After the BBC Trust ruled that the Corporation’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg had fallen short of maintaining its high standards during one broadcast in November 2015, in the way she had presented Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the Paris attacks, and the Beeb’s director of news James Harding had waved the judgment away as if he were still working for the Murdoch mafiosi, what they needed was a period of reflection.
Does Laura Kuenssberg really need the backing of ...
That would be reflection as in realising that anyone and everyone can get it wrong on occasion, having a think about how Jezza gets reported in future - holding the leader of the Opposition to account while remaining accurate and impartial - and most of all, not attracting any more publicity that is going to draw attention to them. Sadly, the publicity has come looking for them. And it has come from the most embarrassing quarter.
Who, of all the press pack, would be the ones whose endorsement the BBC would find the least useful and most embarrassing? Yes, the Murdoch Sun has gone in to bat for the Corporation in its editorial today. Under the headline “Trusted Hack”, and a photo captioned “It was utterly wrong of the BBC Trust to rule Laura Kuenssberg misreported Jeremy Corbyn’s views on taking out terrorists”, readers are told “WE often highlight BBC bias. We wouldn’t include political editor Laura Kuenssberg”.
... this singularly unpleasant individual, especially as ...
There was more. “It was utterly wrong of the BBC Trust to rule she misreported Jeremy Corbyn’s views on taking out terrorists … She asked Labour’s pacifist leader if as PM he would order a shoot-to-kill policy if a massacre was under way here … He could just have said Yes, like a sane politician. Instead he waffled and ultimately seemed to decide against … Kuenssberg rightly took that as a No. So did we”.
And as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, “taking out” people is not about going on a date. It is about killing them - deliberately. This may not bother the Murdoch goons, so long as someone else is doing the killing, and someone they don’t like gets killed, but it should be called for what it is. And two, saying that the BBC’s political editor’s standards are good enough for the Sun is damning with the faintest of praise.
... we all know who's working him behind the scenes?
On top of that, note that the Sun editorial has to resort to telling readers that Corbyn “seemed to decide”. That’s because, had they come out and said he had decided, that would have been defamatory. Moreover, at the BBC you don’t just “take that as a No”. And there is something else that might cause problems at New Broadcasting House.
The bid by the Murdochs for the 61% of Sky that they do not yet own will be coming back into the news very soon. The last thing the Beeb needs is the Sun playing mind games with them - “see, BBC people, we can go easier on you if you play nicely, so don’t you forget that, eh?” - or otherwise intervening in the Corporation’s internal affairs.
Rupert Murdoch never does anything other than for the purpose of advancing the cause of Himself Personally Now. That editorial item is not the result of some exercising of personal initiative by an inmate of the Baby Shard bunker.
And for BBC News to get the Sun’s stamp of approval really is the kiss of death.