Thursday 28 May 2020

Get Lewis (a stream of consciousness, semi-live post)

After deleting those excitably premature tweets earlier, Newsnight's policy editor Lewis Goodall was slow to start tweeting this afternoon but, after beginning gingerly, is now gathering pace again.

As ever, however, he can't help himself. 

In fairness, he's forever breaching BBC guidelines on the use of social media by 'liking' and 'retweeting' only those who help advance his own views.

And he's already retweeted this from someone from the Institute for Government (Lewis's curious links to which I've blogged about before):

Does it surprise you that he'd retweet someone who finds Durham Police's statement "good in parts and not so good in others" - i.e. someone who only wants to hear what he wants to hear?

I bet I can guess which parts Lewis thinks are good (the word 'breach' in connection to Dominic Cummings at Barnard Castle) and those he things are bad (the words 'might' and 'minor' before 'breach', the word 'not' in connection to breaking guidelines in travelling up to County Durham, and the bits about 'insufficient evidence' and 'no further action').

He's betraying his bias again by only pushing points of view he agrees with.


And I also think there are lessons from this Cummings saga as concerns the way the media has handled the whole business. 

Watching the press pack at tonight's Downing Street press conference, they (Laura K, Robert Peston, Sam Coates & Co.) are seizing on the 'might'-be, 'minor' crumb of comfort for them and running with it for all its worth. 

It's groupthink and pack behaviour and guarding-colleagues-backs in full display, isn't it?

(Feel free to disagree).


Ah, I'm falling behind....

Lewis is back and busy, and - gaining confidence (probably from all his many left-wing Twitter fans urging him on) - is editorialising again....
PM: "I note Durham police said they were going to take no action and that the matter was closed." Of course, that doesn't mean Cummings didn't break the rules.
Nor does it mean that he did, Lewis. The Durham Police said he "might" have broken the rules in a "minor" way in just one case, but they dismissed everything else. So that's it, isn't it? 

And now he's in full flow:
Laura Kuenssberg asks Vallance and Whitty for their view on Cummings matter but PM prevents them from answering saying it's just a political matter(!).
An impartial journalist would have left out the "(!)" there. But he's not an impartial journalist.

He goes on:
PM has just done so again. Peston says it's not a political matter but PM won't allow Vallance and Whitty to answer questions about Cummings. Extraordinary.
The word "extraordinary" signals his editorialising there. And the bias is also betrayed by his evident hostility. It's not remotely 'extraordinary' that the PM protected his two civil servant scientists, neither of whom - obviously - would have wanted to get dragged into this latest politico-media feeding frenzy (because, presumably, they aren't allowed to by convention), is it?

Ah, and then the two scientists began to spoil things by thanking the PM for keeping them out of it. They were with Boris and official protocol on that after all. Lewis won't be pleased!

And, yes, Lewis Goodall still wasn't having it and was keeping his eye instead on the main prey:
Jenny Harries wasn't prevented from answering questions about this by Grant Shapps at the weekend Clearly, the impression given is that the PM doesn't want them to answer the question about whether Mr Cummings acted within the rules.
Nice touch that 'clearly' before the word 'impression' there! It tells you what you're meant to think.

And then he turned on the scientists for disobliging him and his colleagues:
Now PM, Vallance and Whitty all ignoring questions about Cummings.  
Problem for Vallance and Whitty is that by not answering factual questions about the Cummings episode and public health, it could be said that that itself is being dragged into politics.
No, that 'problem' is merely a reflection of your own frustration and bias. "It could be said"...Give me strength, Lewis! It IS being said by YOU!!

Then Lewis, rethinking matters, turns on his heels and decides to champion those poor, silenced scientists instead:
Am sure my colleagues won't stop asking Vallance and Whitty the question until they're given a chance to answer...
I'm sure you hope that! You've reverted to claiming they want to be given a chance to answer but the PM is stopping them, despite them evidently wishing to be kept out of your embittered, biased shenanigans.

And now he's back to retweeting people who support his own point of view.



How the hell does he get away with this?

BBC editorial guidelines on what you say on Twitter and how you use your 'like' button and your 'retweet' button are very clear. Lewis Goodall breaks those rules daily.

Those rules are there to stop licence fee payers knowing what BBC reporters think and to preserve the idea of BBC impartiality on matters of political controversy. Lewis regularly drives a coach and horses through the rules in those regards. We usually know exactly what he's thinking.

…Which would be fine on a broadcaster that isn't paid for by millions of people who don't think like Lewis Goodall and don't agree with him on pretty much anything.

He surely knew what the BBC's guidelines said when he joined them at the start of the year, so why is he behaving like this? And why are his BBC bosses tolerating it?


Am I being unfair/biased in going after Lewis Goodall in much the same way that he goes after Dominic Cummings? Is this cruel?

And if it is, isn't it then entirely in the spirit of Lewis Goodall's own reporting?

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