On Saturday morning, I watched BBC rolling news about the Paris atrocities. Then I spent the day hunting and switched on again at about half-past five. It was extraordinary how little the Corporation had advanced its coverage in the course of seven hours. It suffered from the curse of ‘big-footing’ — the custom of flying news ‘anchors’ from London to broadcast on the spot without knowing anything. No one needs Huw Edwards looking very serious in some boulevard and telling us again and again that ‘Paris is today a city in shock.’
We want to know, first, as much as possible about what actually happened; second, whatever can be gleaned about the perpetrators; third, the reaction of those directly affected, of leaders in the country and round the world, and of police and security agencies; fourth, the effects on Britain; fifth, a political analysis which explains what President Hollande can and can’t do, the state of French opinion and law, the role of the EU and Schengen, the situation with Isis and Syria, and so on. Obviously the human element is very powerful, but we do not need hours of film of people laying wreaths, lighting candles etc. What was most marked — and in coverage elsewhere too — was the demise or underuse of the regular foreign correspondent, the person who really knows the country affected.
This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Notes. The full article can be found here.