Last week Andrew Neil accidentally offered a fascinating insight into what we might call the “mind of the corporate media”.
Neil, whose Twitter thread is usually full of acerbic put downs, staunch self-defence and the pseudo-intellectual posturing of The Spectator, got carried away and tweeted that Corbynistas were “pro-Kremlin” and a “busted flush”.
Nothing reveals bias in the media quite like conformity of opinion. When the journalists that constitute the “free press” all parrot the same or similar lines, the mask slips to reveal the shared assumptions underlying corporate journalism.
Last autumn we wrote to the BBC to complain about Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis using the term “hard left” three times in one programme to refer to a sector of the Labour Party. On one occasion she explicitly identified Jeremy Corbyn as a member of the “hard left”.
Thousands of you supported our complaint on social media with shares and comments.
We have now received a response from the BBC and warn you in advance that it is likely to raise your blood pressure! According to the BBC, “‘hard left’ was used to simply indicate where it is generally perceived those opposed to the proposals (from Keir Starmer) are on the political spectrum”. This was, according to the BBC, “a fair reflection on the tensions within the Labour Party”.
The BBC insist that “your concerns have been seen by senior Newsnight editors”. Does this imply that Newsnight’s top editors believe that it is fair and accurate to describe Jeremy Corbyn as “hard left”!?
We disagree and decided to escalate our complaint to the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit…
We have pursued the BBC for the best part of a year now in search of a response to Laura Kuenssberg’s coverage of Keir Starmer’s decision to deny the parliamentary whip to Jeremy Corbyn.
Kuenssberg’s report on the issue was arguably the climax (nadir?) of the media’s long campaign, in conjunction with centrist Labour MPs and more or less the entire British establishment, to discredit and smear Corbyn.
We write to complain about non-impartial use of language during the Newsnight programme broadcast on the 21st of September 2021.
On three occasions the presenter of the show, Emily Maitlis, used the term “hard left” to refer to a sector of the Labour Party, inferring then making explicit that Jeremy Corbyn belongs to said “hard left”.
On the 20th July 2021, the Labour Party National Executive Committee passed a resolution to proscribe four Socialist organisations: Socialist Appeal, Labour In Exile Network, Resist and Labour Against The Witch-Hunt. Anti-Corbyn activists, such as the Jewish Labour Movement, claimed that “membership of these [Socialist] groups is incompatible with Labour’s values”.
In August, the Party went a step further and began expelling those who did not support the purge, including renowned Socialist filmmaker Ken Loach, who stated on Twitter that ‘Labour HQ finally decided I’m not fit to be a member of their party, as I will not disown those already expelled.”
It is now over seven months since we complained to the BBC about Laura Kuenssberg’s appalling coverage of Keir Starmer’s decision to deny the parliamentary whip to Jeremy Corbyn (News at Ten, 17/11/2020).
The BBC’s initial reply referred to a different article to the one we’d complained about (!!) and flatly denied Laura Kuenssberg had stated “When the (EHRC) report came out, Mr Corbyn said it had been exaggerated.”
We replied with a link to the correct article, attributed to Laura Kuenssberg, which unequivocally states “When the report came out, Mr Corbyn suggested it had all been exaggerated.” (underline shows that what Laura K said was even worse than what the BBC denied she’d said!)
We then heard nothing from the BBC for…3 months. When we chased them we were told they “hadn’t received” our response and were sent two further letters blaming a subsequent delay in responding on Covid.
We thought we’d update you on what has happened since and our escalation of the complaint. Full transparency and social media support for the complaint can only help so we’d appreciate any shares of this article – especially on social media with @BBCNEWS tagged in!
We all know that January can be a tough month: post-Christmas blues, dark nights, depleted bank balances.
Spare a thought, then, for Toby Young and the group of right-wing, pseudo-intellectual shills he identifies as his “fellow lockdown sceptics…Allison Pearson, Julia Hartley-Brewer, Peter Hitchens and Lawrence Fox.”
Young and co. entered this challenging period trying to digest three almighty receipts: years of “libertarian” support for Donald Trump culminating in a deadly, anti-democratic assault on the US Capitol Building, Brexit posturing resulting in a trade deal as sweet as a lorryful of dead fish, and months of Covid-related scepticism coming back to bite them via 60,000 cases a day, a new variant and record UK death tallies.
We write to complain about a piece BBC political editor Laura Kuennsberg delivered on BBC News at Ten on 17/11/2020. The subject of the piece was Keir Starmer’s decision to deny the parliamentary whip to Jeremy Corbyn and also appeared on the BBC website in article form – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54996354
We believe Ms Kuennsberg’s piece was heavily skewed and violated impartiality guidelines.