Sunday 17 February 2019

A 'Newsnight' apology

Katie Razzall, gritting her teeth

Fans of BBC apologies can add this to their collection. It was read out by Katie Razzall on this Friday's Newsnight:
On last Friday's programme, as part of a studio discussion concerning the current state of British politics, we interviewed Steven Woolfe MEP about the impact of the new Brexit Party. The discussion may have been understood as suggesting a Mr Richard Tice may have been the source or one of the sources of funding the Brexit Party. Since that interview, we have been contacted by Mr Richard Tice,  a founder of Leave.EU and a founder and vice-chair of Leave Means Leave. Mr Tice has confirmed that he is not the subject of any Electoral Commission investigation into the funding of Leave.EU and that he has not donated any money to the Brexit Party. The BBC apologises for any unintentional suggestion to the contrary.
The thing that particularly intrigued me there is that the statement leaves it pretty unclear as to who was the source of the "unintentional suggestion to the contrary": "The discussion may have been understood as suggesting...". So was it Mr Woolfe, another guest or the Newsnight interviewer?  Well, it turns out to have been Emily Maitlis, who interrupted Mr Woolfe with this question: 
OK, let me just ask you a quick question. Do we know where the funding is coming from? Because one of the thoughts behind it is that this could be Richard Tice, who is the co-founder, as you know, of Leave.EU, now under investigation by the Electoral Commission. Is that where the money is coming from for this new Brexit party? 
and this follow-up:
Does it matter to you if you are representing a party that has funding from the same source as Leave.EU?  
Mr Richard Tice is pleased with the apology:

The episode in question has been removed from the list of previous episodes available to watch again, so I had to transcribe those questions via TV Eyes.


  1. Is this an example of the 'six degrees of separation' rule?

    Everyone is connected to everyone eventually so we are all (selectively) guilty of everything in the BBC's eyes!

  2. The BBC has truly perfected the art of the non-apologetic guilt-deflecting apology. They probably ahve a whole department under a Head of Non-Apologies and Denials dedicated to the task.

    Let's hope Stephen Wolfe complains about the apology, implicating him as having contributed to the misinformation. It was Maitlis and her poor command of grammar and syntax.

  3. Isn't that an example of the latest addition to the 50 types of bias? I forget what it's called. It's about bringing in some unrelated past fact or piece of information in order to cast someone in a bad light. In this case I'd call it The Smear is In. All too typical of the nasty stirring that the BBC loves to indulge in.

    That reminds me: has Maitlis apologised yet for the misrepresentation or lie she broadcast about an Australian cartoon of the tennis player Naomi Osaka? Going back a bit I know. Just shows the BBC aren't the only ones who can go back.

    1. Tangential bias as was suggested...or as I suggested "False Echo" bias. I think that was more where they place a seemingly related story (which they like) next to another (which doesn't support their PC ideology), even though the relationship is very tangential (or gives a "false echo").

      I think the Bogus Apology or Guilt Deflecting Apology might be another bias technique!

    2. Guilt by Association fallacy
      ..'You the messenger have a message'
      but you are a bad man, cos you are associated with this man, and he's bad , therefore you are bad , and therefore your message is wrong'

      Now that is a typee of Ad Hom
      There is no use in smearing the messenger
      cos the message stands on its own merit
      .. so if there is something wrong with the message say it.

  4. All falls under #honestmistake surely? Again.

    Anyway, Emily's views are her own, so...?

  5. … BTW sticking an apology away at the end of prog is not OK by me, that’s the same as hiding them away on page 37
    I would have put up an internet video and then linked to in in the progs opening credits and again in the closing credits.


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