The BBC didn’t get hoaxed: thanks to media training the hoax is on the rest of us.
On Monday BBC News 24 in the UK ran what I am sure they expected to be an uneventful interview with a financial trader. But it didn’t turn out that way. You can watch the full interview below.
Sitting in front of their computer generated ‘City of London’ backdrop one Alessio Rastani, asked about the terrible Eurozone crisis, ripped up the news interview rule book. How? Amid stunned silence from the interviewer, he told the truth.
Here’s a snippet.
“…We don’t care that much how they’re going to fix the economy, how they’re going to fix the whole situation, our job is to make money out of it, and personally I’ve been dreaming of this moment for three years. I have a confession, I got to bed every night and I dream of another recession…”
“This is not a time to (sic) wishful thinking that the government is going to sort things out. The governments don’t rule the world: Goldman Sachs rules the world.”
Now in the same way that traders dream of recessions you might imagine that BBC journalists dream of having someone like Alessio Rastani speaking such unpalatable and scandalous truths on their programme. But the reaction of the BBC interviewer was instructive. She says…
“We appreciate your candour…”
…But if you listen to her delivery it’s clear that what she really meant was, “I cannot believe that you just said that.”
In fact, someone going on TV and saying what they meant caused such consternation at the BBC that rumours began to circulate that Alessio Rastani was actually a hoaxer. Twitter was alive with such suggestions until the BBC confirmed via Robert Peston their News Editor, that Alessio Rastani was in fact genuine.
So. We have reached a point where someone actually answering the specific question put to them by a BBC journalist truthfully and without fear or favour is so rare that we immediately suspect it to be a hoax. More than that, the BBC journalists themselves suspect it has to be a hoax. And why is that?
I’ll let Ed Miliband leader of the British opposition Labour Party answer. Watch the clip of him below, being interviewed by a BBC journalist earlier this year about the public sector strikes which were going on in the UK. But it isn’t the sanitised version that he, or his media minders ever really wanted you to see. They knew he was only likely to get fifteen seconds of it on the ten o’clock news, so they gave him the instruction that every media trainer does.
“Decide on your message and repeat it whatever the question you are asked.”
Watched in its entirety the short video is sobering. As is the reaction of the BBC journalist who makes no attempt to pick Miliband up on the fact that he has spectacularly failed to answer any one of the questions asked him. Time and again Ed Miliband repeats the same mantra, staring blankly at the interviewer.
To those in PR, communications and the media this will be no surprise. The truth is that every politician, CEO and spokesperson including those in maritime do it, although most of them do it rather better. This is the media deal. And if you break the deal then no one is going to thank you, particularly not BBC rolling news.
What the BBC wanted was a nice, media-friendly, sugar-coated, synthetic version of a City of London financial trader. But what they actually got was the real thing. And when he told the truth they decided he was dysfunctional.
I’ll take my share of responsibility over the years for playing the same games to ensure companies, brands and products in maritime and elsewhere have been presented in the best light, because there isn’t an alternative. But I know enough about how the media works not to believe anything I don’t check carefully myself. An alarming number of the general population don’t.
Ed Miliband made a speech at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool yesterday in which he made a big deal about how he’d taken leadership on the issue of the News International hacking scandal and how there should be a new relationship with the press. He also had a go at the private equity funds and financial traders, which all sounds great until you watch these two videos. Because ironically when it comes to the sugar-coated, synthetic ”Newslite’ media, it’s Ed Miliband and the politicians, not the the financial trader (however you feel about him and his views) who is complicit.
And that’s a shame, because it’s high time we had more candour and less Canderel…