Tuesday 14 April 2020


Robbie Gibb, Head of BBC Westminster before becoming Downing Street Director of Communications for Theresa May, has posted an interesting thread on Twitter this evening

What do you make of it? 

Are Laura K, Robert P, Beth R & Co. asking the right questions? What questions would you ask?

  1. Because journalists at the press conferences are asking questions through the prism of establishing political culpability, they are not asking the questions that matter.
  2. An opinion poll by Kekst CNC today suggests the media is the one UK institution that has seen a collapse in public confidence, a net 21% fall.
  3. Cheap, political, business as usual questions, such as the one from Ch4 News at weekend demanding an apology from the Home Secretary, completely misjudges the public mood. 
  4. Excitable questions about “government U-turns” (or responding to new advice when the evidence changes), “cabinet splits” (or just different points of view) and other “gotcha” techniques are jarring at best. 
  5. Questions designed to help understand how we can defeat this virus, what genuine lessons we can learn from other countries and updates on the developing science is what the public really want to hear. For example… 
Q. Is there evidence that the level of exposure to the virus – the viral load - will determine the severity of the illness?
Q. Are we getting very detailed data from other countries mapping the development of the virus?
Q. Are the countries who are lifting some lockdown restrictions basing their decisions on science or the needs of their economy? If the UK were faced with same data, would it come to the same conclusion? 
Q. Where are we on the trials of existing drugs that might help to tackle the virus?
Q. What is the latest research on re-infection showing? 
Q. What is the earliest possible timeframe for a UK vaccination programme? There are reports that one might be ready by September. Is that correct?
Q. Is there evidence that exposure to other viruses in a patient’s history can impact on the severity of Covid19?
Q. Do we use the same medical criterial for admission to ICU as other countries who seem to have different survival rates?


  1. The BBC, ITV, Channel 4. Sky "news reporters" are mostly too thick to ask intelligent questions and so resort to asking their prepared "gotcha", "who can we blame" and "why aren't you doing something?" questions bearing no relation to the information put out by the government.

    Bad news, critical opinions, half truths and downright lies are broadcast relentlessly. This smug self righteous clique of Tory haters only want to broadcast stuff that fits their own agenda which is to bring down the government by whatever means they can.

    1. Peston, Rigby, Kuenssberg and the rest have been found out by the general public. They are not to be trusted to report the facts and the viewers have seen straight through them, their biases and their big ego’s.

    2. I watched the 6.00 pm BBC News with Huw Edwards, in which there was a feature from Laura Kuenssberg. I was appalled by the systematic attack on the Conservative government firstly to do with numbers of care home deaths and secondly by the prospect of the UK's economic difficulties that lie ahead.

      On the care homes, the care workers were hailed as heroes working without adequate PPE, and the government were portrayed as villains. The truth of the matter is that many care homes are operated by huge charities with turnovers of £200,000,000 and more. They are managed by super salaried board members, who are specialists in care methods, regulation and best housing practice. If PPE was not available, then the questions should be asked of the senior management as to why not. Regulation allows for all sorts of tax benefits for these charities. It should not be too much to expect from them that they have contingency planning in place for an event such as we are experiencing. In a similar argument to the NHS, what are the managers paid for if not to plan for all eventualities - not just to take their salaries when times are good as they have been for many years.

      The UK economy will suffer without doubt, but who are the BBC to criticise economic management? Wouldn't it be refreshing if the BBC laid off their sports reporters, who have nothing at all to report on or to plan for. Ditto traffic reporters. They could easily be reemployed when we get back to some normality. I doubt they would find alternative employment elsewhere in the meantime. I would guess that all were above the £30k threshold for the government scheme.

    3. Have any BBC salaries been harmed in the making of this scare?

  2. I'm repeating myself when I say that the BBC especially, is primarily interested in drama and sensation; it is always always always looking for a political angle to anything and everything. It is blatant in its 'hate the Tories' attitude and about its political and social agenda.

    All that said, I don't agree with Robbie Gibb if he is saying that they shouldn't focus on government culpability; they should but not exclusively. What's staring us in the face is a shocking state of affairs, beyond the fact of the virus outbreak itself which is pretty terrifying as well, and it is about the state of the NHS, NHS management, planning, resourcing and the fact that doctors, nurses and other workers are dying because of the conditions, and the lack of protection in a number of ways: it's not just masks and aprons but a whole lot of other things such as organisation, knowledge, information, methods of treatment; criteria for handling patients.
    This by extension brings in the government and questions about the state of the current government performance, which personally I find quite alarming. There's culpability certainly; there's a lot to ask about informing or possibly not informing the public what is going on; there's parliament, oh we've almost forgotten it exists...on and on it goes.

    1. I agree with pretty much everything you say. The Government deserves loads of criticism. But so do NHS Management - have they never heard of pandemics, Novochik, terrorism or war? Because it certainly seems like they hadn't, presuming they would never need to access an emergency stock of ventilators, and hospital beds or have in place a large cohort of trained auxillary staff.

      But the BBC are pathetic, seeming to think that their day job consists 100% of criticising Government while parrotting its messages. No - your job as well paid journos is to dig deep and find out what's really going on. They have signally failed to do that.

    2. Sir_Arthur_Strebe-Grebling15 April 2020 at 20:59

      Who decided that it was the government's responsibility to procure PPE for the NHS? 'Our' NHS employs 1,500,000 staff, hundreds of thousands of them in back-room jobs like purchasing. If they're not capable of buying equipment needed in the hospitals, get rid of them and hire staff who are.

      Unfortunately Matt Hancock is so dim that he swallowed the journalists' 'gotcha' hook and allowed everyone to think that buying PPE is indeed the government's responsibility.

  3. 1. Agreed. Blame gaming is not responsible journalism.

    2. It's an interesting result. Not one I would have expected given the bovine acceptance of the Lockdown Cult's mantras in the UK. One might interpret as a a misunderstanding...blaming the media for not encouraging us to go into Lockdown sooner.

    3. I don't care about the public's mood. I care about the reality. I care about the fact that the media in this country seem to have no interest in the reality.

    4. Gotcha journalism is pathetic but it is part of a free society. Is Gibbs saying he doesn't want a free society?

    5. People like Gibbs who talk about "defeating" the virus sound stupid to me. They need to understand that pathogens are part of a very big ecology which includes very old people's lung environment. Old people's lungs are open invitations to pathogens. If you get rid of one, another one will invade.

    The questions he poses under 5 aren't bad but the most important one - "Are the experts at the prestigious John Hopkins University in the USA right to state that people who receive the BCG vaccination are six times less likely to develop Covid-19 symptoms?"

    That's probably the most important question that needs to be answered at the moment and I haven't heard it raised once on the BBC, Sky or ITV.

  4. Agree with Robbie. The empty uselessness to the public of Laura K and co. has been fully exposed. I can't even be bothered to listen to them anymore. Hopefully will give further impetus for review of the license fee.

  5. Another issue is that the NHS has been obsessed for years with dealing with climate change rather than genuine forward planning. Paul Homewood, the climate expert, nailed the issues involved in a blog on The Conservative Woman yesterday.



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