James O’Brien – The Matrix Database

The Matrix Project is an effort to document personal factors that undermine powerful journalists’ claims of objectivity and impartiality. Are factors such as an elite education, establishment connections, personal wealth and interests in rival fields compatible with journalistic integrity? 

This page looks at LBC Broadcaster James O’Brien. For more information on the database click here.

Education

Learn about the significance of a private/Oxbridge education here

James O’Brien attended the independent Ampleforth College before attending London School of Economics.

source

Revolving Door

Learn about the significance of the Revolving Door here

James O’Brien has no significant professional experience in politics or business.

“Establishment” Connections

Learn about the significance of Establishment Connections here

Primary

James O’Brien is married to Journalist and Broadcaster Lucy McDonald (source). His adopted father Jim O’Brien was a journalist for The Telegraph. (source)

Secondary

James O’Brien was an active participant in the Peoples Vote movement that campaigned for a second Brexit referendum in 2018. (source) Politicians and individuals associated with the Peoples Vote campaign have also been accused of using the group to intentionally undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. (source)

Salary/Indications of Wealth

Learn about the significance of journalists with an unusual level of wealth here

James O’Brien is core presenter on LBC and a bestselling author. We are unable to verify his salary or publication earnings.

As a point of reference, the Office for National Statistics list the average UK salary for 2021 as £26,193

Complaints / apologies / controversies

Learn about the significance of complaints/apologies here

In 2014 James O’Brien was ruled by OFCOM to have breached broadcasting rules for comments made regarding a by-election in Clacton. (source)

In 2015 O’Brien dedicated a great deal of coverage of allegations of VIP Sexual Assault accusations made by Carl Beech and promoted by a now discredited news site called Exaro Media. O’Brien later expressed regret for his coverage of the scandal. (source)

In 2021 OFCOM did not uphold a complaint against James O’Brien made by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The IEA complained that it had been referred as a “lobby group” and as an organisation it was of “questionable provenance, with dubious ideas and validity”. OFCOM ruled that “material facts were not presented, disregarded or omitted in the programmes in a way that was unfair to the IEA.”(source)

IN THEIR OWN WORDS…

The media, myself included, now have to stop talking about Jeremy Corbyn like he is some sort of pimple on the backside of British politics and start talking about him as the only alternative Prime Minister to Theresa May... I’ve made a conscious personal and professional decision to leave the scepticism at the door and will now treat this party and this man as I treat all politicians – with a degree of cynicism but not as some sort of aberration.

James O’Brien, 2016

If I voted for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party I wouldn’t be able to look a Jew, an EU citizen, anyone set to be hurt by Brexit or myself in the eye ever again.

JAMES O-BRIEN, 2019

Summary

James O’Brien had an elite education, his father was an Establishment journalist, and he is likely to earn more than the salary of the average Briton. He has been an active participant in at least one political campaign.

Independent? Impartial? Holding power to account?

Learn more about the Matrix Project here.

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