Sunday 15 December 2019

Bias, Camera, Action!

Blimey. As Paul Mason would say, it's all kicking off on Twitter tonight between ITN veteran Alastair Stewart and Newsnight's incoming policy editor Lewis Goodall:
Lewis Goodall: Am going to write something about the cataclysm of the Lab results in next few days. But as tempting as it is to get consumed by Labour watching and recrimination (as most on here now are) we shouldn’t forget the govt hardly covered itself in glory in the conduct of the election.
Alastair Stewart: I earnestly hope you include a thought or two about how we, in the media, performed...
Lewis Goodall: I’m not minded to opine about the work or failings of my colleagues. But I’m sure we can rely on you for a thought or two, Alastair.
Alastair Stewart: There is more in this than you probably intended. It is deeply and profoundly disappointing.
Lewis Goodall: I am deeply introspective about my journalism and journalism more generally Alastair. Unlike you, however, I don’t sit there night after night attacking the journalism of others, deligitimising others and setting myself up as some kind of arbiter of what journalism is. To do so fuels the cynicism of journalism we both seek to avoid. I’m not going to get into any more of an argument with you about it, as you seem so desperate to do day after day. Happy to take it offline.
They didn't. It continued:
Alastair Stewart: We tried that; you didn't listen. Partiality in broadcast reporting is what fuels cynicism. I never once named a name. Tonight I asked you to reflect on 'our' collective performance. You attacked. So revealing.
Lewis Goodall: You do nothing but attack. Repeatedly and obliquely to other journalists. Just because you don’t name others doesn’t make it any better. I’m sorry you don’t enjoy someone standing up to you about it. In the meantime, impartiality is a wonderful thing: [Link to old tweet from AS saying, "Brilliant. The core problem with a policy of egalitarianism is that it can easily become monetary & social dumbing-down rather than a genuine effort to redistribute opportunity & wealth. Empirically, aspirational self-improvement is more effective, as my working class dad showed."]
Alastair Stewart: It is not about 'enjoyment'. It matters so much more than that. That, I suspect, is the difference between us. Good night.
Alastair Stewart has been worrying all this election about high-profile broadcast journalists endlessly spouting their opinions, and taking UK broadcast reporting into ever more dangerous territory. Lewis, from a much younger generation, is far more relaxed about journalists (like himself) spouting forth while claiming to be impartial. 


  1. I don’t sit there night after night attacking the journalism of others, deligitimising others and setting myself up as some kind of arbiter of what journalism is.

    No but Lewis is happy to do that to all things that don’t fit in with his left liberal worldview.

    He is definitely one to watch when he joins the BBC. I think we will see a very partial and vocal journalist if his past tweets are anything to go by.

  2. Good old Alastair! He's just going to keep going till they sack him, isn't he? lol

    Lewis Goodall, a political commentator, seems to be under the mistaken apprehension that news reporters report only on politics, when they report on everything. So it's perfectly reasonable for Alastair Stewart to suggest that there is a case for looking at the media's reporting of the election campaign in relation to the eventual result.

    I have no doubt that some of Labour's fall in the popular vote was down to its core supporters becoming extremely p'd off with the pro-Remain bias of the BBC in particular, but the rest of the media in general as well. They then associated this with the increasingly strident pro-Remain voices at a senior level in the Labour Party who were getting a very, very easy ride from the BBC and its mates.

    I mentioned on another thread that Hilary Benn is lying low and has not been criticised for his role but associating Labour with the humiliating Act "the Benn Act" - that required our PM to go cap in hand to Brussels to beg for an extension was probably the straw that broke the camel's back with Labour voters I suspect.

  3. If broadcasting had more Alistair Stewarts and fewer Lewis Goodalls broadcast journalists would be much more trusted.

  4. Speaking of Hilary Benn, I have been re watching the BBC Election Night programme over again on iplayer. The victory is all the more sweet second time round. Mr Benn's partner in crime, Yvette Cooper, was interviewed by Andrew Neil following her count and her much reduced majority. When she appeared on screen she looked ashen faced; totally crestfallen (so she should). Andrew Neil then let her off the hook completely; questioning on the future of the Labour Party rather than her part in stopping Brexit and handing the whip hand to the EU.
    If only Caroline Flint had survived and Yvette Cooper had got her just deserts.

    PS Ms Cooper was to be seen in the audience on Saturday evening at the Strictly Come Dancing Final! The grief did not last long.


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