Robert Peston – The Matrix Database

“Your Honourable” Robert Peston, fearless, truth-seeking journalist, sharing a joke with fellow Oxford graduates Boris Johnson and George Osborne

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 ITV journalist Robert Peston. For more information on the database click here.

Education

Learn about the significance of a private/Oxbridge education here

Robert Peston attended state comprehensive school Highgate Wood Secondary School

He studied at Balliol College, Oxford (source)

Revolving Door

Learn about the significance of the Revolving Door here

Robert Peston has no significant professional experience in politics or business

“Establishment” Connections

Learn about the significance of Establishment Connections here

Primary

Robert Peston’s father was the Labour peer Maurice Harry Peston, Baron Peston (source), this entitles Robert to use the courtesy title “Your Honourable” though he chooses not to do so

Robert Peston is in a relationship with Charlotte Edwardes, diary editor of London’s Evening Standard (source)

Secondary

None

Salary/Indications of Wealth

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

Robert Peston stated that he is paid “nothing remotely” like the £750,000 a year salary some newspapers have reported. He did, however, concede that he is paid more than a third more at ITV than he was at the BBC (source)

Peston’s last job at the BBC was Economics Editor, a position that currently pays £205,000-£209,999 (Faisal Islam).

Adding a third to this salary gives us a conservative estimate of what Robert Peston currently earns: £273,333

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

Complaints / apologies

Learn about the significance of complaints/apologies here

Labour Activist Apology – Robert Peston was forced to apologise during coverage of the 2019 election campaign after claiming that a Labour activist punched a Tory advisor (source)

Peston took considerable flak for his willingness to take “senior Tories” at their word during an election campaign and had to deny he was “spun” by Dominic Cummings

Labour Leadership Complaint – During the 2019 election campaign Seumas Milne, Jeremy Corbyn’s communications director, refused to let Peston interview the Labour candidate (source). Milne said that he did not think Peston’s reporting on Labour was “remotely fair or balanced” and pointed to Peston’s coverage of a statement by the chief rabbi in which the rabbi questioned “how complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition (Jeremy Corbyn) have to be in order to be considered unfit for high office?”

Peston’s tweet continues “I am not making a political statement”. Was it a fair, balanced and impartial statement then?

Summary

Robert Peston is the son of a Life Peer, entitled to the honorary title “Your Honourable”, attended Oxford and earns roughly 10 times the salary of the average Briton.

Independent? Impartial? Holding the powerful to account?

Learn more about the Matrix Project here.

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