whose viewers are far more used to prejudice and ignorance being rewarded.

  • Comment number 12.

    Ben Brown appeared to be openly biased in his interview with Jody McIntre. This resulted in what can only be described as an unnecessarily interrogative interview which was extremely uncomfortable to watch.

    The line of questioning became utterly preposterous at the point where Brown repeatedly asked if McIntyre had been 'throwing things at the police', when he had previously stated that he was not even capable of moving his own wheelchair.

    Furthermore- as Brown himself admitted, he was present at the demonstration and had witnessed acts of violence directed towards the police. This was evidently informing his line of questioning. Fair enough you might say, but there had previously been no suggestion that McIntyre had been involved in any violence.

    Perhaps then, by the same token McIntyre would have been justified in asking Brown if he had been throwing things at police- if merely attending the demonstration is enough evidence to make these kind of assumptions about individuals. Is everyone to be tarred by the same brush? Not really a fair and representative view in that case.

    The only justification for what was so clearly the impartial treatment of an interviewee would be if Brown had himself witnessed McIntyre attacking a policeman. Even then, I would hope that a rather more objective view would have been presented by the BBC and another interviewer would have been used!

  • Comment number 13.

    I think that the complaints are revealing and reflecting a much wider dissatisfaction with the way the BBC has reported the whole protest. In 'the old days' (for example, when the Poll Tax demonstration turned to violence), there were no mobile phone cameras to capture the 'view from the street' and the mainstream media perspective was the only one we saw. Now YouTube is full of footage that clearly shows the police behaving badly. Many of us feel a sense of outrage, and quite right too: is NOT OK to ride horses into crowds, hit kids with batons, or pull a disabled person from his wheelchair. The evidence that this has happened is there, on film, in the public domain; but still we get apologist interviewers like Ben Brown implying that protesters must have 'asked for it' somehow. Many, many viewers would prefer to see the BBC questioning police chiefs, challenging what has happened and voicing public outrage... Come on BBC - fulfill your public broadcast remit!

  • Comment number 14.

    6. At 1:44pm on 14 Dec 2010, dwashington_1 wrote:
    Jody McIntyre is equal to all of us, obviously. However, as he said, it is also obvious that he couldn't possibly pose a physical threat to the police officers that attacked him. I was shocked an offended at how many times the question of what Mr McIntyre may have done to provoke the attack was raised.

    It may have been a long interview, but any time Mr McIntyre strayed into areas such as his wider beliefs of why the incident occurred, Ben Brown quickly interrupted (in particular at the mention of BBC Palestinian coverage, interestingly), asking again if a cerebral palsy sufferer threw anything at the officers.

    I was also disappointed by the way Mr McIntyre's political activism was used as a way of further insinuating that he may have provoked the attack. That, to me, was rather unfair and narrow minded.

    I don't think it is right to use the excuse that just because Mr McIntyre rightly stated he was equal to everyone else, he should be questioned as though he could ever have attacked the police officers. It just distracts from the real issue which in an ideal world the BBC wouldn't ignore. In these kinds of situations the police attack the weak to assert there dominance and provoke a reaction. It just so happens that this time, they chose to attack someone who couldn't possibly have physically defended themselves.

    Indeed. And the BBC seem to have misinterpreted his remark. He meant he was entitled to the same respect as anyone else, not that he was entitled to the same level of abuse.

    He also did not ludicrously claim to be the physically equivalent of everyone else.

  • Comment number 15.

    "I am aware that there is a web campaign encouraging people to complain to the BBC about the interview, the broad charge being that Ben Brown was too challenging in it."

    This is not the reason I complained to the BBC. My complaint was centred around Ben Brown's questioning style, which bordered on the disbelieving, despite clear footage showing Jody McIntyre being pushed out of his wheelchair onto the ground by police officers.

    He repeatedly asked Jody to deny things that he could not physically have done, ie "you say you didn't throw anything?" etc, rather than concentrate on the actual story which was a wheelchair user being physically demeaned by the Met.

    Shocking use of BBC time, which would have been better used looking into why police officers felt this level of violence was appropriate to apprehend a man with limited mobility.

  • Comment number 16.

    The fact remains that the police are unnecessarily aggressive in their presence and attitude. Having been a peaceful sit in protestor at the Anti War demonstrations a few years ago i was man handled and grabbed with no question and no provocation on my part. Last thursday i managed to get caught up in the aftermath of the Charles and Camilla incident whilst walking to Oxford Circus tube. The police unfortunately had the same attitude as before if not worse. They piled out of vans in riot armour and then proceeded to intimidate and shove people out of the way with their kettling techniques. When i approached them i was shouted and told that there was looting going on. A complete exaggeration of the commotion that was going on at Topshop. My point is whatever happened to innocent before proven guilty? This interviewer comes across as biased and aggressive not challenging. Lets get this into context. Jody has Cerebal Palsy and requires an electronic wheelchair. I would assume the level of aggression was minimal compared to that of the Police officer in the video. You can clearly see other police officers dragging the officer in question off of jody. This is not the type of policing that should be going on in 2011 in a so-called democratic UK.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hello Kevin,

    After seeing the interview last night I set up a facebook group and showed it to everyone I could directing them to the complaints procedure.

    The issue isn't that Jody McIntyre was questioned. It was an interview after all. The problem is the weighted, leading questions used throughout and how Ben Brown phrased his questions. Regardless of yours or his intentions, it did sound like he was trying to condone any police actions purely by McIntyre being present and "provoking" police by "rolling towards them" or "throwing rocks". To issue this questions to a man unable to wheel himself around with Cerebral Palsy sounded ridiculous and completely nonsensical.

    Due to the manner Brown interviewed McIntyre the interview came across as very biased against the protests and against any notion that violence against peaceful protest cannot be condoned.

    I wasn't expecting special treatment for disabled protester, just some common sense and perspective in the questions.


  • Comment number 18.

    Kevin, the charge is not that Ben Brown was too challenging; it's that his line of questioning was inappropriate. Yes, Mr McIntyre is a political activist and there's nothing wrong with asking difficult questions of someone who's taking part in a protest. But the reason that this footage stood out was that it showed uniformed police officers dragging a disabled man out of his wheelchair and up the street. That was what shocked people, and that should have been the main focus of the interview. There was enough time to challenge his political views alongside this. Incidentally, I don't believe Ben Brown deserves to be sacked or is an apologist for the police; this is straightforward bad news judgment more than anything.
    As for your contention that "we interviewed Mr McIntyre as we would interview anyone else in his position": Ben Brown asked someone who visibly has a condition that impairs his movement if he had thrown things at the police. Are your interviewers really in the habit of asking this kind of question? Does it not strike you as the tiniest bit insensitive? At best it's redundant, at worst discriminatory.
    I wait with interest to see the interview with the police commander in which he is grilled about Mr McIntyre's treatment. That would provide a bit of balance, as well as entertainment.

  • Comment number 19.

    This response totally misses the point. Was the interview with/about a protestor, or was it about a disabled person dragged out of their wheelchair and across the street by a policeman? Clearly the reason for interviewing McIntyre specifically was the latter, in which case the persistent and single-minded line of questioning (i.e. 'did you provoke police brutality?') is totally, totally inappropriate. I hope that in the analysis of this particularly offensive event the presenter and editors of the programme can see this, apologise unreservedly and take steps to understand the reasons that this interview took place in this manner.

  • Comment number 20.

    This didn't appear to me to be tough questioning, it was simple a reporter who had already made up his mind. He asks a series of questions about how Jody might have provoked police, repeating some questions when he's given direct answers, and cuts off any comment which strays from this line of questioning.
    As you say, his disability does not mean he cannot be questioned robustly, but to ask repeatedly if he threw rocks at police is absurd. Moreover, he's appearing here as a victim of suspected police violence, but this interview treats him as a criminal. It would be entirely reasonable to have asked him if he had done anything which might have caused this reaction, but to challenge him over and over about it in this way is entirely inappropriate, and I'm quite sure you wouldn't do that in an interview with other alleged victims of violence.

    I'd like to point out too that the shortened version of the interview you've posted here really doesn't give the full impression of this interview, and could give a misleading impression.

  • Comment number 21.

    Making this into an argument about whether or not Jody Mcintyre was treated differently because he has cerebral palsy is completely missing the point.
    The real issue here is BBC complicity in the shameless whitewashing of police violence.
    Treating a victim and witness of said violence as a dangerous radical and making an explicit link between his blog posts and his treatment at the hands of police is just utterly disgusting dishonesty.

    This young man has more integrity than any of the professionals who have so far been prepared to condescend to him.
    This is the media environment that Jody McIntyre has been thrust into by being dragged out of his chair. Has the BBC so lost its way that it is happy to feed the lynch mob?

  • Comment number 22.

    In answer to banderaroja (9) I'm not trying to pass it off as that - that was the thrust of a number of the complaints we have received and the websites that suggested people complain to the BBC.
    In answer to your third para - Ben was simply exploring why Mr McIntyre was there - as a student or as a general protestor. Legitimate I think.
    Finally - you are totally wrong re "shockjock" editorial policy. That simply isn't what we do - and I know the audience thinks our tone is important to them, so it would be mad to do that.

  • Comment number 23.

    I wasn't expecting McIntyre to handled with kid gloves in the slightest. He is a protester and a political activist and therefor should be treated as such.

    But asking him whether he was provoking any violence by "rolling towards police" or "throwing rocks" is nonsensical. Even if he was rolling towards police what would that prove? It still isn't provokation for what came next. McIntyre, throughout the entire incident, was a disabled man posing no physical threat whatsoever. The man suffers from cerebral palsy.

    Would you condone Ben Brown questioning a non-disabled person whether they lifted that battered riot van over their head or out ran Charles and Camilla's car? No, because both sound ridiculous and completely outside of that person's physical capabilities.

    Brown's questioning was weighted, leading and nonsensical.

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm outraged by this interview. It seems that Ben Brown is implying that Jody McIntyre provoked the attack. Asking if he was rolling towards the police and throwing objects and shouting is not right. I am shocked at this level of reporting from the BBC. It would appear they are on the side of the policemen who did this most disrespectful and totally unnecessary behaviour.

  • Comment number 25.

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

  • Comment number 26.

    Dear Kevin,

    As a number of people have noted, Brown's pursuit of a number of points not entirely relevant come over over as aggressive and a little ridiculous - Brown doesn't cover himself in glory over the full 7 or so minutes of the interview, 2 minutes of which you include above.

    Brown notes what he saw from his vantage point in Parliament Square and asks if McIntyre was involved in the same. But once the point had been rebutted, Brown rephrases it in ways that make him look crass and insensitive. Probing questions about 'were you wheeling your wheelchair toward the police?' followed with, 'you say you are a revolutionary', and 'why haven't you complained yet?' It is the repetition of questions that have been answered reasonably that make Brown's questioning appear either insensitive, hostile, or just plain ridiculous depending on the point of view - especially after McIntyre explains the limitations his cerbral palsy places on his physical movement and Brown persists in questioning/or implying his intentions to get physically involved in the protests.

    I can't believe you (Kevin, or anyone else) can have watched this thinking, 'there's an RTS award on its way for this one?' Maybe because it was on News 24 at 8 in the evening you thought nobody would be watching?

    The quality of the interview and its relative offence may then be compounded by the omission of any corresponding interview with the police. I may have missed the corresponding 7 minutes with someone from the Metropolitan Police - that's the joy of seeing these youtubed clips on facebook - but if it didn't happen, that lack of a corresponding grilling of anyone from the police - possibly a consequence of police procedures and the official complaints process (which also explain why no police officers have to my knowledge been questioned on tv about the student who ended up in hospital)?- makes the coverage of this looking one-sided. I've looked around the BBC website and can't find Ben Brown repeatedly challenging any senior Met officers to explain their actions in this or other cases of alleged brutality.

    Could you not find some way of exploring the police silence - or explaining it - otherwise your coverage risks appearing partial by omission. The police and politicians have talked of brutal thugs and feral beasts - but where has the in-depth analysis been of police behaviour? If the student in hospital after having had a stroke dies, will you then inquire a little more strongly about police tactics? As McIntyre himself pointed out, you have covered the attacks on himself and others differently to Charles & Camilla's unfortunate brush with the 'mob' - even though the reporting of both has relied on phone cam footage. You note the point above, Kevin, so what is the solution?

    So, Brown's 'robust' style failed to work in this case, and the possible question of relevant balancing material creates a second problem. The third you face is the way your footage can be passed around the net without your control. This allows what appears to be a ham-fisted interview to be shared, repeated, commented on hundreds of times in a way that intensifies the sense of outrage. I received the video from 2 different friends on Facebook in the space of 2 hours. That's not a criticism, just an observation on the way news is now received and interacted with.

  • Comment number 27.

    @Duncan in Edinburgh... Thank you for expressing those objections so clearly. Hear hear!

  • Comment number 28.

    This is not about Jody's disability. This is about a member of the public, shown in a video to be – at best – manhandled by the police consenting to give his side of the story to a public broadcaster only to face a barrage of hostile questions and insinuations that sought to make the police's case at the expense of his own.

    Here is a transcript of the interview. The interviewer clearly spends most of his time attempting to undermine Jody's intentions and credibility.

    It's true Jody didn't crumble – but that was in spite of the interview methods – many (most?) of us with no media training (unlike politicians and police) would have – and thus a) lost our chance to respond and b) been cynically used to undermine the footage of our own victimhood.

    There were 12 questions asked in the interview. 3 were about why Jody hadn't made a formal complaint. 4 were about things he might have done to provoke an attack. 4 were from the perspective of the police. Taken with the needlessly aggressive tone Brown employed, this is not impartiality as I understand it.

    It's also disingenuous to label this a campaign. The video has been shared extensively on social media, and many people are angry. Some may recommend peers who feel similarly should complain, but it's hardly an organised movement.

  • Comment number 29.

    Mr Bakhurst, your comments are preposterous, and amount to defending the indefensible.
    I have complained through official channels about Mr Brown's unacceptably offensive interview already, but as you ask for clarification here is what I have to say on this disgraceful incident:

    "I am appalled at the BBC's blatant political bias and ardent support of police brutality. Flagrantly disregarding video evidence of a physically disabled person dragged across the road, Ben Brown repeatedly attacked McIntyre and insinuated that his claims of revolution on his website combined with his menacing "rolling" towards an "army of police officers armed with weapons" are enough to justify such violence.
    This logic is ludicrous and unfounded, almost irrelevant, but the thing that disgusted me the most was the constant interrupting, which comes off as contemptuous censoring.
    Jody McIntyre, an honest and articulate subject, attempted several times to divert from his own case and reminded us not to get caught up in the hype and forget things like real issues: the cuts, and hiked tuition fees. But Ben Brown kept on interrupting him, cutting him off in the middle of a Palestinian referrence and irritably asked when Jody's making his complaint to police (which he has now made, so even on that Ben Brown completely and utterly failed).

    The strength of Ben Brown's entire argument, apart from ardently inquiring what, if any, objects/verbal abuse Jody was directing at police, seems to revolve around precisely why Jody hasn't made an official complaint, completely disregarding the real issue of a disabled man being dragged out of a wheelchair by police officers.

    I'm left feeling utterly disgusted by Ben Brown's interview. I know the BBC stage these things to be controversial and hard-hitting, but there's a slight difference between that and being genuinely offensive. It looks like, as is the case with the majority of criticism directed at contemporary TV news, that actual news is disregarded in favour of blinkered, irrelevant opinion.

    It's a shame that the coverage this will receive is created in response to this interview, instead of being covered by it. It's a governmental bias that dictates the tone of this programme, and it's a sad state of affairs that your biased and unfair reporting of this issue will contribute to the misinformation the Government is keen to perpetrate, and will help deflect public attention from the real issue - the exact opposite of what you, as one of the most respected news gatherig organisations, should be doing.
    Did I say 'most respected'? Not anymore BBC, unless you sack irresponsible hacks like Ben Brown and go back to doing what you do best: reporting the truth."

    As an aside, I have attempted to post the above comment on your Points of View message board, but my comments have been censored.
    Make up your mind, either you want feedback from your viewers, or you don't.

  • Comment number 30.

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

  • Comment number 31.

    On a lighter note, if this is standard operating procedure for the BBC now, I very much look forward to Ben Brown meets Charles & Camilla.


  • Comment number 32.

    I'm very surprised you feel the need to ask for explanation. While Jody is absolutely equal to everyone else in his standing as a person, entitled to express his opinions and his protest against a government he disagrees with, it should be obvious to the BBC and even to Ben Brown that he posed no threat whatsoever to the police. Nobody, whether in a wheelchair or not, walking or being pushed by their brother deserved to be dragged across the street in this way when they clearly did not pose a threat to the police.

    Was Ben Brown briefed at all about the nature of cerebral palsy before he started his asinine line of questioning? Did Brown fail to understand the meaning of McIntyre not being able to propel his own wheelchair? One almost has the sense that Brown does not really believe that Cerebral Palsy is a genuine condition.

    Brown's complete lack of professionalism, understanding or insight made what could have been a very interesting interview, probing the behaviour of the police into a farce, as MattWPBS above says, on a par with the parrot sketch. I seriously believe that Brown undermines the credibility of the BBC and should be replaced as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 33.

    It seems to me that this interview is trying to be passed off as another chapter in the debate on tuition fees and political activism whereas it is in fact a story about a disabled man who was pulled from his wheelchair - an act that cannot be justified by any logical means and therefore this interview should have been about the victim's experiences and he ought to have been treated as a victim.

    This event is separate and should not be thought of in light of Mr McIntyre's previous political activity or indeed the activity of other protesters. With regards to being treated like everyone else I would like to point out that if a home had been burgled, or a person had been killed the individuals involved would never have been interrogated in such an aggressive fashion in an interview with the BBC. They would certainly not have been asked if they had brought the attack / burglary upon themselves. It is abundantly clear from the video on Youtube that Mr McIntyre was dragged from his wheelchair and there is no way that this could constitute 'reasonable force' which is the right of the police.

    Furthermore, whilst Mr McIntyre is of course an equal he is not equally able bodied and therefore asking questions such as 'did you throw things' / 'did you roll towards police' and being asked so repeatedly is akin to asking a man with no legs 'did you hop, skip and jump towards police' and as such reveals a total lack of respect and sensitivity. Treating people equally does not mean treating people the same; holding an interview at the top of a flight of stairs for a candidate in a wheelchair and an able bodied candidate and telling both to get to the top is treating them the same but by no means equally.

    I am disgusted by this interview and by Mr Brown's treatment of Jody McIntyre which is at best ignorant and at worst downright offensive. Moreover, the frankly superficial response to the absolutely justified barrage of complaints brings yet more shame on the BBC.

  • Comment number 34.

    Dear Kevin
    Assuming it is not a rhetoric question, that you really are genuinely interested in the reasons why people are appalled, here is why:
    First, you may want to watch the full interview (not the one you posted here which I am sure was not done on purpose!). Second, as someone who knows the power of context and style try this: please find ONE example of a rape victim being raped on camera who has not complained to the police yet but being interviewed on television. The presenter, imagine please, is behaving the way Ben Brown is behaving here. Lets imagine he asks: "have you done anything to provoke them? There were many women around that day, why they raped you? You are known to be sexually very outspoken, and in your blog you said that you would want have group sex", did you?"
    Now if that is an acceptable image then this interview also is. If not please ask yourself: why a crime committed by an ordinary citizen is treated like a crime but when committed by a police officer BBC looks for 'provocation' to justify the act. Is this [what the police does] 'technically' against the law? If yes, what is it that you are trying to do? If no, again, what is it that you are trying to do? Did you invite a police officer to join the programme on that day?

    Ben Brown, in his manner, was patronising and disrespectful. That is why you are receiving complaints.

  • Comment number 35.

    First of all, the dismissive tone of Mr Bakhurst that "there is a web campaign" and "the broad charge being that Ben Brown was too challenging in it" shows a dismissive and insensitive lack of interest in trying to understand the reason for the general sense of outrage.

    The issue is not that Ben Brown was "too challenging", it was that his tone and presentation clearly exhibited a bias against the subject of his interviewer, which is uncharacteristic of the type of reporting we expect from the BBC. It goes beyond respectful disagreement, healthy cynicism or playing devil's advocate, and into what can only be described as intimidation and bullying.

    I have already complained to the BBC and I do not think that Mr Bakhurst's response has fully addressed the issue, and I will not consider this matter dealt with until the crux of the matter has been addressed.

    The BBC must be held to a higher standard of journalism than its commercial sector rivals. This sort of conduct has no place in public sector broadcasting. Perhaps Mr Brown would be more suited to a post at Sky, or Fox News.

  • Comment number 36.

    could I request that the full interview is posted on this site as the current 2min version does not accurately encapsulate the persistent nature of the line of questioning taken by Ben Brown in the original 8min interview.

  • Comment number 37.

    I watched the interview last night, and submitted a complaint today. I was not encouraged to do so by any online campaign.

    Robust questioning is a good thing, and I admire the BBC's willingness to ask difficult questions of its interview subjects. In this case, however, I struggled to find any reasonable justification for the abrasive tone taken by Ben Brown: is it seriously the BBC's contention that McIntyre might have been acting violently, given his disability? Was this really an area which needed such aggressive clarification?

    This continued emphasis on the possibility of Jody McIntyre provoking the police was hideous. "Equal treatment" of disabled people does not extend to repeatedly questioning them over alleged actions which, by dint of their physical status, they're incapable of performing. The justification for such a line of questioning seemed to be based on nothing more than Mr. McIntyre's broader political opinions, and the violent actions of other protestors. I'd have hoped that the BBC would be above such crude stereotyping and generalisations.

    Ultimately, without editorial justification, a "robust" approach quickly descends into abusive hectoring: that's exactly what happened here, and instead of smudging it over and offering mealy-mouthed excuses, you should be taking those responsible to task, and making sure it doesn't happen again.

  • Comment number 38.

    What was Ben Browns point? As far as I can see he only made himself look borderline mentally ill.
    If a individual disagrees with something in a strongly worded manner he would brand them a revolutionary or a terrorist. If our government does its just policy. Something seem wrong with this double standard. Who are the real terrorist here? The government seem to have a much higher kill rate in the name of keeping us safe over a million and counting, Probably more than any terror organisation would be humanly possible of and they masquerade as the good guys?. Any one spot something wrong here?
    What a strange reality the BBC lives in with its indoctrinated staff unwittingly pushing forward the powers that be’s agenda. They are rapidly loosing credibility and as a independent organisation and reports like this are not helping them. The BBC appear no better than state TV these days.
    I now await my comment to be moderated as off topic for some bizarre BBC based rules and regulations reason. Thanks for your time

  • Comment number 39.

    Can I just also say, that the video shown here is an incomplete edit, contianing only the middle part of the full interview - most of the comments made by Mr Brown were after the end of this edit. The full interview can be seen here:

  • Comment number 40.

    My issue with the interview wasn't that Brown asked "hard questions" as they weren't difficult questions at all. My issue was that he was victim blaming. Brown insinuated that the police were justified in their actions.

    This is the sort of rubbish reporting I am used to seeing back home in America.

  • Comment number 41.

    I would just like to add that I think it is very misleading to present here a video which selects only 1 minute 56 seconds of the full 8 minute 12 second version available on YouTube. The implication is that the BBC recognises that the full version would quite clearly implicate them and Ben Brown and show just how insensitive and inappropriate the interview actually was.

  • Comment number 42.

    Kevin Bakhurst: I resent your suggestion that these complaints are the result of a conspiratorial "internet campaign", rather than a genuinely appalled yet calm-headed response to the truly shocking behaviour of Ben Brown.

    As many people above have quite rightly pointed out, the issue is not the fact that Brown was questioning McIntyre, but the manner of his approach, which tipped over into absurdity (his claim that McIntyre was "rolling towards the police") and clear personal bias (his claim of having personally witnessed missiles being thrown, which was obviously utterly irrelevant to McIntyre's case). His interview was rude and insinuative rather than balanced and pertinent.

    But overridingly, I think people find the interview so upsetting because of a profound lack of sympathy and basic courtesy on the part of Ben Brown. McIntyre was claiming that he had been physically manhandled by police, when as a cerebral palsy sufferer he could obviously not have provoked a physical response. Instead of balancing awareness of this with polite questioning, Brown went for an unambiguously hardline, inhumane, antagonistic approach.

    This was completely unacceptable, offensive, and upsetting.

  • Comment number 43.

    Well, Mr Bakhurst. Your previous blog entry, 'Access All Areas' says it will "look at some of the changing attitudes towards people with disability and reveal some areas where it is argued that attitudes need to be changed."

    You could start with Mr Ben Brown. Why ask a disabled man, who has already stated he cannot use his wheelchair unaided, if threw things at the police? Why phrase the question about "rolling towards the police" as if such a thing was a threat? It seems every question is designed to belittle or patronise. I have seen countless BBC interviews, some of which have been sycophantic (including the one-sided interview with Supt. Julia Pendry), some of which have been challenging - but this is the first I have felt the need to comment on, and the first that has been so accusatory.

    The feeling I am left with is that Ben Brown is taking pains to try and discredit Mr McIntyre, to paint him as a villain, to suggest he has no place in a protest, to seek to use the word 'revolutionary' as a negative trait - and its attendant connotation that being a revolutionary in some way makes it acceptable for the police to assault him. Yes, it is a long interview and Mr McIntyre has time to put his points across, but Mr Brown seems simply disinterested (and clearly cannot have been listening when Mr McIntyre says he cannot use his wheelchair unaided). It would be unsurprising if Mr Brown had replied "yeah, whatever" to any of Mr McIntyre's points. Mr Brown provides no balance; his questions are all loaded and none is positive.

    I don't expect this from the BBC. Shameful.

  • Comment number 44.

    The comments made by the first person here sums up exactly why I found this offensive, biased and journalism of a poor "fox news" standard.

    "Ben's interviewing a guy in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy, who has to be pushed by his brother. Asking "did you throw anything?" is practically up there with the Dead Parrot Python sketch (nah, he's just faking it), and the suggestion that "wheeling himself at the police" might be a justification for their actions is ridiculous."

    The interview was shocking. It has nothing to do with treating a disabled man differently. The interviewer didn't even listen to his answers. Why ask him if he threw rocks at the police, after Jody had told him he cannot operate his own wheelchair!?

    I hope you will come back on some of the comments made here Kevin. But the way you have dismissed these complaints I very much doubt it.

  • Comment number 45.

    I have little to add to what has been said above, but do want to add my voice to those condemning the interview as biased. To ask someone who has clearly been the victim of police brutality whether he, in essence, asked for it is entirely inappropriate.

    I also take issue with Ben Brown's tone in the introduction - 'these pictures APPEAR to show . . .', with the emphasis on 'appear'. His highly sceptical manner leaves the viewer in no doubt of his personal views before the interview even begins. There is no sense whatsoever of a balanced and fair interview here.

  • Comment number 46.

    I complained to the BBC about this interview, not because of some 'web campaign', but because I was genuinely shocked by it. It is the first time I have complained to the BBC, and I registered at this site for the first time today, too.

    Kevin, you have got it badly wrong, and you're clearly as much of the problem as Ben Brown, who should apologise or resign. I was as offended by your post as by the original interview, as you appear to deliberately entirely miss the point. The issues have been covered above - Brown's insinuation that McIntyre brought this on himself, and the fact that the police were subject to no such interrogation.

    You treated a victim of well-documented and systematic police brutality as a perpetrator, and failed to challenge the police.

    It is precisely this sort of useless, biased journalism that causes people to lose faith in the mainstream media entirely and rely on blogs and social media. You have the resources to properly fact check, and a mandate to provide us with accurate reporting, and you failed miserably at both. Clearly, you are too cowardly to challenge the views of your new political masters at Number 10.

    Shame on you.

  • Comment number 47.

    Hi Kevin,

    I would like to make a complaint with regard to the Ben Brown interview with Jody McIntyre.

    I was in disbelief when watching this interview. Ben Brown repeatedly questions McIntyre on whether he had incited the physical abuse delivered to him by police, leaving McIntyre to repeatedly reiterate the obvious; that a man suffering from Cerebral Palsy, in a wheelchair, poses no physical threat to armed police. The interview was completely insensitive. Of course he should not be handled with 'kid gloves', but that does not mean overlooking facts. Would we put a victim of an attack on a blind person, or an elderly person who has been beaten, on national TV and then suggest they asked for what they got?? Of course not, because it is unacceptable launch a physical attack on anyone, even more so a vulnerable person who cannot defend themselves.

    The whole interview itself portrays the BBC as having the view that violence is excusable based on the grounds that the victim shares a different belief to the perpetrator (he mentions that McIntyre describes himself as a Revolutionist), or that the police are exempt from the law.

  • Comment number 48.

    Mr Bakhurst, your attempt to justify this interview is as preposterous as some of the questions. Your lack of integrity is demonstrated by the edited clip of the interview shown above. Show the interview in its entirety.

  • Comment number 49.

    The issue isn't that Ben Brown was 'too challenging'. Jody McIntyre is obviously bright and articulate and was able to hold his own.

    The problem is the repeated badgering by Ben Brown, implying that Jody McIntyre was in some way responsible for being pulled out of his wheelchair and dragged on the ground.

    First of all, very early on in the interview, Jody makes it clear that he can't move his own wheelchair and is pushed by his brother. This obviously implies he has limited use of his arms. The interviewer knowns he has cerebral palsy. Yet Ben Brown later in the interview asks whether Jody had thrown rocks at the police!

    Jody repeatedly denies throwing anything at the police, yet Ben Brown keeps asking him the same question: "Did you throw anything at the Police?"

    Ben Brown seems to repeatedly imply that Jody is responsible for the police abuse. "Rolling towards the police" is not a justifiable reason for pulling a disabled man from his wheelchair and dragging him on the ground. Therefore the question is both irrelevant and offensive.

    The same pertains to shouts of abuse. Jody denies shouting any abuse, but even if he had, this in no way justifies the actions of the police. The police have to justify the force they use, and they only have to use the minimum level of force required for the situation. Dragging someone from their wheelchair is not justified, legally or morally, for shouting abuse -- something which Jody denies in any case.

    The whole interview carries on like this. It doesn't matter if Jody classifies himself as a 'revolutionary'. He can classify himself as whatever he wants. In order to use force, the police must justify their actions. Having a belief does not justify being abused by the police.

    Ben Brown really shamed himself (and the BBC) in this interview. It was really really offensive.

  • Comment number 50.

    I admit I did not watch this interview whilst it was being transmitted, and have only seen the footage available on youtube. I am however still bitterly disappointed with the BBC for this interview.
    I am afraid that I am echoing previous comments made, such as leading and aggressive questions being used and poor interview techniques, but it seems that an additional point needs to be raised. The main issue with this interview seems to be the lack of preparation performed by Ben Brown, and this is apparent with the way the interview was conducted. James exhibits no knowledge of Jody Mcintyres' medical condition, and as result blunders through his questions little realising how ridiculous he sounds as a consequence.
    Yes Jody Mcintyre should be interviewed like any other person, but surely that also means he should be shown the respect any other interviewee would be given? The questions asked by Ben James were inappropriate, aggressive, biased, in some cases deliberately probing, and the whole tone of the segment was one of trying to make Jody Mcintyre the 'bad guy'.
    I for one am rather upset at the way this interview was conducted, perhaps because these issues affect me as I am also a student protesting against these issues. I will raise this question though. If I had been the one being interviewed by James, would he have tried to substantiate the police attacking me by constantly asking if I was a 'revolutionary', or had strolled along a public access road during a peaceful protest in the vicinity of the police?
    This proves the journalism within the BBC is clearly lacking, and this unfortunatly seems to be the source of such a shoddy and unsuccessful interview.

  • Comment number 51.

    Hi Kevin - at the risk of making this a bit A-level-in-media-studies, I would like to direct a question back to you: what do you consider the newsworthiness of this story? As far as I can see, the answer is quite simple: that this story exists at all is because a video has come to light that shows a disabled man being dragged from his wheelchair by a policeman with little to no obvious provocation, outside the confusion of a kettle, and apparently away from any 'front line'.

    I understand BBC News' commitment to impartiality, which at its worst appears to consist of interviewers adopting the same blandly accusatory tone that one would question a junior cabinet minister with everybody, as if that's that's the key to even-handedness. I also note that McIntyre is clearly intelligent and self-assured, and does not need to be treated with kid gloves. What I can't understand is how/why the BBC News team have taken a video that clearly demonstrates institutional brutality and decided to interview the victim as if he were a criminal.

    You say 'Mr McIntyre says during the interview that "personally he sees himself equal to anyone else" and we interviewed Mr McIntyre as we would interview anyone else in his position.' I would beg to differ here: McIntyre is being questioned not in the manner of a victim of institutional assault, but in a manner that suggests the interviewer believes he has some sort of charge to answer. Again, I understand the BBC's commitment to impartiality - which is never easy - but respectfully, I think you need to reconsider why this event is newsworthy, and rethink your approach.

  • Comment number 52.

    Come on. Be honest Kevin, the basis to everyone's complaint is not that Ben was too Harsh on Jodie, it was the fact that his tone was accusatory and because of that implied that somehow Jodie was 'asking for it'. And I think your stand on the considerable complaints shows just how out of touch you and sadly the rest of the BBC are with the vast majority of your viewers. It was poor journalism, you know it, we know it. So just admit it, apologise and get rid of idiots like Ben Brown asap. Or better still 'roll him' towards a police line.

  • Comment number 53.

    The long version of the video has been shared on facebook (as I write) 16, 903 times. That isn't a campaign - it's a viral. And the response you're facing isn't a conspiracy, it's a groundswell.

    Institutions which can only see the world in their own form - like the current government - are going to find the increasing flexibility of decentralised dissent extremely difficult to process - or fight - or escape.

  • Comment number 54.

    There's no campaign. Kevin Bakhurst's comments are as craven as Brown's questions were shameful. The cops done wrong - report it, don't compound it with bias.

  • Comment number 55.

    Surely the best was to understand complainants' objections is to actually read their complaints instead of dismissing them as a 'web campaign'?

  • Comment number 56.

    This blog post itself now appears to be the official BBC response to last night's interview!

  • Comment number 57.

    I am afraid the tone and content of your blog makes you come across rather like an apologist for Ben Brown's indefensible actions, Kevin; and your implying that this is about treating disabled people as everybody else is frankly, just as offensive as Mr Brown's interview.

    A couple of points.

    * There isn't "a web campaign encouraging people to complain to the BBC about the interview", there's a justified and understandable public outcry caused by this shameful interview, and the public's only 'weapon' to stop this kind of biased reporting of what is currently going on re: the students' protest is to officially complain when they witness such blatant bias.
    Isn't that what the Complaint procedure is there for, to hold you accountable for your actions?
    Personally, I find your inferring that people who complained are sheep following an internet trend rather insulting.

    * "We interviewed Mr McIntyre in the same way that we would have questioned any other interviewee in the same circumstances".
    Really? Brown conducted the whole interview in an extremely loaded, partial, aggressive and biased manner. I have yet to see your journalists subject politicians or members of the Metropolitan police to this kind of treatment.
    And there is a huge difference between robust interviewing and purposely trying to discredit someone by repeatedly accusing him of something he not only hasn't done (threaten and attack the police) but also ISN'T CAPABLE OF DOING because 1) he's in a wheelchair, 2) he's already stated this many times. In a word, turning a victim of violence into the the perpetrator!

    * By constantly referring to MR MCIntyre's status as apparently a 'revolutionary', Ben brown seemed to imply that he got what he deserved, that he had, by virtue of being there to protest and daring to do so in a wheelchair, 'asked for it', and that he should be happy to be brutalised by the police just as everybody else. Can't you see the perverse logic behind such line of questioning?

    I’m afraid this farce of an interview is simply yet another example of the BBC’s lamentably biased coverage of the student protest and coalition issues in general, albeit by far the worst example yet.
    Thank God for youtube and the blogosphere, without their existence the public would be convinced your skewed perspective and almost hysterically partial account of the situation is a true account of what is happening.

    The BBC’s coverage of the recent events is little by little being exposed as at best partial, at worst downright dishonest. I do hope someone in the upper echelons of the BBC is aware of your reputation being at stake here, and will take action to reverse this seemingly unstoppable decline.

  • Comment number 58.

    Ben Brown's line of questioning was ridiculous, and seemed to be a desperate effort to pain the protester as a dangerous radical. After first asking if Jody McIntyre wheeled himself at the police, like he was in a scene from a slapstick comedy, he asked him repeatedly if he threw rocks at the police - a man in a wheelchair with Cerebral Palsy throwing rocks? These questions were far too ludicrous and nonsensical to serve any useful purpose to the interview and so to me it seems that they could only have been used to attack, ridicule and discredit Jody McIntyre.

    I have no support for the student protesters who have been rioting and such over the last few weeks. However the BBC's coverage of the incidents have been totally skewed to paint even the peaceful demonstrators with the same brush and discredit them as ignorant radicals.

  • Comment number 59.


    This interview was an embarrassment to the BBC and I find myself hugely disappointed with the corporation not only over this incident, but over its portrayal of the Student Protests as a whole.

    The BBC clearly went for a sensationalist angle when broadcasting live that day and continuously showed scenes of violence along with reports of police casualties. Very little was made of the fact that the protesters were not allowed to leave Parliament square, nor that several had been seriously injured, including Alfie Meadows who was nearly killed.

    This interview simply confirms my belief that the BBC is no longer an independent news organisation. It is not that Mr.Mcintyre should be treated with 'kid gloves' as you so condescendingly suggest, more that he should be treated with respect. Consistent questions over his attitude towards the police even when he has answered the questions in full gave the impression that Mr.Mcintyre was at fault for being dragged from his wheelchair. Continuous questioning of whether he had thrown anything or wheeled towards police in a dangerous manner gave the interview an air of Monty Python.

    I expect a full public apology from Mr.Brown and the BBC about the conduct of this interview.

  • Comment number 60.


    First of all, thank you for putting this issue into a more public forum in which it's possible to have a genuine dialogue, rather than (the tempting alternative of) waiting for the complaints to pile in, then writing a stock response and swiftly deleting the lot. Credit to you for that.

    However, earlier you replied in full agreement with another user who said:

    The acid test is that if Ben Brown performs an interview about the same incident with the police chief he MUST be as firmly on Jody's side in that as he was against him in this.

    I think that this line of thinking rather misses the respective roles of the two people who are being compared here. I would expect a police chief to receive a grilling, certainly, in exactly the same way that Michael Chessum did a few days ago, both of them being effectively representatives and leaders of the respective "sides" in this.

    However, that's not what Jody McIntyre is, nor does he set himself up as such. He is a protester, like any other out that day, and he was the victim of violence. Whether or not the police reaction was justified is a separate matter, but I don't think anybody can deny that he was a victim.

    It would be equivalent to interviewing the policeman who was knocked off his horse, and grilling him endlessly on whether he hit any protesters over the head, or whether he antagonised them in other ways, and might have deserved to be attacked. That's the parallel that should be drawn, and I don't think in that case that Ben Brown would have asked questions along those sorts of lines.

    It is absolutely right that the BBC should challenge "the protesters" as a group, and by talking to figureheads within that movement they're able to do so. It seems to me to be quite another thing to interview a person who is making allegations of police brutality, only to expend a fair amount of energy in cross-examining his version of events. It came across as unprofessional victim-blaming by a man who seemed to have already formed his own opinions on the situation, and was reluctant to accept anything that ran contrary to those.

    I honestly cannot imagine any other victim, making allegations of abuse of any kind, being treated in such a disrespectful and interrogatory manner, and that is why I originally made a complaint about this interview.

  • Comment number 61.

    Hi, I actually sent a complaint last night about the interview. I am a third year journalism student and I completely understand the need for the BBC to present both sides of any story and appear neutral and unbiased. The reason I complained, therefore, is because this interview did not do this in anyway. The interviewer came over as very aggressive and insensitive. He repeatedly asked questions such as 'did you throw anything at the police', 'did you wheel towards them' and 'but you call yourself a revolutionist'. Even after Jody had given a sound response, categorically stating that he did not feel he posed any threat whatsoever, the interviewer still continued to press the issue. Throughout the interview he consistently tried to insinuate it was Jody's fault, suggesting that the fact he had not yet complained negatively affected his story. He also cut Jody short every time he tried to raise the wider issue in this situation. Jody was so eloquent and articulate throughout this interview and in comparison the interviewer made himself look like a bully. You say that you feel this interview was conducted in the same way it would be for anyone else and I would like to say that I would still find it distressing and shocking to watch if it was. I found the interview very upsetting and in all honestly was quite appalled in the way the interview was conducted.

  • Comment number 62.

    I have not seen a web campaign.

    "Ben Brown was too challenging in it."

    I did not see a "challenging" interviewer,

    I saw BIAS!

    police = good

    public / protesters bad

    There were a few violent people such as the EDL beating students.

    If people are kettled they will get angry & upset.

    A few will try and defend themselves from the hail of blows, horses
    charging etc.

    Horses are not weapons!

    The police are meant to serve the public not attack us!

    It is not an experiment in crowd control.

    It is attack.

    It makes me angry!

    I have no respect for the police.

    I abhor violence.

  • Comment number 63.

    I complained to the BBC about this interview, and also about Ben Brown's general conduct regarding his reporting on student protests. This was not the result of an "internet campaign", but merely because I am concerned that BBC news is rapidly becoming an organisation which blindly supports the UK government/Police force.

    In the case of the murder of John Charles de Menezes, the BBC reported unsubstantiated claims from un-named police sources, colouring the outcome of the enquiry in the police's favour. Now the BBC is reporting "suggestions" from un-named sources, this mirrors Fox News's practice of repeating the phrase "It has been said that..." before every abhorrent allegation that they make.

    I am glad that Kevin Bakhurst welcome's our comments, I have only one question-

    Mr Bakhurst, do you defend the use of unsubstantiated allegations by B.B.C. reporters? If so, can I have my license fee back please?

  • Comment number 64.

    As a journalism student at a London university, I was shocked at the terrible, shoddy journalism evident here. When matched with thinly-veiled contempt and disbelief from Ben Brown, questionable research, even more questionable ethics and a line of questioning that can only be viewed as harassment consider me very disappointed and the BBC a poor role model for other budding journalists. Congratulations, your news piece is now being notorious on the internet and paired with Littlejohn's equally offensive Daily Mail piece on Mcintyre. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

    Let me know when you have returned to anything resembling your official remit or at the very least journalistic integrity. Until then, I will stick with John Snow who seems to have better things to do than badgering a disabled victim of police brutality. Such as actual reporting. Maybe Ben Brown should try it some time?

  • Comment number 65.

    Wow!!! so your Blog is the official response to the complaints???? You really don't get it do you? The BBC really has lost it's way. I live in the States and was always proud to say I used to work for the BBC, but now I think I'll just keep my mouth shut. What a shame, because there was a time when the BBC was relevant. I guess your now content to bury you heads in the sand and dismiss a groundswell of complaints as ' merely ' a web campaign. Surely your viewers and licence fee payers are entitled to more than tepid, dismissive blog response. You really should be ashamed Kevin. Happy Holidays.

  • Comment number 66.

    Kevin Bakhurst,

    My complaints are these:

    Mr Brown said words to the effect of: ‘It happened a few days ago, why are you complaining now?’ I can’t understand the purpose of this question or its place in a BBC interview. Is Mr Brown suggesting that to make a complaint a few days after an incident means the complainant is somehow unreliable? Please clarify. Why was this thought to be an appropriate question? What was its relevance to the incident portrayed?

    Mr. Brown also asked ‘Were you throwing anything?’ Has the BBC taken on the role of Police investigation? Did Mr. Brown have any evidence of illegal behaviour by the man being interviewed? If not, then why was it thought appropriate for this question to be included in a news broadcast?

    Later Mr. Brown asked ‘[did you] shout anything provocative?’ The implication here is that, if the interviewee had shouted something provocative, the physical intervention from the Police would have been justified. Does the BBC agree with my inference? if not, please explain the purpose of the question.

    The whole tone of the interview was dismissive and condescending throughout. I have never had cause to complain about a BBC programme before. I usually think of the BBC as being impartial and having high standards of professionalism and clarity of thought. I think what I saw last night fell far short of those standards.

  • Comment number 67.

    It was a ludicrous interview. The defence that he was given plenty of airtime is nonsensical - how much airtime was taken answering ridiculous questions? Was there a need to ask him if he was being threatening or if he had thrown anything when he had already said that he was unable to wheel his own chair? Treating someone as an equal is very much not asking someone in a wheelchair who has already highlighted some extent of their limitations the same questions you would ask an able bodied person.

  • Comment number 68.

    Lastly, I would just like to add that I hated complaining about the BBC - I'm much more used to defending it in arguments (against rightist free marketeers, etc). But what I've always believed it to be is an independent broadcaster with integrity.

    If the BBC is to shift to being a state broadcaster in the more sinister sense, I'm afraid that when the scissor-fingered cutsmongers mass another attack, you'll find you've lost many of yr natural advocates and supporters on the left.

    We pay our licence fee for a public broadcaster which searches and stands for truth - even if that means challenging those who abuse their power. The current incarnation seems to only find its fangs when confronted with a victim. A really sad day.

  • Comment number 69.

    I fully appreciate the need to treat Mr McIntyre as one would an able-bodied person, and this includes avoiding the assumption that, merely because he is wheelchair-bound, he is an innocent party.
    It is the place of journalists to challenge and ask difficult questions.

    However, Mr Brown's tone was accusatory and biased from the very beginning of the interview and, in my opinion, grew increasingly more aggressive. He seemed determined to make McIntyre out to be in the wrong; as if he must have done something to have been treated that way, rather than taking an impartial approach. To ask a man who had already stated he couldn't operate his own wheelchair if he was throwing things at the police is ludicrous.

    The internet campaign (which I would call a public outcry against a shockingly offensive interview) hasn't urged anyone to complain - it's merely shown the footage and directed people to the link should they wish to(which, funnily enough, it seems we did). To imagine for one moment that these complaints have been made by sheep doing as they're told is grossly patronising.

  • Comment number 70.

    On a more technical note - it would be nice to have the option to recommend other comments as well as complain about them (which surely risks an endless complaints spiral...)

    Specifically, I'd have virtual thumbs-upped the following: "It would be equivalent to interviewing the policeman who was knocked off his horse, and grilling him endlessly on whether he hit any protesters over the head, or whether he antagonised them in other ways, and might have deserved to be attacked. That's the parallel that should be drawn, and I don't think in that case that Ben Brown would have asked questions along those sorts of lines." Bravo, James.

  • Comment number 71.

    The sneering response to complaints compounds the offensiveness of the interview. The BBC is supposed to be into communications, this isn't a "a web campaign", it is people communicating with each other.

    I complained about the interview, giving my reasons. I will not have been unique, but the editor implies that nobody did give reasons when he types, "I am genuinely interested in hearing more from people who have complained about why they object to the interview." Read the complaints and answer them, then ask for more in response to your answers.

    Other people have typed eloquently on the many flaws with the interview. I will amplify two. Firstly, someone who was not a protestor would not have been treated in the same way. Imagine Prince Charles being interviewed in the same obnoxious way about why he was mixed up with protestors and what he had done to be attacked.

    Secondly, it is noticeable how quickly the presenter jumped in when Palestine was mentioned. The BBC has a distinct bias with regard to Israel/Palestine issues, which is why it refused to show the DEC appeal and has refused to cover Gaza protests. The BBC is an apologist for the Israeli government.

    A smug response from the BBC to the complaints. That isn't news, a smug response is their usual response. However the world is turning. The BBC parroted the police line about Ian Tomlinson, without checking its accuracy, until the evidence became so overwhelming that even the BBC was forced to cover the truth.

    This isn't new. In the 1980s over Orgreave the BBC changed the order of events in order to fit in with the BBC/police agenda of nasty miners attacking our brave boys in blue. They were forced to apologise on air for this deliberate distortion of events, which were that miners were attacked by the police and the miners then defended themselves agasinst the police attack.

  • Comment number 72.

    To describe Mr McIntyre as forceful in making his assertions, whilst Mr Brown is described as polite but robust is, I believe, inaccurate and perhaps misleading in debating the issues raised by this interview.

    Mr McIntyre's responses to the questions were direct and measured. One could argue that his interpretation that Ben Brown had sought to justify the actions of the police was wrong and an assumption on his part, but this surely raises the question of whether Mr Brown could have been clearer in his line of questioning. Just why did he ask Mr McIntyre if he had rolled himself towards the officers, if not to ask whether this may have provoked the physical action of the officers in the video footage?

    Mr Brown repeatedly asked Mr McIntyre if he had thrown any rocks or missiles at the police. In the first instance, it may construed as insensitive given that Mr McIntyre had already explained he is not physically able to use his wheelchair himself, let alone pose a threat to the police. This, though, does not discount throwing objects entirely and, given that the full extent of Mr McIntyre's condition and incapacity was not known to Mr Brown, it is valid to ask the question. However, to ask this a second time after Mr McIntyre asserted he had not thrown anything suggests either Mr Brown did not take notice of the first answer or has reason to believe otherwise, which should be clarified.

    Similarly, Mr Brown makes reference to an online document describing Mr McIntyre as a revolutionary. He asked if this is how Mr McIntyre would describe himself, to which he said he would not. However, towards the end of the interview, after Mr McIntyre asserted for the second time that he had not provoked the police officers, Mr Brown asked 'But you describe yourself as a revolutionary?' Again, Mr Brown has either disregarded the first answer or has reason to believe it was false. In either case, revolutionary is not a synonym for violent and imminent threat so, even had Mr McIntyre openly proclaimed himself a revolutionary, he should not have been acted against by the police in such a way nor questioned in this manner.

  • Comment number 73.

    Mr Bakhurst

    Having only seen this clip today I was going to make a complaint myself until I came across this blog and thought I would voice my opinion here.

    You seem to suggest that the complainers expect Jody to have been given special treatment - this is not the case at all, and to suggest such is simply a shameful attempt to wriggle out of the disgraceful showing in that interview.

    The fact is that Jody was attempting to make a serious point about the police attitude and behaviour, and time and time again Ben Brown ignored his comments and continued to push the point that Jody could have been to blame. Initially asking him if he was rolling towards the police was fine, but then to continue to push the point - whether he threw anything, did he shout anything, he's a revolutionary etc.

    I thought Jody's comment 'what if it had been Prince Charles....' was particularly pertinent, but Mr Brown shrugged this off and continued his line of attack.

    I wonder myself what the BBC's stance would have been if it was Prince Charles. No doubt it would be all over the website front page indicating how terrible it was. Where is the BBC neutrality?

    This interview just shows that the BBC is constantly trying to push it's own agenda and the attempt of Mr Brown to justify what happened was shocking.

    I expect an apology from both the BBC and Mr Brown at this shameful display.

  • Comment number 74.

    Referring to the point I made earlier (point 12) it appears I unfortunately wrote impartial- when I of course meant unimpartial. (This somewhat changes the meaning of my argument!)

    I also just wanted to add one more comment (which echoes many of the other comments above,) and call for a repeat interview with McIntyre, this time with a representative from the MET and a rather more balanced interviewer.

  • Comment number 75.

    The complaint isn't that the questions were too challenging. The complaint is that the questions contain within them an implicit set of assumptions, including the assumption that the police officer's behaviour could have been justified if it had been provoked by some action on Jody's part, such as rolling towards the police or throwing rocks or the police.

    In pursuing this line of questioning Ben Brown lends his support to the idea that police brutality is to be empathised with, if it is provoked by the protestor's behaviour. The line of questioning also fails to acknolwedge the level of violence inherent in forcably removing a wheelchair user from their wheelchair. There is no real clear equivalent action for the fully mobile. For a wheelchair user to be separated from their wheelchair is functionally equivalant to a fully mobile individual having their legs broken or their hamstrings cut or receiving a serious spinal injury

  • Comment number 76.

    Have you noticed there isn't a SINGLE comment here supporting Ben Brown, or even expressing a liberal I-didn't-like-it-but-I-understand-how-it-happened point of view? This sort of unanimous criticism is very unusual on an internet discussion board. Maybe it's time to admit you really messed up here, eh BBC?!

  • Comment number 77.

    He may be a wheelchair user but by his own account he is able to climb 9 flights of stairs of an occupied building. Also, his blog reveals that he really doesn't like the police and that he is adept and dismantling the police barriers.

    Being dragged out of his wheelchair is not on. But he is no Saint and was desperate to be in the firing line.

  • Comment number 78.

    I compained because I was disgusted by the interview, as were a great many others. I must admit someone posted a link to the Complaints micro-site, making it easier, but by having a means of complaining you are clearly asking for it. Shame on you!

  • Comment number 79.

    I agree with Kevin Bakhurst. The interview was neither unfair not patronising and I was impressed that he avoided patronising him.

    I challenged the complainers on my twitter stream and got quite a lot of support and some retreats.

    Evan Harris

  • Comment number 80.

    Mr Bakhurst, you say you are genuinely interested in hearing from more people. I would be happy to email you and the newsreader, yet the only way you allow comments is via a moderated discussions board.
    I make a comment which you do not like, and you reject it.
    Please do tell me exactly how my comment below breaches your rules, other than you not liking it.

    Mr Bakhurst, you say "However I am genuinely interested in hearing more from people who have complained about why they object to the interview"
    Well, I have been looking for Ben Brown's email address so I could tell him direct what I think. I am happy to do so here.

    Mr Brown, your interview yesterday with Jody McIntyre was shocking. Suggesting that a disabled man in a wheelchair was threatening tooled up, fit and healthy riot police by "rolling towards them" is just shocking. You should be ashamed of yourself.
    I'm surprised you didn't ask why he wasn't held on a charge of being caught in possession of curly black hair and thick lips

    And your own comment Mr Bakhurst "I am aware that there is a web campaign encouraging people to complain to the BBC about the interview"
    There is no such campaign that I am aware of. And indeed the BBC has now broadcast an offensive interview with a wheelchair disabled man, people have quite rightly complained and you try to say there is some sort of astroturfing campaign? More like you have gone crying to your mummies when you've been found out for bullying.
    You and your team should go an hang your heads in shame, for even suggesting a disabled man threatened riot police, and for claiming any well-deserved criticism is the result of a "campaign".

  • Comment number 81.

    Kevin, - I think it is pretty clear what the problem is. There are some contexts where a 'challenging' interview would be appropriate and others where it isn't. If you have the family of a murder victim on and the family aren't suspects would you treat them sympathetically or would you grill them about their possible involvement? If you had Prince Charles on would you ask what he did to provoke people into throwing paint at his car. The reason that it is outrageous to challenge Jody is that it is absolutely clear that he posed no threat. - And it is continuous with the very biased coverage of student demonstrations in the media which focus on student 'violence' despite the fact that students caused some property damage whereas the police bashed someones' head with a baton and left him needing a brain operation and dragged a disabled guy from his wheelchair. Who are the violent ones? It is strange that you are also uncritical of politicians professing their disgust with the violence given that politicians endorse violence in plenty of other contexts - killing thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example.

  • Comment number 82.

    I wasn't planning on complaining but having read this incredibly disingenuous response I think I might.

    To begin with your team failed to do basic fact checking - your reporter didn't know that Mr McIntyre was unable to move his wheelchair without assistance. You should have found this out before the interview began. When he pointed this out to the interviewer no kind of apology was made, which if nothing else, was needlessly rude.

    Secondly your reporter began with the presumption that Mr McIntyre was provoking the police. Someone above has listed the breakdown of your interviewers questions - '3 were about why Jody hadn't made a formal complaint. 4 were about things he might have done to provoke an attack.'

    As a trained journalist the questions I would have asked that your reporter neglected to, include:

    In your own words can you describe for us what happened?
    How did you feel at the time?
    Why do you think the police acted as they do?

    Mr Brown, with his closed questions and insinuations, reveals himself to be a very poor interviewer, uninterested in what I understand the fundamentals of journalism - trying to discover and distinguish the truth. Open ended questions would be far more likely to expose any weakness in interviewee's story. Please feel free to forward these suggestions to Mr Brown for future reference.

    I'd agree too with those above who have already pointed out that only showing an excerpt from the full interview is itself distorting.

    Finally this story demonstrates the fallacy of 'balanced reporting'. On the evidence of the video Mr McIntyre is almost certainly a victim of an assault and battery, he should sue, and if he does - he will almost certainly win. Even if were he found to be in some way contributorily negligent 'for rolling towards the police' as it were - the Tort will still have been committed by the police. The Law makes it clear there is no such balance, yet through this kind of aggressive cross examination, perpetrator and victim are reduced to the same standing in the eyes of the viewer: both are placed under suspicion. And - vitally - to begin with such suspicion is not sceptical, but cynical. There's a considerable difference.

    The BBC can't have it both ways - you can't behave like a prosecutor and then claim to have the impartiality of a judge. So whenever you play devil's advocate it is only right that you point this is what you're doing, for the sake of audience understanding if nothing more.

    Finally I'd advise you not to mistake a wave of disinterested disgust about a poorly conducted interview for a grand political campaign - it merely reveals your unwillingness to listen to individuals who query your standards and conduct. Indeed it is of the same order of cynicism for which your reporter is being upbraided. Is it perhaps institutional?

  • Comment number 83.

    I have not yet complained but I will be.

    Throughout this interview, i could not comprehend the amount of idiocy and ignorance that was coming from Ben Brown's mouth; it was utterly disgraceful.

    For someone to throw such foolish accusations around is completely immortal and inhumane. To question whether Jody was throwing objects or wheeling towards the police in a threatening manor, is questioning his disability, and for a company as big as the BBC to recognise this is absolutely awful.

    Most people like myself have not complained due to the reasons you are implying, but because of manor in which it is carrying.

  • Comment number 84.

    It isnt that Ben Brown was 'too challenging'. Obviously this isnt the case: McIntyre showed us that his questions were not challenging, they were foolish.

    But as another comment said, YouTube and Flicker are full of footage that clearly shows the police behaving badly and with practices that should be (and perhaps are) illegal. Who else will expose such abuses of power, if not BBC journalists?

    But we dont see it, do we? We dont see the BBC journalists reporting what it is like to be stuck for nine hours inside a kettle, to be beaten around the head for doing nothing but protesting, to be charged with horses.

    No. Our BBC journalists do not call police horse charges 'dangerous', rather they call them 'intimidating'.

    And instead of quizzing a police chief about the *outrageous* abuse of power and incitement to violence that was Jody McIntyre being dragged out of his wheelchair, we have a BBC journalist asking a disabled man if he rolled his wheelchair towards the police at the time. As if *anything* could have been an excuse for what they did.

    BBC, we pay a license fee for top quality journalism to protect us from abuses of power.

    Where are you when we need you? Its not just about asking challenging questions. Its also about who you are putting the challenging questions to.

    Or not.

    Many of us feel a sense of outrage, and quite right too: is NOT OK to ride horses into crowds, hit kids with batons, or pull a disabled person from his wheelchair. The evidence that this has happened is there, on film, in the public domain; but still we get apologist interviewers like Ben Brown implying that protesters must have 'asked for it' somehow. Many, many viewers would prefer to see the BBC questioning police chiefs, challenging what has happened and voicing public outrage... Come on BBC - fulfill your public broadcast remit!

  • Comment number 85.

    You refused to print the comments I made earlier this afternoon.
    So I chall repeat them, in condensed form.


  • Comment number 86.

    Time to respond properly Kevin! Seriously, I hope you can see now that it's genuine outrage. Respond.

  • Comment number 87.

    Good Evening Kevin,

    Having never complained before, I felt so incensed with the latest one sided interview, that I did in fact make an official complaint today.
    As a whole the coverage of the student protests have been widely reported from the side of the police and the government. Watching the news I am appalled by scenes of violence and disrespect of memorials. But equally I have seen coverage of girls being pushed into police lines and being punched and hit with batons. And this not being commented on by BBC.
    Now, Mr Brown badgering and leading a man with Cerebral Palsy with questions of "Did you not throw stones at the police?" I could not believe my eyes. As a Metropolitan Police Officer's daughter, I am not anti police and I have children in university who have not protested. But this bias coverage has got to stop.

  • Comment number 88.

    Maybe the BBC is leaning on it's employees not to anger the ogre of the tory government and risk suffering the wrath of the News Corporation backed overlords of the country.
    The overall reporting on the protests has been almost as shoddy and one-sided as the other corporate media outlet's.

  • Comment number 89.

    I have never complained about the BBC before, but this interview shocked me. I believe it is the duty of the BBC to seek the truth and speak it too. The problem is that the social media (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter) have revealed that on these protests you are failing to do so (certainly on national tv news coverage - I was impressed by BBC Sheffield), in particular that you were not showing police violence and the abuse of police tactics. The reason you are getting these complaints is that now when you do cover it, it is with an inept interview, which seems to blame the victim.

  • Comment number 90.

    What is disgusting about Ben Brown's questioning is his extreme bias. You might as well have had a police officer or a minister interviewing Jodie. Ben Brown's ignorance and disrespect of Jodie's condition reduces the piece to the level of a farce.

  • Comment number 91.

    I watched the report live last night and complained within seconds of watching it. I suspect many will have complained immediately, and many will have complained following the story trending world wide on twitter today.

    It was a disgusting attack on a man to constantly remind him of his disability. Surely no other disabled person has ever received this kind of insensitive grilling?

  • Comment number 92.

    I have posted a complaint before making this comment.

    I agree with the "bias" and most the remarks here but fundementally and perhaps most alarming is that it was Jody McIntyre that behaved like he had professional media training and Ben Brown who looked completely incompetent. McIntyre gave reasonable succinct and specific answers to Brown's questions but Brown kept repeating variations of the same question. Also Brown spoke with a tone that one would use when admonishing a child not an equal. A particular favourite interaction of mine is:

    McIntyre: I think to try and justify a police offer pulling a disable person out of a wheelchair and dragging them across a concrete road is quite ridiculous and I am surprised that you just tried to do so...

    Brown: So that’s not true, so were not wheeling yourself towards the police?

    That is a classic. I really admire Kevin Bakhurst's loyalty to team though. I hope one day I have a boss like Kevin Bakhurst.

  • Comment number 93.

    It is one thing to abandon journalistic integrity to statist bias, but to lose one's sense of shame is another.

    While there will be an official police response to the matter, without questions being pressed to the officer who manhandled and abused Mr. MacIntyre, the equivalency you seek is moot.

  • Comment number 94.

    I'm surprised you didn't ask Jody why he wasn't held on a charge of being caught in possession of curly black hair and thick lips.

    (That's a reference to a BBC programme called Not the Nine O'Clock News)

  • Comment number 95.

    I find Ben Brown's implication that Jody McIntyre is a revolutionary and somehow that this might justify the police actions beyond belief. Ben Brown repeatedly asking Jody whether he provoked the attacks against him and even whether he threw anything and then cutting Jody short when he tried to make some valid political points may have been down to some bad editing as well as crass ignorance, but it is well below the standards I expect from the BBC. Robust questioning is all very well, and I suspect BB was putting the police's point of view across, but he made himself ridiculous and certainly gave the impression that he was prejudiced against Jody. The police are trained to deal with riots and violence, so there is absolutely no excuse for Jody's manhandling nor for Alfie Meadows being so viciously assaulted. Jody made a good point that they seem to relish and provoke violence, though obviously this does not apply to all officers. But the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G2 protest last year is yet another indication that some members of the force are out of control.

  • Comment number 96.

    'Im mad as hell, and I won't take it anymore!' - I think this surmises the overwhelming majority of people's feelings on here... The protestors have been painted as violent thugs, and very little, if anything at all has been mentioned about the Police's ridiculous tactics. Is it because you fear a Tory backlash? Its not them you have to answer to, it us, the licence fee payers. This interview is a disgrace but what makes it worse, and the blood boil is the indifference with which the complaints have been handled. There is a lot of talk about people 'just not getting it' at the moment... and I think the BBC and in particular you Kevin are guilty of this in reporting of the whole matter.
    You are supposed to be a bastion of truth and fairness for us, Ive protested against BBC cuts because I believe in public service broadcasting and the crucial role it plays in our democracy... you are not living up to these highest aspirations, lofty and seemingly unattainable as they may seem, it is the striving for them that is the most important role the BBC has.
    Please hold the Government and Police to account for this. This is a trial run for greater things to come, cuts are arriving that will shock people to their core. The right to protest is under threat, and the BBC is threatened with becoming irrelevant if it continues on this course. The Tories have already sold the BBC down the river and have given Murdoch free reign, the time to fight against this is now.

  • Comment number 97.

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

  • Comment number 98.

    You say: 'we interviewed Mr McIntyre as we would interview anyone else in his position'. Really? I'm a middle-aged woman, and if I'd been assaulted by thugs in the street, would you ask me my political views? If I told you I was a revolutionary, would you think that explained the attack or was in any way relevant? And if I'd shouted at my attackers, would you have implied that that justified them beating me up? So why are victims of police violence subjected to such hostile, victim-blaming interrogation?

    You should have been interrogating the police, not Jody McIntyre. They're the ones who need to come up with some justification for attacking ordinary citizens, telling young people to disperse via Westminster Bridge then trapping them there for hours, (allegedly) bashing a student senseless then trying to prevent the ambulance from taking him to the nearest hospital, and sending so many students home covered in bruises (or perhaps they spent the day hitting themselves with riot shields and truncheons).

    The BBC's reporting of all these events, including this disgraceful attempt to shift the blame from the perpetrators of the violence on to one of its victims, has been utterly craven. From the news hierarchy the day after the protest (1. Charles and Camilla's Rolls Royce 2. What effect this will this have on the Lib Dems 3. The Nobel Prize and how China prevents free speech, 4. Philosophy student almost dies after (allegedly) being struck on the head by a police officer) you may as well have been embedded with the ConDem Coalition.

    The media have a serious responsibility to publicise and scrutinise wrongdoing and abuse, especially by the state against its citizens. You are abdicating that responsiblity.

  • Comment number 99.

    Thank you for the comments and observations. The web campaign is on Facebook and Twitter amongst others. I appreciate others wanted to complain directly.
    I would encourage people to have a quick look at Mr McIntyre's own website - as pointed out by Douglas (77)

  • Comment number 100.

    A quote from the Guardian today -

    A spokeswoman for the BBC declined to reveal how many complaints the corporation had received about the interview, saying it was not policy to do so when there was "obvious evidence of lobbying".

    So if enough people lodge complaints then we can be simply dismissed as lobbyists? It truly is a sad day for the BBC it really is. You should be wholeheartedly ashamed. I know I am, having once worked many years, for this once great institution.


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