BBC Rules Gary Lineker’s Anti-Tory Tweet Broke Impartiality Rules

The BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) has finally ruled that Gary Lineker broke impartiality rules in a tweet attacking the Tories and their apparent “Russian donors.” This is the same Gary Lineker who, according to BBC Director General Tim Davie, “understands the guidelines” and had supposedly learnt to play by the rules by now. Apparently not.

Here’s the tweet Lineker posted in February to his 8 million followers:

The ECU has now upheld the complaint against him, and declared the tweet “did not meet the BBC’s editorial standards on impartiality,” and they expect stars like Lineker “to avoid taking sides on party political issues or political controversies and to take care when addressing public policy matters.” 

Tim Davie has previously warned that those who break the BBC’s social media rules could be forced to give up their profiles. Guido would put the odds of that happening to Gary at approximately zero…

mdi-timer 14 October 2022 @ 10:02 14 Oct 2022 @ 10:02 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BBC Director General Tim Davie: Gary Lineker Understands BBC Impartiality Rules

Under heavy questioning by angry Tory MPs at the DCMS Select Committee this morning, BBC Director General Tim Davie claimed he’d spoken to Gary Lineker over his government-hating tweets, which he claims has improved over his tenure, and “I think he understands the guidelines.” Guido has a bridge to sell Tim…

The questioning came after Lineker had a dust-up with fellow BBC employee Neil Henderson who slammed Lineker’s Twitter bias and correctly proclaimed the BBC “lives or dies by its impartiality”. 

Davie received a barrage of probing tweets from all parties’ MPs this morning, not least around Emily Maitlis’s recent speech that claimed there’s an “active Tory agent” at the heart of the broadcaster in the form of Sir Robbie Gibb. Davie defended Gibb as well as Jess Brammar. Tory MP Steve Brine put to the BBC executives examples of bias in the broadcaster’s news output, simultaneously proving himself a keen co-conspirator by raising plenty of Guido’s expert activist interviewees featured on BBC News without any contextualization of partisan bias. Damian Green came out with the best zinger, pointing out many of his Tory colleagues would accuse Emily Maitlis of being an “active Labour agent” inside the BBC…

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BBC Bias Twitter Bitchfight: Henderson Versus Lineker

Forget the Tory Birmingham husting, Guido was privileged to have a ring-side seat at the internecine BBC-on-BBC bias row of the year last night. In the red corner, doing his job and defending BBC impartiality: Neil Henderson, Home and Foreign News Editor & Tomorrow’s Papers Today tweeter; in the blue corner, doing his damndest to undermine the entire BBC: crisp muncher Gary ‘overpaid’ Lineker. Ding ding…

The row started over a day-old tweet from Lineker, who put all his little grey cells towards political commentary to come up with the fair and not-at-all-oversimplified take: “As a politician how could you ever, under any circumstances, bring yourself to vote for pumping sewage into our seas? Unfathomable!” Obviously no politician could – and they haven’t – though the tweet did its job by getting 44,000 likes…

Guido remembers the new BBC director general Tim Davie coming in on a promise of cracking down on BBC stars flouting impartiality rules, such as taking them off TwitterFellow BBC employee Neil Henderson made this exact point to Gary, saying he’d be sacked if he tried tweeting such political propaganda:

Unfortunately, it seems Gary is blithely unaware of the fact BBC impartiality applies across all colleagues, not just those in news and current affairs. Guido would be happy to take a look at Lineker’s contract on his behalf…

Neil had one last bite before deleting his spat entirely, probably realising the row was just as bad a look for the BBC as Gary’s unbridled politicking. Henderson correctly asserted: 

Guido looks forward to hearing Tim Davie’s thoughts on all this the next time he’s up in front of the DCMS Select Committee. Usually Guido leaves it to co-conspirators to decide who wins a bitch fight, this time there’s only one answer…

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Read in Full: BBC ‘Budget Pressures’ Aren’t Impacting Stars’ Pay

The BBC today published its annual report, including the salaries of all earners over £150,000. Listed below are the politicos and other highest earners, with a percentage change on their figures from last year. Despite the supposed need for cutbacks, a lot of the figures appear to have remained very stable… 

Today

  • Mishal Husain – £279,999 (NC)
  • Nick Robinson – £274,999 (NC)
  • Justin Webb – £259,999 (NC)
  • Martha Kearney – £259,999 (+2%)

World at One

  • Sarah Montague – £249,999 (NC)

PM

  • Evan Davis – £274,999 (NC)

BBC Breakfast

  • Naga Munchetty – £369,999 (+42%)
  • Dan Walker – £224,999 (-25%)
  • Charlie Stayt – £194,999 (NC)

BBC News at Six and Ten

  • Huw Edwards – £414,999 (-3.5%)
  • Gerge Alagiah – £329,999 (NC)
  • Sophie Rayworth – £309,999  (+8.7%)

Question Time

  • Fiona Bruce – £414,999 (+1.2%)

Andrew Marr Show

  • Andrew Marr – £269,999 (-21%)

Newsnight

  • Emily Maitlis – £329,999 (NC)
  • Kirsty Wark – £249,999 (+16%)

BBC News

  • Clive Myrie – £259,999 (+24%)
  • Reeta Chakrabarti – £204,999 (+14%)
  • Victoria Derbyshire – £244,999 (+40%)
  • Ben Brown – £174,999 (NC)

On-air editors and correspondents

  • Amol Rajan – £329,999 (+35%)
  • Faisal Islam – £244,999 (+17%)
  • Jeremy Bowen – £234,999 (+4.5%)
  • Jon Sopel – £229,999 (-2.1%)
  • Katya Adler – £219,999 (-2.2%)

Non-politics or news

  • Gary Lineker – £1,350,000 (-0.7%)
  • Zoe Ball – £980,000 (-14%)
  • Steve Wright – £454,999 (-3.2%)
  • Alan Shearer – £454,999 (+15%)
  • Stephen Nolan – £420,000 (-2.4%)

Guido congratulates Amol Rajan and Clive Myrie for their wage hikes, while both Naga and Faisal Islam have seen theirs rise significantly for the second year in a row. Victoria Derbyshire is also a big winner, with her pay rising significantly even before she takes over at Newsnight. Gary Lineker will no doubt be distraught at both his £10,000 cut and the BBC’s failure to close the gender pay gap, which increased to 5.1%. The cost of living crisis must really sting on £1,350,000…

Read the full report here.

mdi-timer 12 July 2022 @ 16:06 12 Jul 2022 @ 16:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Gary Lineker’s Tweets Prove Tim Davie’s BBC Social Media Neutrality Promise Is Hot Air

Co-conspirators may remember back to last September when the new BBC director-general Tim Davie appeared before Julian Knight’s select committee, promising to finally deal with the scourge of taxpayer-funded stars using their personal social media profiles to break the BBC’s supposed political neutrality. Knight proffered a specific example of a Gary Lineker anti-government tweet, in response to which Davie promised new powers that would allow the corporation to take stars like Lineker “off Twitter”. At the time he stuck to his word of publishing new social media guidelines in the coming weeks.

Since then, Mr Davie has clearly abandoned the promise, with just two staffers disciplined for social media breaches in the last year. Every other tweet of Gary Lineker’s remains overtly political; from migration to climate change, attacking Sajid Javid to calling the PM a “liar”.

There is no sign at all of the BBC preventing his Twitter rule-breaking, let alone taking him off the platform. If stars know they’re so important the rules don’t apply, the BBC’s unenforced social media guidelines become a sham…

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BBC Will Be Able to Take Stars Like Lineker “Off Twitter” if They Break Impartiality Guidelines

After managing to get his less than stable Zoom connection up and running, new director-general Tim Davie has told the DCMS Select Committee the BBC will be able to take stars like Gary Lineker “Off Twitter”, i.e. forcibly delete their account, for breaking impartiality rules. The answer followed chairman Julian Knight’s reference to a Tweet from the top sports presenter that accused the PM of a lack of leadership on the site. In the words of Dan Wootton, “👋 @lewis_goodall”…

mdi-timer 29 September 2020 @ 11:16 29 Sep 2020 @ 11:16 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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