The Corbyn Russia BBC hat scandal just won’t go away. Viewers were shocked when BBC‘s Newsnight featured an image of Jeremy Corbyn standing in front of a red-tinted Russia-themed backdrop.
Wading into the fray
But then the BBC News press team waded into the fray with the following statement:
The photo was not altered. We often recycle backdrops when covering stories of a similar theme, in this case Russia, and will include an image of an individual if they are the focus of the story. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has also appeared over this backdrop previously.
— BBC News Press Team (@BBCNewsPR) March 17, 2018
Twitter users were unimpressed and quickly pointed out the significant difference between the Williamson and Corbyn framings:
Some pointed out that there are plenty of images of Corbyn in a suit that could have been used instead:
Here's a pic of Corbyn in a suit, for next time. Like Gavin. pic.twitter.com/pYMBssPztK
— Mrs Gee #loveEurope #EUmeh (@earthygirl01) March 17, 2018
Another viewer pointed out that the BBC Newsnight acting editor directly contradicted the statement made by the BBC press team:
— Michael (@SuperMickyChow) March 17, 2018
In the interest of objectivity, some wondered if the BBC should apply the same logic to other political figures:
I don't think the BBC should apologise for the Corbyn Photoshop. I think they should have to Photoshop Theresa May with her hands dripping with the blood of 120,000 people during a discussion on austerity.
— heartbeeps (@hrtbps) March 17, 2018
— Alex Anderson (@AlexAnd13185976) March 18, 2018
It’s not about the hat
It was a particularly astute Newsnight viewer who drew attention to the real issue. It’s not about the hat. But it is about the very purpose of an objective news source:
The sad thing is it’s deeply unnecessary. The photoshopping is relatively minor, it’s the impression. It’s the message. It’s the effect. The BBC wants to be impartial, but just too much of its political coverage is tinged with pre-existing Tory bias.
— Congolesa “Fire @Jack” Rice (@judeinlondon2) March 17, 2018
One of the BBC’s public purposes is:
To provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them.
This image of Corbyn against a Russian backdrop is neither appropriate nor informative. The BBC provides a service to its viewers. It needs to stick to reporting the news and let the public make up its own mind.
– Join The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.
Featured image via m0gky/Flickr
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?