We are constantly being told that left-leaning sites are the ones displaying the significant signs of paranoia, seeing bias where there is none, imagining that broadcasters and their staff are agin them, to the point where they make themselves look foolish. But, as the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog have proved this morning, nothing could be further than the truth. Well, except them, that is.
Milk, no sugar, hold the smears
Someone from the BBC routinely puts themselves out to Tweet images of front and back pages of the next day’s papers. Many find this useful. It is also available to anyone on Twitter, and that should give a clue as to its presence: it is clearly a voluntary act, not a part of the Licence Fee settlement. Moreover, Neil Henderson and his colleagues often present a selection that misses one or more titles out.
This is no big deal, and you will not find anyone in the left-leaning part of the blogosphere or Twittersphere complaining about it. But when the front page of today’s Mail on Sunday failed to appear, The Great Guido was up in arms about it. Fawkes teaboy Alex Wickham, minding the shop this weekend for this weekday-only blog, smelt censorship. Er, what? You heard that right: “BBC #tomorrowspaperstoday Censors Mail On Sunday splash”.
So how, O Great Guido, how has the MoS been censored? Did the Corporation stop it from getting to news stands this morning? Did someone from New Broadcasting House carry out a dawn raid on W H Smith? Has there been a guerrilla incursion at the Mail titles’ printing plant? The answer to all of these would be in the negative. All that happened was that the selection of titles presented by Henderson did not include the MoS.
This did not prevent Wickham going off the end of the pier in no style at all: “For some reason the BBC’s on-duty #TomorrowsPapersToday tweeter Neil Henderson forgot to send out the Mail on Sunday front page last night. It featured on the BBC News Channel paper review and the Marr paper review, but not #TomorrowsPapersToday. This isn’t the first time Henderson has refused to tweet out an ‘uncomfortable’ newspaper splash - last year he censored a Sun story about diver Tom Daley”. Baloney. He censored nothing.
But the Fawkes teaboy wasn’t listening: “Why are the BBC’s #TomorrowsPapersToday tweeters making personal editorial decisions about which newspaper front pages licence fee payers can and can’t see? Who made @hendopolis news editor of the internet?” He may not be paranoid, but someone is definitely coming to get him.
It is not Alex Wickham’s place - nor mine, and not anyone else’s outside the BBC - to say what the Corporation’s staff should or should not include in their front page Tweets. And in any case, the MoS was covered in The Andy Marr Show (tm) at just after 0900 hours this morning. Wickham didn’t post his rant until another two hours had passed.
But don’t forget this mildly paranoid and self-entitled loss of bowel control from those out there on the right. As the Fawkes teaboy has demonstrated, they are the ones who are really frightened, to the point of seeing non-existant demons. Another fine mess.