On 20 June, Conservative minister Mark Field reportedly ‘assaulted’ Greenpeace activist Janet Barker at the bankers’ banquet in London. The incident caused widespread outrage. On 21 June, Field was suspended. But before that, the BBC‘s chief political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg used the incident to score a cheap political point against Labour.
“This is horrific”
Shortly after the incident, Kuenssberg responded to Labour’s Dawn Butler who called the incident “horrific”. But there was no support. Instead, Kuenssberg stated it’s “clear Labour will push this tomorrow”:
Clear Labour will push this tomorrow. 👇🏼 https://t.co/7C6Q2gz6aO
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) June 20, 2019
Responses came in thick and fast to her tweet:
And let’s not forget, this is the same – allegedly impartial – journalist that even the BBC had to admit “broke accuracy and impartiality rules” in 2017 during a report on Jeremy Corbyn:
"BBC broke accuracy and impartiality rules"
Kuenssberg said she had asked Mr Corbyn a particular question, they then played video of his response … to a DIFFERENT question, then claimed she didn't intend to mislead?#corrupt #journalism #fakenewshttps://t.co/DjaCkOrQ0P
— Chris Keebs (@chriskeebs) June 21, 2019
Kuenssberg’s tweet was a desperate, cheap shot.
For a start, she used Butler’s response as her launch pad. As shadow minister for women and equalities, Butler’s rightly placed to stand up to this attack. And while this wasn’t a racist attack, Butler’s experience of inequality is lived. She’s faced “so many” racist incidents and was once ‘mistaken’ for a cleaner in parliament. In a separate incident, a Tory MP also told her to leave the members’ terrace and said: “they’re letting anybody in nowadays”.
As one of around 40 peaceful Greenpeace activists, Barker protested to make an important point. Their action intended to draw attention to the impact of the current climate breakdown. As Greenpeace’s head of politics Rebecca Newsome told Sky News:
We are living in a climate emergency. Business as usual is no longer an option. The people in that room, including Philip Hammond… Mark Carney and many of the financiers who prop up our current fossil-fuel-based financial system need to wake up to this reality… This was an important, peaceful protest.
The assembled guests are also architects of multiple layers of violence. From austerity to arms sales, and from war to soaring poverty, homelessness, and inequality, these people destroy lives on a daily basis. Little wonder then that each and every one of them just sat there and watched the attack, basking in privilege, entitlement and whiteness.
As for Kuenssberg, she scraped the barrel yet again. But using the shadow minister for women and equalities to take a snide dig at Labour is really going too far.
Featured image via screengrab
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?