There is nothing more guaranteed to send the right-leaning part of the punditerati into blind panic than the appointment to a BBC post of anyone that they suspect of being of insufficiently sound political persuasion. The test of soundness is not unlike that operated by Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse): anyone not screamingly right-wing is immediately denounced as a rotten leftie.
So when Ian Katz, deputy editor of the deeply subversive Guardian, was appointed editor of BBC Newsnight, this was immediately denounced as yet further proof that the Corporation was a hotbed of reds. Typical of the coverage was the Daily Mail, where Paul Revoir, whose job is to keep kicking the Beeb, called the Guardian “left-leaning” and even “left-wing”, then tried linking the appointment to Jimmy Savile.
But the most blatant slice of spin and dishonesty has come from the Spectator, where the Steerpike column has, like the Mail, inserted a Savile reference, talking of a “cover up”. The lack of the customary hyphen is another hint as to the person behind the nickname, the shaky hold on his grammar being a trademark of the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole.
Of course I'm an insider, cos I'm on telly!
Master Cole has deployed the full range of tale-telling in his attempt to stand up the “BBC=Labour” meme. We hear from a “BBC insider”, which is not a staffer at the Corporation, but Cole himself, as he has been inside the BBC on occasion. So it was no surprise that this “insider” was ready with a reliable quote, telling “welcome to Labour BBC”. And it got worse.
Cole then updated his copy by declaring that a “Government source” had whispered to him “Another bloody lefty joins the BBC”. Most likely this source is no nearer to “Government” than the Tory back benches, probably meaning (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, towards whom the flannelled fool has a puppy-like devotion. Another source could have been the Tories’ in-house clown Mike Fabricant.
Ey up, the turn's arrived!
In any case, the idea that the Beeb is some leftist front organisation fails to mention all those who have worked there, only to later work for the Tories or display right-leaning sympathies: Guto Harri, Craig Oliver, Jeff Randall for three. It also fails to mention all those right-of-centre pundits who get regular work from the Corporation, such as Quentin Letts (let’s not) and of course Andrew “Brillo Pad” Neil.
What the obedient Revoir, and the serially clueless Cole, manage not to mention is that the experience Katz brings to Newsnight is that of sound journalism, and that this is a quality much needed by the programme. If they have a problem with perceived bias, they should be pursuing it. They will not. Thus a demonstration that some who pretend to be journalists do not make a convincing stab at the job.
But the attacks satisfy the authors’ jerking circles, so that’s all right, then.