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A story has been rapidly gaining traction in the media that the Tories had forced the BBC to gag Emily Maitlis for making a factual statement about Dominic Cummings’s very serious breach of the UK Lockdown restrictions that he helped to create. In the Skwawkbox Article entitled: “Newsnight removes Maitlis from Newsnight for ‘bias’ taking down Cummings and Johnson’s excuses – but stands by Kuenssberg’s ‘defence’ of Durham trip.” They highlight how “the BBC bows to Tory pressure and removes presenter who pointed out issues with Cummings’s and Johnson’s claims about former’s coronavirus road-trips” and report that her departure from Newsnight is described as a one-off removal, at least for now.
According to early reporting, “Emily Maitlis has been removed as the presenter of the BBC’s Newsnight programme, after the BBC upheld a complaint by supporters of Dominic Cummings that her factual take-down of Cummings’s behaviour and of Boris Johnson’s decision to defend him was biased.” It would be rare for Skwawkbox to print an article like this without hard facts from the BBC which makes more recent sound like the screech of the BBC are back-peddling fast! People must get in touch with the BBC on mass to complain about their extreme ongoing bias and the stifling of factual news reporting and it looks like a volume of people did just that. Any reprimand or punitive action would have represented a gross misjudgement taking the UK several strides further towards the untrammelled deluge of baseless propaganda that is the hallmark of an authoritarian far-right dictatorship.
It is only when we witness such aggressive pushback that the public realize the excessive pressure all BBC presenters must have been placed under, forcing them to tow the Tory Party line in obvious violation of Purdah neutrality rules during the run-up to the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and beyond. It is all too easy to just assume that these presenters are all rabidly right wing with their constant Tory leaning slant on the news, but perhaps their own personal views are muted .by the overall BBC bias. They might have to put up with “minders” screaming into their ear piece any time they dare to stray off the BBC endorsed message in defiance of the agenda to leverage this deeply corrupt Government into power and keep them there no matter what.
Maitlis might have been instinctively responding to her own personal outrage over a gross injustice suffered by a member of her own family or just the sheer gall, contempt and hypocrisy of Cummings actions, but whatever motivated her to shoot from the hip that night we are all duty bound to show our overwhelming support for that outburst. During a crisis like this it is no time to argue with your boss, or risk termination by taking a stand, but I think this will really backfire on the BBC if they target Maitlis. Boris Johnson’s fake loyalty to his Spad is steadily dragging him under while Cummings arrogantly refuses to go quietly and we should demonstrate our support for greater scrutiny from BBC presenters not less. The Skwawkbox warn of the dangers of, “broadcasters increasingly bowing to the government to shut down factual criticism is a worrying phenomenon.”
Maitlis coming under attack from her BBC handlers was not a rare occasion where the Skwawkbox had managed to botch their reporting, because there were plenty of other places where the very same story appeared. On Twitter the Canary commented sarcastically: “The BBC apologized for accurately covering the Dominic Cummings scandal on Newsnight the other day. But the broadcaster played a key role in smearing Jeremy Corbyn for over four years – with near total impunity. It’s clear whose interests the #BBC serves.” While one respondent wrote: “Whereas #Newsnight can take a picture of Jeremy Corbyn, superimpose it onto a picture of the Kremlin, give it a red tint, reduce the contrast to make his hat look like an ushanka, enlarge it and use it as the backdrop for an entire segment, and no apology is deemed necessary.”
The New European weighed in with their support for Maitlis reporting that, “A petition has been launched opposing the BBC’s decision to reprimand Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis for her monologue about Dominic Cummings’ rule-breaking. Despite praise for the comments, the BBC issued a reprimand to staff as they ‘did not meet our standards of due impartiality’. It was shortly after reported Maitlis will not present the next programme, with UK editor Katie Razzall instead hosting.” But the public outrage was mounting with a strong backlash against the BBC reprimand putting pressure on them to rethink their actions.
The paper said,“A spokesperson for the BBC denied that the presenter had been ‘removed’, and added that they have ‘not prevented Emily from presenting’ Wednesday’s programme. But there was an outpouring of support against the earlier statement, including an online petition with almost 5,000 signatures in the first hour. The change.org petition text – aimed at BBC bosses – reads: ‘Less than 24 hours after Emily Maitlis spoke for people in the UK and spoke truth to power she has been removed from Newsnight. ‘How can it be just and appropriate that a woman is removed for telling the truth, while an unelected man appears bulletproof even after lying and showing no contrition?’”
Digital Spy reported that, “The show’s UK editor Katie Razzall took the reins instead of Maitlis on Wednesday, prompting many to speculate that the BBC had opted to change presenters following its review of Tuesday’s instalment. However, Maitlis has since clarified that it was her decision to pull out of the show, and she had simply ‘asked for the night off’. Following the broadcast, she tweeted: ‘So grateful to my friend and excellent colleague @katierazz 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. Maitlis returned to social media today (May 28) to thank her followers for their concern, posting: ‘Been overwhelmed by all the kindness, messages – and support on here – and I’ve probably missed much of it. A big thank you from us all at #newsnight’.” I hope this sends a very powerful signal to BBC presenters that if they speak out with the courage and integrity to hold this shameful Tory Government to account, we have got their back!
Listen to this utter drivel spouted on YouTube for a jolt of truly obscure imbalance… “Journalist Sarah Vine has said Newsnight host Emily Maitlis should not face consequences after the BBC said the programme’s coverage of the Dominic Cummings fallout did not meet impartiality standards. Speaking with talkRADIO’s Dan Wootton, Ms Vine said the BBC had ‘done the right thing’ in its criticism, adding ‘I do think it was a bit biased and a little bit strong what she said’. Ms Maitlis had opened Tuesday night’s programme by stating that the Prime Minister’s chief adviser ‘broke the rules’, despite the government’s insistence that he had not. But Ms Vine, who is the wife of Cabinet Minister Michael Gove, said the incident had illustrated the ‘level of hysteria/ that Mr Cummings’ alleged lockdown breach had caused. She told Dan: ‘I don’t think that Emily should have any repercussions from this, I’m generally not a person to call for people to be fired when they make a mistake or get things slightly wrong’.”
The Guardian reported that, “Clips of the sequence went viral on social media, attracting millions of views – many more than tune in to Newsnight on a typical evening. However, it caused fury among both Conservative politicians who have largely parked their longstanding criticism of the BBC during the pandemic, and also some journalists in and outside the public broadcaster who felt it went against the corporation’s approach to journalism. BBC news bosses agreed with the criticism of its own show, swiftly issuing a statement distancing themselves from the monologue. BBC sources said Newsnight’s editor, Esme Wren, worked on Tuesday night’s episode.”
MPs are still furious with the Government for not firing Dominic Cummings and the Guardian quoted a reaction to the BBC response, “Keith Brown, SNP deputy leader, said: ‘This statement is a gutless capitulation by BBC bosses. Newsnight should be commended – not slapped down – for their serious investigative work on Cummings, that’s not something you could say about the BBC News at 10. Pandering to 10 Downing Street by curbing journalists from being able to hold the UK government to account is of serious concern.’ An SNP spokesperson added: ‘It’s ironic that the only apology over the whole Dominic Cummings lockdown breaches scandal comes from the BBC’.” It should be abundantly clear to Boris Johnson by now that the British people are not ready to “move on!!”
The 60 mile drive to a beauty spot on his wife’s birthday the Cummings claims was a test of his eyesight that risked the safety of his family and other drivers is such a grotesque manipulation of the truth that it’s simply indefensible and no one is buying it. In his post “Why Barnard Castle” Craig Murray points out the GlaxoSmithKline have a facility right there at Barnard Castle and that a vaccine production deal with them was announced only two days later; was this just a coincidence or an ideal chance to do a quick deal? This scenario is a lot more believable than the random 60 mile roundtrip drive and if this was all down to a positive negotiation regarding vaccine production after Cummings was cleared to go back to work why wouldn’t the trip have been fully justified? The trouble is that so much is kept secret to hide dirty backroom deals that facilitate Tory donors milking the system for vast sums of money during the crisis that the Tories need to keep such deals under wraps.
The reality is that the overwhelming public support for Maitlis on this occasion may have thrown her a lifeline when she sailed too close to the wind. However, the general public need to keep speaking up and complaining to the BBC when they fail to project our priorities and target o presenter who does the important job of scrutinizing our Government over their constant failures, wrong priorities, poor decisions and shambolic policies. We can demonstrate to presenters that they have the public onside when they go on the attack when interviewing right-wing Tory politicians; our continued vocal support will help give them the courage to do so.. Boris Johnson is looking more pathetic by the minute trying to defend the indefensible and even BBC reporters are beginning to ask the question put by Simon McCoy the other day, “What has he got over you?” I continue to believe that Dominic Cummings is threatening to spill the bean on the Covert 2019 Rigged Election if he is fired, so please let’s keep the pressure up.