Newsnight editor Peter Barron points to an interesting Mayo/Steinberg moment this week. On Tuesday night’s show, David Miliband was being Paxman-ed about Burma: unable to answer a specific point, he promised to clear it up by publishing the missing information on the web later on. Not on the FCO’s main site, nor indeed on his shiny new blog… but over on Newsnight’s own site.
Arguably this was a risky tactic, and were I still working there, I might even have been inclined to advise against it (although it seemed to be a spontaneous decision by the Foreign Sec, judging by the video recording). By handing over the text, you’re handing over control of it. Who knows how the BBC might present it, or what else they might put around it?
As it turned out, Newsnight did publish it… and they followed it, on the same page, with responses by their own production staff, and from the UK’s Burma Campaign…. followed by a further FCO follow-up. All shown without additional commentary. And you know what? It’s a brilliant example of adult, reasoned debate. Here are the viewpoints, all in one place – now you decide.