Welcome to viewers joining us from Newsnight

by Stephen Tall on July 21, 2006

There’s an interesting, if slightly odd, column today by BBC Newsnight’s deputy editor, Daniel Pearl. (Hat-tip: Rob Fenwick.)

If you write anything about Newsnight, or about me, on a blog, I’ll probably find it via Technorati. So for example, I know that there’s a whole debate going on about Ming Campbell’s performance on Newsnight – the question being asked is whether Ming is the Lib Dems’ Iain Duncan Smith… see here or here.

The thing I find strange about all this is that often people who write blogs, or
contribute to them, somehow think that they are involved in a private forum.

The first paragraph is not especially surprising. Most of us who have StatCounter, or an equivalent tracker, know when someone from a BBC address has visited our sites. And if they’ve clicked through via Technorati we’ll know that too.

Which makes even odder the non-sequitur of Mr Pearl’s second paragraph. The debate in the Lib Dem blogosphere that Sir Menzies Campbell’s appearance on Newsnight provoked was never intended to be kept behind closed doors – especially as most Lib Dem blogs have an RSS feed to the popular Aggregator.

The parallel Mr Pearl was seeking to draw was with a Newsnight intern who let slip details about the show to a blogging friend on the grounds “the blog was supposed to be just for her and her friends”.

It is, of course, true that there are many people who use their blog as a live journal. But there are very few political bloggers to whom that applies (though there was an infamously egregious exception to that general rule). Most of us are positively delighted for our views to be spread far and wide. In fact, the further and wider the better.

And in case he’s reading this: welcome, Mr Pearl. I’m delighted Newsnight’s team is so assiduous in reading all e-mails and blog postings in which the programme is name-checked. This should mean you are well aware of the concern that has been expressed at your employment of US Republican advisor Frank Luntz to conduct ‘group-think’ focus groups without making clear his political leanings.

In case this issue is new to you, the following sites should give you a flavour:

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