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MNHQ might want to call Radio 4...

(34 Posts)
NetworkGuy Fri 07-Jan-11 20:30:09

Michael Portillo (at approx 20:15) on R4 "Any Questions" was dismissing the number of complaints to the BBC and suggested Mumsnet (because of having a lot of e-mail addresses) might have 'suggested' members complain to the BBC.

I for one had no such e-mail from Mumsnet, and I suspect there is never any suggestion of sending requests to members to act in a co-ordinated way, while there may be information about campaigns (distinct difference) and why MNHQ suggests a specific campaign is worth supporting.

I feel it would be worth someone high profile at MN listen to the piece (on the East Enders storyline) and consider whether it would be worth commenting about this specific suggestion made on national radio and implying that if Mumsnet doesn't like something it would 'organise' thousands of 'individual' complaints.

I think you really ought to set the record straight, that MNHQ picks up on views and may sometimes consider a campaign but does not 'muster support' with a secretive mass e-mail to do such things as individually complain to push up numbers.

mustdash Fri 07-Jan-11 20:32:03

The BBCs attitude to this whole thing is just making me really cross.

southeastastra Fri 07-Jan-11 20:32:58

people have been saying all sorts of crap about mn online as well though. think mn should just keep quiet until it blows over - realisitcally ee producers probably cannot belive the amount of publicity this has caused and are probably ecstatic about it

Christmastreedelivery Fri 07-Jan-11 20:39:34

The BBC website editors blog thingie had a response about the Jody MacIntyre interview, and they used the exact same spin - that a central body had prompted complaints.

How really, really, really annoying. Also hugely insulting to the pain many parents felt, that prompted their response.

Jeeeez. Way to undermine and enrage Mr Portillo. Maybe it's the whole 'woman' and 'woman with opinions' you can't get your head around, clearly we would need some sort of leader. Couldn't possibly be articulate, resourceful, motivated and effective off our own bat.....

Oooo there is so much here that annoys me. So much.

bibbitybobbityhat Fri 07-Jan-11 20:41:32

Yes, mnhq, please do not let him (Portillo) get away with that.

jonicomelately Fri 07-Jan-11 20:43:30

What an utterly ill-informed comment.

He obviously thinks we're all little women who do whatever we're told to.

Firepile Fri 07-Jan-11 20:44:12

Two words everyone: Any. Answers. Tomorrow afternoon...

jonicomelately Fri 07-Jan-11 20:45:25

I'm not brave enough to do that I'm afraid.

Ponders Fri 07-Jan-11 20:48:45

you don't have to speak, joni - you can email!

Didn't listen to AQ tonight but am disappointed in M Portillo if he said that. Will have to listen on iplayer

NetworkGuy Fri 07-Jan-11 20:48:51

It's one thing SEA if there's rubbish posted online, but let's face it, we can all take "with a pinch of salt" what is on the internet as some is speculation, some is true, and some is just plain lies.

However, "Any Questions" has a sister show, "Any Answers" (and responses can be by e-mail too) and nipping this one in the bud is perhaps a different situation as the impression might stick with people not using the internet.

Mumsnet perhaps had more prominence in newspapers before the election, but may wish to respond to this accusation via the same medium and in a timely manner, ie straight after the rebroadcast of "Any Questions" tomorrow afternoon.

jonicomelately Fri 07-Jan-11 20:50:00

You have to give your name though don't you?

I often listen to Any Answers and I do have strong views on the subject. Perhaps I should...

Ponders Fri 07-Jan-11 20:51:17

afaik if you email all they need is your email address - they may reply to you for more information but otherwise emails are read out unattributed (I think, haven't heard it for a while, I used to work Sat afternoons until just before Christmas)

jonicomelately Fri 07-Jan-11 20:53:35

Funny isn't it. I'm trying to think now. Obviously I've never paid much attention to it before.
It annoys me how a politician can so flippantly question the motives of MN in such an ill-informed manner.

NetworkGuy Fri 07-Jan-11 20:54:34

If a lot of people complain by e-mail, the BBC will think there is truth in the suggestion.

Maybe we can see if there's a response from Justine or Carrie or someone else from MNHQ responds on the thread... and if not, then let loose with e-mail/ phone calls...

FlamingoBingo Fri 07-Jan-11 20:58:42

It's irrelevant anyway - doesn't it just mean a load of people who think something was bad complained about it? What does it matter if they all heard about it at the same time? MN aren't brainwashing people to make them complain about things they don't have a problem with.

Ponders Fri 07-Jan-11 20:59:44

well they shouldn't, but I can see they might hmm (MN is turning into a kind of media bogeyman grin)

it may be possible to give your contact details in the email & say that you're happy to talk to a researcher but that you don't want to speak live, or have your name mentioned if quoted?

Christmastreedelivery Fri 07-Jan-11 21:04:13

Have emailed the show

I responded to the Jody MacIntyre response in the same vein, as I really resent being given a voice, by the power of the media or whatever, and then being told not to be silly and sit down.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 07-Jan-11 21:27:42

Thanks for letting us know.

NetworkGuy Fri 07-Jan-11 22:34:05

FlamingoBingo - you know and I know a load of people complained independently but the suggestion that MN orchestrated a load of complaints is an accusation that could 'stick' if not refuted promptly.

It seems to me that the first two male contributors seem to have missed the point ( if I am correct in assuming one problem with this story is that while the death of a child is incredibly tragic, it rarely makes the heartbroken mother become a baby thief/ swapper).

Unfortunately there was no response from the chairman of the programme to dispute the suggestion by Michael Portillo, and then a little later, Matthew Parris suggested a lobby can be achieved via IT, and himself dismissed the number of complaints to some degree.

"Any Questions" is on iPlayer here and this question runs from approximately 11 minutes into the show.

NetworkGuy Fri 07-Jan-11 22:35:42

Perhaps MNHQ can let us know if a response has been made by e-mail, or whether someone is likely to call in/ ask to be called back, to answer the accusation... thanks.

ZephirineDrouhin Fri 07-Jan-11 22:42:12

I heard this too this evening and much swearing at the radio ensued. Quite agree NetworkGuy both about responding to Portillo's suggestion that there might have been an orchestrated campaign and about how spectacularly the panel missed the point.

Ponders Fri 07-Jan-11 22:54:06

re the EE storyline, I would be interested to know if there has ever been a case of a newborn being taken by a bereaved mother? The only ones I can recall were women who'd been pretending to be pregnant, had reached the end of their pretend pregnancies & had to produce a baby


Michael Portillo and Matthew Parris don't have children, do they? so they'll have less empathy with parents than many others in public life.

(Still haven't listened to iplayer though, sorry)

NetworkGuy Fri 07-Jan-11 23:00:28

ZD - I'm only familiar with them missing the point because MN spokesperson Katie O'Donnovan[?] made the point yesterday near the end of "The World at One" that it was a step too far and how a grieving Mum is likely to be treated with suspicion.

I did spot a number of threads, but I didn't read them as I don't follow EE and could add nothing useful to them.

NetworkGuy Fri 07-Jan-11 23:09:26

MP [Matthew] (ex-MP) is openly gay, I believe, and I assume has no children.

MP [Michael] or in full: Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo married in 1982.

Ponders Fri 07-Jan-11 23:15:31

have listened now & I am cross too.

The EE storyline had previously passed me by apart from internet headlines, & possibly that's true of the majority of the AQ audience, but the atmosphere of the discussion & the responses seemed far too light-hearted all round considering the subject matter, & I couldn't believe that M Portillo could refer to the objections as pusillanimous shock

I don't know how many of the quoted 6000 objections came from MN users (does anybody?) but it would be good if MNTowers could draw up a timeline of the objections that were posted on various threads here before the message was sent by Justine to the BBC, in order to dispel the spectre of an orchestrated MN campaign angry

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