A bold statement perhaps, but hear me out.
September 13th, 2007, 8:30pm, Robert Peston announces on BBC News that the UK’s fifth largets bank, Northern Rock, is technically insolvent. A wave of banking crises ensue – RP gets some of the blame from the banking industry but is seen as being, largely, right in divulging the information that he knew, and everybody else didn’t.
Next, on the 17th, our hero reveals that HBOS and RBS are to merge to form a super bank. Another media inferno blazes.
This is the job of the humble hack, be they world famous and reknowned, or working for no money on a local rag. To take to the people, stories that will in some way, change their day.
RP is even said to be trusted more than Gordon Brown on financial matters. Journalists are supposed to be the fourth estate, not the head of state.
He appears on the Today Programme, talks to BBC Breakfast, updates on the lunchtime bulletin, appears on the 6 or 10 o’clock news and sometimes gives us a full run down of the days activities on Newsnight – it’s a wonder the man can do any work.
The sheer number of people who will come into contact with Robert throughout the day, on a daily basis via radio, TV or the internet, is massive.
Roughly one in ten people visits church weekly, that’s 600,000 people, a number dwarfed just by RP’s regular blog readers, letalone the people that hear him on the radio or see him on the tv.