by Peter Franklin
Thursday, 25
August 2022
Reaction
11:46

Emily Maitlis gives a masterclass in BBC bias

She has revealed the truth about the corporation's "neutrality"
by Peter Franklin
Keep talking Emily. (Credit: Sky News/YouTube)

There are those who’d like Emily Maitlis to shut up. But not me. For a start, she no longer works for the BBC and is therefore free to speak her mind. This isn’t just her right, it’s also genuinely enlightening — because the more she talks, the more she gives the game away. Our national broadcaster, compulsorily funded by the British television-viewing public, is under a duty to remain politically impartial and unbiased. However, this assumes there’s some ideologically neutral viewpoint from which editorial judgements can be made. 

This is questionable — and even if it were possible to achieve such Olympian heights of objectivity what makes us think that an organisation staffed by people like Emily Maitlis is capable of such a feat? Only this week, she tweeted out a silly comparison between Tory leadership contender, Liz Truss, and Viv Rook — the fictional fascist leader in the dystopian TV drama, Years and Years. 


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I’m presuming it was meant as a joke. Nevertheless, it wasn’t the smartest move for someone who expects to taken seriously when speaking about broadcasting issues. But yesterday Maitlis gave the MacTaggart Lecture to the Edinburgh Television Festival. In it she tackles the issue of bias, citing the example of the way that Newsnight covered Brexit: “It might take our producers five minutes to find 60 economists who feared Brexit and five hours to find a sole voice who espoused it… But by the time we went on air we simply had one of each; we presented this unequal effort to our audience as balance. It wasn’t.”

This is revealing because it suggests that neutrality doesn’t mean presenting both sides of the argument, but rather reflecting the balance of opinion within some section or other of the cultural establishment. The problem with that is it turns the BBC into an echo chamber for other echo chambers — the liberal elites reverberating to one another’s opinions for evermore. This isn’t objectivity, it is hardwired confirmation bias, and a gift to the populists that Maitlis railed against in her lecture. 

She also attacked the government for being “prepared to test the very limits of the constitution to achieve their aims”. Her key example was Boris Johnson’s “unlawful attempt to prorogue parliament for five weeks by an executive that wanted to remove parliamentary democracy from the decision making process”. This ignores the context, which was that MPs had engineered a parliamentary deadlock, preventing the rightful government from fulfilling its manifesto promises while simultaneously blocking a general election to settle the matter. Furthermore, this was part of a campaign to overturn the Brexit referendum result — the largest democratic mandate in British political history. One might have thought that a hint of nuance here might have been appropriate. But none was forthcoming from Maitlis.

It only goes to expose the dangers of delegitimising what she calls “both side-ism”. Even if the “anti-establishment” side is usually wrong, that doesn’t mean that it should be ignored. Indeed, it is precisely when the establishment most commands our trust that it most needs to be challenged. That doesn’t mean that we have to waste airtime on debating Flat Earth theories, but on genuinely unsettled questions — like Brexit or transgender issues or whether or not Emily Maitlis represents the voice of reason — both sides must be heard.  

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Steve Murray
Steve Murray
3 months ago

Congratulations to Peter for so rapidly putting together what i’m sure will be one of the first of many articles skewering Maitlis’ speech in Edinburgh.
I’m sure he will have been tempted to write a longer piece (and may still do) but i don’t blame him for one moment for wanting to get the basic and very revealing flaws in her opinions out there. Opinions, of course, is what she presented on Newsnight, not news. Indeed, almost the entire MSM is a miasma of opinions presented in a way intended to influence viewers, which is why so many are turning to alternative information channels. Therein lies a danger, since echo-chamberism is an all-too-human trait.
I suppose one should ask: was there ever a time when the “news” was less than biased? Perhaps pristine objectivity is indeed impossible, but what we’re presented with nowadays is clearly not so much “news presented in a way that may occasionally be seen as biased” but rather a mish-mash of opinions ranging from “experts” to “the man or woman on the street”. It’s becoming unwatchable.
In the meantime, many very important items of news from around the world go unreported, or skimmed over. The effect – if we let it – is to keep us in a constant state of mindless emoting with fear and anxiety as the primary emotions. Even the way headlines are constructed has changed in a childish attempt to engender angst. Unherd itself is as guilty of this as other media.

Last edited 3 months ago by Steve Murray
AC Harper
AC Harper
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I’ve argued in the past that the BBC is not politically biased – but it is pro-Establishment.
Which is a shame because (in theory) you can vote for one politician to reject another, but you can’t vote against the Blob.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It’s ironic that in supporting the cessation of a democratically elected government from fulfilling the will of the people, Maitlis is actually the anti-democrat.

Last edited 3 months ago by Ian Stewart
Amanda Lothian
Amanda Lothian
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Maitlis actually said that democracy was less important than the future economy,

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
3 months ago

This assumes the 60 economists are correct and the 1 economist is not. I find that people often struggle to avoid group-think and peer pressure. When all your friends espouse a certain viewpoint, it takes courage to stand by your convictions. It takes strength and determination to row upriver. It takes none to float downriver on a raft.

Karen Arnold
Karen Arnold
3 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

It also shows the BBC only knows 1 economist that disagrees, there probably will be many more, the BBC just doesn’t know them

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
3 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

The problem isn’t so much the 60 to 1 thing – its that all broadcasters delight in finding the two extremes of views and setting them up for a fight
It makes for entertaining TV or radio but does little to enlighten the reporting
Generally we would be better off hearing a balanced argument between two moderates of differing views – but its tendency to be boring doesn’t boost ratings

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

Unfortunately, a show that features “2 scorpions in a brandy snifter” has been a winning formula for decades in the news business. The public eats it up each and every time. Unless we stop watching, they will continue.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
3 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

And we were also told to believe the 50 “intelligence experts” that the Hunter laptop story was a “Russian disinformation campaign.”
Whenever someone needs to parade 50 experts on any subject, it now means the opposite is true. I can’t wait for the “experts” to be correct on the “Inflation Reduction Act”, however.
We’ve come a long way as a species, haven’t we?

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
3 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Brexit wasn’t just about the economy. Which Maitlis seemed to miss.

Last edited 3 months ago by Roger Sponge
Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 months ago

“It might take our producers five minutes to find 60 economists who feared Brexit and five hours to find a sole voice who espoused it… “
This was a classic BBC-style “appeal to authority fallacy”. Always trotted out to put the Brexit supporting gammons back in their place.
It always amused me to see what great store BBC journalists set by the opinions of the CBI. They believed the CBI to be the fount of all relevant knowledge on trade, that the CBI would understand the ramifications of our leaving the EU better than anyone. They wheeled out Caroline Fairbairn at every available opportunity to remind us of our impending doom.
Oddly enough they didn’t often trumpet the views of the two heads of the CBI that preceded Ms Fairbairn.
Both of whom vociferously backed Brexit.
I spent 4 years trying to make the case for Brexit over on the Guardian comment pages (sheer intellectual masochism on my part, I know) and every day I had Gove’s misquoted line about experts thrown at me as proof of my drooling stupidity and racism.
But, as I tried to point out, only a fool would ignore the opinions of experts when they’re opining on “What was” and “what is” in their specialist field. But when experts tell you they know “What will be” they’re wrong at least as often as they are right – and you can find 2 equally eminent experts who’ll give you forecasts 180 degrees out from each other.
Economic forecasting only seems to exist to make Astrology appear like a credible science. You’re just as likely to get an accurate prognosis reading tea-leaves or goat-entrails as you are from reading Treasury forecasts.
It is an enduring wonder that the BBC retained faith in their pet economists’ predictions – given their long track record of abject failure.
Institutional economists are usually wrong – indeed the more certain they are in their models, the more often they are proved wrong, usually because that very certainty comes from a political predisposition that skews the data to fit.
Pro-European economists insisted that we would face utter economic ruin if we didn’t join the Eurozone. They sneered at anyone who didn’t agree with them and implied that any dissenters must be swivel-eyed economic illiterates. They never couched their answers in caveats, they absolutely knew they were right – 100% – and they had a hatful of incontrovertible data to prove it.
However, they were utterly wrong. Not that they’ve ever admitted as much, of course. But they were wrong. Totally and utterly wrong. If we’d followed their advice previously and joined the Euro we would have been completely bankrupted by the 2008/10 financial crisis.
SAGE forecasters’ errors were more egregious still, yet those in Govt and media clung to them as though they were irrefutable. It is a similar story with climate modellers. Any who doubt them are branded heretics.
Sadly too many people cling to whichever expert’s forecast matches what they ‘feel’ will be the outcome – call it a FACT – and then dismiss any other opinion or data as wrong (or worse, call it stupid, racist and evil).
Just because a prediction matches your world view does not add a single jot to its reliability. God, even the IMF eventually apologised for being ‘captured by group-think’ and bending every data-point and stat they could find to fit the preconceptions.
Not that we can ever expect a true BBC professional like Ms Maitlis to admit anything like that. The expert opinion she set so much store by, and used as proof of the stupidity of any who disagreed with her partisan stance, has been disproved time and time again – yet she criticises the BBC for not ramming the party line further down our throats than they already did.
I wonder if she’s ever considered turning amateur?

Last edited 3 months ago by Paddy Taylor
Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
3 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Economic forecasting only seems to exist to make Astrology appear like a credible science.

Lol 🙂

Christopher Peter
Christopher Peter
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

Yes, a great line. Perhaps overstating the point just a tad – but only a tad – there is a great deal of truth in it.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
3 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

..”a political predisposition that skews the data to fit.”
That is today’s definition of science today.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
3 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Hats off to you Paddy for such a heroic effort at the Guardian comments.
I do the same thing in the comments at the Washington Post, another medium whose readers are on a single obsessive woke track.
Your comment on experts reminds me of a time when I was a young, inexperienced civil engineer but clever at applying theory, and I calculated the safety factor on a tunnel excavation and found the safety bracing for a shaft to be inadequate. I was told this had been determined in the latest computer modelling by the consultants in Hong Kong. They flew one of these experts over to challenge my analysis along with the output from their model – which somewhat scared me – and I then showed them the mistake in their model.
I’ve always had for contempt for people ignorantly promoted as experts since then.

Last edited 3 months ago by Ian Stewart
J Cartmell
J Cartmell
3 months ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Wonderful answer and summary of the flaws of experts and their models. It should be read to all aspiring Maitlis journos and Alt Left Elitists.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
3 months ago

So Maitlis is now exposed as not just biased but a tad stupid too if she can’t see the crassness of her analysis. I hope she will remain as far away from mainstream media as possible.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
3 months ago
Reply to  Phil Rees

I suspect that is a forlorn hope as she espouses pretty much every “quality” that the mainstream media currently looks for.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 months ago

An excellent excoriation of Maitlis, who as D Walsh Esq says (above) should return to her home country forthwith, and spare us her feeble prejudices.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
3 months ago

No one would take a blind bit of notice of her is ahe wasn’t so attractive looking…

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 months ago

Have you tried ‘Specsavers?’

Stephen Barnard
Stephen Barnard
3 months ago

Regarding her economists point, it’s relatively easy to find people that agree with you who are already within your own orbit: somewhat more difficult to wander into the camp of “the enemy” to find someone to speak out…

John Tyler
John Tyler
3 months ago

Especially when ‘the enemy’ is in hiding for fear of reprisals in the workplace! Academics were unbelievably vitriolic about colleagues who expressed any view other than that Brexit was ‘a bad thing’. Only those in absolutely safe positions dared speak against the received wisdom.

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
3 months ago

When it comes the news, I gave up on the Belittling Britain Corporation some years ago.

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
3 months ago

Maitlis is a classic exemplar of the UK Woking Class – utterly convinced of her own rectitude, arrogant, privileged, monied and intent on imposing her worldview on everyone else. She is representative of the people who not only rule us, but those who occupy top/senior positions in the public, private and voluntary sectors and who use their power to cow the rest of us into submission and compliance. You have to admit it … they’ve done a pretty good job of it, especially in the past five years.

Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
3 months ago
Reply to  Julian Pellatt

The Woking Class – nice. I’ll make a note of that one.

Saul D
Saul D
3 months ago

It’s important for organisation like the BBC (and other media) to realise that ‘both-sides’ is essential to reporting on any issue. It’s about ensuring all the main shades of opinion in the country are presented.
Yes, a group of experts may say one thing, but if the public has a different opinion, it’s really important to show the differences, and then to try and explain and understand where and why that difference exists, without belittling people. Often the difference is because of a completely different set of priorities that are being ignored or overlooked by narrowly-focused technical experts.

Brian String
Brian String
3 months ago

Government and opposition voices have been indistinguishable for over two years (after a short blip) and presenting ‘What the govt say vs what the opposition say’ is not debate, is not ‘both sides-ism’, and is not representative of anything but the vacuous platitudes and shameless cliches of a troupe of Oxbridge sycophants. I finally stopped watching all TV news about six months ago and boy do I feel better for it. I don’t rely on anyone to package the news for me – ie, choose it, narrativise it, spin it, because in doing that you lose your own editorial control, your ability to decide what is important to you and where you need to go to read about it or watch it. The BBC, and all TV news really, seem to consider their role as that of the stenographer, blankly reporting, slavishly reacting and pointlessly discussing all information coming out of SW1 as though this was the only thing of importance in the entire world. Hence the silly season during recess. What do journos do when Parliament isn’t sitting? Talk about politicians being on holiday.
We’re about to face a year or possibly many more, of what is widely predicted to be the worst economic crisis for generations and the news is devoting ridiculous amounts of time asking whether Liz Truss wlll be able to sort it out, which as the country in general and the entirety of the BBC news team know, is a risible idea, yet on they plod with it. Pretending she might be able to do something about it is deemed ‘objective’, but it simply isn’t, it’s just a fantasy, a pantomime, and the country knows it, which is possibly why a Russel Brand YT video often gets more views than an edition of Newsnight these days. Considering Newsnight is the BBC’s flagship ‘serious’ news programme this is, objectively, piss poor.

Last edited 3 months ago by Brian String
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
3 months ago
Reply to  Brian String

I did the same about 6 years ago.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 months ago

Why do we bother with these sorts of “look at the hypocrisy of this progressive group” articles anymore? They don’t care if we call them out on it. They care about power and the ability to wield it to implement their goals.

Look at the Tories. They’ve held power for 12 years and have done essentially nothing with it. In Washington meantime, the Democrats have a bare 50% majority for 19 months and have accomplished huge parts of their agenda. This is why conservatives lose. We’re too busy calling out hypocrisy when progressives use power, but too afraid to use power to hurt them when we have it. Politics today is a war to define what is “good” for society. There are no higher stakes.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
3 months ago

Completely agree, it’s war now. The left has pushed us into that corner.

Richard Stanier
Richard Stanier
3 months ago

Fair play, Peter, but her speech was comedy gold.

Michael Walker
Michael Walker
3 months ago

Missing Emily?

Why not try a round of this popular pass-time:

The Radio Four Drinking Game.
Object of the game:
Players must tune into Radio 4 as early as possible on the match day but no later then the commencement of ‘Farming Today’. The longer you listen, the more pints you could accumulate.
Whenever any of the following words, phrases or situations is encountered in the specified context (or at all in some cases), each player must consume as much of their preferred drink as they can manage before another matching word or phrase is broadcast. Speed is therefore of the essence. 
The winner is the last player to remain standing. An umpire may be appointed to adjudicate the proceedings and their decision will be accepted by all players as final.
Rules:
Any number may play.
Individual choices of drink must be specified before the game begins.
Players may not change their nominated drink during the course of the game.
Permitted drinks are:
Beer (Imp Pints)
Wine (Standard pub measure)
Spirits (one-sixth of a Gill measures)
Ready?
GO!
1 Someone on ‘Farming Today’ mentions ‘inclusivity’
2 A farming procedure is described as ‘sustainable’
3 On the ‘Today’ programme, one presenter has been told to report from Ipswich/Matlock/Bishop Auckland to show that the programme is not London-centric. They begin by interviewing someone from London.
4 An American woman with a grating accent squawks: “As a woman of colour…”
5 The BBC’s Chief Environment correspondent, Justin Rowlatt, is given eighteen minutes in which to present a news item that could comfortably be dealt with in thirty seconds. The rest of the time is spent on hyperbole, speculation and wild accusations. Score one mouthful for each baseless assertion you spot, with an additional swig if no-one with an alternative view is even asked their opinion, never mind listened to.
6 Someone on Woman’s Hour spits the word ‘men’ with such contempt that it feels like the ‘f’ word. Multiple scores possible at the Umpire’s discretion.
7 Someone says “As a mother myself…”
8 At the first mention of ‘Racism’ or ‘Racist’, every player will immediately finish their drink and recharge their glass. HOWEVER EARLY IN THE DAY IT IS.
9 Someone completely loopy from a deservedly obscure London University posits an insane theory concerning the menopause and the European Court of Human Rights. Whoever is interviewing – usually one of the BBC’s inexhaustible supply of Kirsties – coo’s sympathetically and says they have raised an important point. Doubles all-round if the person being interviewed has a name the interviewer can’t pronounce.
10 Something – anything – is attributed to ‘the climate emergency’. This is stated as a bald fact. No evidence is assumed necessary.
11 A male interviewee ostentatiously refers to ‘my husband’.
12 A female interviewee smugly refers to ‘my wife’.
13 The CEO of some organisation is dragged before the microphone to to explain why some people he employs are white or straight or, worse still, both. Swallow one half of your drink EVERY TIME ‘diversity’ is mentioned.
14 A black person who has made a fortune despite being mediocre and has recently been elevated to the House Of Lords explains how hard-done by they feel and what an awful country this is.
15 Benjamin Zephaniah reads out some dire doggerel to wild acclaim.
16 The PM programme seizes on the issue of the day. It interviews three members of the shadow cabinet, two Lib-Dem M.P.s, Owen Jones, the president of UNISON, David Lammy and, for balance, a Conservative District Councillor from Bedford.
17 An Archers character mentions re-wilding. All the farmers present fall over themselves to avow their dedication to this form of agricultural suicide.
18 Front Row decides to ignore the release of the latest Brad Pitt smash and instead runs a lengthy interview with the head of a Huddersfield-based LBGTQ+++ Collective which has partnered with Extinction Rebellion to produce some street-theatre and, of course, a ‘workshop’.  It is described as ‘excoriating’- code for ‘excruciating’.
19 Tom Heap tells you about the catastrophe that will happen in less than ten years/two months/one nanosecond unless you, personally, give up pretty much everything. Next week, he and his crew will fly to Indonesia to show how Big Oil has an unforgivably huge Carbon Footprint.
20 Someone on ‘Any Questions’ says something stupid and most of the audience goes ‘WOOOO-OOOOP’
So – twenty possibilities for you to amass a commanding score and a serious hangover. In the event that two or more players are still standing, the Umpire may use this twenty-first question as a tie-breaker:
How many times, in total, have the words ‘homophobia’ or ‘homophobic’ been used today? (Note to Umpires: allow a small margin of 50 either way to bring the game to a speedy conclusion)  
Good Luck, everyone…

Richard Stanier
Richard Stanier
3 months ago
Reply to  Michael Walker

Excellent, Michael. An all time classic edition of the Food Programme was on a couple of weeks ago – the “racial connotations” of fried chicken.

Matt M
Matt M
3 months ago

Our national broadcaster, compulsorily funded by the British television-viewing public, is under a duty to remain politically impartial and unbiased.

Is it possible? If the BBC made this its raison d’etre could they achieve it?
They would have to rebuild the entire news operation to get a decent split of opinions throughout. The staff, including the senior editors should be evenly balanced – left wing, right wing, populist, Blairite, nationalist etc. This seems easier than trying to achieve racial, class or sex balances within the workforce? After all most potential recruits have a body of work that clearly shows their political leanings.
The management should prioritise getting a spread of opinions – the “both side-ism” that Maitlis deplores. This should not only be on screen but also in the meetings where the news agenda is selected.
If they could do it I think the rewards would be immeasurable as there is not a single trusted news source in the western world at the moment. If the BBC could once again be seen as objective and unbiased, it could be the world’s favourite broadcaster.

Last edited 3 months ago by Matt M
Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago
Reply to  Matt M

It really is not “our national broadcaster” – that is merely what they want you to believe. It is just one of many options on your remote control – nothing particularly special. It is well past time that the BBC was “disestablished” and its historically privileged position eliminated. Frankly, I can find better content on YouTube these days.

Richard Barrett
Richard Barrett
3 months ago

Maitlis was not above taking part in a Newsnight Hatchet job on Jeremy Corbyn when he was still a threat to the establishment. Maitlis’s political values align with the status quo ante 2016. She is as biased as anyone else.

Michael James
Michael James
3 months ago

Did Maitlis ensure that Newsnight reports on Scottish independence reflected the preponderant viewpoint against it?

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
3 months ago

I’ve jut read Giles Fraser’s article “How woke is Nietzsche?” on the Unherd channel and it strikes me there are some carryovers.
Once you accept “There are no facts, only interpretations.” then you drift into the realms of what is bias?
When you can make up your own facts to suite your world view then one persons bias becomes another persons balanced opinion

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 months ago

Why spend 5 hours finding people who will criticise authorities approach to handling ongoing child rape – when you can find a thousand people to criticise “Tory birthday cake” in 5 minutes.

Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
3 months ago

Her key example was Boris Johnson’s “unlawful attempt to prorogue parliament for five weeks by an executive that wanted to remove parliamentary democracy from the decision making process”. 
This statement refers to the SC judgement, announced by Lady Hale. I advise everybody to read this judgment. In its opening statement, it makes a factual error. It is sloppily redacted. It accepts hypothesis as fact, and the judiciary take it upon themselves to pronounce that Article 9 of the 1689 Bill of Right is redundant. Only parliament can make that assessment. The verdict also dispenses, without considering, the judgement on Johnson’s proroguing decision, without analysing theM; The SC in other words is seeking to make law. Maitlis condones this behaviour by repeating the lie that Boris lied to the Queen. The real significance of this judgement is that the SC was being unconstitutional.
Were the BBC to have been balanced, it would have had to report: 1. The judgement on prorogation of other senior judges. 2. The SC position. 3. The assessment that the SC was being unconstitutional.
It failed.

Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan Story

Just noting that it surely was not known that the prorogation was “unlawful” until after the judgement. Before that point it was unknown.

Laza Krstin
Laza Krstin
3 months ago

Putting aside the emotive issue of Brexit, which seems to have focused the comments here on the “the establishment v the dissenters” debate, there is a wider and fundamental question. The BBC claims its news broadcasting aims to be impartial and to provide balanced reporting. It is apparent that the way they seek to achieve this is by presenting two opposing views and “leaving it to the viewers to make their own mind up”. Is this a valid approach? It seems to me that this is, at the very least, a cop out. Couching an issue in terms of “one opinion is right and the other must be wrong” is still framing the issue in a way that the producers or interviewer think will make for ‘good TV’ or ‘good radio’. More importantly, reducing many a complex issue to a binary choice does a disservice to the viewer/listener. Whatever happened to explanation of the relevant factors and considerations, objective analysis, and informed debate?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
3 months ago
Reply to  Laza Krstin

Sometimes the BBC does present both sides.
However – when it does – it usually places 90% of the effort in supporting their favoured view, and the remaining 10% finding the least “screen-friendly” person to represent that opposing view – and then belittling them.
Maitlis was their “belittler of choice”
A ghastly person.

Oliver Nicholson
Oliver Nicholson
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I have lost count of the number of Home Service News bulletins in the recent time which have started, “Labour has criticized the Government….” without first telling us what the Government has done or said.

D Walsh
D Walsh
3 months ago

Emily should go home to her own country and leave us alone

Michael Drucker
Michael Drucker
3 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

I think that this is a superb article. I personally consider the BBC an irrelevance and it’s “celebrity” presenters even more so. I never watch it.
However, I am disquieted by your comment. According to her Wikipedia entry Emily Maitlis was raised and educated in this country. She was merely born in Canada. Is it her Jewish heritage that you object to, or are you disappointed that a Grandparent managed to flee Nazi Germany?

D Walsh
D Walsh
3 months ago

Is Emily Jewish, wow I never would have guessed
Are there many more Newish people on Jewsnight ?

Aron L
Aron L
3 months ago

With the brexit economist comment isn’t she making the point that the BBC does do the right thing for impartiality? Even though disagrees with it (which frankly doesn’t matter as she doesn’t set the impartiality rules).

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
3 months ago
Reply to  Aron L

You’re right here, and I actually found this quite heartening that the BBC went out of its way to broadcaste both sides of this argument.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
3 months ago

But under forbearance, and this attitude would then contaminate their presentation – as it always did. I was always shocked when we got an apparently objective report on Brexit from any BBC news outlet.

Amanda Lothian
Amanda Lothian
3 months ago

It would probably take Maitlis more than five hours to have found a politician prepared to say that trans women were men, doesn’t mean it is not true.

stefan filipkiewicz
stefan filipkiewicz
3 months ago

Some curious – and plain wrong statements in this article:

“This was part of a campaign to overturn the Brexit referendum result — the largest democratic mandate in British political history”
The referendum in 1975 on the EU returned a 67% remain majority.

“preventing the rightful government from fulfilling its manifesto promises”
Manifesto promises have no legal force. And constantly get ignored or broken.

“MPs had engineered a parliamentary deadlock”
The deadlock came from both extremes: Remainers on the one side and those Leavers on the other for whom the negotiated terms didn’t go far enough.

And be clear, Parliament is sovereign; the argument that the people voted to give the government a majority in Parliament such that they then had license to do as they please is a recipe for disaster. To prorogue Parliament for weeks so as to ram through a policy sets a dangerous precedent. And to justify it based on a lie is even worse.

Note: I’ve not watched TV news (BBC or others) for decades as I generally find it repetitive and superficial.

Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago

Where were you for the past 6 years that you didn’t notice the never-ending BBC anti-Brexit campaign ?
What happened in 1975 is of no relevance in this argument. Noise.

Andrew Milton-Thompson
Andrew Milton-Thompson
3 months ago

Reading these comments talking about echo chambers it seems we are in one here. So perhaps someone can tell me: were the 60 anti-Brexit economists right or wrong, as it turned out? I understood the reason there was a majority in favour of leaving the EU was down to restoration of sovereignty. The gory but consequential details of the economic issues never got much beyond the Newsnight audience. And the restoration of sovereignty has brought us the likes of Johnson and Truss. How is that for an outcome? Or is it, as someone once said, “too early to tell”.

Last edited 3 months ago by Andrew Milton-Thompson
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
3 months ago

It was also a very warm summer. Is that also the fault of the Brexiteers?

Matt M
Matt M
3 months ago

There has been no observable economic impact from Brexit. Within one month of it happening the entire world economy shut down and completely obscured what effects might have been seen.
Only Remainer partisans claim to see them while failing to spot that inflation, labour shortages, supply chain failures etc are exactly the same on the continent and in the US.
No baby formula in America?
No ice available in bar drinks in Spain?
10.3% inflation in the Netherlands?
No airport baggage handlers in Italy?
Blackouts forecast in Germany?
Oh it must be Brexit…
Give it a rest Andrew.

Last edited 3 months ago by Matt M
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
3 months ago

Hadn’t you noticed Andrew? Brexit caused Covid, the Ukraine War, the energy crisis yadda yadda yadda – as well as the total economic catastrophe these economists forecast. Don’t you read the papers?

Andrew Milton-Thompson
Andrew Milton-Thompson
3 months ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Enjoy your echo chamber

Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago
  1. Of course it is too early to judge the economic outcome. A 10 year timescale is a far more realistic timeframe. And what benchmark will you be comparing against ?
  2. Brexit was primarily about freedom and identity and a gut sense that the EU was heading in the wrong direction. Economics was not the major driver.
  3. The fact that you personally don’t like Johnson or Truss (note: she hasn’t won yet) is irrelevant. Don’t try to tell the rest of us who we should or shouldn’t like. This sort of attitude is exactly why Remain lost !

When the dust from this has all settled, I (speaking only for myself) am in no doubt that Britian will out-perform the EU over the next 10 years and we will do far better outside this protectionist bureaucracy. We also need to be free of the debt and currency disaster the EU is building up before they start “mutualising the debt” (a policy Tony Blair has endorsed – but which means the rich and hard-working bailing out the feckless). In fact, only last week I offered a pro-EU friend a £1000 bet on exactly this basis. He declined my offer.

Richard Maslen
Richard Maslen
3 months ago

Maitlis has a point. 60 to 1 reflects a range of expert opinion which the government was supposed to consider. It didn’t even acknowledge it, in deceitful presentation of the ‘facts’ about Brexit.

Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago
Reply to  Richard Maslen

What on earth are you on about ? The Maitlis 60:1 claim was presumably *before* the referendum when the government was actually (as a whole) campaigning for Remain.
The government were instructed to leave the EU (remember, they set the question, not us). Their job was to leave – “you only had one job …”. Remember that the combined wisdom of the House of Commons voted for the referendum and the referendum question. No good complaining about the “wrong question” or stuff like that if you were asleep at the wheel pre-2016.
Finally, economic forecasts are not “facts”. Anyone who thinks this simply hasn’t been paying attention.