As Gary Lineker’s off-side remark about the government’s immigration agenda brings BBC bias back into focus, the hosts of the News Agents podcast have had their say. Because who better to speak on impartiality than someone who was repeatedly found to have breached the rules.
Jon Sopel first chimed in that when he was abroad in America covering Trump “I was given huge amounts of latitude to call it as I saw it” – and BBC bosses backed him for it. No surprises there.
Lewis Goodall then shared his views, first claiming the Tories have succeeded in making sure “impartiality only goes in one direction”. He then spoke about Robbie Gibb, saying he made his life “very difficult”. Lewis complains that people would warn him that “Robbie’s watching you” because they “created this confection that somehow I was Labour supporting”. In the very next sentence, Lewis then admitted he was Labour-leaning.
Of course, Robbie would have been more than justified to keep an eye on Lewis. Whilst at Newsnight, he penned an anti-government front-page piece for the New Statesman – a flagrant breach of the BBC’s guidelines. He was considered a hostile opponent by Boris’ operation. At Sky, he was able to publish a long anti-Boris article and he used to work for the lefty think tank IPPR. Lewis was forever going over the top on Twitter and having to delete tweets when he remembered he was supposed to be impartial. Yet somehow it was the BBC that “created this confection”. Considering Lewis’ background, being indirectly told to take care with the editorial direction of his content hardly seems like the “crazy” approach to impartiality he was keen to describe.