Man Behind Alistair Stewart’s Sacking Calls Incident ‘Regrettable’, Says Apology Would Suffice

ITV suspended Alastair Stewart yesterday over a tweet posted earlier this month quoting Shakespeare. Well known agitator Martin Shapland seemingly successfully convinced the organisation that the quote was a racial attack. Because it included the word “ape”…

“But man, proud man, Drest in a little brief authority, Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d; His glassy essence, like an angry ape, Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven, As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens would all themselves laugh mortal.”

The weak claim completely falls apart when you realise Stewart seemed to regularly tweet the same quote to jumped up people on the internet.

Stewart was undone by an unfortunate curtailed preview by Twitter of the full quote in a quote tweet, and the fact that ITV has seemingly conducted no research as to whether Stewart had used that Shakesperean passage before. All it took was one cancel culture obsessive to pounce and Stewart was out of a job…

Now Shapland has published a statement in which he cryptically refers to “several posts” without mentioning what they said. He goes on to say that “An apology and commitment to be more careful about language was all that I would have asked.”

“In so far as Mr Stewart caused hurt and upset, intentionally or otherwise, in an ex-change earlier this month, there is a wider context. There was not a single post as has been widely reported, but several posts written by Mr Stewart, which have all now been deleted. I understand that Mr Stewart has acknowledged the words he used were misjudged and has expressed regret at what happened. I thank him for that.

No one is perfect. We are all human and we all need to learn from our experiences and mistakes and try to be better people in the wake of them. An apology and commitment to be more careful about language was all that I would have asked. It is regrettable that he has decided to stand down and I take no pleasure in that. He has evidently gone through an ITN and ITV process and I respect his choice.”

Staff within ITV are rapidly organising an internal petition to reinstate the presenter, and there is a real chance they may succeed. Guido encourages you to sign the public petition to reinstate Stewart…

mdi-timer January 30 2020 @ 12:12 30 Jan 2020 @ 12:12 mdi-comment Comments
Today Editor Runners & Riders

As ever Guido is first out of the traps with potential runners and riders for the plum BBC editorship of the Today Programme. Likely runners:

  • Owenna Griffiths – editor of PM – which has some similarities to Today in the evening. Got to be in the running.
  • Adam Cumiskey – chief programme producer Newsnight. New challenge? Switch from late nights to early starts?
  • Nick Sutton – the 23-year BBC veteran left BBC News to become new Head of Digital Output at Sky News. Could boomerang back to Portland Place.
  • Katy Searle – Head of BBC Westminster. Has managed to maintain good relations with everyone, including government. If the BBC want to see ministers back on Today she is probably the one most likely to manage it.
  • Ollie Stone-Lee – producer on Today. If they want to promote internally…
  • Amol Rajan – Media Editor of BBC News. If he doesn’t want the DG job…

Guido would enjoy seeing the return of Rod Liddle to the programme. Place your bets…

mdi-timer January 30 2020 @ 10:10 30 Jan 2020 @ 10:10 mdi-comment Comments
Beeb-rexit: Sarah Sands Standing Down

Guido has confirmed Matthew Moore‘s report this morning that the Today programme editor Sarah Sands has submitted her resignation, giving six months notice. After 3 years in the gruelling role she has decided she prefers programme sovereignty to the new BBC news model outlined yesterday, even if she accepts the financial logic of it. She will oversee the transition over the next six months and hand over the editorship to someone else to operate under the new BBC news model. Sands told a friend “I only came to the BBC to edit this programme, I think it is the most precious thing at the BBC.” Beeb-rexit!

mdi-timer January 30 2020 @ 08:38 30 Jan 2020 @ 08:38 mdi-comment Comments
Bloated BBC News Announces 450 Job Cuts to Staff

BBC News’ Director, News & Current Affairs, Fran Unsworth, is leading a meeting explaining the ‘modernisation’ of the BBC to around 130 employees in the room, and many more elsewhere watching on an internal live stream. She has announced 450 job losses…

The major restructuring will focus on pooling resources into “multi-skilled story teams”, instead of the current farce of the BBC sending multiple news crews to the same event to cover it for different programmes. At major events such as party conferences sometimes the bloated BBC contingent is as numerous as all the rest of the media combined. It is bonkers that individual programmes have their own economics, science, and tech presenters when they are only occasionally used…

The BBC is belatedly and brutally making the decisions it would have have been forced to make a long time ago if it were run like a for-proft company. The way to avoid big ruptures like this in the future is to move to a sustainable subscription-based model…

mdi-timer January 29 2020 @ 14:01 29 Jan 2020 @ 14:01 mdi-comment Comments
TalkRADIO to Move Into TV

With the BBC bracing for licence fee reform, the twenties are looking like they will be a disruptive decade elsewhere in the media landscape too. News UK’s Times Radio is set to launch in April and eat up more of Radio 4’s already metropolitan audience. As Guido predicted TalkRADIO is changing this spring too…

Whilst Times Radio will deliver a traditional radio model in direct competition with the BBC, its more mass-market, tabloid-style older cousin TalkRADIO will use the change to pivot more towards video. A big push that will involve live streaming and much more video content is planned for the station, with their sights set on taking on traditional TV down the road. As usual, the innovators are ahead of the politicians on this…

See also: Talk Radio to Become Talk TV

UPDATE: See their new logo below:

UPDATE II: Press Gazette reporting that Stig Abell is the launch director.

mdi-timer January 28 2020 @ 11:57 28 Jan 2020 @ 11:57 mdi-comment Comments
Ofcom Take No Action Against Jo Brand’s Battery Acid Comment

Jo Brand caused outrage last year with comments that seemed to incite throwing battery acid over politicians. At the time, Nigel Farage told Guido that “This is incitement of violence and the police need to act”, whilst Theresa May called on the BBC to “explain why it considers this to have been appropriate content for broadcast.” Now after seven months of ‘investigation’, nothing will be done.

Today Ofcom has said although Brand’s comments “had clear potential to offend listeners”, the regulator justified them by referencing “the audience’s likely expectations of Jo Brand’s style – and of this established show, which sets out to challenge accepted views in society through provocative comedy.” When asked for comment by Guido, Nigel said “typical”…

mdi-timer January 27 2020 @ 15:58 27 Jan 2020 @ 15:58 mdi-comment Comments
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