MAITLIS ‘CHUCKS ROTTEN EGGS’ AT FORMER BREXIT MEP: Craig Byers (Is The BBC Biased? 12/9), noting that Emily Maitlis was back presenting BBC2 Newsnight after a fortnight’s break – during which new director general Tim Davie had announced a renewed drive towards impartiality – argued that, in presenting an item about UK-EU Brexit negotiations, she had made not ‘the faintest attempt at even-handedness’. Craig explained:
‘When I saw that she was going to conduct a joint interview between a pro-EU, ex-Conservative opponent of Boris Johnson (David Gauke) and a former Brexit Party MEP (Ben Habib) I metaphorically rubbed my hands in anticipation.
‘What better test could there be? Would she be even-handed, put appropriate devil’s advocate questions from different positions, etc? My old interruptions test probably tells you all you need to know. She interrupted Ben Habib 11 times and David Gauke only once – and the one interruption of David Gauke was only so that she could get right back to bullying Ben Habib.
‘She didn’t even make the faintest attempt at even-handedness. The two points she put to David Gauke were ones entirely in line with his own point of view. They helped him. (Hope he properly thanked her, maybe with flowers, later). Every one of her points to Ben Habib, in contrast, was a hostile one, contradicting him and challenging him, and doing from a position of disdain and moral superiority.
‘To put it only slightly fancifully, David Gauke was obviously there to be egged on, and Ben Habib was even more obviously there to be placed in the stocks and have rotten eggs chucked at him.’
SNP ATTACKS BBC DECISION TO AXE DAILY NEWS CONFERENCE COVERAGE: Daniel Sanderson (£ Telegraph 12/9) said the BBC was facing a ‘major backlash’ from Scottish nationalists after it had decided that it would no longer routinely broadcast SNP first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s daily press conferences, which had been started at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown. He reported that the Scottish National Party believed the broadcasts on BBC1 in Scotland provided essential information about risks, whereas political opponents had compared her performances to party political broadcasts pushing the SNP perspective. Mr Sanderson added that future conferences would be covered on news merit rather than automatically.
BBC ‘REACHES NEAR EQUALITY IN MALE-FEMALE PAY RATES’: Hana Carter (Sun 12/9) said that figures on pay released by the BBC suggested that pay for women working at the corporation had moved closer to equality, with 45 per cent of those earning more than £150,000 now being females, compared with 25 per cent four year ago. Ms Carter claimed that highly-paid male stars had taken pay cuts while ‘some women had reaped higher rewards’. She suggested that one of these was news presenter Fiona Bruce, whose pay was likely to be around £400,000 a year after she took over presenting BBC1 Question Time as well as her other roles.