Thursday 28 May 2020


So, Emily Maitlis got angry and was given the night off.

"So grateful to my friend and excellent colleague Katie Razzall for stepping in this evening. She did so because I asked for the night off - knowing tonight’s prog would be in the most excellent hands", she tweeted overnight.

And from the looks of it - as many of you have guessed already - that's almost certainly going to be it as far as the 'repercussions' for Newsnight go. 

They didn't even have to publicly acknowledge their rebuke last night.

Both from how she reacted, and from the Twitter reactions of her colleagues (especially the younger, more hot-headed ones like Lewis Goodall and James Clayton), it's plain that the people who work for Newsnight remain wholly unrepentant about that monologue.

This could become tricky for the BBC because they will, I suspect, simply double, treble and quadruple down over the coming weeks - albeit not going quite so far as Emily Maitlis went on Tuesday for a wee while maybe.

And the rallying-round from many BBC colleagues and from swathes of the left-leaning media, plus the heavy support they are getting from likeminded people on Twitter, will doubtless only encourage them further. 

The problem remains then: Media scrutiny is invaluable, but Emily Maitlis's brand of US-style opinion journalism crosses a line - especially on a licence-fee-funded public broadcaster bound by rules of impartiality. Though it may please a particular crowd now, it surely can't be good for the broader public's trust in the media in the long term. I suspect it's probably ultimately self-harming.

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