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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Laura Kuenssberg: Anti-Corbyn bias? As if.

In what just about tops off the most extraordinary year in political history The Press Gazzette have decided to give BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg their 'Political Journalist Of The Year' award. The judges said - "In a tumultuous year [Kuenssberg] rose to the challenge and made the story of Brexit her own."

I could understand if she had unearthed a huge story, like over 30 Tory MPs facing questioning by 21 police forces for alleged electoral fraud, but that barely got a mention from award winning Kuennssberg. Driving the hatchet in to a resolute Corbyn's back as the PLP went from one clumbersome disaster to the next was far more important.

Is that the best possible rephrasing of  "Kuenssberg's efforts in getting a Labour MP to RESIGN live on The Daily Politics Show as part of the ongoing anti-Corbyn campaign deserve special recognition" they could come up with?

OK, its obvious I'm not Laura's biggest fan, but I will say this. She should not be heckled at press conferences or face online abuse, nobody should. All it achieves is to reinforce the largely misinformed view that Jeremy Corbyn's supporters are some sort of lynch mob. And I know this couldn't be any further from the truth.

But this does need pointing out.

study carried out by the Media Reform Coalition and Birkbeck University of London made several damning assessments of the BBC's coverage of Corbyn, one saying: 

"One of the most striking patterns that emerged was the repeated use of language that invoked militarism and violence. BBC correspondents tended to ascribe militancy and aggression exclusively to Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters rather than Labour rebels, in spite of the fact that the leadership was, throughout this period, largely on the defensive in responding to attacks and accusations by rebel MPs. The picture conveyed was one of Corbyn and his supporters adopting a hard line stance in ‘refusing to back down’ and risking the future of the Labour Party in doing so."
The study also looked at supportive and critical views of the Labour leader during main news programmes. The results revealed the BBC were being hugely critical of Jeremy Corbyn during their main news bulletins. The report criticises Kuenssberg's reporting of Corbyn, one particular bulletin said she offered "the perspective of rebel MPs that was unattributed and reported as ‘fact’ whilst the view of Mr Corbyn’s team is both attributed and questioned." In other words Corbyn's team would issue a statement to Kuenssberg and she would question it, but if she got a whisper from an 'Labour source' (anti-Corbyn MP), she reported it as fact without even offering a name or shred of evidence to back it up.

In September it was also reported that The Media Reform Centre were considering legal action against the BBC due to the “clear and consistent bias” shown against Jeremy Corbyn in their news coverage with the chair of MRC Justin Schlosberg saying: "We are looking at taking it to Ofcom and potentially even the courts. The BBC has to be held to account."

Its not just Corbyn's own supporters. Sir Michael Lyons described recent “attacks” by BBC journalists on Corbyn as "QUITE EXTRAORDINARY" and he could “understand why people are worried” about impartiality. This isn't some random Corbynista, Sir Michael was a Chairman of The BBC Trust.

So congratulations Laura, I'm sure you will feel the award is well deserved, but I don't think I am the only one that seems rather surprised at the minimal required standards of journalism to get yourself a nice trophy.

Although I'm not sure 'standards' is quite the right word. 

I think I will leave the last words to Jeremy Corbyn. 

He's got a point Laura, don't you think?



  1. @Rachel Its getting better and better. Take a big hug from Görlitz (East Germany)

  2. Great start to a promising new blog

  3. You've outgrown twitter! Power to you!

  4. Nicely done. I shall follow you, flower.