Yesterday, BBC Europe editor Katya Adler posted an insightful profile on Angela Merkel’s “mixed legacy” following her 16 years as German Chancellor. It was a compelling analysis: poring over the details of her domestic and European policymaking, ultimately concluding that there’s a “tale of two Merkels“. By sheer coincidence, Adler’s analysis bears a truly remarkable similarity to another profile on the German Chancellor that appeared in Foreign Policy magazine back in July.
Guido’s combed through both articles, and it’s surprising just how much everyone seems to agree. The ideas, themes, analyses and conclusions all align quite neatly. On Merkel’s legacy, Matthijs and Kelemen say she had a tendency to “procrastinate and dither”; Adler says she “waited till the last moment to act”. On the European economies, Matthijs and Kelemen point out that “Northern economies thrived [and] Southern economies entered deep recessions”; Adler notices the same thing. On Hungary’s Orban, Matthijs and Kelemen say Merkel “shielded him against EU censure”; Adler also notes “she repeatedly stopped short of taking decisive action”. The list goes on. At no point does Adler reference the Foreign Policy piece, despite repeatedly tackling the same points over and over again. Let he who hasn’t panicked close to a looming deadline cast the first stone…
Co-conspirators can draw their own conclusions from the extracts below:
Despite the BBC’s Katya Adler Tweeting “EU sources confirming that the two sides are nearing an agreement on fish” last night, both the UK and EU have said that this is totally wrong. A UK Government source briefed last night that “There’s been no breakthrough on fish. Nothing new has been achieved on this today.” This morning, Barnier corroborated the UK Government source, telling EU ambassadors the reports saying there had been a breakthrough on the fisheries question were “completely untrue”. So why is Adler’s hake news Tweet still up?
To compound things, BBC Brussels correspondent Nick Beake appeared on the Today Programme this morning continuing to talk up the false reports – implying it was in British interests to deny the report as it gave the UK greater room for manoeuvre. Yet by 7 am, reports had already circulated that Barnier too had strongly denounced the news as untrue. It now looks like the BBC is deliberately portraying the British side as less honest than the EU…
The BBC have partly upheld a complaint against Europe Editor Katya Adler, for a tweet in which she branded Michael Gove “delusional”. A string of highly critical tweets against the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster kicked off with:
Am not first to comment on this today but below observation by Michael Gove that #coronavirus will focus EU minds on post #Brexit trade deal is delusional. It distracts EU leaders all the more from something that was not top of in-tray even before COVID-19 https://t.co/xOnIoVGtgT— katya adler (@BBCkatyaadler) April 28, 2020
“The ECU noted that she did not quote him entirely accurately, substituting “will” for his “should”, thus changing a statement”
The ECU went on to admit that this “went beyond the Guidelines’ licence for “professional judgements, rooted in evidence”” and – whilst stating that Adler was within her rights to call Gove “delusional” – upheld the part of the complaint that regarded accuracy. Classic BBC.