Channel 4 News’ Laughably Biased Privatisation Debate
The Channel 4 News team are really pushing the limits of “due impartiality” with their coverage of their own impending privatisation. Last night the channel aired a ‘debate’ on the topic, hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, in which former Channel 4 producer David Elstein defended the government’s plans against screenwriter Kay Mellor. Mellor should have just stayed at home; Krishnan seemed more than happy to do her job for her…
Throughout the 7-minute exchange, Guru-Murthy spends almost five minutes sparring with Elstein over the cost and planning of the scheme, only to turn and give Mellor a few softball questions when he remembers she’s still sitting there. Given Krishnan’s long Twitter thread slamming the plans on Wednesday, Guido hopes Elstein wasn’t expecting his views to be treated with any respect.
An exasperated government source described Guru-Murthy’s interview as the most biased one they’ve ever seen in their time in Whitehall, and will surely be used one day on journalism courses as an example of biased interviewing.
In a speech made at the Creative Cities Convention on the same day, Channel 4 Chief Content Officer Ian Katz also waded in to say
“In reality, we know a profit driven Channel 4 would be pushed inexorably toward same-old proven formats, same old subjects, same old talent, same old producers […] a Channel 4 which purely delivers its existing licence requirements would have spent £86 million less on out of London productions last year.”
Guido now spots Channel 4 is hiring an “External Affairs Manager” to “build and maintain great relationships” with Whitehall and Westminster. Sounds like they want a guerrilla fighter more than a traditional comms person…