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Thursday 19 January 2017

Laura Kuenssberg - BBC In Denial

Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street will recall the occasion when the BBC’s Daily Politics was involved in the live on-air resignation of a junior member of the Labour front bench team. That this had been a pre-planned event was given away by a blog published by one of those involved: worse, the resignation had been timed in a way that would give the Tory leadership an advantage over Labour at the following PMQs.
The programme’s editor Robbie Gibb robustly defended Daily Politics, but his defence, as I subsequently pointed out, had been undermined by that blog, which had been taken away from public view, although not before a cached copy had been made available. Moreover, the whole exercise called into question the impartiality of the Corporation’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg. It was not the first time her standards fell short.

Coverage of local elections in May last year brought further adverse comment on Ms Kuenssberg’s coverage, and then, only last month, came her singularly ill-judged comments on the Sun’s speculative “QUEEN BACKS BREXIT” story, giving the Murdoch goons an ideal get-out clause for one of their most notorious interventions of the referendum campaign. And now has come yet worse news.
The BBC Trust has also passed adverse comment on Ms Kuenssberg’s output - the problem for the presenter being that they have upheld a complaint over Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the Paris shootings in November 2015. Although no deliberate intention to mislead audiences was found, the conclusion was that the complaint be “Upheld as breaches of accuracy and therefore as a breach of impartiality”.

So how has BBC management responded to this finding? Have they acknowledged the mistakes made, and suggested to their political editor that she consider her coverage of the current Labour leadership more carefully? Not a bit of it: “James Harding, the director of BBC news, rejected the Trust’s ruling … ‘While we respect the Trust and the people who work there, we disagree with this finding,’ he said … The process is now concluded and BBC News formally notes the Trust’s findingreported the Guardian.
The similarity between the response of Harding, a former Murdoch editor, and that of current Murdoch editor Tony Gallagher to admonishment by IPSO, will not be lost on many observers. Nor will the upcoming change of regulator from the BBC Trust to Ofcom. Harding may find shrugging his shoulders and suggesting they shove off less easy.

This blog is not an uncritical backer of the Labour leadership. There are times Jeremy Corbyn and his team get it wrong and Zelo Street does not shy away from saying so. Likewise there is no free pass for the BBC, the Guardian, or any other trusted media organisation. The impression that Laura Kuenssberg is not upholding the standards of her predecessors is inescapable. The Corporation has thus far failed to address this.

James Harding might have got away with his arrogant dismissiveness at the Murdoch Times. He may find the BBC’s audience less forgiving. It’s not good enough.


Anonymous said...

BBC news coverage has become an appalling partisan Murdoch infiltrated rag unfortunately. The tories have their supplicants in position and are consistently distorting the agenda. Just look at the stooges we have for political reportage:

Norman Smith

It's laughable to say that there is no bias, there's no counter balance to their output.

Sad to say, it gets more like Fox on a daily basis.

Sam Best said...

It can be no coincidence that Creepy Rupert's hand is now everywhere with a former Murdoch apparatchik at the BBC and now one running Australia's ABC who has just employed an ex-Sky boss to "bring the ABC into the digital age" (ie slash funding for essential services like country radio which far-flung local communities rely on).
When will the Dirty Digger become the Dead Digger? I never wish ill on anyone but this bloke is beyond the pale with his vicious meddling.

deiseach said...

It's a surprise how James Harding has a job after the NightJack debacle. Sorry, I'm fantasising about a press that cares for things like truth and honesty. It's no surprise how James Harding has a job after the NightJack debacle, the weasel-like behaviour he displayed there is an asset in Britain's scurvy press and we see it again here.

Alan Clifford said...

Well, of COURSE Harding disagrees with the mild reprimand. He's a standard right wing editorial plant. What else did anybody expect of the BBC News gang? Fairness?...Oh PLEASE......

Propagandist Kuenssberg has never been any different and she's not about to change. Except maybe to go even further Right if it suits her "career."

But of course her (and Harding's) kind of poisonous behaviour infects, if not controls, all mainstream media organisations. As an example, the other night C4 carried a typical Putin demonisation smear piece in Dispatches, immediately followed by an even worse extruded turd on BBC Panorama fronted by notorious on-camera hysteric John Sweeney. Both of them were so bad it was worth watching them for their comedy value. Anybody who thinks that propaganda juxtaposition was accidental needs to re-examine their analytic abilities. It isn't necessary to have any regard whatever for Putin to recognise a smear when you see one.

Twitchy-blinky Kuenssberg was never going to be any different. What she is is an essential outcome of her previous training. And it's why she's an editor at BBC News. Some of us knew it all along, and said so.

Anonymous said...

You mean Robbie Gibb - Nick's brother

Anonymous said...

And they claim "impartiality" through their absurd balancing act.

Here are 2 interested parties to comment on the big news item.
Somebody with expertise who understand the subject the subject, and to provide balance Paul Nuttals/Nigel Farage.

rob said...

Surely Robbie Gibb is the political editor? Nick Gibb MP and Minister for is the brother?