Mandelson launches fresh attack on BBC

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The Independent Online
Labour's chief spin doctor Peter Mandelson has launched a fresh attack on BBC journalists in the wake of on-air clashes between him and broadcasters over claims that he had manipulated the media, writes Donald Mcintyre.

In an interview with The Independent today he says: "There are as many macho BBC editors manipulating the news as there are party spin doctors, and as for some of the political correspondents they are vaulting over each other in their ambition to take Robin Oakley's job. [Oakley is the BBC's Political Editor] Hopefully Robin will be around for a long time."

Mr Mandelson (pictured) accused the BBC correspondent John Sopel, who suggested publicly that he had been actively encouraged to pursue the story about an investigation into the leaking of classified information to Chris Patten's biographer Jonathan Dimbleby, of "vanity broadcasting". And he strongly defended his conduct of a combative interview with BBC Radio 4's World at One, when he asked: "Why should we accept the BBC's agenda, which is essentially about itself and its own preoccupation with itself and my role, at the expense of the listeners' interest in the Government's record?"

Mr Mandelson said: "You don't usually make converts when you take on a BBC interviewer but my postbag suggests the public likes politicians who stand up for themselves."

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