After much blogging about the absence of proper speeches at proper rallies during the election (see below), I was delighted to see this barnstorming performance from Gordon Brown at Westminster Hall yesterday:
I was also delighted that news of the speech was quick to circulate around Twitter and the blogosphere - and anyone who thinks that proper speeches at proper rallies don't make for good television might like to reflect on the fact that, less than 24 hours later, 37,531 viewers have watched it on YouTube (latest total at 22.00 hrs: 49,186).
But how much of it did BBC Television News let you see?
The BBC 10 0'clock news excelled itself with a seven and a half minute report that seemed to be designed to encapsulate everything I've been complaining about since the election began (see links below).
We were shown 22 seconds from each of the speeches by Brown, Cameron and Clegg - presumably exactly equal shares to conform to the Representation of the People Act.
But the Act doesn't constrain the verbosity of political editor Nick Robinson, who spent 123 seconds telling us what they said, asking each of them how they felt about it and generally pontificating about what was going on.
So viewers had to listen to Robinson speaking for more than half (52%) of this opening sequence, compared with just over a quarter (28%) listening to what three party leaders were saying.
Then to opinion poll news, where we were treated to more than a minute's display of the BBC's obsession with flashy graphics, as a manic Jeremy Vine migrated from a virtual bar-chart to a virtual House of Commons (see also Euro-election coverage: was the BBC's graphical overkill a violation of its charter?).
And, just in case you hadn't seen enough of Nick Robinson, up he pops again at the end of the sequence to bag another 74 seconds of the night's lead political story .
P.S. Since I posted this a few hours ago, John Rentoul, chief political commentator at the Independent on Sunday, has picked up on it and added some interesting comments HERE, based on his past experience of working with Nick Robinson at BBC Television.
Related posts on the election
- Will the 2010 UK general election be the first one to leave us speechless?
- Blair speaks and the BBC tells you what he said
- Before we watch the debates, has anyone seen or heard any proper speeches yet?
- Silent speeches by party leaders: the wallpaper of television news coverage
- Brown speaks and the BBC doesn't tell you what he said
- More PowerPoint election 'news' from the BBC
Earlier posts on UK media coverage (or lack of it) of speeches
- Mediated speeches: whom do we really want to hear?
- Obama's rhetoric renews UK media interest in the lost art of oratory
- 'The Lost Art of Oratory' by a BBC executive who helped to lose it in the first place
- Is the media no longer interested in what goes on in parliament?
- BBC discovers the 'Lost Art of Oratory' (again)
- Political speeches can still make a big difference - like changing the date of an election