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Media Matters: Newsnight needs to regain its balance

Regulars | By Stephen Glover | January 2018


The BBC’s ailing current affairs show has lost its authority – and a tendency to lean to the Left hasn’t helped

BBC2’s Newsnight has been on the skids for a long time – even before its most famous anchor, Jeremy Paxman, jumped ship (or was encouraged to do so) in 2014. Back in 2001 it boasted an average nightly audience of 1,068,000. Now the figure is about half that. From time to time there are rumours that the BBC is going to shake up the programme, or even replace it with something else, but these ideas invariably come to nothing. One school of thought contends that Newsnight is a victim of forces beyond its control. It’s said that in the age of 24-hour rolling news people are less interested in a single current affairs programme than they used to be. But is this true? ITV recently launched its own equivalent, called After the News, by way of a short-term experiment, and immediately won an audience that was slightly bigger than Newsnight’s...

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