Saturday 12 February 2022

Dame Cressida Dick's departure: Comparing BBC News and GB News

Many hereabouts will have welcomed Thursday's ousting of Dame Cressida Dick, even if it was provoked by Sadiq Khan. 

I was curious about how the BBC News Channel covered the breaking news that evening and have drawn up a list of those interviewed after the story broke just before 7pm that night. 

The following were specifically invite on to discuss the story: 

  • Leroy Logan, founding member of the Black Police Association 
  • Sir Peter Fahy, former chief constable of Greater Manchester Police 
  • Parm Sandhu, senior female Asian police officer who accused the Met of racism 
  • Caroline Russell, Green Party member of Greater London Assembly 
  • Jamie Klingler, co-founder Reclaim These Streets, women's rights activist 
  • Leroy Logan, founding member of the Black Police Association [2nd interview] 
  • Sarah Sak, mother of victim of murderous homophobic attack 
  • Munira Wilson, Lib Dem MP 
  • Dal Babu, former chief superintendent Met and ex-president of the National Black Police Association

What was so interesting about those is that, with the exception of Sir Peter Fahy, who had a regretful but nuanced take, everyone else thought and said much the same things about the story. They all approved of Dame Cressida's ejection, and followed the BBC's focus on what BBC presenters called 'the central charge' against her: that she had failed to tackle a culture of 'racism, misogyny, sexism and homophobia' at the Met.

Others were pre-booked guests, so for Context there was: 

  • Ed Vaizey, former Conservative MP, now a member of the House of Lords 
  • Dahlia Scheindlin, left-leaning political analyst and fellow at Century International

They also sang from the same hymn sheet, especially Ed Vaizey, who sounded more like a Guardian columnist than a Tory peer. 

Tellingly, despite fewer guests, a much wider range of views was heard on GB News that evening, with specific invites to talk on the story going to:

  • Stephen Roberts, former deputy assistant commissioner at the Met
  • Paul Gambaccini, broadcaster
  • Chris Phillips, formerly with the National Counter Terrorism Security Office

And there was a very diverse set of pre-booked guests - 'diverse' in all respects, including opinion:

  • Jacqui Smith, former Labour home secretary
  • Shaun Bailey, former London Tory candidate
  • Amy Nickell, left-leaning author and broadcaster
  • Dominique Samuels, right-leaning commentator

They talked about a broader range of areas of criticism that Dame Cressida faced and disagreed on her removal. 

It was a proper cross-section of views - unlike on the BBC News Channel, which was almost entirely monochrome in terms of diversity of opinion. 

Thank goodness for GB News.

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