Reality TV, “fatuous” celebrities, and “blanket coverage” of the Madeleine McCann story top the list of lead stories British news presenters would most like to shred.
Following US news presenter Mika Brzezinski’s attempts to burn, bin and finally shred the script for a lead story on Paris Hilton’s release from prison last week, Press Gazette asked the anchor’s UK counterparts which topics drove them to destruction.
Jeremy Thompson of Sky News cited Big Brother, adding: “I think I’d have ripped up the lead script too – if it had been Paris Hilton or almost any other fatuous celebrity yarn.”
BBC News 24 anchor Ben Brown said he had occasionally declined to cover reality TV stories. “I said I didn’t think we should be doing it just because the new series of Big Brother was launching.”
Channel 4 News presenter Alex Thomson said the Madeleine McCann story did not deserve its news ranking: “I’ve been sickened by the way the media have allowed themselves to be taken for a full-scale ride by the McCanns.” He added that the parents’
conduct, “a contributory factor in the abduction, was largely downplayed or ignored altogether by sycophantic, gullible blanket coverage.”
Jim Gray, editor of Channel 4 News was in two minds as to Brzezenski’s onair antics: “As an editor, I’m absolutely appalled but delighted. A shocking lack of professionalism but, by God, she had rightness on her side.”
But Adrian Monck, former managing editor of Five News showed no pity: “If a presenter ever did that on air I’d want to give them a very good talking to.”