30 September 2011

Did the BBC change its mind on publicising the snake Miliband landed on yesterday?



If this blog's main theme during last year's party conference season was the way in which audiences failed to applaud things that they should have applauded, this year's is turning out to be the snakes and ladders theory of political communication - which proposes that, for politicians, speeches work like ladders (by bringing them good news), whereas interviews work like snakes (by bringing them bad news).

Ed Miliband's memory lapse 'exposed' in a BBC interview
As I was driving for about six hours yesterday, I spent much more time listening to the radio than tracking the blogging and tweeting from the last vestiges of the Labour Party conference.

But the car radio obliged - as an example of how a gaffe in an interview can generate embarrassing news for a politician, they don't get much better than Ed Miliband's failure to name one of his party's candidates in the campaign for the Labour's Scottish leader - which was headlined on the early evening news programmes from BBC Radio 4.

By the time I got home, the internet was awash with the news. By 9.17 p.m., Mark Pack had embedded the original clip from the BBC website on the Liberal Denocrat Voice blog (HERE).

A change of heart from the BBC?
But when I tried to do the same earlier this morning, I was thwarted.

Yes, you can still watch the clip on the BBC website, but you can no longer access the code needed to embed it on your own blog or website - which is why I've had to 'make do' with embedding the version posted on YouTube by Guido Fawkes (that's already been seen by about 5,500 viewers).

When it first became possible to embed clips from the BBC website, I welcomed it (HERE). Since then, however, how they decide which ones are allowed to reach a wider audience (by giving access to the embedding code) has remained a complete mystery.

Today it's become be even more mysterious than I thought. After all, why, having supplied the code for embedding this particular clip last night, has the BBC withdrawn access to it this morning?

If they've done it in response to complaints from the Labour Party (who else would want to restrict its accessibility to a wider audience) we could be witnessing an even more worrying form of collusion between broadcasters and politicians than I suggested we're already up against in Politicians & broadcasters: collaboration or capitulation?

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