Saturday, September 01, 2018

David Dimbleby has destroyed political debate in Britain


So I am not the only one who does refuses to buy the idea that David Dimbleby is some kind of broadcasting legend.

Nick Cohen writes for Standpoint:
The retirement of David Dimbleby from Question Time after a quarter of a century has  brought fears of cultural debasement to a head. Dimbleby will be remembered, if he is remembered at all, for fanning hysteria, and his departure provoked something close to disgust as broadcasters looked at their future and recoiled. 
Adam Boulton of Sky described Dimbleby’s complicity in Question Time’s drift towards "the ritual confrontation and humiliation of its guests". His and the BBC’s laziness and ugliness had led to a "coarsening of public discourse". 
Among my political allies Dimbleby and his producers are the first item of evidence used to prosecute the claim that the BBC has not merely covered populism but promoted it by putting Nigel Farage on Question Time more than any other guest this century.
Ouch. I just moan that he has turned being his father's son into a 50-year BBC career.

I have seen it suggested that Question Time has never recovered from the edition it broadcast immediately after the scandal over MPs' expenses broke.

The visceral anger the audience displayed that night has been seen, ever since, as the mood the programme should aim at.

Note that the anger was not aimed at any particular government or opposition policy but at the politicians as a class. They were all alike and all in it for themselves.

It is no wonder a programme that fosters such a few of politics has welcomed Nigel Farage and no-nothing commentmongers and think-tank monkeys. The introduction of a fifth seat on the panel has not helped either.

You may say that Dimbleby does not run the programme, but he could have walked away from it long before now.

Remember what happened when someone tried to interest Cliff Michelmore in a proto Question Time:
After Tonight, he and his colleague Kenneth Allsop started the 24 Hours programme. Editor Derrick Amoore, later the creator of the current affairs show Nationwide, asked him to do a debate with a studio audience that Michelmore considered a bad idea. 
He reportedly snapped ‘I will not be associated with a third-rate Palladium show,’ and nearly left.

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