The BBC has responded to significant complaints about an interview with former Prime Minister Tony Blair on the Radio 4 Today programme.
Today presenter John Humphrys interviewed Blair last week about his push for a second referendum on Brexit.
- January 22, 2021
- January 21, 2021
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The BBC received complaints from listeners that the interview was “aggressive and biased” against Blair.
Responding to complaints, the corporation said: “Listeners of the Today programme expect robust and challenging questioning, and it was no different in the interview with Mr Blair.
“If a presenter interrupts, the intention is simply to keep the topic on track and ensure that a guest’s views are properly scrutinised.”
“Interviewees and panels often need firm steering, and a balance of politeness and persistence is needed. Today aims to achieve firm and fair probing of important issues.
“We’re satisfied that John’s questioning was appropriate and in keeping with what our listeners expect.”
During the Today interview, Humphrys pushed Blair on his arguments for a second referendum, saying that ignoring the first result would risk “civil disobedience”.
Twitter was awash with complaints following the interview.
The Remainiacs Podcast, which is hosted by politics.co.uk editor Ian Dunt, tweeted: “Tony Blair patiently explains to #r4today the insupportable costs of Brexit. John Humphrys interrupts “but we voted for it!”
“When even BBC interviewers are supporting the infantile “you lost get over it” argument we really are in trouble.”
The BBC publish responses to complaints when audience concern has “either generated significant numbers of complaints or raised significant issues”.
The BBC publishes fortnightly complaint reports on its website detailing the number of complaints received about particular programmes. The figures have yet to be released for the Blair interview.