It was ‘one of the most important political stories in years’ for Nick Robinson, reporting on the government’s comprehensive spending review on the six o’clock news on Wednesday night. So when an anti-war protester continued to hold up a sign behind the BBC political editor it all became too much. Finishing his piece to camera Robinson pauses for a moment before reaching over, grabbing the sign and stamping on it.
“I’m not remotely ashamed”, he is seen saying to the person who caught the incident on camera. But following the release of the video online Robinson posted the following on his blog:
I have a confession. After the news was over, I grabbed the sign and ripped it up – apparently you can watch video of my sign rage in full glorious technicolour on the web. I lost my temper and I regret that. However, as I explained afterwards to the protesters who disrupted my broadcast, there are many opportunities to debate whether the troops should be out of Afghanistan without the need to stick a sign on a long pole and wave it in front of a camera.
I am a great believer in free speech but I also care passionately about being able to do my job reporting and analysing one of the most important political stories for years.