Disgracefully and yet wholly unsurprisingly, on 3 February 2020, Boris Johnson’s henchmen prevented half of the attendant media hacks, who were already assembled inside Number Ten, from attending a briefing. Naturally, the prohibited hacks were from media outlets which didn’t regurgitate Tory spin: The Daily Mirror, Independent, The I, The Huff Post and others.
Brilliantly – and in service to their country – journalists from the BBC, ITV, Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Sun, The Financial Times and the Guardian, walked out in solidarity with their journalistic comrades.
Johnson’s dangerous tactic was of course straight from the “Fake News” Trumpian playbook. Each of those principled journalists – particularly their leader, whomever they were (because I bet there was a ringleader) – have performed a great service to this country, giving us all hope in an era of extreme partisanship. Democracies demand a free press.
Laura Kuenssberg, BBC Political Editor, was one of the journalists who walked out. To journalists worth (or not) their salt, this was some story – and they were the story. Given that when Trump did the same thing across the pond the BBC reported it, you’d expect that the BBC would lead with this newsworthy event, or at the very least report it that day. Additionally, you would think that, the ever-tweeting, Kuenessberg, with her 1.1m Twitter followers, would have tweeted from Number 10. But no, nothing.
I knew about the walkout because The Guardian reported it here – on the day it happened. I’m unaware if other news outlets ran this huge story on that day.
I complained to the BBC about their decision to omit this significant event. Here is my complaint:
Was it bias? Did they not want to rock the boat? I don’t know. Regardless of reason, by walking out, the BBC and others were upholding their journalistic vows. But by failing to report their actions, the hacks laid bare their spinelessness. Dominic Cummins now has a self-censoring semi-supine press, just where he wants them.
Here is the BBC’s reply dated 7 February 2020.
Lesson learned: go out of your way to read from a variety of news sources.
In another blog, I’ll share another victory I had against the BBC, for another example of biased reporting.