First day in the job and already the Tories are complaining to Lord Hall. Media Guido has a letter sent by Tory MP Dominic Raab complaining about the “market trader” David Bennett who was used by the Today Programme to put that question to IDS. Like many, Raab is confused as to where the Beeb found Bennett and what checks were done. He asks:
- How was Mr Bennett selected by the BBC for this interview?
- What background checks were made by the BBC to ensure the veracity of Mr Bennett’s claims?
- Mr Bennett claims that he ‘put a comment on [the BBC website] saying David Cameron can stick his Big Society where the sun doesn’t shine’. Why did the BBC not take this as an indication that his claims merited deeper examination?
- Why did the BBC not act to ensure that Mr Bennett was not left vulnerable to media criticism of his personal circumstances?
- Was the BBC contacted at any point by the Labour Party or any third party campaign groups before the interview was broadcast?
- Will the BBC be investigating this incident, to ensure that in future all interviews broadcast meet the highest standards of impartiality and accuracy?
The question to IDS was fair enough, but given Bennett claimed that he was working 70 hours a week for less that three thousand pounds per year, you can see where Raab is coming from. A bit too late though…