Former BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis has warned of media bias and sinister Tory plots, mere years after the rest of us, and in spite of being head of the BBC’s flagship show during the worst of it. Pats on the back for Emily.
The former senior BBC figure made her comments during the MacTaggart Lecture in Edinburgh at a major TV festival. Among other things, she said “an active agent” of the Conservative Party sits on the board of the BBC and influences impartiality.
She warned that British institutions were under attack:
Emily Maitlis – "We are seeing politicians move in directions that are deeply & clearly deleterious to basic democratic government…it's about people in power who are prepared to test the very limits of the constitution to achieve their aims…" pic.twitter.com/PpwumFmSI8
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) August 24, 2022
Social media users, however, recall Maitlis’ conduct during her tenure with some anger, suggesting that she has hardly shown herself to be unbiased.
Hardly a revelation…
One twitter user pointed out that BBC bias was hardly news:
From a Scottish perspective, Emily Maitlis' speech about bias in the BBC is like a fuss over someone announcing they've discovered the world is round. We've known about this for years, what took them so long?
— Martin MacDonald (@Innealadair) August 25, 2022
Others fondly recalled the time her show carried a section portraying Jeremy Corbyn as Lord Voldemort:
Remember when Maitlis introduced Corbyn as a CGI'd Voldemort? pic.twitter.com/k3jS85yix3
— j (@jrc1921) August 24, 2022
Meanwhile, someone else remembered the time Corbyn was presented as some sort of Soviet despot:
I'm glad Emily Maitlis has said what she's said about @BBC bias. However, I'd like people to reflect on the fact that many of the people applauding her today, were demonising as 'Corbyn cultists' & 'Hard-Left extremists' anyone making the exact same observations three years ago. pic.twitter.com/dQD4c7vGFm
— GET A GRIP (@docrussjackson) August 25, 2022
Somebody else noted a 2017 tweet from Maitlis which seemed to float the idea of a coup by Labour against Corbyn:
Emily Maitlis, a few weeks before Jeremy Corbyn led Labour to its biggest vote increase since 1945.
There's nothing like BBC impartiality. pic.twitter.com/ITIzAK1Jay
— Frank Owen's Legendary Paintbrush 🟨🟥🥀🇵🇸🇾🇪 (@WarmongerHodges) August 25, 2022
It was also pointed out that if there was an active Tory agent in the BBC, they may not have been alone:
As far as I'm concerned Emily Maitlis was an "active Tory party agent" when Jeremy Corbyn was Labour leader
— Rangzen (@revoltinghippie) August 25, 2022
Elsewhere, her credentials as a whistleblower were being questioned intensely, not least given the years which have elapsed since some of the events she was involved in:
Maitlis's credibility now as 'whistle blower' is more than a bit damaged by this.
It has taken her this long time (and a lucrative new job) to admit what we all knew was indefensible – but she was happy to see defended by the BBC.
— Roger Gall (@Shambles151) August 24, 2022
It seems that it is going to take a bit more than a pretty selective speech (just as Maitlis starts a whizzy new job at LBC) to make people forget her own behaviour in recent years. Yes, there’s something wrong with the BBC. It’s also perfectly possible to argue that Maitlis embodied this as well as anyone has in recent years.
Featured image via Wikimedia Common/Gothick, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0.
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?