Saturday, 8 July 2017

Selective hearing?

Rob Burley

Rob Burley, the editor of The Andrew Marr Show, has been interviewed by The Huffington Post, mainly about his weekly engagement with Twitter critics over allegations of BBC bias - an engagement with licence-fee payers we've praised here before (and long before the Huff Post jumped on the bandwagon!).

Something that stood out for me from this interview is the following:

The treatment of supporters of Jeremy Corbyn is one of the very few areas where BBC editors seem willing to admit to bias and to try to make amends. If you recall, Katy Searle, Editor of BBC Political News, went out of her way to concede their points on Feedback last year. Plus Newsnight's Ian Katz, in that Spectator article, has also been saying that the BBC (explicitly including himself) got Jeremy wrong and that they must learn lessons from that and broaden the range of voices featured. 

And the BBC does seem to be trying to show that its guest selection is being opened to more voices from the far-Left. 

And not just Ellie Mae O'Hagan and Faiza Shaheen. Kerry-Anne Mendoza of The Canary (the BBC's main 'alt-left' critic), for example, has been on Question Time, Start the Week, Today and Newsnight, all within the last month.

Whether as much attention will be paid to broadening the range of voices featured at the other end of the political spectrum will be interesting to watch.

Update: Rob Burley is fully engaged in a Twitter fight-to-the-death this sunny afternoon with Dan Hodges. It's going on and on and on, like one of those gruelling marathon matches at Wimbledon.

Dan is accusing Rob of "caving in" to complaints from former Corbyn spokesman Matt Zarb-Cousin and changing his editorial policy as a result. ("Yep. Total coincidence you had two Corbynites on in the two weeks following Matt's criticism..."). Rob says that the accusation of "caving in" is "silly" and that all he and his show are doing is "listening to people" and allowing what they hear to "feed into what we do".

After about four hours I think they're calling it a day. It ended:
Dan Hodges: "No. But yes...". I think we can probably leave it there...
Rob Burley‏: Ok, Dan, you can have the last word.