Sunday 24 November 2019

Guess who's back?

The Sunday Times has a headline today that really caught my eye:

BBC whistleblower: bosses suppressing Russia stories
A top investigative reporter says politically sensitive programmes are buried

How disappointing that the "BBC whistleblower" turns out to be John Sweeney!

He's still obviously bitter after his departure from the corporation and resentful that his Panorama on Tommy Robinson was dropped:
BBC bosses have been accused of pulling the plug on politically sensitive reports into the close links between leading politicians and Russia. 
John Sweeney, a BBC investigative reporter, has turned whistleblower and filed a complaint against the corporation with Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog. He alleges investigations into Labour’s Lord Mandelson, the former Tory cabinet minister John Whittingdale, the Brexit funder Arron Banks, the oligarch Roman Abramovich and the far-right activist Tommy Robinson were all dropped. 
He claims that other potential reports into “the pro-Russian sympathies of Labour spin doctor Seumas Milne” were never even commissioned by BBC editors and raises more concerns about Boris Johnson’s links with Russian oligarchs.
Wonder if there's any substance to his claims? If not, then he isn't 'a whistleblower'.

(Question: Can you be 'a whistleblower' after you've left your job?)

Anyhow, John Sweeney has his own article in The Sunday Times under the headline:

BBC’s ‘jellyfish’ bosses sting investigative reporting to death. They must go. 

He writes:
I found film of Robinson saying “for too long the German people have lived under the guilt of Adolf Hitler” in a bierkeller in Bavaria. We hoped to let the public see Robinson as the sock-puppet for neo-Nazis that he is. But our Panorama was never broadcast. Instead, the BBC threw the book at me, “jellyfish” charge and all. 
Being attacked by a far-right cult while undefended by the BBC was maddening, literally. I felt bewildered and betrayed and, eventually, I cracked up. 
I am back to my old self but have left the BBC. However, I love it too much to just walk away in silent dismay. 
So, I have complained to Ofcom about our Panorama on Tommy Robinson: not broadcast. Our Newsnight investigation into Peter Mandelson’s undeclared money from a mob-connected Russian firm: not broadcast.
As he's still spinning that yarn about Tommy Robinson in the Bavarian bierkeller, I think we can be forgiven for approaching his other claims with some scepticism.


  1. "I found film of Robinson saying “for too long the German people have lived under the guilt of Adolf Hitler” in a bierkeller in Bavaria."

    The problem with clips like this is that taken out of context they may mean the opposite.

    Over and over we have edited "quotes" manipulated to make the speaker look foolish, when taken as a whole, these quotes are rational and not at all foolish. The Germans have lived under the guilt of Nazism for a long time and many old people have never admitted their part in supporting the regime. We forget how it was in the 1930s... Hitler brought employment to areas of high unemployment and built up the infrastructure (autobahns) through his policies which appealed to people without jobs. The nastiness of Nazis and the nastiness of Communists in Russia impacted on those who opposed the regimes. The supporters who benefited saw only the positives.

    The same applies to the Ossies in the DDR. Those who were happy with their lot - security of employment, low cost housing, free healthcare, and low crime, look back with fondness when compared with having been promised a better life they have ended up in poorly paid low wage jobs with high housing costs and no security - competing with Poles and other Eastern Europeans for a share of the jobs available for the low skilled workers.

    I am reminded of the story of Russian refugees from the USSR arriving in New York asking where do they apply for housing and being told "look in the small ads". Culture shock!

  2. Mr Sweeney still hasn't glommed on to the fact that a cursory check on his rantings reveal him to be an utter charlatan. It's quite sad watching a man drowning in his own bile, and being assisted by his media chums. Is there no-one on his side telling him to shut up ?

  3. I am sure quite a few 'respectable' reporters have suggested that Frau Merkel's 'let them all in' policy is down to Nazi guilt.

  4. Our fearless investigator loved marching through Russia being filmed like a lone warrior in the landscape. Sad to hear he cracked up - loss of the moody posing against the sky and the boozing lifestyle on expenses must have caused withdrawal symptoms - but he didn't much care about the effect of his hounding and trickery on his 'far-right' prey or associates.

    Interesting to see he'd done a programme on John Whittingdale. At the time of the review of the BBC Charter he was the Secretary of State for Media and was making noises threatening to the BBC but - how timely! - some scandal came out about his personal life. I caught a mention that some less well-known scandal about his brother or step-brother was also unearthed. I forget what. The result appeared to be that Whittingdale was pretty much silenced and the Charter review didn't amount to a lot. I'm sure the BBC is ruthless in its own interests and quick to act at the hint of any political threat but perhaps Sir Hall is more subtle than to broadcast a muck-raking Sweeney Special on the SoS. And for different reasons I don't think they'd do one on Mandy.

  5. "I found film of Robinson saying “for too long the German people have lived under the guilt of Adolf Hitler” in a bierkeller in Bavaria."

    Wasn't this clip freely available on You Tube? He's making it sound like he personally uncovered it. And it was indeed taken out of context, however much one might agree it was an ill advised choice of words.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.