Newsnight Breaches BBC Guidelines Again By Failing to Declare former ‘Electoral Commissioner’ Was Also Former LibDem MP

Newsnight interviewed former electoral commissioner and Cambridge law professor David Howarth to discuss the ongoing flat-gate scandal, during which he claimed “this is not a trivial matter, or just a convention“, and that “it’s about transparency and openness“. Wise words indeed from the professor…

Ironically, it seems Newnight had little interest in “transparency and openness” because at no point did the interviewer, Lewis Goodall, disclose that David Howarth is a former LibDem MP, having sat in Parliament for five years (2005-10) and previously served as both the Leader of Cambridge City Council, and as a member of the Lib Dem Federal Policy Committee. Hardly trivial background details, given the topic he was invited to discuss was party political and BBC guidelines state that viewers should be informed of party affiliations…

mdi-timer 29 April 2021 @ 10:39 29 Apr 2021 @ 10:39 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Will Police Question this Inexperienced Young Interviewer?

Newsnight kicked up a storm last night after Len McCluskey was broadcast in an interview with the BBC’s Lewis Goodall, saying Peter Mandelson – who has Jewish heritage – should go away and “count his gold”. A classic antisemitic trope. This morning McCluskey apologised. In other words…

An impressionable young interviewer publishes a discussion with a well-known controversialist who comes out with a phrase widely understood to be racist and historically used to stir up racial hatred. The young interviewer doesn’t directly challenge him on it. There is an outcry and the controversialist later apologises. How soon can it be before the woke police summon Goodall for questioning? Will Lewis Goodall end up sharing a cell with Darren Grimes?

mdi-timer 20 October 2020 @ 09:57 20 Oct 2020 @ 09:57 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
How Goodall Spectacularly Broke BBC’s Impartiality Guidelines

The BBC press office is being quite evasive even by their standards, we have got from them that Goodall’s New Statesman piece was apparently signed off by his superiors. They claim the blanket ban post-Hutton on BBC journalists writing about political controversies has been rescinded. The BBC press office further claims, with a straight face, that Goodall’s piece isn’t controversial.

All we got on the record from the BBC press office on the record is the following:

“It’s a piece of journalistic analysis, based on evidence, that holds to account the handling of examinations by all of the political parties that govern the UK.”

The piece spectacularly breaches the BBC’s own guidelines on impartiality on three grounds; it expresses strong views, advocates against a policy and exhorts a change in policy.

  • The claim that “a government led by technocrats nearly destroyed a generation of social mobility” is a strong and controversial view.
  • Expresses the view that “even if a set of algorithms could ever predict with ­certainty how an individual might perform then, for reasons of politics and, yes, morality, they probably shouldn’t.” A clear statement of self-defined – by Goodall – political and moral opinion.
  • Expresses the view that the exams crisis “demonstrates the weaknesses of this form of technocracy” and is evidence that the data driven government as espoused by Dominic Cummings is a flawed “dataocracy”.

The whole article’s thrust implicitly advocates a change in government policy. That is not appropriate from the supposedly neutral policy editor at BBC Newsnight. Goodall should resign. Or be fired.

mdi-timer 20 August 2020 @ 17:10 20 Aug 2020 @ 17:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Goodall Breaks BBC Ban on Journalists Writing About Political Controversies

Lots of rumblings after the New Statesman unveiled their frontpage cover story about the government’s exam “ineptitude”, with graphics accusing the government of lying and describing them as having created a “lost generation”. The furore was sparked because the inflammatory headline was above Lewis Goodall’s byline – who despite consistently acting like an independent comment writer, currently remains the BBC’s supposedly impartial Newsnight policy editor. Downing Street sources detest him as a hostile opponent.

Back in 2007, the BBC banned Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis after one solitary outing in the Spectator the weekly right-of-centre rival to the Statesman, with the corporation saying “Emily should never have been given permission to become a contributing editor to the Spectator, or any other magazine.” At the time, the Guardian reported:

“After the Hutton inquiry, BBC journalists were banned from writing about political and controversial events in newspapers or magazines.”

The single most controversial issue in politics this week has been the government’s inept handling of the exam grades issue, the very issue that is the cover story in the Statesman under Lewis Goodall’s byline. How can we trust Goodall to be impartial on television on Newsnight when by day he writes for a left-of-centre magazine on the controversial issue of the moment? The only difference Guido can see with the Maitlis case is the different political slants of the Spectator and the New Statesman. The BBC’s press office has been contacted for an explanation and has yet to respond…

mdi-timer 20 August 2020 @ 14:32 20 Aug 2020 @ 14:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
No Lewis, the Government Did Not Announce North West Restrictions Via Twitter

Newsnight’s Lewis Goodall was clearly out of the loop last night and is responsible for this nonsense going round this morning that Hancock only announced the restrictions late last night via Twitter. That you can read about them in papers that went to print hours before Newsnight went on air suggests that he was completely wrong about it. His muddled report says more about him than Hancock:

Last night’s announcement by Matt Hancock – which was made via a pooled TV interview, not a tweet as Starmer is claiming – last night means four million North Westerners are waking up this morning to find a new semi-lockdown has been imposed, meaning families in Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire can no longer meet up, either in private or in public. The full details of the semi-lockdown were released by the Department for Health last night…

This morning one northern director of Public Health told the Today programme he first learnt about the lockdown of four million people via the news.

The left – both political and press – is claiming Matt Hancock only announced the lockdown via his personal Twitter account; completely ignoring the pooled clip he did for broadcasters before the social media announcement and the statements given to newspapers earlier in the evening. Admittedly greater details would have been appreciated by everyone, with specific confusion over whether different families could meet up in public spaces like pubs and restaurants – a question eventually clarifiedtwo households should not go to hospitality together“. Some are already claiming in all seriousness that the two-family pub ban is a deliberate anti-Eid strategy by the government…

UPDATE:  Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has said this morning that Matt Hancock spoke to him and Sir Richard Lees (Manchester’s Labour leader) at tea time yesterday.

mdi-timer 31 July 2020 @ 09:19 31 Jul 2020 @ 09:19 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Bias Analysed: 96.8%* of Maitlis Tweets Anti-Boris

Following the embarrassing apology the BBC eventually gave over the partisan and inaccurate opening monologue to Wednesday’s Newsnight, Guido decided to dig deeper into the institutional problem with the BBC’s flagship show. Trawling through the last 100 tweets and retweets of top presenter Emily Maitlis, Guido found just one that could arguably be positive about Boris (a retweet of New Statesman journalist Stephen Bush criticising Labour’s education policy), whereas 31 criticises the PM. Meaning 96.8% of tweets which were not neutral were anti-Boris.  Many of those classed as “neutral” included editorialised criticism of Donald Trump… 

Guido’s research did not pick up a single retweet of a centre-right commentator, although there were many retweets of commentators and journalists from left-wing newspapers, as well as left-wing campaign accounts, from Joe Politics to the UK Labour Party. This is before getting started on former Labour activist Lewis Goodall…

It’s now being reported the BBC has hired former executive Richard Sambrook to review how it maintains impartiality on social media as the corporation becomes increasingly concerned their left-wing reporters are “discrediting” the corporation. The BBC can pay Sambrook for the service, or Guido and his co-conspirators will continue to do it for free…

*96.875% (31/32) of her last 100 tweets that expressed a pro or anti-Boris stance were anti-Boris.
mdi-timer 29 May 2020 @ 14:59 29 May 2020 @ 14:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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