Written by News, Politics

BBC iPlayer Now Streaming

The Beeb has updated the iPlayer to incorporate Flash streaming versions of programmes as well as the Windows XP only downloads previously available. This makes programme watching available to Mac and Linux users which is good news.
It also means that I can link to a programme like last nights Can Gerry Robinson Fix The NHS which was a fantastic watch, and I’m only disappointed in myself for not watching the previous series. Although it’s only live for another six days despite being current affairs/documentary fare. It seems unlikely to me that too many Gerry Robinson box sets of DVDs will be sold!
Later in the evening, Robinson came up against David Nicholson, the Chief Executive of the NHS on Newsnight. That’s also worth a watch, but you’ll have to be quick as I believe that only one day’s programming is archived. And Newsnight isn’t available via the iPlayer. I assume that’s something to do with the rights to agency footage that might be included in reports. That said, I notice that NBC seems able to video podcast its Nightly News.
Last night’s Newsnight is worth it for a great piece of investigative journalism into a recent report from thinktank Policy Exchange into “The Hijacking of British Islam.”
Researchers for the Policy Exchange went into 100 mosques and claimed to find books and pamphlets available with pretty hateful material. Their report was widely reported, and Newsnight began their own report into what had been uncovered. But when they got hold of some of the receipts that researchers had from the various mosques to prove where the material had been purchased, there was something fishy. Some of the receipts had misspellings on them or subtly wrong addresses. And many also seemed to have been generated by inkjet printers – Newsnight employed a forensic scientist to look at the documents. They also determined that it was likely that the same handwriting was on more than one receipt. Finally, it appeared that one receipt had been written on top of another. When their reporter went around some of the mosques in question, it didn’t all stack.
Now this was an incendiary report, getting front page coverage. But if the research on which the report was based was indeed flawed, then that questions the report’s overall validity. There seems to have been limited opportunity to actually question the researchers themselves.
Now it does seem that some of this hateful material can be found in some of these places and bookshops. Although I suspect that there’s some “radical” thoughts from some Christian sects if you look hard enough in a Christian bookshop. But when the Policy Exchange’s director (Dean Godson) appeared on the programme, he was blind in his defence on the report despite it quite evidently being based on some very dodgy research. It probably doesn’t completely invalidate his findings, but for whatever reason he was unwilling to accept that his researchers had either misled him or lied to him. Paxman was on the attack and his blustering defence only made him dig himself deeper and deeper into a hole.
Policy Exchange has a press release currently on their homepage which continues to refute their findings and questioning Newsnight’s methodology and reporting. They end by saying that they’re meeting today to discuss legal proceedings against the BBC.
Surely a far smarter move would be to consider the obviously fabricated evidence that they were provided with, and to look more closely at how their evidence was collected. It seems apparent that incendiary material is available in some places. But a long legal case is only likely to end with them having derision heaped on them.
Newsnight’s 17 minute piece is here and the follow up interview is here.
[UPDATE] Newsnight editor Peter Barron responds to Godson’s accusations here.
[UPDATE 2] A Telegraph piece from the weekend is rebutted in today’s letters by Peter Barron.