THE Twittersphere on Sunday was alive, not with the sound of music, but with indignation and outrage. As ever, you may say. But this time there was some unity, and it was over Andrew Marr’s treatment of the Prime Minister. By midday the BBC complaints site had already acknowledged the interruptions that so annoyed listeners as these:
One followed the other: ‘Lefty Andrew Marr so obviously anti-Boris’; ‘Trying to outdo Andrew Neil, he is so biased’; ‘Comrade Marr showing his true colours’.
Only the hard Left came out in support of Marr, creatively interpreting his barracking as forensic questioning and using it, of course, to condemn Boris:
James Cleverly, co-chairman of the Conservative Party, had clearly had enough and for once we saw the Tories rebutting the biased BBC:
But it took the journalist Dan Hodges to spell out the pretence of this interview in the Twitter equivalent of rapid bursts of fire:
Let’s have a sweep on how many times Andrew Marr interrupts Boris to show he’s just as tough an interrogator as Andrew Neil.
It’s genuinely embarrassing the extent to which Andrew Marr is desperately attempting to channel his inner Jeremy Paxman.
How many interruptions are we up to now?
Andrew Marr is now becoming a parody of Andrew Marr becoming a parody of Jeremy Paxman.
Boris floundering. Marr embarrassing. But it should never have come to this. The BBC should have stuck to their guns and said ‘It’s Andrew Neil or it’s an empty chair’.
Marr now speaking so much anyone tuning in would think he’s a guest on the Boris Johnson Show.
‘You’re chuntering’. Marr just resorting to abuse now.
He concluded with what we at TCW have been demanding for years:
If the Conservative Party is in any remnant doubt about this, further validation from the Is the BBC Biased? website should do the trick. Its forensic breakdown of Marr’s interruptions of guests on his show, kindly supplied by Craig Byers who ‘for old times’ sake’ thought he’d count the number of interruptions each interviewee suffered on Sunday morning’s The Andrew Marr Show.
Here are his totals and summation:
Chuka Umunna 14
Shami Chakrabarti 5
Boris Johnson 91
If you divide the number of interruptions by the length of the interview to get a better sense of the frequency of the interruptions (i.e. work out an interruption coefficient), this works out as follows:
Chuka Umunna 1.9
Shami Chakrabarti 0.4
Boris Johnson 3.3
Which means, if you take it as a measure of the toughness of each interview, Boris got an eight times tougher interview than Shami . . . which feels about right.
What else does the compliant Conservative Party need to know? If it has to take the barracking of the PM by Marr to wise up the Tory party to BBC bias, so be it. But they only have themselves to blame: they were the ones who unconditionally renewed that Charter.