I'm a news junkie, self-confessed, and I've been keeping an eye on the developing 'manhunt' in Northumberland over the last few days. I haven't mentioned it here, because there was nothing to say.
A headline on the BBC News site caught my eye a while ago, suggesting that Raoul Moat had been cornered and the net was closing in (how many more cliches can I get in here?), so I switched on the BBC News channel.
The spectacle was very unedifying. Jon Sopel was practically wetting himself with excitement that the action was taking place only a few hundred yards from where he was actually standing, in front of long-lens shots of a street with some police cars and some crime-scene tape. The cameras were trying to get a view of the actual scene, and showed, mainly, unsteady shots of foliage. It was like being drunk in an arboretum. At one point, Sopel had spoken to three shaken residents and two other BBC correspondents, and was reduced to interviewing his own cameraman, who may have seen something interesting but wasn't sure.
The police weren't giving a running commentary to the media, which Sopel seemed to think was a dereliction of their duty. Meanwhile, we had shots from the BBC helicopter of the Police helicopter, and then the heat-seeking plane, and then back to the Police helicopter again. It was getting rather incestuous.
He kept returning to a near-hysterical woman whose mother had been told to remain indoors by an armed officer and who was in there alone, and who was only contactable by phone, for yet another "so how do you feel now" piece. It was utterly pathetic.
Our national broadcaster, dumbed down to the level of The News Of The World. It was embarrassing.