Euthanasia, or assisted dying, is a subject that rouses our deepest emotions.
Now, I'm very strongly with the social liberals on this subject, but even I can see problems with perpetual BBC social-liberal promoters like Mark Easton reporting a high-profile case this week on the BBC's News at Six and News at Ten and focusing on the distressing story of a Dignitas-bound, British-authorities-challenged couple (the husband, Geoff Whaley, suffering from advanced motor neurone disease, the wife being investigated by the authorities on suspicion of helping him die at Dignitas) whilst, at the same time, featuring only the briefest sop to BBC impartiality from 'the other side of the argument' -
- namely a very brief clip (12 seconds in total!) from someone Mark himself presumably intervieweld and didn't think more than 12 seconds was needed for his report.
Moreover - and in true dog-whistle fashion - the anti-euthanasia lady in question was pre-announced by the ever-canny Mark as "a Christian campaigner".
To surely no-one's genuine surprise, the much-promoted BBC News website version (also by Mark Easton), dropped the 12-second Christian campaigner completely.
Now, Mark may have been doing proper BBC reporting stuff on BBC One, but his own views were barely less openly revealed than those of BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson on Twitter, who obviously wasn't troubled by any thoughts of BBC impartiality on controversial matters for even one second whilst opining the following:
I agree with him on the assisted dying question, but I'm not a highly-paid BBC journalist who's meant to be impartial on matters of controversy.
So, yes: The BBC's John Simpson is in favour of euthanasia/assisted dying, and is unconcerned about saying so.
[What's new there? 😃]
Is 'it's just Twitter' an excuse? Haven't BBC journalists been warned again and again and again by top BBC bosses that social media outbursts of this kind harm the BBC's 'reputation for impartiality'? And will BBC high-ups truly now take Big John to task for this?