Guido can reveal the BBC’s had another top broadcast face poached by Global. Newsnight’s resident lefty, Lewis Goodall, has been scooped up by the radio station as their new “Analysis & Investigations Editor”:
“Lewis will be joining Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel as the third host on Global’s major new podcast, which will launch this autumn. In addition to presenting the podcast, Lewis will also take on the role of Analysis & Investigations Editor, working alongside Antony Garvey’s team”.
Guido’s mole jokes, “this is just what LBC was crying out for, another leftist ex-BBC type to come in and steer the ship.’ Following in the wake of Maitlis, Sopel and Marr, Broadcasting House seems to have the air of rats leaving a sinking ship at the moment…
Ofcom have ruled that LBC breached the body’s impartiality rules during a broadcast outside the Israeli Embassy in London last year. Back in May 2021, during protests prompted by airstrikes against Gaza, LBC’s reporter repeatedly described the Israeli Embassy as the “Jewish Embassy“. They repeated the claim nine times across three news items…
Now, following an investigation, Ofcom have slammed the broadcaster for the clear breach – particularly for conflating Israeli national identity with Jewish identity:
We considered that listeners, especially Jewish people and those concerned by this rise in antisemitism in London at the time of the report, may have found the conflation particularly offensive.
LBC attempted to dismiss the claim by insisting the reporter was working in a high-stress environment, and had simply “tripped over his words in error during the heat of the moment.” Ofcom didn’t buy it:
“We took into account the Licensee’s explanation of the circumstances, in that the reporter was “reporting live from a high-stress and tense environment”.
We recognise that broadcasting in a challenging live situation may provide some mitigation for an inaccuracy during a live report and that there is clearly a high public interest in journalists reporting live from situations such as these.
However, we did not think in the circumstances of this case that this provided sufficient mitigation for the inaccuracy, which had been originally broadcast live in the 16:06 programme, to have been repeated in two further broadcasts, as a pre-recorded news piece when those mitigating circumstances did not apply, and without correction or context being provided.”
Ofcom ruled that while the breach didn’t constitute antisemitism, LBC’s corrective measures were “insufficient to mitigate the potential offence or justify the broadcast of the potentially offensive content in this programme.” Given there was no attempt to correct the reporter, and the package was rebroadcast multiple times, it was obvious their excuse just wouldn’t cut it…
Internally, it doesn’t look like LBC are keen to impress the gravity of all this on their staff. Guido spoke to an LBC source who claimed not to have “heard a peep” about the decision, and they’d only found out about the ruling by Googling it…
Read the full ruling below:
Second time lucky for Sir Keir today, as he again attempted to answer Labour’s impossible question: can a woman have a penis? Anneliese Dodds says they can’t, Stella Creasey says they can. The last time Starmer had a go at answering this question, he claimed he doesn’t “like intolerance” and then floundered for three minutes without giving a yes or a no. Today was only slightly better…
“…For the vast majority of women, biology is what matters and it’s very clear that they don’t have a penis. But let’s not leave out of account that there is a small minority of individuals who were born in a gender they don’t now identify with. Some go through a process, others don’t, and that is very traumatic for them. And I for one am going to respect and support them, and I think that’s, actually, when most people step back from this they think, ‘well that’s a fair assessment Keir, 99.9% of women, it’s all biology’… but let’s not pretend, or disparage, or fail to support a small group of people who actually struggle with their gender identity. And I think that we all can resolve this if we approach it in that spirit.”
Biology matters… until it doesn’t.
Cringe moment from Iain Dale on his LBC local election results show last night as he recounted a voter anecdote about an elderly voter to Jon Ashworth. Just one problem: it was a very long-running Twitter meme…
“I was seeing someone on Twitter earlier saying that they went into the polling station and a 95-year-old lady was there saying “where can I cast my vote on beergate” and she got a round of applause from other people. I don’t know where that was.”
There was a 93 year old lady at the polling station. Registered blind. In a very loud voice she said "how do I vote against beergate!" Everyone cheered.— Sam Freedman (@Samfr) May 5, 2022
There but for the grace of God go any of us, though very sporting of Iain’s producer to share the gaffe on Twitter. Older co-conspirators may also be interested in Guido’s previous explainer on the other key related internet term, “sh*tposting“…
The ongoing fun at TalkTV’s expense has pushed Guido to reflect at length on something that he has thought for a while. There’s too much broadcast political content chasing too small an audience and it will end in tears – for shareholders.
Guido had his second watch of Piers Morgan’s show last night, and by the standards of most current affairs shows, it is better-than-average infotainment. He’s doing issues in an accessible way, a bit more tabloid than say Peston, with much more show business than Marr used to put on his Sunday morning show. Will it work in the sense of making a profit? That remains to be seen. The economics of television favour mass market products; politics-focused television products lose money because politics is, in general, a minority interest and there are just not enough people in the UK to make that minority pay. ITV has always regarded politics as a loss leader, so TalkTV and GB News are attempting to do what no British commercial broadcaster has ever done. They are trying to do politics for profit.
The British television audience is one fifth the size of the US television audience, which is why Fox News, MSNBC and CNN can make money. Although CNN+, the channel’s new streaming venture, failed and shut down after just one month. In the UK magazines, think tanks and online political enterprises have all launched video shows and podcasts of varying quality to service political geeks. Content that mostly preaches to the choir, be it their readers or the ideologically allied. These are niche ventures that build brand loyalty and increase subscriptions and donations. The Spectator’s family of podcasts drive magazine subscriptions, and are financed by sponsors wanting to be associated with the glossy magazine and reach their affluent readers. On the left, Novara’s professional high production values and left-wing critiques give comrades Sarkar and Bastani a measurably bigger reach than TalkTV, funded largely by the donations of their left-wing fans. One think-tank boss told Guido that if their policy wonk focused videos reach just 500 people, that is ten times as many as would ever turn up to a policy seminar – if one donor likes what they see and makes a £50,000 donation, that pays for a lot of cheaply produced online videos spreading their message. The financial logic of these ventures is that they spread the brand message and are self-funding.
These online-only narrowcasters don’t pay presenters millions and don’t have the infrastructure of legacy broadcasters, with purpose built studios, satellite fees, network fees and big production staff head-counts. Yes, the production values are lower, yet viewers don’t seem to mind and they have surprisingly big audiences. They will continue to thrive.
The new channels – GB News and TalkTV – have gone for the infrastructure of legacy broadcasters, in the full knowledge that Sky News loses £20 million-a-year and that the BBC News Channel has a tiny audience by BBC standards. Whilst GB News is doing things on a tighter budget, break-even is still some way away. What takes these channels into profitability will be multiplying their audiences ten times. Good luck with that…
After covering Wes Streeting’s second job hypocrisy on Monday, and Rachel Reeves’s yesterday, Guido wasn’t going to bother covering David Lammy’s turn to stand in for James O’Brien on LBC, given he’s already covered the shadow foreign secretary’s second earnings hypocrisy in detail previously. Unlike his fellow shadow cabinet stand-ins, however, it was the content of Lammy’s show that caught Guido’s attention. One caller – Laura, a teacher from Kettering – bravely called in to articulate her view that Rishi and Boris haven’t done anything wrong:
“Lammy: I hope you tell your pupils to follow the rules, and I hope you’ll understand that the police – not me, the police – have found Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak guilty, the police have issued the 50 fixed penalty notices.
Laura: And do you know why the police probably would have done that? Because of all the pressure put on them! If you look at this logically….
Lammy: Oh! Laura! Laura! Laura! Let’s be clear on this! The police didn’t want to investigate! The police were dragged to investigate this because of the work of The Mirror! And the wonderful work of the journalist Pippa Crerar! They didn’t want to investigate this!
Lammy: Laura, Laura, you’re a teacher in a secondary school, do you know what’s going on in your class?
Laura: Of course I do
Lammy: Of course you do. Do you know what’s going on in your home?
Laura: Of course I do
Lammy: Then why do you think Boris Johnson doesn’t know what’s going on in his?!
Laura: Because… I truly believe when…
Lammy: Laura, what do you teach in our secondary schools because this is perplexing this morning…
Laura: I’m not going to obviously tell you what I teach but you asked me a question whether I believe Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson should resign and I think they shouldn’t.
Lammy: Laura thank you for your views but I’m jolly pleased you don’t teach my kids I’ve got to tell you!”
A few minutes later another caller, an NHS worker Joanna, was so incensed by Lammy’s treatment of Laura she called in to accuse him of bullying her
“Hello, first of all I just want to say I thought you were really rude to the teacher who spoke to you some minutes ago, I though it was extremely rude to say you wouldn’t want her to teach your children that is really unacceptable.”
“I worked in a hospital, in intensive care, we would come out several hours after being in full PPE, like being in a space suite… if it happened to be any of my colleague’s birthday and there happened to be some biscuits and some diet coke to share during our break, I mean would that be called a party? Or a rave? Or what?”
10 minutes later, Lammy doubled down further by suggesting Laura may have been lying about being a teacher in the first place
Guido preferred pre-Brexit Lammy, who tweeted “Britain’s teachers deserve much more gratitude and respect.” What changed?