Sunday 22 September 2019

The BBC rules against Emily Maitlis


Well, well, well...

Newsnight, BBC Two, 15 July 2019: Finding by the Executive Complaints Unit

The programme included a discussion about Brexit between Rod Liddle, columnist and author of a book about Brexit called “The Great Betrayal” and Tom Baldwin of the People’s Vote campaign. A viewer complained that the presenter Emily Maitlis was sneering and bullying towards Mr Liddle and in doing so exemplified the way the BBC views Leave voters.

The ECU did not agree that it was possible to deduce Emily Maitlis’ view on Brexit from the discussion. It also believed that it was valid to press Mr Liddle on his personal views and noted that he had the opportunity to vigorously defend himself. However it was insufficiently clear that this was not Ms Maitlis’s view of Mr Liddle but that of his critics, and the persistent and personal nature of the criticism risked leaving her open to the charge that she had failed to be even-handed between the two guests.

Action Point
The programme has been reminded of the need to ensure rigorous questioning of controversial views does not lead to a perceived lack of impartiality.    


  1. ... 'However it was insufficiently clear that this was not Ms Maitlis’s view of Mr Liddle but that of his critics' ... Oh! Really?

    1. A negative such as this cannot be proved. Try the duck test.

  2. To sum up, Maitliss faied to use the BBC's 'some people say' before haranguing Liddle.

  3. I think, Craig, that explains why when you checked into the programme the other day, you found her having an "off night" as I would put she had reined back on the mocking laughter, eye rolling and interrupt-to-disrup tactics.

    Bet she's livid with that finding!

    1. I bet you're right.

      Is it just a coincidence then that the ECU's ruling against her was published on 20 September and that she's not tweeted anything since then?

      She was very busy on 19 September, and up till then had been tweeting like a trooper every day. It's not like her to have three days off Twitter in a row.

    2. Either that or the whippet's swallowed her mobile.


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