Skewed then skewered: Peston rebuked by Gardiner over reflex EU tweet

Tonight’s BBC documentary on the General Election was an object lesson in the media’s obsessions with the wrong thing, a phenomenon which made them completely ignorant of the ‘Corbyn surge’ groundswell that the SKWAWKBOX and others knew was coming. It was perfectly summarised in a tweet by Red Pepper magazine:

redpepper labsummer

The documentary was clearly hastily rehashed to try to reflect what actually happened – but failed, because it had spent so much time focusing on the wrong thing.

The non-entities.

You’d think, after all the egg on faces in June, that the ‘MSM’ would have learned at least something from that experience – especially ITV political editor Robert Peston, who has just published a book titled, WTF: What the F— happened and what happens next?

Sadly, it seems almost no one has learned the lesson.

Peston tweeted tonight on the topic of an EU amendment that was voted on in this Commons this evening – and got it badly wrong, both on the facts and in paying attention to the same kind of non-entities:

peston whip

The first problem is that Labour MPs were allowed a free vote:

hayes 1

The second and even bigger problem was his description of the amendment. Labour’s ‘softly-spoken assassin’ was quick to put him right in a tweeted response:

gardiner peston 1

Gardiner also clarified why it was illiterate:

Voting against an ‘illiterate amendment’ that would have meant the removal of a safety-net against a ‘no deal Brexit’ is an entirely reasonable course of action – whipped or not.

Voting against an amendment ‘that would have kept open [an] option’ sounds the opposite. Context and phrasing matter.

Gardiner’s explanation of why the amendment was ‘illiterate’ makes it clear which was accurate.

But Peston opted to quote the disgraced non-entities who have every reason to stir trouble via a negative portrayal in order to try to scrape together a sliver of relevance and did not present the alternative and far more plausible explanation. The responses to his tweet included outrage from pro-EU readers – who were outraged about completely the wrong thing.

As the shockwaves of General Election night have abated, the media have reverted to type and are presenting exactly the same ‘Westminster bubble‘-filtered versions of events that led them to be so dramatically ignorant and wrong in June.

Robert Peston and tonight’s BBC ‘documentary of the wrong thing’ have handily provided two perfect examples of it tonight, but you’ll find exactly the same phenomenon emerging on virtually every news broadcast, review of the papers, political pundit panel and Q&A programme.

Whether intentionally or habitually, the Establishment is going back to the narrative that was shown to be nonsense, as if the summer didn’t happen or didn’t mean what it meant.

It’s up to all of us to keep hammering home a truer narrative so they don’t succeed.

Robert Peston was invited to comment but did not respond by the time of publication.

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  1. the vitriol on the twitter feed towards Lab/Corbyn seems to show the usual trope that a lie can be half way round the world before the truth gets it’s boots on. Peston’s paymasters must be happy

  2. Re the #labsummer documentary. It was clearly a documentary that was intended to follow the right wingers and then be used as ammunition after the complete defeat of Corbyn’s labour party. But of course that wasn’t what happened. So the doc was shelved. Now it has reappeared with lots of editing to be used as ammunition for the ‘divided labour party’.

  3. Personally I thought it exposed the right wing non entities for what they were, I particularly liked the way Steven Kinnock was instructed how to speak on camera by his ex Danish premier wife, to sound positive about the Labour result….. and he performed like a true actor remembering all his words.
    It also showed how those same MPs were out campaigning on their own, until Momentum turned up.

    I note also that none of those MPs that owed increased majorities to Jeremy Corbyn, never turned up to listen to Jeremy’s major speech, and that says it all for me.

    They were all gravy train MPs, who have just been left on the platform.

  4. Just goes to show, the complete ignorance of the RIGHT WING of our party!
    The looks and mutterings from them were priceless!
    I can imagine what was going through their tiny brains!
    If only we had stuck with Jeremy, instead of trying to crucify him, we would have been in power now!
    Then punching themselves in their own faces, for being total cretins!

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