The BBC *is* delusional to throw Katya Adler and Emily Maitlis under the bus in service of appeasing arseholes

Calling Michael Gove 'delusional' was a statement of observable fact

The BBC’s complaints unit — just a room filled with the chickens from the Muppets — has ruled that the corporation’s Europe editor Katya Adler and lead Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis broke the broadcaster’s ‘impartiality’ rules.

Adler tweeted a set of observations about government Brexit strategy that began with a tweet that called Cabinet Office minister and former star of Pob!, Michael Gove, “delusional” to argue that Covid will “concentrate the minds of EU negotiators”.

This is what Adler wrote:

“Am not first to comment on this today but below observation by Michael Gove that #coronavirus will focus EU minds on post #Brexit trade deal is delusional. It distracts EU leaders all the more from something which was not top of in-tray even before Covid-19.”

To anyone living in actual reality, that’s a reasonable assessment of the flailing approach Gove and others in government are taking towards the ‘negotiation’ (veering between bragging and begging).

But one — (1!) — viewer complained that the use of the word “delusional” was “loaded” and indicated a bias on Adler’s part on matters regarding the EU.

While the BBC Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) ruled that overall the tweet thread was part of Adler’s role to provide “informed analysis”. It wrote:

“The detail she marshalled in support of her initial assertion shed light on the complexity of the story in a measured and balanced way, and she acknowledged the economic dimension of the argument while pointing out the political imperatives driving the EU towards focusing on Covid-19.

The ECU therefore did not agree that these tweets, taken as a connected series, raised questions about the overall impartiality of the BBC or Ms Adler.”

But the ECU then pissed all over that robust and fair defence by allowing the right a crumb which they will turn into a whole bakery. It decided that Adler’s use of the word “delusional” was more than a term of evaluation than an objective description and was “necessarily to some extent an adverse reflection on the person making it.”

Focusing on that one tweet — unfairly and based on the say-so of one aggrieved viewer — it has given an attack line to Defund The BBC, flat-cap cosplayer, Darren Grimes, and MailOnline. It ended its review by saying the tweet — not the whole thread, remember — breached BBC editorial guidelines around “professional judgements rooted in evidence”.

Tiny tinpot Tory Tim Davie waved his hands and stamped his feet in his first speech as Director-General of the BBC to warn ‘stars’ that the new credo at the Corporation is IMPARTIALITY OR CAREER DEATH. That has silenced many of them on Twitter and one BBC contributor complained to The Guardian:

“Surely we are employed because of our knowledge, to give an overview… If we are not allowed to have personal voices this will not work.”

As well as slapping Adler about, with grotesque unfairness, the BBC ECU published its ruling against Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, over a monologue at the start of a programme in May asserting that Boris Johnson’s chief advisor Dominic Cummings had broken lockdown rules and “shocked” the public.

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The BBC’s head of news Fran Unsworth — an overpaid, under-talented floating head vomiting management speak and bullshit — previously said the introduction “did not meet our standards of due impartiality”. The ECU supports Unsworth’s assessment — surprise surprise — and concluded that Maitlis “went beyond an attempt to set out the programme agenda”. Its ruling reads in part:

“The definitive and at times critical nature of the language – asserting without qualification that Mr Cummings broke the rules, that the country could see that, and that the Prime Minister was guilty of “blind loyalty” in refusing to sack him, placed the presenter closer to one side of the debate over his behaviour.”

Again, certain BBC journalists are expected to ignore reality, in favour of being nice to the government. Back in May, BBC political editor and future Dame, Laura Kuenssberg, received the ECU’s support after she tweeted what appeared to be a defence of Dominic Cummings after his eye-test visit to Barnard Castle and flagrant ignoring of lockdown rules he helped set.

The ECU concluded that Kuenssberg was “simply reporting information from a source,” ignoring entirely that the source in question was likely to have been… Dominic Cummings wearing one of his many comedy beards and doing a funny voice.

In September 2019, Kuenssberg was also defended by the BBC after she, cosplaying one of the guards from The Great Escape, turned the social media searchlight on a Labour supporter who had confronted Boris Johnson at a hospital, angry about the treatment of his sick child. Her “this is him” tweet led to the man suffering a tirade of abuse and further press intrusion.

The BBC said, “Laura is a journalist that uses social media as part of her job.” Well, that’s alright then.

Over the last year-and-a-half, the ECU has ruled on tweets by journalists or official BBC accounts only seven times. See if you notice a familiar name:

  • Laura Kuenssberg inaccurately reporting on Labour MP Rebecca Long Bailey’s position on abolishing the party’s deputy leader Tom Watson’s position;

  • BBC Scotland Chief Sports Writer Tom English describing a statement from a Glasgow Rangers FC supporters’ club as “execrable”. That was ruled to have “went beyond what might be considered a reasonable expression of professional judgement, even in the context of the kind of trenchant brevity…”

  • Laura Kuenssberg inaccurately tweeted a Tory advisor had been punched by a Labour activist. The BBC found “no evidence of political bias nor that [she] had failed to check the story before publication”

  • Today presenter Nick Robinson gave an “insufficiently accurate impression” of the words of a woman who he claimed had said, “Jews controlled the slave trade.”

  • The BBC Politics account misrepresented Green Party MP Caroline Lucas’ position on accepting the result of a second Brexit referendum.

  • BBC Monitoring made an “objectionable” implication by asking whether views expressed by the Brazilian president were homophobic, racist and misogynistic or “a refreshing break” from political correctness. The tweet was quickly deleted,

So there we go, the BBC’s own complaints unit is operating on the All Animals Are Equal But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others principle. I rule that the ECU cracks down on perceived — and clearly not present — left-wing bias while allowing nakedly right-wing perspectives to receive robust defences in the name of the BBC.

Laura Kuenssberg does a good job. It’s just that that job is defending the status quo. As I said on Podcasting Is Praxis — episode out now! — Tim Davie will be the last Director-General of the BBC as we know it. The BBC will keep bowing deeply to the concerns of the right and far-right until they slice its head right off.