BBC Newsnight decision ‘extraordinary’, says Dan Wootton

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Newsnight’s coverage of the Dominic Cummings controversy did not meet due impartiality standards, the BBC has said.

It follows criticism of Tuesday’s programme in which host Emily Maitlis stated the Prime Minister’s chief adviser “broke the rules”, despite the government’s insistence that he had not.

The BBC released a statement last night which said it had reviewed the programme and concluded that that it “did not meet our standards of due impartiality”.

It added: “While we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism, we feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme.”

talkRADIO’s Dan Wootton reacted: “What an extraordinary statement, what a moment, this is the BBC finally admitting what we’ve all known for a long time; Newsnight is a left-wing operation.”

However, the statement also drew criticism, with Labour MP Lord Andrew Adonis tweeting that Ms Maitlis "accurately reported" the situation and that the BBC "should be ashamed".

Ms Maitlis said she had been “overwhelmed” by support from viewers and said it was her decision not appear on last night’s Newsnight.

The programme was instead hosted by editor Katie Razzall, who tweeted: “Just for the record, Emily has not been asked by the BBC to take tonight off - and if I thought she had been, I certainly wouldn't have agreed to present the show.”

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