Following MediaGuido’s report on the Lobby becoming increasingly frustrated with the BBC’s failure to credit their “sources”, hacks are noticing a welcome change in policy at the Beeb:
A BBC spokesperson insists to MediaGuido.com that there hasn’t been any change in guidance to journalists, incoherently claiming:
“We always aim to provide an online link to the original source on an exclusive story.”
Redefining the accepted definition of an “exclusive” somewhat…
Nick Robinson was the focus of ridicule among his Lobby colleagues last night after he yet again lifted a newspaper journalist’s story and claimed it as his own. “BREAKING”, he tweeted, the three major parties would reject a currency union with an independent Scotland, “the BBC has learned”. Just one problem, Nick Watt at the Guardian had broken the story some 21 hours earlier.
BREAKING…BBC learns that 100 mile an hour winds could hit Britain tonight….—
Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) February 12, 2014
Several Lobby journalists have since been in touch with MediaGuido to express their increasing frustration at Robinson claiming stories broken elsewhere as his own, attributing them instead to “BBC sources”. It is a running joke that BBC news broadcasts consistently refuse to credit other news organisations – putting up ‘Breaking News – the BBC has learned’ graphics half an hour after it was on Sky – but Robinson telling readers that this story was his own has crossed the line. One hack notes his regular surprise to see lines from government or opposition press releases (emailed out to every Westminster journalist at the same time) reported as “a Tory/Labour source tells me” on the News at Ten. The fact he is “never around” is hardly helping his popularity either. BBC head of news James Harding is cracking the whip demanding exclusives from his political team, Robbo seems to be feeling the pressure.
When MediaGuido spoke to Nick Watt last night, he wanted to stress that “I hold Nick in the highest regard” and suggested we take a look at the high volume of critical tweets from Lobby journalists to gauge how other hacks feel. Despite Robinson confessing to reading the Guardian story first, last night’s News at Ten again fibbed “our political editor Nick Robinson broke the story”. Tut tut…
Last night’s Newsnight scoop was bizarre for many reasons, not least their revelations that the UKIP Commonwealth Spokesman had been jailed for seven years. Mujeeb ur Rehman Bhutto was the leader of a gang who kidnapped the son of a wealthy businessman at gunpoint in Karachi in June 2004. The establishment’s favourite new mantra was wheeled out and lots of noise made about the make up of UKIP membership. Except someone didn’t do their homework, fully…
As these emails, just revealed by the Daily Politics, indicate, Bhutto is a member of the Conservative Party:
From: “David Cameron”
Date: 30 January 2014 12:44:35 GMT
Subject: Thank you for becoming a Member
Dear Mr Bhutto,
Firstly, let me offer you a very warm welcome to the Conservatives.
I’m delighted you have taken the decision to help us turn Britain around by becoming a Member of the Party. Your membership card will be posted out to you shortly (within the next month).
As a Member, you have a vital role to play. The Conservative-led Government has many challenges ahead before – and including – the next set of elections, but with your help we can continue to make the case for Conservative values.
The more who join us, the more we can achieve – so please email everyone you know who would be interested in becoming a Member of the Conservatives. Together, we can build a better future for Britain.
Thanks in advance for all your help,
This is being blamed on an automated online application. Which cannot be said for Leeds Conservatives following up the email from Dave to further welcome Mr Bhutto back into Tory arms:
From: “Robert Winfield”
Date: 30 January 2014 23:59:38 GMT
Subject: Leeds Central Conservatives
I am just dropping you a brief e mail to say that I was delighted to learn that you have rejoined the Conservative Party. I hope to speak to you soon but unfortunately I am just getting over flu.
I assume this means that you have severed your connections with UKIP.
This is not the first time that UKIP have got into trouble with Tory friends. No one noticed the gay floods chap when he was a Conservative councillor, and the member accused by the Mail on Sunday of being in the National Front was actually a Tory when she made the incendiary comments. And let’s not forget Roger Helmer. As Farage said the other day, “if you accept defectors from the Conservative Party you will always have embarrassments.”
UPDATE: Shapps was just confronted with these emails on the Daily Politics, it seems the Tories had spotted the issue here. Though it seems no one told Leeds…
UPDATE II: Poor Bhutto has been booted out already. Tories say:
“Bhutto is not a member. He applied, got the normal follow ups, and we reserve the right to refuse and have done that.”
Normal follow ups including a personalised welcome thanking them for re-joining? Glad that’s all cleared up then…
The big BBC software project has gone up in pyre of bytes.
They’ve written off £98m as totally worthless work – and there may be another £80m behind that. One question remains of interest to the Public Accounts Committee – who’s going to carry the can?
The answer to that has an even larger question: how do we control these very large public service bodies? They pay each other little miracles of money in salaries, expenses, bonuses and pensions, and when their projects collapse they talk about learning lessons and the journey they’ve been on.
They have realised that if they “say sorry”, there’s nothing further that can be done to them. Now they are all starting to construct painfree apologies. You can tell there’s no real repentance – there’s no contrition – and therefore no real change in behaviour.
But leave the theology to one side.
For the third time in 15 months Mark Thompson is back home answering questions about a BBC scandal, up in front of the Public Accounts Committee today. Guido has one question they should ask him.
Below is a letter sent by law firm Mills & Reeve on behalf of Thompson and BBC exec Helen Boaden to the Sunday Times’ lawyers on the 6th September 2012. In it, Thompson and Boaden threaten to sue the Sunday Times if it publishes a story by freelance hack Miles Goslett detailing their knowledge of the Savile scandal. Thompson has always claimed he knew nothing of the sex abuse rumours about Jimmy Savile until after he quit as BBC chief, on the 16th September 2012.
How can Thompson have denied knowing about allegations which his own lawyer was threatening to sue a newspaper over? Perhaps the PAC should try to find out…
“Our faith in freedom does not rest on the foreseeable results in particular circumstances but on the belief that it will, on balance, release more forces for the good than for the bad.”
Worth a watch.
Now where had Guido seen the photo that the official BBC News Twitter account just used to illustrate a story about weight loss before?
Ah yes, that’s the one:
Now that’s just uncalled for…
UPDATE: Balls’ spokesman says: “I think he may be “too busy training for his third Marathon” to complain about that one.”
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John McTernan told Channel 4 News…
“You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, you don’t win in politics without breaking legs.”
What time will dinner be ready this evening?
Rob Wilson MP
In the interests of me I am placing a copy of this email in the public domain.