If there was to be controversy over the recruitment of Duncan Weldon as economics editor of Newsnight, then one well-known self-appointed Beeb basher had to troll those concerned for all they were worth. And so it came to pass: proving once again that even stupid people occasionally get into Oxford University, former Tory MP Louise Mensch went in with both feet and made a fool of herself.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
The show’s deputy editor Neil Breakwell was first for trolling. “Where and how did you advertise the vacancy? How many candidates did you interview?” she demanded. Breakwell replied with a link to BBC Careers, which described the job and the skill set that a typical applicant might possess. At this point, Ms Mensch made her first glaring and rather elementary error.
“That is an internal advertisement. How is it that you have hired a man who worked for the TUC? Why were outsiders not alerted?” she railed. The link was valid, which means it is not an internal advert. Outsiders were alerted, and Weldon was one of them. And there is no prohibition on the BBC appointing someone who has worked for the TUC (this also applies to former Murdoch employees).
Note that there is no evidence that Weldon, or anyone else, was invited to apply. Ms Mensch made that up – something that, in others, she would call a “lie”. This brought us to a yet more bizarre rant: “The BBC (Newsnight staff or higher) directly approached Duncan Weldon about the Newsnight editor job. Am asking them to confirm”. So she asserts something, and then asks if it’s actually true.
Note also that, for some reason, she has been tagging Damian Thompson of Telegraph blogs in her trolling attempts. Perhaps she’s angling for a berth there. In any case, on she ploughed: “Because the fact they approached Duncan Weldon about the job proves their appointments process rotten to the core” (this before knowing whether he had been approached).
And to prove that, her very next Tweet read “Come on [Neil Breakwell], let’s have some transparency. Did BBC staff approach Duncan Weldon about the Newsnight editor position”. As Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. The BBC isn’t accountable to a non-licence fee payer who lives in the USA. And she already asserted that the Beeb had approached Weldon. At least three times.
This is stupidity of the highest order. As you might expect from the comedy turn.