‘Social Media is like a congested motorway with often irrational drivers prone to Road Rage’.
Rob McLoughlin was talking to Nicky Campbell following the tragic loss of Caroline Flack, long time host of the controversial Love Island on ITV2.
She took her own life after learning that a criminal case would have continued and was scheduled to have started in March 2020.
He described her death as an ‘appalling tragedy’.
Rob, a former Director of Granada Television, paid tribute to her talent stating that she made ‘it look easy’ to host complicated live entertainment shows and was trusted as an ITV face.
He revealed that many inside ITV were ‘wounded’ by claims that they had not stood by her when she stepped down from the winter series of the show and had kept the door open for a possible return pending the outcome of the case.
He said that the court case made it complicated for Caroline to continue as host and while people were making connections with other events on the series including 2 suicides, that there were external factors which make this different and stated that ITV were right to cancel the weekend’s editions of the show.
He attacked social media stating that there is often ‘no filter’ and people forget that there are human beings at the end of often horrific abuse.
‘There’s a reason radio stations in the UK and abroad have delay buttons when you open the airwaves and people, especially the young, find it difficult to switch off their social channels’.
The appearance was Rob’s fourth on FIve Live over the last few months. He’s also appeared recently on Good Morning Scotland and on BBC Radio Wales.
A few weeks ago Rob discussed the future of the BBC on Three Counties Radio following the news that Director General Tony Hall was to stand down in the summer of 2020.
Rob appeared on BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship breakfast programme, Good Morning Scotland, to discuss the controversy around the ITV Leaders Debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn (Tuesday 19 November 2019).
It followed the court rulings which ended hopes of the SNP and Lib-Dems of appearing alongside the other two candidates.
Rob said he had ‘bumped’ into Alistair Campbell (Tony Blair’s former spin doctor) in the BBC reception and they reminisced on how many times Labour had threatened to injunct Rob and Granada TV over election coverage starting back in 1995 with the Littleborough and Saddleworth by-election and it continued with other political parties as well.
‘It’s always difficult’, Rob said, ‘tensions rise during elections, but with so many outlets and programmes it’s important broadcasters have the right to invite who they wish to participate’.
He said that impartiality can be achieved over a number of programmes not just a single broadcast, but the ITV debate gives viewers across the UK the chance to see the two most likely candidates for Number 10 close up and to see if they will ‘sweat’ under pressure from questions from the audience and in the debate.
He also said that broadcasters were criticised during the referendum on the EU for simply interpreting ‘impartiality’ as giving A then B a chance to speak without the journalistic rigour of analysing what they were saying and claiming.
As a reporter, he recalled that the Representation of the People’s Act allowed candidates from the fringe to block constituency profiles which hampered coverage and that blocked the necessary rigour – over-emphasis on impartiality in a single programme did the same.
He said that there are other formats on offer which will give that reach but that he understood the SNP’s frustration in Scotland’s unique circumstances.
Rob is a former editor of political programmes for Granada TV and hosted election, political and current affairs programmes on the channel from 1994 to 2016.
Rob discussed the House of Commons Media Select Committee hearings on The Jeremy Kyle Show in a live BBC Radio Five Live interview with Tony Livesey on Tuesday 25 June. Rob was invited on as a former Board Director of Granada Television.
On the station’s Drive programme, Rob said “The hostile and bruising atmosphere in the hearing with ITV executives was inevitable given the tragic death of Steve Dymond shortly after appearing in a controversial episode of the series.” (The episode in question will never be transmitted.)
Rob revealed that many people rehearse before appearing in front of Select Committees as most of the questions can be anticipated.
Rob pointed out that since their beginnings in 1960s America, those type of confessional programmes were known as ‘Tabloid TV’ and “Trash TV”. They had been developed by hosts such as Phil Donohue, Oprah Winfrey to a degree and famously Jerry Springer – but they had all but disappeared.
Rob commented that it was a shame Kyle has refused to appear in front of the committee as he has always argued an alternative case about how people have been helped. Rob said ITV would not go do down the road of using lie detectors on future programmes, given questions about their reliability. Lie detectors are inadmissible in UK courts and parts of the USA, a point that had been made clear at the hearings by CEO Dame Carolyn McCall.
Drive is produced from MediaCity UK and Rob was speaking live from New Broadcasting House in London.
It was Rob’s third appearance on the station since May 2019. In 1994 he hosted the first Weekend Breakfast Programme on 5Live with Jane Garvey.
Rob is back on the BBC Breakfast red sofa on BBC 1, Sunday, 14 April 2019. He will be reviewing the press as Britain’s future in Europe becomes clearer … or perhaps less clear!
He will be analysing the papers and what will (or will not) be happening to the UK and its relationship with the EU, and its effect upon the UK economy. The reviews are scheduled for 07.20 and 08.20.
Rob will also be looking for the light and shade in the UK media’s coverage of the weekend’s events.
BBC Breakfast is produced by BBC News from MediaCity UK and has more than six million viewers daily.
Rob McLoughlin paid tribute to the late Lord Ashdown on BBC Breakfast live on Sunday 23rd December on BBC1 and BBC News Channel.
Rob who presented political programmes on Granada Television as well as news and current Affairs series on ITV; BBC Five Live and commercial radio described Paddy Ashdown as a real ‘action man’ in line with his image and his ‘remarkable’ experience in the military, diplomacy and politics.
He recalled how ‘tough’ he could be to interview in set piece political discussions where he would often ‘attack’ the premise of a question – he recalled an encounter in a European election campaign in the 1990s which made headlines within hours of transmission and was quoted by Michael Heseltine on BBC TV’s Question Time later that night.
It followed comments by Paddy that sovereignty of the people was more important than sovereignty of Parliament in a ‘heated exchange’ on the power of the European Commission.
Rob also told a funny story about Paddy at a Lib-Dem conference in Torquay which showed how he was leading a party ‘yet to mature’.
Rob also discussed President Trump and the US partial closedown in Washington DC plus he discussed the Virtual Grand National and Artificial Intelligence and the science behind changing managers at the key moment following Man Utd’s 5-1 victory over Cardiff City.
BBC Breakfast is produced from MediaCityUK live each day and reaches up to 6m viewers daily.
It is a BBC News production.
Rob is scheduled to re-appear in 2019.