The Mail on Sunday has today run a piece about Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, and the BBC’s intended Panorama programme about his activities, which has yet to be broadcast. However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, everything the MoS pitches is old news. To be precise, it is six month old news. So why the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker are running it is unclear.
Here’s the headline: “BBC probes Panorama journalist after he is secretly filmed buying champagne, gin and flaming Sambuca for ‘young female ally of Tommy Robinson … BBC is investigating Panorama journalist John Sweeney after he was filmed out [?] … The reporter was seen buying champagne, gin and Sambuca for former Tommy Robinson assistant Lucy Brown hoping she would reveal information … “.
Nothing in that is new: the meeting set up between Sweeney and Lucy Brown, which Ms Brown recorded and took straight to Lennon, was covered back in February. It was then that Lennon had one of his to-camera rants, this time about the licence fee, suggesting that what his pal had recorded meant the licence fee should be scrapped.
It was, of course, nothing to do with the Beeb’s investigation of him, and its determination to publish what it decided should be published, rather than what the likes of Lennon thought it should. The Corporation responded “BBC Panorama is investigating Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon. The BBC strongly rejects any accusation that our journalism is ‘faked’ or biased. Any programme we broadcast will adhere to the BBC’s strict editorial guidelines”. And there was more.
“Some of the footage which has been released was recorded without out knowledge during this investigation and John Sweeney made some offensive and inappropriate remarks, for which he apologises … BBC’s Panorama investigation will continue”. So what is the MoS doing revisiting the subject six months later? Is there anything new to tell?
This is the sum total of their new information: “A source said: ‘The BBC have got themselves in a tailspin about this. They want to investigate Tommy Robinson but there are questions that need to be answered about a journalist operating in this way.’ It is understood Sweeney is in Italy while he awaits the BBC’s decision over how they deal with the video … The BBC and Sweeney declined to comment last night but the Corporation insisted he paid for the drinks himself. It refused to confirm whether the Panorama on Robinson would be screened”. A source said. In other words, they made it up.
Why would they do this? Simples. The MoS, like all good right-leaning titles, is always on the lookout for any way it can find to put the boot in on the hated BBC. Someone at the MoS sees that Panorama was investigating Lennon back in February, then sees that there has not yet been a broadcast of what was probably being investigated.
Adding two plus two, that someone gets a number rather greater than four, and decides to insinuate that the Beeb has pulled the programme, or that it may do so. The dead giveaway is that the Corporation already said back in February that Sweeney had apologised for his remarks, and that “BBC’s Panorama investigation will continue”.
This is uninformed speculation masquerading as real news. No surprise there, then.
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