When is news not news? Channel 4 News – Monday 3 November 2014

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Having watched every bulletin over the last week (except Saturday), Channel 4 News seemed to be getting better as the week went on. However, because I missed Saturday, I decided to add Monday 3rd of November to make up my seven bulletins, and whilst watching this programme, I realised that Channel 4 News is not a news programme at all, it’s a magazine programme and it should be renamed Channel 4 La-La-Land Fluff TV.

19.00 – 19.02 Intros

19.02 – 19.08 The murder of Ann Maguire by Will Cornick.

19.08 – 19.10 Brief report on GCHQ’s Robert Hannigan.

19.10 – 19.17 Theresa May apologies in parliament for child sexual abuse inquiry delays.

19.17 – 19.20 Item about free movement in the EU.

19.20 – 19.23 Item on Rurik Jutting, ex-banker who appears to have murdered two women in Hong Kong.

19.23 – 19.30 Report on the crash of the Virgin Galactic test plane.

19.30 – 19.39 Feature about the difference in attitude between the over 60s and under 30s.

19.39 – 19.44 Studio discussion with Virginia Ironside and Katie Morley.

19.44 – 19.47 Story about the proposed Mayor of Greater Manchester.

19.47 – 19.50 A bloke in a blindfold on a tightrope.

19.50 – 19.51 Adverts

19.51 – 19.55 Russian debutantes’ ball in London.

The programme opens with another lurid report, this time on the murder of teacher Ann Maguire by mentally-disturbed 16-year-old pupil Will Cornick.

Then Lindsey Hilsum cheerfully repeats the blatant panic-mongering of Robert Hannigan, Director of GCHQ, about how the internet in general and US tech giants in specific are “the command and control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals”. I am sure Hannigan could not have been more pleased with that bit of prime-time propaganda.

Then there was an item about the child sexual abuse inquiry and Theresa May’s apalogy in parliament to the victims. In the studio Andy Lavery, a child sex-abuse survivor and activist, is polite whilst being interrupted by Jon Snow, but visibly irritated when he is cut off at the end.

Then we get back to immigration and free movement in the EU with a quote at the end from rent-a-gob Nigel Farage.

Then the juicy murders in Hong Kong.

After that, another embarrassing interview by Jon Snow with Richard Branson about the Virgin Galactic crash. I couldn’t care less about Branson’s day trips for the super-rich, but the accusatory nature of the questioning was extremely unprofessional. Maybe not for The Daily Mail, but definitely for Channel 4.

I don’t know if any strings were pulled to edit this online article (link below) about Philip Davies MP telling Jon Snow he “should go”, and I hate to agree with what any Tory MP (allegedly) said, but I think he should go. Over and over again, Jon Snow has shown himself to rude and unprofessional when interviewing.


After that was a feature of pure fluff about the difference in attitudes between the “over 60s and under 30s”, including some interviews with some over 60s and under 18s (?).

Then a studio discussion with writer Virginia Ironside (over 60) and journalist Katie Morley (under 30). Virginia Ironside was visibly frustrated by the stupidity of Kathy Newman’s questions. More filler and fluff.

Then a short report by “North of England Correspondent” Ciaran Jenkins on the devolution of power to Greater Manchester. But no mention of Sheffield or Leeds.


Tightrope. Fluff.

Russian debutantes’ ball. Fluff.

I will be writing an analysis of the whole week and will post that online later in the week.

This last programme is currently available on 4oD.


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Coming up after the break, is the world really going to end? Channel 4 News – Sunday 2 November 2014

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Seeing as I missed Saturday, I will be adding Monday 3rd as well.

00.00 – 00.01 Intros

00.01 – 00.03 Rurik Jutting arrested for suspect murder of two sex workers.

00.03 – 00.07 Virgin Galactic test crash.

00.07 – 00.13 Climate change report published by UN.

00.13 – 00.15 – NIBs about feminist t-shirt faux pas, Alice Gross memorial, suicide bomber in India / Pakistan & Sunni Muslim massacre.

00.15 – 0.20 Ghonchen Ghovami imprisoned in Iran for attempting to gain access to a men-only volleyball game.

0.20 – 0.23 Sport

On a Sunday it’s a short bulletin at 18.35 and at least this had something important as the main feature, the new report published by the UN on climate change.

However, they lead with the lurid story of two dead prostitutes, allegedly murdered by a 29-year-old banker in Hong Kong, followed by a story about a pilot being killed in an air crash by a Virgin Galactic test aircraft. These are tabloid stories and hardly headline news.

Whatever, maybe it’s arguable that is a good way to sandwich the meatier stories, and at least Krishnan Guru-Murthy did his best to goad some outrage out of the seemingly stage-managed optimism of Professor Joanna Haigh, Co-Director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change & Environment from Imperial College, London.

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How environmental conservation has failed the British people. Channel 4 News – Saturday 1st November 2014

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Oops! We went out last night and I forgot to switch on the HD recorder to record Channel 4 News and it is not available on 4oD. For some time, we have had an energy saving policy in force at our house and this over-protective, nanny-state conservationism led to me not recording some telly that I wanted to see. I have the recorder set on a repeat programme so that I don’t have to programme it each time, but it does need to be draining energy in order to work. When all that fracked gas starts coming through I’ll leave all the lights on again. We won’t have much longer to live once our water is poisoned.

I’m not blaming Channel 4 News for that.

Never mind, the Saturday broadcast is just a 20 minute recap and I’ll add an extra day on Monday.

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The Woolf Out the Door. Channel 4 News – Friday 31 October 2014

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Nothing about immigration, radicalised Muslims or UKIP on Friday 31st. I almost miss it. However, also nothing about the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire. They were keen to report on it when they thought UKIP was in the running but nothing now the Labour candidate, Alan Billings, got nearly twice the number of votes than UKIP.

19.00 – 19.02 Intros

19.02 – 19.15 The resignation of Fiona Woolf from the inquiry into child sexual abuse.

19.15 – 19.17 Crash of the Virgin Galactic test aircraft.

19.17 – 19.21 Overthrow of government in Burkina Faso.

19.21 – 19.23 Two deaths reported in a fire at a fireworks factory.

19.23 – 19.26 Report on the suicide of Rosie Whitaker and bullying.

19.26 – 19.31 US elections

19.31 – 19.35 Feature about the awareness campaign by the Royal Society for Public Health about the number of calories in alcoholic drinks.

I am disappointed that Channel 4 News has not reinforced my prejudice today. At least they are pushing the child sexual abuse inquiry story rather than having John Snow asking “what is it about these Northern cities?”.

I guess my campaign is working. Who would have thought that a nobody in one of “these Northern cities” would have any effect, even without being interviewed by their North of England correspondent and who voted Labour for the SYPCC.

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The Woolves of Parliament Square. Channel 4 News – Thursday 30 October 2014

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It has become an enlightening discipline to have to watch the whole 7pm Channel 4 News bulletin without switching it off in disgust. Here are my observations for Thursday 30th October 2014.

19.00 – 19.01 – Intros

19.01 – 19.06 The proliferation of drugs in prisons & decriminalisation.

19.06 – 19.11 Social unrest in Burkina Faso.

19.11 – 19.21 Manchester sex abuse scandal including an interview with Tony Lloyd,Police Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester & Stephen Woolfe UKIP MEP for North West England. Krishnan Guru-Murthy asks “Is there a specific issue with Asians in the North West?”.

19.21 – 19.24 US nurse breaks Ebola quarantine.

19.24 – 19.26 NIBs about Scottish Labour Party, shooting at Al Aqsa and Libya.

19.26 – 19.32 Paul Mason reporting from East coast towns talking to people about UKIP and immigration.

19.32 – 19.34 “Adverts”

19.34 – 19.43 Proliferation of drugs in New England, US.

19.43 – 19.48 Follow-on interviews with UK anti-drugs worker and recreational user.

19.48 – 19.51 New Birmingham sperm bank.

Again, the ad break included the trailer for “Make Leicester British”.

Nothing specifically about British Muslims but the Manchester sex abuse story was given a racial slant, and a UKIP rent-a-gob, although there was a glaring side-step where maybe Krish should have asked “Is there a specific issue with Asians in the North West [and white, privileged men in Westminster]?”.

I’m sure it slipped his mind.

Paul Mason did attempt inject a little perspective in his report from the seaside town they forgot to close down, but it was mostly just giving a voice to people moaning about Poles coming over here, taking the shit jobs we don’t want to do.

So, for Thursday I count only 17 minutes (approximately) out of 51 that was about UKIP & immigrants.

It’s getting a little better as the week goes on but there are plenty of glaring omissions such as Occupy Democracy, Hinkley C, Fukushima, the environment generally etc etc.

More tomorrow.

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Who needs TTIP when you have the CIA? Channel 4 News – Wednesday 29 October 2014

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I wish I’d saved yesterday’s blog title for today, but never mind, there’s plenty of dirt to go around. It’s a shame George Orwell and Adolf Hitler did such a good job documenting the subtleties of expert propaganda, it’s almost too easy these days.

Here are the timings for the Channel 4 News 7pm bulletin on Wednesday.

19.00 – 19.02 Various intros.

19.02 – 19.11 Manchester child abuse scandal.

19.11 – 19.14 John Lowe shotgun murders.

19.14 – 19.16 Latvian cargo plane intercepted by fighter jet.

19.16 – 19.21 The Emir of Qatar meets the Queen and David Cameron in London.

19.21 – 1924 Tesco investigated for alleged false accounting.

19.24 – 19.25 NIBs about landslide in Sri Lanka, Ebola and Rio Ferdinand.

19.25 – 19.37 Substantial feature on economic migrants from Bulgaria to Germany.

1937 – 19.40 Antares rocket failure.

19.40 – 19.45 Interview with director Christopher Nolan about new film “Interstellar”.

19.45 – 19.46 “Adverts”.

19.46 – 19.51 Feature about Grime music.

19.51 – 19.56 Feature & interview with musician & writer Kate Tempest.

No mention at all of radicalised Muslims or UKIP on Wednesday, but plenty of xenophobia and some subtle anti-EU propaganda.

I’m including the first feature about child abuse in my total of time dedicated to xenophobia because of a rather prominent mention of sexual abuse happening “above kebab shops, above pizza parlours” and how they are “still driving around in their taxis”, and we all know which particular stereotype that is reinforcing. However, the most startling comment in this bulletin was when John Snow asked Nazid Afzah from the Manchester Crime Prosecution Service, ”what is it about these Northern cities?”

Well, John, I can only guess that Theresa May MP (currently Home Secretary) did not give “these Northern cities” as much of a head start to misplace their incriminating dossiers.

The Emir of Qatar comes to London to negotiate buying weapons. The same Gulf state that is suspected of ending up in the hands of ISIL, but no mention of the newly de-classified documents revealing how the CIA (with the help of the British government) engineered the Iranian coup of 1953 which eventually led to the Islamic revolution of 1979. It’s pretty common knowledge and seems like a no-brainer to link all this up with the proliferation of war in the Middle-East and the dirty tricks on behalf of the US and UK.

Never mind.

However, the most subtly invidious feature was about the Bulgarian youths, apparently economic migrants, being trafficked to Germany, promised work but (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) used as rent boys. The feature ended with a translated quotation about how with Bulgaria now being in the EU, their lives will be like that for years. It was just a veiled indictment of free movement in the EU.

The rest of it was fluff apart from the ad break which featured one advert for a confrontational documentary entitled “Make Leicester British”. Bless.

So, for Wednesday 29th October 2014, I count 22 minutes (approximately) out of 56 dedicated to demonising immigrants and the EU.

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Who’s afraid of Fiona Woolf? Channel 4 News – Tuesday 28 October 2014

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Although I have been moaning for some time about my perception that Channel 4 News was disproportionately reporting stories about radicalised Muslims and immigration, I was genuinely shocked at yesterday’s calculations of 42 minutes out of 55.

Here are the timings and content for day two to the nearest minute.

19.00 – 19.09 A story about Libyan “migrants” attempting to reach Italy and being rescued at sea by the British Navy, amongst others, and how a new policy is to withdraw support for these rescues and “let them drown” as a deterrent.

19.09 – 19.17 A follow-on story about as many as 2,500 illegal migrants gathering at Calais trying to enter Britain. “Is it really that many?” an incredulous Cathy Newman asks Paraic O’Brien.

19.17 – 19.19 “North of England Correspondent” Ciaran Jenkins reports on the ongoing child abuse scandal in Rotherham and elsewhere.

19.19 – 19.22 A report on LLoyds Bank proposing to close branches and lose jobs, following on to the wider issue of technology replacing jobs.

19.22 – 19.25 A story about a Muslim woman who is believed to have taken her small child to Syria. “Up to 25 British Muslims have been killed in Syria” and as many as “five Britons a week” are going to Syria, “a huge number”.

19.25 – 19.31 Ebola

19.31 – 19.40 A feature about Muslim radicalisation and the attitudes of British Muslims.

19.40 – 19.45 Diabetes

19.45 – 19.49 A report on the soon to be elected new Police Crimes Commissioner for South Yorkshire and Michael Crick managed to put in a special mention for the UKIP candidate.

19.49 – 19.52 New weather forecasting super-computer.

19.52 – 19.56 A story about Sir Nicholas Winton who aided Jewish children to escape persecution in pre-war Czechoslovakia.

The Libyan “migrants” are actually refugees from a country in anarchy after the US / UK / NATO military  intervention. Libya is chaos and awash with weapons and militias. Rather like Somalia. And Iraq. And Afghanistan etc.

2,500 migrant / refugees in Callais is not that many, actually. Sure, it is a problem that has to be dealt with but there was no acknowledgement of what is driving these people out of their own countries, just an attempt to relate it to benefits.

Every time they use the term “North of England Correspondent” it makes me feel warm inside.

I do not dispute that some British Muslims are becoming “radicalised” and, again, I do not claim that it is not a problem that should be addressed, but 25 British casualties when present as combatants in a war zone is nothing compared with the estimated 700,000 killed in the “War Against Terror”, and five a week leaving for Syria is not a “huge” number.

At half-time there was a reasonably substantial feature that at least attempted to give a voice to a number of British Muslims and how they felt in the current atmosphere anti-Muslim paranoia. However, it was still about us and them.

Tuesday’s quota turns out to be only 29 minutes (give or take a minute) out of 56 (and no adverts) on immigration and radicalised Muslims, which is better than Monday but still more than 50%.

Whilst I do not dismiss that both of these are real issues that need reporting and action, what concerns me is the exaggeration and the resulting paranoia, which I believe is a politically-seeded editorial policy in order to make immigration a major campaigning issue in order to push the electorate to the right.

I also watched Al Jazeera for a while today, and it seems that the United Kingdom is not the only country in the world.

And nothing on (ahem) certain issues that might (or might not) have far reaching repercussions in the establishment.

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