Wednesday 18 January 2017

More about Laura

A quick update on our semi-collaborative post: ”We have to talk about Laura.” 

The BBC breached accuracy and impartiality rules with a News At Six report by Laura Kuenssberg on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, its governing body has ruled.
An item, which aired in November 2015, inaccurately represented the Labour leader’s views on a shoot-to-kill policy in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, it found.
The complaint, by a member of the public rather than Mr Corbyn himself, was rejected four times previously under the BBC’s own editorial standards policies, before the Trust finally ruled against the programme. 

BBC executives immediately moved to protect Kuenssberg, going public to say they disagreed with the finding and did not see any grounds to discipline their political editor.”
But the report ends with:
“Trustees agreed they had seen no evidence of bias. However, the Committee decided on balance that because of the breaches of accuracy as a consequence, the item was also not duly impartial."


  1. Hmm. Having read the full-length explanation, I'm not entirely sure there's a major scandal here. It was technically a misrepresentation as Laura K. presented Corbyn's response in an inaccurate context. But having a general shoot-to-kill policy when terrorists start shooting up a public space is essentially the same thing as having a shoot-to-kill policy if terrorists attacked No. 10. So it's not like she was misrepresenting his position on shoot-to-kill.

    Yes, I guess it's a breach of the accuracy rules, as the quote was presented in a false context. No wonder BBC bosses quickly circled the wagons: this is standard BBC editorial practice, and if they have to punish her for it, they have to enforce the rules on everyone.

    It's not bias, unless Laura K. saw Corbyn's stance as wrong and was trying to cause a fuss over it. Did Corbyn receive a bunch of nasty emails and phone calls for it? I bet not. Anything that isn't deference or praise brings cries of anti-Corbyn bias. Of course, there is a genuine anti-Corbyn bias in certain corners of the BBC, and I have said so many times. I'm not sure this is one of them.

  2. "The complaints were in fact rejected three times by the BBC itself before the matter was escalated to the Trust."

    I'll bet they were.


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