Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Talking Heads

Rarely can one glean valuable insights from an expert, no matter how articulate or knowledgable, from a 60-second interview on TV. Broadcasters would do just as well to stick any random idiot up there.

And to its credit, or discredit, BBC did just that:

A computer expert has described his astonishment at seeing the BBC's 24-hour news channel interview supposed taxi driver Guy Goma in the mistaken belief it was him.

Guy Kewney - a white, bearded technology expert - was astonished to see himself appear on screen as a black man with an apparent French accent. He was even more shocked to see himself unable to answer basic questions about the legal battle between the Beatles' Apple Corps and Apple Computer over the use of an apple symbol.

Mr Kewney, an IT journalist, watched as Mr Goma, whose identity remained a mystery until it was revealed on Monday night by the BBC, gamely attempted to answer questions fired at him by BBC consumer affairs correspondent Karen Bowerman.

Mr Goma, a graduate from the Congo, described his surprise interview ordeal as "very stressful". He found himself being ushered into a studio and fitted with a microphone after raising his hand when a producer called out the name Guy Kewney.

Watch the interview for proof. The cabbie handled himself perfectly well on the fly; the real expert would probably have been no more informative, if perhaps more articulate.

The fault here lies squarely on BBC for not checking this man's identity beforehand.

Kudos to Mr. Goma for showing up those lazy buggers at the Beeb.

Mail on Sunday

PS: This isn't the first time the BBC has been caught out like this: this prankster posing as a Dow Chemical spokesman promising to liquidate Union Carbide to pay for the Bhopal disaster forced BBC and Dow into serious damage control.

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