Saturday 8 July 2017

Confessions of a BBC Editor

Ian Katz

From Ian Katz's Spectator piece

Call me cynical, but I did wonder what on earth provoked Newsnight editor Ian Katz into writing such a 'humble' piece for The Spectator

Was it a result of panic provoked by the hugely negative reaction to his arrogant car-crash interview on Newswatch last week, combined perhaps with the realisation that far too many people were reading Evan Davis's admission that 'people who are making programmes' at the BBC couldn't care less about complaints about political bias as meaning that he, Ian Katz, couldn't care less about complaints about bias? And where better for an ex-Guardian deputy editor turned BBC editor to write than the Spectator in order to 'prove' his impartiality?

The funny thing is that he's obviously picked up on complaints of bias from certain types of people - the types of people left-wingers tend to come across more often on their own Twitter timelines: Corbynistas, aggrieved Muslims, cybernats, Grenfell activists. Complaints 'from the other side', say about the BBC's Brexit coverage, don't seem to haven't registered with him anywhere near as much (possibly simply because his social media echo chamber doesn't echo to such concerns). So, call me 'cynical' again, but I think his piece inadvertently makes his own biases shine through even more.

Still, if the penny genuinely has dropped with the Newsnight editor (as it appears to have done) that people's concerns about BBC bias do matter then that can only be a good thing.

And the acknowledgement that too many Newsnight contributors come from "a relatively narrow band of opinion" (something we've been saying for ages) is very welcome.

Admitting failings beyond the concerns of Corbyn supporters would help too, say over the programme's unbalanced Brexit coverage. Then we really would be getting somewhere.


  1. Call me cynical, but all we are seeing here is the BBC being pulled further to the left by Corbyn.

    1. e.g. deservedly forgotten Alexei Sayle suddenly has a new show and is on Saturday Live.

    2. The election of Corbyn permitted the BBC to move even further Left.

  2. I too think that Katz means that the Labour supporting BBC hasn't been giving the pro-Corbyn supporters enough of a voice, not that he will start linking pressure on the NHS to immigration or discovering that most countries aren't members of the EU yet do OK and even, believe it or not, trade with the EU.


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