Naughtie Sorry for ERG Slur


Following Guido’s reporting of ERG outrage at BBC Today’s Jim Naughtie slurring the ERG as far-right types equivalent to the French Front National he apologised last night:

“I was wrong to say in a live discussion this morning that members of the ERG would be happy in a far-right party. That was not my intention, because I don’t believe it. I was trying to make the point that if our parties fracture in some way after Brexit – on Right and Left – we could see a political landscape emerge that looks more like the rest of Europe than it does at the moment. But my words were ill-chosen and I’m sorry for any offence caused”.

The ERG’s Andrew Bridgen responds “I was grateful for Jim Naugthie’s ‘almost apology’, as the referendum demonstrated the ERG’s views are those of the mainstream majority.” Quite.

What the Humphrys Saw

Guido understands that Nick Robinson decided that he was very interested in what was on his computer monitor rather than the studio guest during this morning’s interview with Dr Victoria Bateman. The eccentric naked Remainiac campaigner called on Jacob Rees-Mogg to debate her naked. Over to you Jacob…

UPDATE: We now have video…

McDonnell’s Bruising Encounter

John McDonnell (67) is attempting to take the fight to the Tories today with a pre-Budget speech, but he’s already come off worse in a fight of his own this week… with the pavement outside his house:

“I came home from the PLP meeting on Monday… got off the bus, and I’m rushing home, it’s pretty dark, and someone’s fly-tipped at the end of my road. So I missed it and I… literally landed on my face. I thought I’d broken my nose in two.”

It won’t be just his nose that he’ll be in danger of breaking if he ever gets into power. McDonnell will be hoping his speech lands better than he did…

Humphrys Blows DD Interview

Justin Webb’s Jeremy Hunt C-Bomb

Justin Webb does it again on the Today programme this morning:

Never forget when it happened three times in one day:

Never gets old…

Diane Car Crash: WW2 Only Time We’d Back Military Action

Asked four times by Nick Robinson in what circumstances Labour would back military action, the only example Diane Abbott could come up with was the Second World War. Asked what Labour would do if Russia vetoed their proposal for a UN investigation, she had no answer other than to say “we would press on”. Asked what Labour’s policy on Syria was in place of military action, she summed it up as: “we can’t afford to give up hope”. It also took her three answers to concede that Russia is a greater threat to peace than the US. Textbook slow motion car crash…

Farage: I Don’t Support Bolton

Nigel tells the Today programme “it’s been an appalling few weeks” for UKIP and that Henry Bolton has shown “very bad judgment”. He reckons Guido’s story about Bolton dining with Jo Marney at the National Liberal Club and then taking the train home with her was the most damaging revelation against him. He says if the EGM vote was tomorrow Bolton would certainly lose and adds: “I’m not saying I support Henry Bolton”. He has a month to turn it around…

BBC Silences Resigning Gracie

Last night the BBC’s China Editor Carrie Gracie dramatically announced her resignation calling the corporation’s pay structure “secret and illegal”. In a damning letter she wrote of a “a crisis of trust at the BBC” over equal pay.

This morning, Gracie co-presented the Today programme (as scheduled). Due to BBC rules, she was unable to cover her own resignation, having to sit in silence for seven minutes while John Humphrys reported the story – with Gracie unable to say anything at all even though she was sitting in the very next chair. Classic BBC…

UPDATE: The BBC has now decided its senior female journalist resigning over pay disparity will be allowed to speak. On Woman’s Hour… 

UPDATE II: The farce continues:

Clegg: I’m In Favour of Remoan

Nick Clegg momentarily revealed the truth on the Today programme this morning:

“I believe and I explain this in my book that MPs are duty bound, regardless of whether they’re in favour of remoan – remain – or Brexit, to reject that deal…”

Freudian slip…

Today Going Out of Fashion

More than a few Today listeners were bewildered by this morning’s programme resembling a long Burberry advert, as Sarah Sands continues the Standard-isation of the BBC’s flagship news show. Even Anna Wintour’s brother wasn’t a fan…

Today Programme to Include Websites in Paper Review

Back in May the Today programme included Guido, Buzzfeed, HuffPo and ConHome in a trial run of a “digital press preview”. According to a BBC memo published by Buzzfeed it is going to become a permanent fixture. About time, it is ridiculous that when digital media break a story it is the day-later newspaper write-up that gets reviewed.

While it is good to see Today entering 2017, digital publications are still excluded from Sky News‘ press preview and #TomorrowsPapersToday. (With the exception of the Indy’s fake front page. The Indy is not a newspaper, there is no justification in the BBC and Sky promoting them but not Guido, Buzzfeed and HuffPo.)

This should be pretty common sense stuff. When news-breaking digital outlets get a decent story it should be included in press previews. For example Guido’s Tory WhatsApp story was featured on the World at One yesterday, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be in a press preview. This is 2017, news isn’t only broken in ink…

Today Includes “Major Websites” in Press Review

For the first time Guido can remember, this morning’s Today programme included “major websites” in its paper review, leading on Buzzfeed’s interview with Jeremy Corbyn and Guido’s insider account of how Team Jez plan to use the precedent of Neil Kinnock to stay on. It is increasingly hard for the likes of Today and Sky News to justify excluding news sites in their press previews, and for the BBC to continue to shun digital publications from #TomorrowsPapersToday. (Though they still nostalgically tweet out the Independent fake front page. It is not a newspaper.) There is no justification in them promoting the Indy but not Guido, Buzzfeed and HuffPo…

Whether it’s ConservativeHome’s great coverage of Tory selections, Buzzfeed’s long-reads or Guido’s exclusives, new media’s stories are followed up by all papers usually without acknowledgement. Much of new media’s election coverage has been more interesting than the daily papers. Good to see Today living in the present, about time everyone else caught up…

Radio 4 Gossips Link Peston to Today

Radio 4 sources are loudly and widely sharing concerns that Sarah Sands is planning big changes at the Today programme. They have been circulating a rumour – which has been repeated to Guido unprompted by blabbermouth non-BBC industry sources – that Sands wants Robert Peston to present the flagship programme. This does sound unlikely to Guido, he is on a hefty wedge at ITV and the prospect of his idiosyncratic style on the Radio 4 airwaves is not likely to be popular at Broadcasting House. It is not impossible that this is disinformation being spread by Beeb refuseniks trying to undermine Sands. World at One presenter Martha Kearney has also been linked to Today. What would that mean for Jim Naughtie…

BBC’s Softball Brexit Questions Prove Robbo’s Point


Nick Robinson’s comment in the Radio Times that “the referendum is over. The duty we broadcasters had to ‘broadly balance’ the views of the two sides is at an end” revealed much about the Today programme’s attitude to covering Brexit. Take a look at Mishal Husain’s line of questioning during her interview with Sadiq Khan this morning. This was her cringingly deferential first question:

“You’ve talked at length about how concerned you are to protect London as a global financial centre after Brexit. How much assurance have you been given, and what could the government say that might stop jobs moving out of London in a way that we’re already seeing, from banks, from people like Goldman Sachs,  Lloyd’s of London is opening up a Brussels office. The movement is already happening.”

Completely softball, no scrutiny of Khan’s position, simply inviting him to speak without challenge. Husain also repeats the Remain spin about Lloyd’s (who actually say London will remain their major financial sector). Her final statement that “the movement is already happening” is overt Remain topspin to the point of being untrue.

Husain’s next question simply invited Khan to explain his new “flexible immigration” policy, again with no scrutiny. The job of interviewers is to probe, scrutinise and hold politicians to account, not repeat their spin and invite them to talk about how brilliant they are…

Corbyn’s Alternative Facts on #IndyRef2

Jez went on air this morning to clarify his position on #IndyRef2, telling the Today programme: “no, we’re not in favour of a referendum“. When Nick Robinson brought up his comments over the weekend backing a second Scottish referendum, Corbyn claimed he had been misreported:

“No, there was a bit of mischievous misreporting going on there…”

Let’s have a look at what Corbyn actually told Press Association just three days ago:

“Well if a referendum is held, then it’s absolutely fine, it should be held, I don’t think it’s Westminster or the Labour Party to prevent people holding referenda.”

This is really poor from Corbyn. Sean Spicer levels of alternative facts…

UPDATE: Press Association has not taken kindly to its integrity being questioned. Its editor-in-chief Peter Clifton says:

“The only mischievous thing about this episode is the suggestion that PA has done anything beyond what it always does – accurately report what politicians say to us in an entirely impartial way.”

Multi-Millionairess Polly Toynbee Calls For Property Tax

Guido enjoyed listening to three home-owning multi-millionairess Polly Toynbee rail against inequality and demand a US-style property tax this morning. Six-figure salaried Polly also wants a new levy on “the wealth of the very old, very rich to pay for a care system”. Wealthy socialists are of course free to voluntarily pay more tax if they feel so strongly about it. Bad news for the kids’ inheritance if mum’s assets are whacked with new taxes, though at least she sent two of them to private school so they can still check their privilege. The Italian property transfer tax means selling her Umbria villa will have stung too…

Diane Abbott Attacks “Lobbyist” Owen Smith

UPDATE:

Osborne: No Further Offer on Free Movement

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At last something truthful from the Chancellor: Osborne admits Remain cannot offer any reform of free movement.

Today: “The Guardian is reporting this morning that Downing Street is considering whether there could be anything more to offer in terms of perhaps controls on freedom of movement that would reassure voters who were worried about the open door to this country for EU citizens. Is there?”

Osborne: “The short answer is no.”

That shoots down Watson, Balls and Cooper…

Minister Media Monitor: Sky Winning Battle of Producers

MMM April the shows

Sky News won the battle of the producers to book ministers for their programmes in April. The usually minister-heavy Today Programme drops out of the top three for the first time, while Newsnight rises up the rankings. Marr features a minister a week. The whole of ITV (The AgendaGood Morning Britain, and ITV News) managed to get just three ministers in the entire month. Overall there were 44 ministerial broadcast appearances in April, expect that to ramp up when the referendum campaign gets going…

Ministers Hiding From Marr and Brillo

MMM March the shows

There was an average of one ministerial broadcast appearance a day in March, as the government swerves accountability over the airwaves. By some distance ministers were more willing to appear on the Today programme than any other show or channel. Downing Street evidently does not fancy sending ministers out to bat when Andrew Neil or Andrew Marr are bowling.[…] Read the rest

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