Turns out News UK faces an uphill struggle in trying to woke-up staff ranks in the Sun, Times and TalkRadio. After Guido revealed staff were being forced into attending diversity and inclusion courses, he’s now seen a new email that reveals take-up is proving tough for News UK’s managing editor. Two days ago Sun staff were invited to a training session by journalist Amardeep Bassey, who has “Witnessed first hand the potential pitfalls when working among ethnically diverse communities”. Witnessed first hand… in the West Midlands…
This morning, a subsequent email was received by Sun staff, tersely complaining “not many people have signed up for this yet – there are two sessions today that are only half full. Please can we have some more attendees.” Nonplussed staff are threatened that “sessions will be added until everyone attends”. Guido’s still holding out hope that Rod Liddle will pop along and participate in the promised “open discussion”…
Buzzfeed UK’s 2020 results are out today; the group’s turnover was £18.9 million for the year, a decrease of 16% from £22.4 million in 2019. They blame “continued economic and political uncertainty” for the losses. They claim operating losses were reduced from £7.4 million in 2019 to £2.9 million in 2020 after the divestment of international entities part way through the year. Mean average compensation for the 194 remaining staff fell from £76,673 to £66,238. They also fired more journalists and got out of the serious news business.
Operating losses may have been reported as reduced to £2.9 million, though the stated total comprehensive loss for the year is reported as £4,193,125. By Guido’s calculations Buzzfeed Uk has burnt through some £24 million of investor’s cash in the 8 years it has graced our shores. Guido has said it before and he will say it again, at what point – having never made a profit in the UK – does the parent BuzzHuff US company decide to get out of the vanity publishing business?
See also: Why BuzzFeed Doesn’t Make Money
A BBC Radio anchor has quietly deleted a tweet in which he asked “Who are the Israel lobbyists that want David Miller fired?”. The Intifada article, shared by Nour Eddine Zorgui, was up on his Twitter profile for 11 days before quietly being removed last night. It’s not the first time Zorgui has uncritically shared contentious left-wing content, in 2016 posting a Jeremy Corbyn Facebook video professing Ken Loach to be “one of the greatest directors of our time”. Ken Loach is famously anti-Israel.
If readers think the BBC’s Westminster-facing content breaches standards on a regular basis, they’ll be amazed to see what the corporation’s Arabic-facing presenters have been getting away with recently. Last month the Jewish Chronicle published an investigation which found “a pattern of anti-Israel bias and inaccuracies” being broadcast from the department, accusing them of “ignoring the corporation’s own impartiality guidelines”:
“Alleged infringements include systematically downplaying terror attacks on Israelis; repeatedly using Hamas-inspired language; showcasing extreme views without challenge; and publishing a map in which Israel was erased.”
Perhaps the “Israel lobbyists” that are on the brink of getting David Miller sacked might want to turn their attentions to BBC Arabic next…
UPDATE: A spokesperson for the Campaign Against Antisemitism says: “We have written to the BBC calling for disciplinary action. Anyone boosting the conspiracist Professor, David Miller, and suggesting that those who challenge him do so in service to an Israel lobby is not fit to be entrusted with the responsibility of working in a senior position at the BBC.”
On March 24th we reported that BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme’s had that morning introduced as a “Syrian refugee”, Hassan Akkad, who slammed the government and the Home Secretary Priti Patel for their new policy of taking more refugees directly from affected countries, and clamping down on illegal migration. We pointed out that the BBC did not mention that the guest was not just a former refugee, Hassan Akkad was now an active Labour Party member, documentary maker and campaigner on refugee related issues.
Guido pointed out that listeners were left with the impression of an ordinary person up against the Home Secretary – not a political activist and Labour Party member who is ideologically against the Home Secretary attacking his opponent. Which, as we said at the time, is all of coursel fine – it was the BBC at fault for not informing their audience of their guest’s background.
The BBC have guidelines on the issue:
We should not automatically assume that contributors from other organisations (such as academics, journalists, researchers and representatives of charities and think-tanks) are unbiased. Appropriate information about their affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context.
Later in the day on the BBC’s News at One, Hassan Akkad was correctly introduced as having “identified himself to be a Labour Supporter”. Somebody at the BBC has got the memo.
A Guido co-conspirator complained to the BBC about the Today Programme’s lack of candour about Akkad, this morning the BBC officially apologised:
Sent: Fri, 2 Apr 2021 at 11:36Subject: BBC Complaints – Case number CAS-6618360-Y7C7T3
Thanks for contacting us with your feedback about the interview with Hassan Akkad on Today, 24 March.
Mr Akkad’s contribution to the discussion on the government’s proposals to change the asylum seeker system was valuable but that said, we acknowledge he was not introduced as a Labour Party supporter and this was an oversight, for which we apologise.
On financial news channels (like CNBC, Bloomberg and Reuters) when fund managers are interviewed about their views on the stock market the presenter will often ask them “do you own the stock?” Sometimes there will be a disclaimer at the bottom of the screen saying the fund manager has a position in the company being discussed. This came about after a number of scandals where interviewees had talked up stocks they were long or disparaged stocks they short. The principle is clear, if you have skin in the game, you are not a neutral expert. There should be a similar protocol for talking heads who are political campaigners.
Guido’s April Fools’ Joke this year was an email subscriber exclusive; parodying Playbook, many Westminster insiders confessed their brief confusion on receiving a short digest of the news in their inbox fifteen minutes earlier than Playbook normally hits. Highlights included an update on Tom Harwood’s leaving do and an all too accurate parody of the day’s media round.
Guido’s glad to report the joke was taken in the lighthearted way it was intended by Politico’s Alex Wickham, though he’s sure the Playbook team will be delighted to hear that while our version of his epistle got warm feedback from most in the SW1 bubble, it backfired in that it caused the largest number of confused Guidogram unsubscribers in a single day ever. To the 186 unsubscribers this morning, you’re welcome to return as a subscriber to tomorrow’s news, today. To those of you who missed the email this morning, you can read it here…
This month The Mirror condemned the government’s 1% pay rise for nurses, saying it is a “scandal” and a “kick in the teeth“. Imagine Guido’s shock, therefore, when Mirror employees were told yesterday afternoon they’ll be receiving a pay rise of… 1%.
“This year all eligible colleagues will receive a 1% pay increase from April and this will form part of a wider package of benefits. As highlighted at the start of the year, staff who would have had their increase in January will not lose out (you will receive 15/12ths of the award which equates to 1.25% between April 2021 and 2022).”
The group editor-in-chief cited “this extremely difficult and challenging 12 months” in his announcement. Do as the Mirror says, not as they do…