Ir­re­spon­si­ble to liken Cor­byn to Lenin

The Guardian - Journal - - Letters -

The de­ci­sion by the BBC com­plaints unit to re­ject view­ers’ con­cerns over the way Jeremy Cor­byn was de­picted in Newsnight’s cov­er­age of the Sal­is­bury poi­son­ing (Re­port, the­guardian.com, 11 May) dis­plays a star­tling ig­no­rance of ev­ery­thing we know about the power of im­ages. Newsnight’s vis­ual mon­tage showed Cor­byn in a Lenin-style hat with the Krem­lin in sat­u­rated red in the back­ground. The BBC’s ar­gu­ment that this was “in­tended to epit­o­mise the story rather than to ex­press or in­vite a par­tic­u­lar at­ti­tude to it” is ris­i­ble. In­tended or not, the image car­ried pow­er­ful re­minders of Soviet lead­ers. For a medium that re­lies so heav­ily on im­ages to an­chor sto­ries, ig­nor­ing the weight of con­no­ta­tions they carry un­der­mines the “sound news judg­ment” the BBC claims to up­hold. Pro­fes­sor Gra­ham Mur­dock

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