James Naughtie, discussing internships and work experience on this morning’s Today programme:

“You’ve raised the point about companies getting people to work for them for nothing. That’s one side of it. The other side is you get an army of people who are given an opening, an entrée, into the, y’know, professions or quite well paid jobs by being able to work for nothing because their families can afford it and perhaps if the family has got a connection whether it’s a business connection or a friendship, what you end up with is an absolutely almost monochrome band of people who are gonna end up in the best jobs because they’ve got the experience and they all come from sort of middle class professional backgrounds.”

And where did James Naughtie’s son do his work experience? Newsnight.

(Naughtie JR’s twitter accountSarah Palin appears to be a favourite topic. Almost monochrome band of people – politically, yes.)

Introducing Generic BBC America Correspondent…

(This one is work safe)

Talking of which, here are the opening and closing words to James Naughtie’s report for the Today programme on Tuesday:

Naughtie: New York, Ground Zero around the corner. I’m standing on the site of a planned Islamic centre with a mosque, a proposal that’s turned into an angry national debate here and acted as a proxy for the wider culture war between President Obama and liberal opinion on the one hand, arguing that America stands for religious freedom, and the conservative Right on the other, saying that a mosque would be provocative, offensive and wrong.


Naughtie: Which leaves the writer Sam Lipsyte looking out to America from New York, wondering what on earth he can do, and dreaming.

Lipsyte: Sure, is there [sic] a lot of tittering and grousing and sort of blanket dismissal that there could be anything but hate in the Tea Party, and I gotta say that what, y’know, their presentation lends itself to that conclusion. And at my most despairing moments I too have that sense of why can’t New York just be its own country.

Judging by the latest poll for the New York Times, Lipsyte’s dream utopia could only be realised if they deported more than half the people (via Newsbusters):

Two-thirds of New York City residents want a planned Muslim community center and mosque to be relocated to a less controversial site farther away from ground zero in Lower Manhattan, including many who describe themselves as supporters of the project, according to a New York Times poll…

Over all, 50 percent of those surveyed oppose building the project two blocks north of the World Trade Center site, even though a majority believe that the developers have the right to do so. Thirty-five percent favor it.

Opposition is more intense in the boroughs outside Manhattan — for example, 54 percent in the Bronx — but it is even strong in Manhattan, considered a bastion of religious tolerance, where 41 percent are against it.

And yet BBC correspondents such as Naughtie, and Hilary Andersson, prefer to give the impression that such opposition is the sole preserve of a scary, reactionary right-wing Tea Party movement.

Naughtie: Can I Plump Your Pillows, Lady Ashton?

Jim Naughtie to Baroness Ashton this morning:

You’re a hundred days into the new job now. I mean, this is the kind of long term work that you have to do. Do you feel at all drained by some of the arguments that have been erupting in Europe about the settlement after the Lisbon Treaty was ratified and the way the appointments were made and so on?

What touching concern for her “long term work” and the wearisome distractions she has had to endure, the poor never-elected thing.

Time for Al Het from Naughtie?

Remember James Naughtie’s disgraceful interview with the Israeli Ambassador Ron Proser on Today 22nd December? I commented that Naughtie seemed unaware of ex President Jimmy Carter’s reputation as the most anti Israel US President ever.

To further a point, Naughtie produced one of Mr. Carter’s notoriously disparaging statements, saying:
“I take it you don’t regard him [Carter] as somebody who is anti-Israel in his bones!”

“Does Naughtie know nothing about this subject?” I wondered.
Well, it’s high time someone tells Naughtie all about it if he doesn’t know already, because now Jimmeh is offering a kind of apology, which, of course, is a tacit admission of guilt.

People are speculating as to whether it’s because his grandson is running for office in an area with Jewish voters, or for some other reason.
The peanut president has written an open letter to the Jewish community, and concludes:
we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel. As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so.

In Hebrew ‘Al Het’ means plea for forgiveness.