Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Friday 31 December 2021

The BBC And Ghislaine Maxwell

After former “socialite” Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty on sex trafficking charges, with the distinct possibility that she might spend the rest of her life behind bars, media players that had not already distanced themselves from backing her had a straightforward question to ask themselves. How would a reputable outlet handle the story? How would a sensible organisation have proceeded? How would Nietzsche have approached it?

Ghislaine Maxwell - remember, she got guilty

None of this seems to have concerned management at the increasingly troubled BBC, where, for starters, Alan Dershowitz, formerly Jeffrey Epstain’s lawyer and someone who is not a disinterested party in the affair, was given a platform by the Corporation to smear Ms Maxwell’s accusers. The Beeb has since attempted to deflect the welter of condemnation by claiming that the Dershowitz interview “did not meet its editorial standards”.

Tim Davie - not going very well, is it?

The BBC’s own report at least explains why the interview was not their finest hour: “Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, a human rights lawyer, tweeted that Mr Dershowitz was introduced ‘without any reference to his background; he's simply introduced as “constitutional lawyer” as if he's a neutral expert’, adding: ‘Shocked. Utterly bizarre decision and does the audience a disservice.’” But now they’ve done it again.

Because the Radio 4 Today Programme - the gold standard of radio news reportage - has this morning given Ian Maxwell - Ghislaine Maxwell’s brother - a platform to proclaim her innocence. Sonia Sodha of the Observer was surprised. “Why is the BBC now running an interview with Ghislaine Maxwell’s brother, pleading her innocence, on its main bulletin on R4? Would they do that for any other child sex offender found guilty in a court of law?

Another Tweeter mused “As #GhislaineMaxwell's brother is given a platform on #r4today to proclaim his sibling's innocence (based on no evidence other than ‘my own view’), I'm trying to recall the last time the defenders of anyone convicted of a major crime were offered sich an opportunity on the BBC”. The Secret Barrister found it mystifying.

I cannot understand why #r4today is providing a platform for family and friends of Ghislaine Maxwell to proclaim her innocence and undermine the jury’s verdicts. Is this service to be made available to all convicted sex offenders?” Mark Hebden added “Can't believe #r4today just gave a platform to Ian Maxwell … to defend his sister and undermine the testimonies of the survivors of abuse as well as questioning the court process”.

Chris Dillow suggested this may be taking the “balance” concept a little too far. “#r4today giving a platform to Ian Maxwell to protest his sister's innocence shows two features of BBC news: a class bias (do working class nonces get the same privilege?); and a prioritizing of ‘balance’ so that a jury verdict has no more weight than some guy's opinion”.

And SNP MP John Nicolson, having concluded that Maxwell’s appearance was an “odd decision”, asked “Are we to assume that all high profile, well connected sex offenders will now be allowed to use a high profile BBC platform to attack witnesses post conviction?

This kind of thing one might expect from the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine. Not the BBC. It’s high time that Tim Davie stopped grovelling before the political and media establishment - the Corporation may not survive much more of this ineptitude.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by becoming a Patron on Patreon at



Silver Hammer said...

How dare you? The BBC offers this service to all convicted people who have had a £10million yacht named after them.

Mr Larrington said...

Yes, yes, but she's BRITISH and is therefore being viciously persecuted by those beastly FOREIGNS, from Abroad.

I expect the Usual Suspects will be along after they’ve recovered from their New Year not-a-party-honestly* to blame it on President Biden, Vice-President Harris and, optionally, the EU.

* except for viewers in Scotland, or Wales, or Northern Ireland

Simon said...

The BBC has, after the event, still been using the word 'accusers' when they actually mean victims.

Winstanley 1 said...

The BBC has form here, remember Jimmy Savill.

Watchman said...

Exclusive interview: Fergie says Andrew doesn’t sweat

Anonymous said...

I blame the parents.

Hay Murkhast. said...

I once wrote a play wot was like this. All while posting on a football website.

A New Renaissance Man, me.

Mark Hayhurst said...

I've written extensively about the relationship between the media and the 'socialite', going back to some of the earliest plays I did. It is not a new thing and, alas, it will not be finished overnight.

Anonymous said...


My word, it's as if you see the future.

Back on topic, it seems like a fair few BBC defenders - and I am not far from being one myself - are not taking this as an aberration, but a very real problem with the organisation as a whole. That may be the wake up call it badly needs.

Ham Arkhursty. said...

In my plays I favour Bozo and the Starmer Quisling.

Insightful, deeply intellectual, pragmatic, realistic, Stanislavskyesque. Very relevant. Even if I say so myself. Which I do. Often.

Anonymous said...

The "interview" conformed perfectly with BBC "editorial standards". Because it doesn't have any.

Ask Kuentssberg, Robinson, Marr and that weird woman with one eyebrow. Tories all, among many others.

The only predictability at BBC "News and Current Affairs" is far right tory propaganda. It's a dog kennel of yapping poodles.

Arnold said...


Mr Larrington said...

@Arnold: though at least they've stopped wheeling out that daft old bastard Nigel Lawson “for balance” every time the subject of climate change comes up.

Happy New Year, Tim, and keep 'em coming.

Unknown said...

Gotta remember who Ghislaine was connected too, take a recent Spectator puff piece by Rachel Johnson, yes her, sister of the man who can't keep keep his 'John Thomas' zipped.
Rachel alluded that Maxwell & De Peffiel had some kind of S&M thing going on at Balliol College at Oxford Inthe mid 80s

Also the Queen won't have been pleased that Emily Matliss' very gentle questioning had Andrew lying through his back teeth about his relationships with Epstein & Maxwell and that infamous claim about that photo!
Just surprised Laura Kuenssberg didn't take a break from her Xmas break to personally blame Corbyn.