WHILE countless publications and left-wing media outlets can be excused for promoting ideologically-biased coverage of politicians and political events, one organisation doesn’t have such a privilege – the BBC. Why? Because, unlike broadcasters such as Sky News, you’re forced to pay for it.
The BBC, as a taxpayer-funded broadcaster, sets-out the following clear rule for its journalists:
“If your work requires you to maintain your impartiality, don’t express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or ‘controversial subjects’.”
Yet this simple instruction has been frequently ignored of late – a fine example being the lack of impartiality displayed by BBC presenter Naga Munchetty, who last month was forced to issue a (somewhat hollow) apology after retweeting and ‘liking’ numerous anti-government posts on social media.
Another journalist who seems to have forgotten her duty to provide facts rather than propagandist opinions, is Laura Kuenssberg, Political Editor of BBC News.
Kuenssberg’s convenient memory loss with regards to rules of impartiality has become so frequent in fact that one can only assume – if not in the early stages of Alzheimer’s – that her actions can be blamed not on ‘forgetfulness’, but on a complete disregard for impartiality altogether.
Accused over the years by the left-wing and the right of pumping-out politically-biased articles and news reports, the daughter of a former Labour party donor has, over the past fortnight, converted her Twitter account into what appears to be a never-ending soft furnishings catalogue – retweeting the posts of every anti-Boris journalist with a wallpaper fetish she can find.
Today, after already leading the BBC to issue a correction over her false claims about James Dyson (in yet another apparent attempt to abuse her position to attack the PM), Kuenssberg wrote what is perhaps the clearest breach of impartiality rules in her career to date.
The title of her latest smear piece, “Boris Johnson: What is the PM’s relationship with the truth?”, didn’t leave much to the imagination of readers. But, even if it did, in the article that followed the BBC journalist made sure that what she believes the question’s answer to be was as garish as Carrie Symonds’ taste in fabric.
Quoting numerous anonymous ‘sources’, she carefully constructed a brutal attack against the integrity of the Prime Minister – before taking it upon herself to break from professionalism altogether and launching a full-blown assault.
The result was essentially a poison pen letter, although in this instance Kuenssberg proudly waived anonymity.
“One of the PM’s strategies, however, seems to be to bamboozle the listener with a blizzard of verbiage, suggesting agreement, but not committing to anything” one of her unsubstantiated claims reads.
“The verbal flourishes and rhetorical tricks are part of the reason why he has prospered” said another.
Blow after blow of damaging opinions loosely shrouded among a mirage of credibility and fact, swiftly followed:
“…the prime minister’s attitude to the truth and facts is not based on what is real and what is not, but is driven by what he wants to achieve in that moment – what he desires, rather than what he believes.”
“In other words, ordering the truth to suit his ambitions” she referenced Steve Jobs “… sound familiar?”
“…during the 2016 Brexit campaign he was nervous about the now infamous promise, plastered on the side of his battle bus, to spend the £350m a week the UK sends to the EU “to fund the NHS instead”.
The fact that VoteLeave was not a party-affiliated campaign group, and that the slogan was a suggestion rather than a ‘promise’, was of little relevance to her as she scrawled-out her attack on Boris Johnson.
“Boris Johnson’s reputation and popularity is certainly not based on a view that he tells the truth”.
“…that doesn’t mean that the prime minister’s complicated relationship with truth can be easily dismissed”.
“It leaves him all powerful. His whim rules”.
“Despite the horrors of coronavirus, hard realities have never been part of the PM’s desired script.”
And, just in case she didn’t feel that she’d broken impartiality rules enough, she polished it all off with a closing statement, claiming that Johnson sought to be popular rather than honest, and writing:
“To use one of his tactics, quoting the classics, the Greek philosopher Plato said: “No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth.”
Whether or not Kuessenberg has a personal issue with Brexit and the PM who helped make it happen, is unclear. Also unclear is if her recent campaign of Boris-bashing is motivated by being shutdown by Matt Hancock after trying to stir the pot once more during an important national Covid briefing last week.
But one thing is as clear as crystal. This is not journalism. This is activism.
VoteWatch has registered a complaint with the BBC over such clear breaches of impartiality, and, if not resolved, will escalate the complaint to OFCOM.
If our readers would like to submit their own complaints, they can do so by clicking here.