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Is it news? Mar 27

BBC: Blair admits resignation mistake:

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has acknowledged it may have been a “mistake” to announce he would not be serving a fourth term in office.

“People kept asking me the question so I decided to answer it. Maybe that was a mistake,” he told Australian radio after attending the Commonwealth Games.

Later Downing Street said what he meant was it was a mistake to expect the announcement would end speculation.

I can see a couple of possible reasons why this might be newsworthy: Downing Street can’t help living up to their reputation for spin, backtracking what Blair said; and the sheer idea that Blair has admitted to a mistake about anything.

But this off-hand, drowned out comment doesn’t affect public policy one jot. It also doesn’t even have an implication for the increasingly tedious and over-written “will-they-won’t-they” question about when Gordon Brown – John Major to Blair’s Mrs T. – will take over. So why is it the top story on the BBC, the front page story in theguardian, and all over Sky?

3 Responses

  1. 1

    Because news isn’t about what’s in the public interest, just what’s of interest to the public – no matter what values any news provider sets out in their mission statement.

    It’s the same reason we get football results in prime-time buletins and not, say, the national table-tennis results. Football only gets that position through popularity not any kind of need-to-know.

  2. Slow news day?

  3. The BBC, particularly, should be above this nonsense — they should be reporting facts, not convoluted opinion and expansion on the very irrelevant comment that Blair almost didn’t make (but for the interviewer’s timing).