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 TalkRadio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer. For more information on the database click here.
Learn about the significance of a private/Oxbridge education here
Julia Hartley-Brewer attended non-selective state schools
She holds a 2:1 undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Magdalen College, Oxford University (Source)
Learn about the significance of the Revolving Door here.
Julia Hartley-Brewer has no significant experience in politics or business.
Learn about the significance of Establishment Connections here
Julia Hartley-Brewer’s father, Michael John Hartley-Brewer, stood as the Labour Party candidate for Selly Oak in the 1970 General Election and missed out on a seat in parliament by less than 2,000 votes (source). Her father also worked at the BBC, according to this interview
Salary/Indications of Wealth
Learn about the significance of journalists with an unusual level of wealth here
Julia Hartley-Brewer, perhaps tellingly, declines to reveal her salary – but doesn’t deny that her earning power is significant:
“I once got paid £3,000 for a three-minute after dinner speech…I’d rather not say how much I earned in 2019, but I was presenting the breakfast show on TalkRadio. When you’re getting up at 4.40 every morning, you tend to get well compensated for it” (source)
As a point of reference, the Office for National Statistics list the average UK salary for 2021 as £26,193. It is evident that Julia earns vastly in excess of this amount per year.
Complaints / apologies / controversies
Learn about the significance of complaints/apologies here
Owen Jones complaint – Julia Hartley-Brewer (JH-B) refused to apologise to Owen Jones after he walked off the set of a Sky News programme in which she featured and, in fact, doubled down on her criticism by stating that Jones “has more in common with ISIS than he thinks”. Jones was upset by the refusal of JH-B and presenter Mark Longhurst to accept that the Orlando nightclub shooting was an attack on LGBT people. The segment attracted 60 Ofcom complaints within a day and led to an apology by Sky News and Longhurst (source)
Omagh Bomb Jibe – JH-B attempted to defend as “satire” a tweet she sent out on the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing, portraying Jeremy Corbyn as a terrorist sympathiser. Michael Gallagher, the father of one of the victims, stated: “I think it would have been better if she just had acknowledged the event and sympathised with the victims. We can all point-score, but that was not the time to be satirical.” (source)
Climate Change Denial – JH-B has made a number of controversial and at least one (see below) factually inaccurate statement on climate change
Megan Markle Jibe – Ofcom received hundreds of complaints from This Morning viewers in 2021 after JH-B pondered, sarcastically, whether Megan Markle would take offence at her child being excluded from a photograph of the Queen’s great-grandchildren that was taken before the grandchild in question was born. JH-B added that Markle “probably thinks it’s a racist photograph…I’m sure she’s managed to take offence at it anyway” (source)
Julia Hartley-Brewer’s father stood as a Labour Party candidate for parliament and she attended Oxford University. She boasts of earning £3,000 for three minutes of work and has consistently generated controversy with sceptical comments on climate change, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour and other issues that threaten the financial status quo.
Impartial? Independent? Holding the powerful to account?
Learn more about the Matrix Project here.
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