The old adage that the job of a journalist, on hearing one person claim it is raining and another claiming it is not, is not to merely report the claims but look out of the window and discover what is really happening, was never more true this afternoon as a protest outside Leeds General Infirmary was misreported to the point of partisan negligence.
Laura Kuenssberg ((c) Guardian)
Health Secretary Matt Hancock had been dispatched to LGI after it was revealed that a four-year-old boy with suspected pneumonia had been sleeping on a pile of coats on the floor due to a shortage of beds. Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was confronted about it and declined to look at the image, instead putting the reporter’s phone in his pocket. Hancock was supposed to recover the situation.
Instead, as he left there was a small but vocal protest waiting. But nothing untoward happened. Unless you followed BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg: “So Matt Hancock was despatched to Leeds General (sorry not just Leeds Hospital), to try to sort out mess, hearing Labour activists scrambled to go + protest, and it turned nasty when they arrived - one of them punched Hancock's adviser”. And there was more.
Ms K once more. “Not entirely clear what happened, but Tories suggesting Labour campaigners offered to pay cabs for activists to go and heckle Hancock - fair to say today not panning out as anyone had expected in what has been a relatively flat campaign”.
Just 18 minutes later, ITV political editor Robert Peston joined in. “It was [Matt Hancock]’s adviser [Jamie Njoku-Goodwin] who was whacked in the face by a protestor as he tried to help Hancock into his car outside Leeds General Hospital. Police on scene. All sounds very unpleasant”. Meanwhile, Paul Mason asked Ms Kuenssberg a straightforward question. “What is the source for this assertion? Pictures, statements? Quotes?”
Well, quite. She had not, it seems, checked first. Nor had Peston. And Paul Chatterton had bad news for them both, and Paul Brand of ITV: “This did not happen. I was standing right there. I think you need to confirm your evidence before spreading inaccuracies”. The Tory Fibs Twitter feed posted video and asked simply “This is the scene. Judge for yourself”.
Another Tweeter responded to Brand “Except BBC's [Nick Eardley] who was actually there just said on [BBC PM] at 5pm, that no assault occurred”. Stefan Stern was on the same page. “On [BBC PM] their reporter [Nick Eardley] says there was no punch in Leeds and no scuffle but perhaps an accidental collision. So it looks like reports of a punch and an arrest may have been somewhat over-spun, for some reason”. Indeed.
By now Ms Kuenssberg was having second thoughts. “Have video from Hancock leaving Leeds General just come through so you can see for yourself - doesn’t look like punch thrown, rather, one of Tory team walks into protestor’s arm, pretty grim encounter”. There was nothing grim. Paul Waugh of the HuffPo added simply “The 'punch' was not a punch”.
Peston just said sorry. “It is completely clear from video footage that [Matt Hancock]’s adviser was not whacked by a protestor, as I was told by senior Tories, but that he inadvertently walked into a protestor's hand. I apologise for getting this wrong”. The source was a Senior Tory one. No doubt trying to deflect from Bozo’s earlier gross insensitivity.
It was left to Peter Jukes of Byline Media to point out how the claim spread: “Looks like they're all in the same WhatsApp group. This isn't independent journalism”. But, as far as can be ascertained, Laura Kuenssberg was the one that started it. From there, the herd instinct kicked in and the others followed. As she was wrong, so were they.
This is not the first time that Ms Kuenssberg has fouled up badly in a way that suggests partiality towards the Tories. Perhaps this time it should be the last.
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Is she really biased or is she just a bit lazy? I've heard her accused of bias for ages and I watch her reports for overt signs of partiality and I can interpret neither more nor less than many others.
Did you listen to the 5Live stuff from Crewe today? Many inaccuracies and they've had well over a week to prepare detailed research as they were trailing the shows ages ago. It's shoddy but I also think it's human nature sadly, and getting worse as fact-checking relies more and more on the internet instead of legwork. And that level of accuracy applies to the guests recycling bollocks, too. On Tony Livesy's show today only the Brexit Party reps (who sounded just like you'd expect them to sound) came out with any credibility as they've only ever believed and repeated the same fairy tales anyway. The local Labour chief who claimed that when he's on the knock nobody wants to talk about Brexit is clearly talking out of his fundament. The will to deceive and the willingness to be deceived, it would appear, is endemic.
"Partisan negligence": the new way of saying "tory gobshite" - which is all Liara Kuennsberg is.
Christ, how many tory "mistakes" do she and the BBC have to make?
The woman is a dishonourable vile right wing propagandist. A foul disgrace to this nation.
probably both, biased and lazy, that is. The accusation, if true, would be rather serious, so she should have checked up before saying anything. I am a bit surprised at Peston, though, that he hadn't checked his facts. He must know that she is an online Tory supporter, and he is a bright and normally careful reporter and, I would have thought, more to the left than to the right.
This "Tories suggesting Labour campaigners offered to pay cabs for activists to go and heckle Hancock" can be written off as bollocks too.
Lies, damn lies and Tory Central.
Peston "more to the left than to right"??!! WTF?
Perhaps one could say this of his (somewhat mobile) hair parting but certainly not of his politics, as he has amply demonstrated in every one of his mindless repetitions of the myriad mindless repetitions of the antisemitism claims against Corbyn, to give but one example.
Also notable about Peston is his spurious claims to info from 'senior sources', many of whom, when the story eventually 'breaks', turn out to have gotten their info from three-month-old scoops by the likes of Steve Walker (aka Skwawkbox)
Nah, Peston is as lazily biased as the rest of the MSM parrots. But credit where credit's due - Kuennsberg IMHO takes the prize not only for laziness and bias but also sheer malice.
Of course the BBC will do absolutely fuck all to put her straight. Nor will Kuennsberg apologise for her lies.
That's how corrupt its "news and politics" have become.
If she expected gratitude, she'll be disappointed. Bozo has suggested abolishing the TV licence.
And Tory Laura,wonders why Labour activists boo her every visit to a Labour event.
Now journalism was once a noble profession until recently,when some decided that the facts shouldn't get in the way of career development and knocking copy against the Leader of the Opposition.
How long can Lord Hall continue shielding Laura from accountability and scrutiny,her propaganda for the Tories is dragging the BBC into the same gutter journalism as the Sun and the Daily Mail.
Time to act ...
@Richard & Juliet
I've spent most of the past few years rolling my eyes at any "The BBC are massively pro-Tory and hate Corbyn" rants. And yet... there's only so many times they can make mistakes like this. In the current climate it's absolutely ridiculous not to double-check this before posting, and the whole "actually he just walked in to the protesters arm. Pretty grim encounter" comment is just bizarre. It wasn't grim. It was someone accidently bumping in to someone else. I've had worse "grim encounters" with my kitchen door.
If memory serves, she was censured by the BBC Trust but was shielded by BBC News.
Maybe she'll become his media adviser.
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